« We interrupt this journal... | Main | The Blogs of war »

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Portrait of denial

It seems that Typepad did its semi-annual nose-dive yesterday and took a day-and-a-half worth of posts and comments down with it.  If you don't see your comment, please feel free to re-post it.

<sarcasm>  But no big deal, right?   It's not as though yesterday was a particularly note-worthy or newsworthy day... so no harm done.  </sarcasm>

By this time I'm sure anyone who is interested in the situation on the ground here has made it their business to check the various news sites so I won't try to provide any more updates here.  Besides, I am interested to hear what some of you have to say on yesterday's events, so feel free to share.

The only thing I feel like posting today is proof of the incredible ease with which people can willfully ignore irrefutable facts just to preserve the validity of hopelessly out-dated (and dangerous) ideologies.

I have a long-time commenter who feels it is his duty to challenge me when he feels I am moving too far to the right.  In principle I have no problem with this.  In fact I could say the same of many of my commenters... and I have learned a great deal from almost all of them (even when we have agreed to disagree).

But this particular commenter is so consistently wrong... and continues to cling to such dangerous ideas... that I feel like he needs to be held up as an example of how not to think critically.

Here are some snippets of his comments with the date the comments were posted.  Please not that while the situation here in Israel has deteriorated significantly over the past 8 months, his comments have continued to sound as though they were written during the brief Oslo honeymoon to a Luddite(me) who hadn't yet heard that peace had broken out:

Jan 26th 2006 [responding to my statement that the election of Hamas was an endorsement of armed struggle rather than a diplomatic solution] :

"I disagree with your analysis.  This is much more rejection of Fatah than it is an embrace of hamas... Khalil Shakiki's polls continue to show that most Palestinians want a solution to the conflict (and thus it is inaccurate to say that they want to destroy Israel), and that most of them support armed attacks of some kind (and therefore inaccurate to claim that this vote is somehow a new endorsement of violence).  Furthermore, most Palestinians are not in favor of an Islamic state...  Hamas will be forced to change or suffer the consequences.  They will now be held accountable for whatever they do.  No more military wing acting outside the political wing.  And if they do attack, any hardship suffered by Palestinians as a result of Israeli responses will be blamed on them... And I might say, optimist that I am, that it is not a bad thing that the Palestinians are willing to kick out a corrupt, ineffective leadership.  If they hold Hamas accountable for moving toward some agreement with Israel, as I bet they will, it will show that they did not put Hamas in power to set up an Islamic state and continue killing people."

Jan 27th [replying to an accusation from another commenter that he was in 'post election denial', and also to my claim that the withdrawal from Gaza had worsened our strategic position rather then improved it]:

"You fail to realize that history and power influence what an organization is.  Al-Qaeda has money and weapons and is unaccountable to anyone.  Hamas is checked by the international and internal constraints I mentioned, and I don't believe they wish to go around the world carrying out attacks, much as I would agree that at times, they have mimiced Al-Qaeda rhetoric ... [Gaza] is a terrorist state that is turning against itself, not us ...  I would bet against [Hamas starting an open war with Israel] because it would be completely irrational and stupid. ...  Israel would pound them mercilessly and with no worry of any repercussion.  Do you really think the Palestinians want a "real war" against Israel?"

Jan 28th [responding to another commenter who stated that Hamas and Al Qaeda were essentially the same in their thinking and tactics]:

"The difference is that while Al-Qaeda, as a non-governmental entity with lots of resources, has no domestic political reason to reform, Hamas, a political party accountable to an electorate with limited resources, will."

Jan 28th [defending his statement that the Hamas elections had resulted in less attacks on Israel]

"We'll see... if Disengagement really encouraged Hamas, I think the response would be more attacks not less. I'm not wrong.  There are internal restraints on Hamas, and they will have an effect.  I see [disengagement] and its aftermath as a big victory."

