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10 July 2014


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David Habakkuk


In a recent exchange with David Rothkopf – apparently they were college friends – Michael Oren made the following remarks:

“If only I had the proverbial nickel for every time I heard of the need for Israeli soul-searching and every time I silently retorted with the wish that American Jews would conduct that same search. Such introspection would answer basic questions like: Do you regard yourself as part of the Jewish people? Do you consider your life inextricably linked to the Jewish story? Do all Jews – American, Israeli, or French for that matter -- share a destiny? I can’t speak for American Jews, but my guess is that the overwhelming majority of Israelis, religious and secular, would answer all of those questions in the affirmative. A nation-state will do that for you.”

(See http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/05/14/a_jewish_state_vs_the_jewish_state_israel_zionism .)


Bibi probably doesn't have an exit strategy because he doesn't want one. Bibi probably regards Gaza just like the Westbank as still Palestinian occupied part of Greater Israel.

He acts in pursuit of the goal to make Palestinian lives so utterly miserable that they decide to emigrate, so he doesn't have to displace them overtly.

In that sense, the new onslaught on Gaza is part of Bibi's long term ENTRY strategy.

So his plan is to waste the place and then withdraw to the wall. And after that he'll have the IDF man the wall around Gaza and shoot everything that moves in the killzone around it, while flying drones overhead, and seal it off from the sea to keep the Palestinians under permanent watch. The Egyptians can be counted on as reliable jailors on the southern border of Gaza. What then is left to do is to keep the Gazans 'on a diet' again, by arbitrarily restricting entry into Gaza of imports of food, commodities and (re)construction materials.


Bibi probably thinks he can live well with that state of afairs.

And as far as his phone trolling is concerned, last I looked thos missiles were not raining down on Israel before Israel attacked Gaza. It was utterly predictable that this would happen in the event of an Israeli attack on Gaza. To invite this retaliation it was Bibis own damned choice for which he has no one to blame but himself.

It's a bloody shame that probably nobody told him that.


Well. What if the guest-nations adopt the same standards that Israeli apply to non-Jews on the occupied territories? Michael Oren has a very narrow view and this is why he is not able to grasp the unpleasant situations awaiting the "naturalized" (in his opinion) Jews around the globe. If their native country is Israel, then why they have to be trusted by their "guest" countries?
By the way, Michael Oren prefers his children serving in Israeli army, not in the US army. His priorities are clear: he wants to enjoy US citizenship, but his main concern is well-being of Israel. This is not even close to Dreyfus affair, actually, this is an inverse situation. The neocons use the US for harvesting.



Oran is no longer a US citizen. his successor as ambassador was on MSNBC this AM haranguing a woman anchor for not saying what he wanted her to say. "Listen! Listen!" he told her and "I will correct what you said." pl


"They say to pollsters that they want peace? Many conquerors and occupiers have wanted peace, but what kind of peace?"

One of my earliest conclusions after I started paying attention to this sordid business is that while most Israelis want peace, they want to steal their neighbors' land and water more than they want peace. It's telling that 90+% of Israelis vote for pro-ethnic cleansing political parties, and have from the beginning.

I don't believe it's because they don't have a choice. The Israeli political system is fluid, with parties forming and dissolving with remarkable rapidity, certainly compared with our sclerotic system.

Medicine Man

I wonder if the Israelis are playing with fire doing this. In recent threads regarding the situation in Gaza some commentators have advanced the idea that Palestinian resistance efforts are wrong headed and futile. To an extent, I agree. If recent history is any guide, the Israelis will have their way for the foreseeable future. This said, I do question whether the present situation represents unalterable underlying realities. When commenting on the nature of the IDF, Col. Lang has written about the unique economic strain mobilization puts on the Israeli state. He has also highlighted Israel's intolerance for casualties. A question springs to mind: Does the IDF have a glass jaw? If the outcome of the 2006 Lebanon-Israel war was any indication, I would say yes they do. Should the Israelis reduce their Arab prisoners to a population with nothing to lose, is it really impossible that the circumstances of that earlier conflict could eventually, with preparation and foresight on the behalf of the occupied, be replicated?


So, does Oren believe since there is a Finnish state that all world-wide Finns should share a destiny?, or all Germans?, Dutch?, Japanese? .... etc?

I doubt it.


There's a book on my shelf, titled "Shut up, I'm talking - and other diplomacy lessons I learned in the Israeli government", by Gregory Levy.

Excerpt - at the time the author was working at the UN:

"... I started receiving reports from military intelligence about ... Lebanon, and requests to write letters of official complaint to the U.N. and the secretary-general. Most of the time, such as when Hezbollah would shoot toward Israeli troops or place mines in the border region, this appeared reasonable. It started to feel less reasonable, however, when the army seemed to become overzealous about what they wanted to protest and sent me lists of complaints about youths on the Lebanese side who had gotten lost and accidentally crossed the border or, quite frequently, complaints about Lebanese sheperds who had taken their sheep over the border to gtraze.

To be clear, the Israeli army was not alleging anything besides that these were actually sheperds, but was nevertheless asking me to write official letters to the secretary-general. I complied, though I had the increasing feeling that this was a bit ridiculous. Then I got another sheet of information from the military that showed me what ridiculous really was. On this one there were several entries where they wanted me to complain about the fact tht sheep had crossed the border - not sheperds with their sheep, but simply sheep.

... I went to one of the senior diplomats to show him this latest request.

"Have you seen this?" I asked him. "I think it just makes us look silly. This month the Lebanese are complaining that we are flying air-force jets over Lebanese airspace, and we are complaining thaat their sheep are wandering across the border."

A nation of trolls perhaps?

The author worked as a speechwriter for Sharon. He eventually left iirc for Canada


Anna-Marina: "[Oren] wants to enjoy US citizenship"

Oren (born Michael Bornstein) is not a US citizen. He formally renounced his US citizenship b/c GoI will not let dual citizens be ambassadors.

NYT from 2009:

You are right, his main concern certainly "is well-being of Israel." It should be. He's Israeli. I don't see a problem.

BTW, his father was a US Army officer who took part in D-Day, Battle of the Budge, Korea.

Patrick D

The most ridiculous part of Oren's hasbara was the value the United States derives from its relationship with Israel. It is disappointing Rothkopf didn't call him on it.


Oren is not using the common definition of nation, that concept which flows from equal citizenship for all within fixed territorial boundaries.

In fact, that particular form of citizenship was recently (and once again) denied existence in Israel by its own Supreme Court.

The 'Nation" he refers to is the "home" of the "soul" of a people where the people are defined by transmission through blood. Territorial boundaries are inessential, which is why the Jew from Brooklyn has more rights within Israel than a Muslim or Christian from a family with thousands of years of continuous residence.

The United States is actively supporting the collapse of the concept of equal citizenship for all within fixed territorial boundaries. It has gone to war, and continues to go to war, to support that cause. It is expending trillions of dollars and destroying many thousands of lives in actions which eat away at its own foundations.


There is a difference between not having an objective and not making your objective known to the world and the enemy. I don't believe the principles of transparency apply to war or combat. But I agree totally with the sentiment that the over-arching goal of GoI is to make live so utterly miserable for all Palestinians that they'll just give it up and go somewhere else.

And speaking of objectives, I wish someone would explain Hamas' objectives. They know that firing 150 missiles at