Jan 30th [responding to continued accusations that he was willfully ignoring the nature of Hamas and its threats against Israel]:

"My argument is the fundamental nature of politics will constrain Hamas from doing the things people are scared of.  Your argument seems to be more the Jabotinsky one about not trusting the Arabs.  I guess you're like the general in Amos Oz's "In the Land of Israel."

Now lets jump forward a few months to the present and see if our commenter has learned anything since making his self-assured statements in January:

July 10th [Responding to my 'double standard' post which was essentially saying 'I told you so' to the people who ignored dire warnings of disengagements eventual results]:

"Let's be a little careful with the 'I told you so's'.  ... Right now you have a low-level civil war (Fatah/Hamas) there.  Is this really bad for Israel? ... many Palestinians support a diplomatic solution, and though I'd be the first to say Hamas is a terror organization, it is not the same terror organization since it entered politics."

July 10th [responding to the question "Are you saying that Oslo was actually a good idea?"]:

"Let's see, actually negotiating?  Yeah, I thought it was a good idea. We got very close to a deal, the world stayed off our backs for a long time, and there were moments of great prosperity when it looked like peace was near."

July 10th [responding to me asking him if he still thought disengagement was a good idea considering that we are now back in Gaza and that 80% of evacuees still hadn't received housing/compensation they were promised]:

"Yes, but it's hard to argue the success of one idea over another when all you have is criticism. "

July 10th [still maintaining that most Palestinians desire a diplomatic solution and that Israel had someone with whom to negotiate]

"...read the polls.  Abbas is such a person, whether you care to admit it or not.  That we failed to take any advantage of him is our mistake."

July 12th [from an email exchange well after the unprovoked northern attacks by Hizballah, in which he still maintains the validity of his position]:

"No one proved me wrong.  And I'm not the one calling for a big war that will only get lots more soldiers killed.  I'm not in the losing-my-mind business every time something happens in Israel.  I think the state is strong enough to take care of itself ... Soldiers have been kidnapped before, and bombing the crap out of Lebanon has not been known to work as a solution. "

I'm hoping this will be the last I hear from this particular commenter... not because he is either dumb or rude (he's actually quite bright and well-mannered), but because it is pointless for someone to continue participating in a discussion without taking note of the other positions being presented... not to mention facts on the ground. 

This gentleman has a blog of his own and I invite him to write unchanging monologues over there... not here.

Israel internal politics and foreign policy are not some academic problem or theoretical exercise for dabblers and dilettantes.  They are deadly serious business with real people's lives at stake.

People from all over the world are free to share their conclusions here and either stick to them or amend them as the need arises.  I'm not suggesting that we all need to march in lock-step.  On the contrary, this would be an excellent time to float some new and original thinking.

But during a time of war to actively deny irrefutable facts on the ground, simply in order to avoid upsetting one's carefully stacked apple-cart of personal ideologies, is not something that I feel compelled to entertain here on my journal.

You want to advocate sentiments such as 'Give peace a chance'?  Go tell it to a country that isn't currently under active military attack on two different fronts. 

You want to continue defending a policy of unilateral appeasement and withdrawal that sent our enemies an unmistakable message that the only path to achieving their goals was through armed resistance?  Then go join ISM or some other 'useful idiot' organization and at least be honest about which side you are rooting for in this conflict.

But so long as innocent civilians in the north and south are living in bomb shelters  and cities as far inside Israel as Ashquelon and Nahariya are being successfully targeted by enemy missiles... please sing your tired old song elsewhere.  I've heard enough.


Posted by David Bogner on July 13, 2006 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Portrait of denial:

» Stating the obvious from In Context
Note should be made, as I'm sure it has been elsewhere, that Israel is now under dire physical attack on two fronts -- in both... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 14, 2006 12:17:02 AM


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Yesterday, reading Arutz Sheva, I couldn't believe that others were still supporting disengagement from the West Bank.

For a few brief weeks, after disengagement from Gaza, it seemed that Israel made the right decision. That lasted until Hamas was elected. Keep in mind, I loathed disengagement.

It almost seems that some are willing to bend over backwards in the nefarious hope of peace with the Palestinians. Peace, for it to work, has to be sought by both sides, not just one.

Posted by: seawitch | Jul 13, 2006 2:16:48 PM

Go tell it to a country that isn't currently under active military attack on two different fronts.

Two fronts?

I counted 5 potential fronts(without Iran): War on 5 Fronts

Posted by: JoeSettlerJoe | Jul 13, 2006 2:59:22 PM

David, you and your family stay safe. Praying for ya'll.

Posted by: seawitch | Jul 13, 2006 3:18:56 PM

I don't know about others, but I'm feeling information starved. I've surfed all of the TV networks and now as many news sites on the 'Net as I can find. And I STILL want to know more!

Posted by: Jerri Swinehart | Jul 13, 2006 3:25:27 PM

I think you are being unfair to your commenter.
Hamas was elected because they had party discipline and fielded only one candidate per seat. Had Fatah managed that level of discipline, they would have won with approximately 60% of the vote. Hamas won because they are better politicians.
As to the sources of the current conflict, I do agree that Hamas has taken a big step backward. But I do not believe it represents the will of the Palestinians, and I think Hamas will ultimately pay an internal political price. The whole disturbing thing about these attacks is that they seem to be as much if not more a result of Iranian interference that nternal Hamas planning. That is certainly true in Lebanon, and it does appear that the instigators of the attack in Gaza were from the part of Hamas controlled from outside.
I am no expert in the internal workings of Hamas, but based onthe news reports I have read and seen, what is a cuase for real concern here is the way in which Iran is fomenting war in Israel, and doing it for a three fold purpose.
1. Destabilize the moderates in Lebanon.
2. Push back any possibility of rapproachment between Fatah and Hamas.
3. Thumb their noses at the US and other members of the G8 for trying to control their nuclear capability.
I did not mention to destroy Israel, because I just assume that Iran sees that as the goal all the time, much more so than the Palestinians n the street.
The real enemy is not the Palestinians. It is militant Islam, and we must look at aggression from Gaza and Lebanon in that light if we are to successfully choose our targets. It is not outrageous to say that bombing Lebanon won't bring our soldiers back. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do it, but the goals need to be clearly understood. It is about Hezbollah, and their missile launching capability. If we destroy the Lebanese political echelon, we make it much harder for them to do what the UN resolutions of 200 require them to do, and what they have been afraid of doing until now, which is to disarm Hezbolllah. Bringing down their government only makes that scenarion less likely, especially as long as Iran is intent on funding them.

Posted by: jordan Hirsch | Jul 13, 2006 4:21:31 PM

Hamas was elected bcs - oh nevermind, can't be arsed. Really, David, "sing your tired old song elsewhere. I've heard enough." says all I could say abt the subject right now.

Posted by: Lioness | Jul 13, 2006 4:51:20 PM

I'm thinking of you and the rest of my family over there. Stay safe.

Posted by: val | Jul 13, 2006 4:57:08 PM

1. Phew! typepad saves the day.

2. Israel internal politics and foreign policy are not some academic problem or theoretical exercise for dabblers and dilettantes. I totally agree with you David, It's like owning a nice IDF T'zahal t-shirt in a neighbourhood full of Arabs, yes..you support Israel, but when should you put this t-shirt on? ;-)

Posted by: pk | Jul 13, 2006 5:13:57 PM

Why are you all talking about the Palestinians?
Meshaal (based in Syria) takes responsibility for the aggression of Hamas from Gaza.
Hizbollah (paid for by Syria and Iran) invades Israel, kidnaps a couple of soldiers, turns a struggling Lebanon upside down.
Shouldn't the real topic be Iran and it's proxy Syria?

Posted by: lisoosh | Jul 13, 2006 6:59:56 PM

Agree with Lisoosh.

And would also add that singing "Give Peace a Chance" takes many forms.

(Don't worry I'm not going to break into "Imagine". I'm going to stare vacantly into the blogosphere and wait for the next apportoining of blame for the war on "the Liberal Nutjobs"/"Supporters of the Disengagement"/"The Gays"/"Immodest Women" ;-)

IMHO, retaining some degree of faith in individual humanity (yes, even when referring to an "other" capable of inventing suicide bombs) shouldn't be considered denial, rather, mandatory. Because once the testosterone boils away and the finger-pointing stops, hope and faith in each other (particularly our fellow Jews) will be all we have. It may not seem like the most pertinent attitude on the first day of a war, but it is far from redundant.

Posted by: PP | Jul 13, 2006 7:43:32 PM

Thanks, Lisoosh, for mentioning Meshaal. His was the name I could not recall when writing my comments above.

Posted by: jordan Hirsch | Jul 13, 2006 7:55:15 PM

Joining the others, praying that you and your family stay safe.

Posted by: Irina | Jul 13, 2006 8:16:28 PM

But I do not believe it represents the will of the Palestinians

The real enemy is not the Palestinians.

Majority of Palestinians back kidnappings, Quassam fire

Posted by: psychotoddler | Jul 13, 2006 9:03:31 PM

I told a friend of mine once, who expressed amazement at imbedded liberal New-Think, that people who subscribe to such outmoded ideologies do so not out of naivete but because those dangerous not-in-sync-with-reality ideologies are their substitute for religion--and they can no more abandon "Shalom Achshav", "Peace In Our Time" "We just need to 'dialogue'" "Oslo" or withdrawal (retreat) than the Pope can abandon Catholic theology.

However, I never had much patience with the dangerously naive, and now that we and our children are on the ground here, I have NO patience with the patent stupidity of appeasement (i.e. diplomacy). My daughter is in a bomb shelter tonight up north following her trip to Nahariya, so I find protestations of the Politically Correct infuriating irrelevant and dangerous.

BTW, David, I muled in your drug of choice--2 packages are sitting sealed in my cabinet, although I'm concerned it may not be strong enough. Are you driving into Jerusalem any time soon (or Neve Daniel--my son's tutor commutes from there)? I'm at 054-219-8847--or email at [email protected] -- write or call and I'll try to arrange to get them to you.

Posted by: aliyah06 | Jul 13, 2006 9:15:10 PM


I pray for the safety and life of all God fearing Israelis. I pray that they have the strengthe and courage to kill as many of the enemy as possible and make them cower and beg for peace and turn against their brothers who follow extremist Islam and it's god of war. I pray that as many devout Israeli leftists as possible will leave that land ... thereby removing the sick quizling element trying to destroy Israel from within.

Posted by: Scott | Jul 13, 2006 9:34:45 PM


I REALLY think you should have put the word COFFEE in there somewhere.

Posted by: Scott | Jul 13, 2006 9:39:41 PM

The anti-liberal/left wing comments flying around the comments are kind of alarming.
The more lefty elements in Israel are mostly loyal citizens who serve in the army, pay taxes, and participate in the Israeli democratic process, as far as I can tell from 6,000 miles away (and judging from my friends and relatives who are both Israeli reservists and liberal thinkers). I would never interject my political views on Israel from New Jersey to people living through the crisis Ba'Aretz, but I would suggest that extreme comments about those with a differing point of view on what's going on is counterproductive.
Sometimes, I log on to Ha'aretz and read the comments that are posted after one of their more left wing opinion pieces (or sometimes, even after their news pieces). The vituperative rhetoric is astounding.
Don't demonize the opposition. Just the enemy.

Posted by: Jersey Boy | Jul 14, 2006 3:36:04 AM

oops--I figured everyone knew--yes, yes, that's COFFEE!

Posted by: aliyah06 | Jul 14, 2006 8:05:50 AM

Seawitch... Hope is a dangerous weapon.

Joe Stter... There is a difference between potential fronts and actual fronts.

Jerri Swinehart... That is the curse of the information age. No matter how much we get it is never enough.

Jordan... It is all well and good to say that Militant Islam is the enemy and not the Palestinians. But you have to shoot back at the one's shooting at you no matter what they call themselves.

Linoess... It does tire one out, no?

Val... So we shouldn't let the kids run around with scissors?

PK... This is our neighborhood. We'll wear whatever we damned well please. :-)

Lisoosh... Which is why I advocated pyrotechnic regime change in Syria and turning a couple of areas of Iran into volcanic glass.

PP... I have faith in individual humanity. But the individuals with the humanity are not the ones calling the shots or attacking us. I'll sing kumbaya with you after the shooting stops. All of it.

Irina... Thanks. We are probably in one of the quieter areas of the country just now. (tfu tfu tfu).

Phychotoddler... I was going to go there but then I would have to open the bag of worms called 'polling doesn't work in a society that has a fluid relationship with the truth'.

Aliayah06... Oh bless you! I can't wait to meet you (and not just for the coffee). Zahava and I would love to see how your klita is coming along. We know a bit about arriving in the country just when it is under fire. I will try to call you before shabbat.

Scott... Oy, I have this love hate thing going on with your comments. I tend to love the first few lines and hate the last few.

Jersey Boy... I agree, but I am getting tired of asking people to tone it down (both sides). I am partly to blame for ranting so often here lately.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 14, 2006 2:25:09 PM

Wow, thanks for taking me this seriously. No one has ever devoted a whole post to me before.

I am not in denial, thank you, and I stand by my opinions expressed in January and June.

And by now you should know that I am not going to go away.

You wrote in January that the election of Hamas was the endorsement of an armed struggle. You were manifestly wrong. Suicide bombings and attempts at suicide bombings since Hamas got involved in PA politics have dropped off. The rockets being fired into Sderot are a big nuisance, it's true, and Israel is correct to respond to them, but this is no different than what came before Disengagement and the election of Hamas.

Your logic is flawed. Implicitly, you suggest that the Palestinians had a choice between one party that favored negotiation and one that favored violence. But both Fatah and Hamas have their military wings. Both had and have the ability to send suicide bombers and rockets into Israel.

If armed struggle was the principal reason the Palestinians voted in Hamas, how the heck was Mahmoud Abbas able to ram a document through the PA last week that has Hamas basically compromising on all of its ideological positions? It is because the Palestinians have other things in mind that endless "armed struggle" and as I said months ago, it shows that Hamas must now be accountable, a terrorist group's worst fear.

And my predictions about international constraints have largely proved correct. Did you really predict in January that the EU would actually go along with cutting off economic support for the PA? Do you think that this would have happened five years ago or if Fatah would have won the election?

As far as Lebanon is concerned, I have more sympathy for bombing the crap out of Lebanon now than I did a few days ago as a deterrence effort, but I don't see this as a permanent solution. The real culprits are Syria and Iran. Lebanon is not going to take control of Hizbollah, which has a militia that is stronger than the Lebanese Army. Lebanon's not a successful state yet. It doesn't have a monopoly on the use of force, and that's why punishing the Lebanese is not ultimately going to benefit us.

In this vein, the one change I have made in my thinking, base on this week's events in Lebanon, is that we have the same problem in the PA. Mahmoud Abbas is largely in the same position as Lebanon's Fouad Siniora. He doesn't want to deal with the terrorists in his country. He understands the problem, I think, which is why he made a big deal about bringing all of the security forces under one roof and why he talks of a common strategy for Palestinians. But he doesn't have the balls to do a Ben-Gurion and use state force to get everyone under one roof. And so as long as that is the case, we can't really negotiate with him, because he does not represent everyone.

Posted by: Michael Brenner | Jul 15, 2006 9:05:11 PM

Perhaps you are right. Beat them badly. Kill lots of civilians in the process to make them remember!

Posted by: Gil Brenner | Jul 17, 2006 4:12:45 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.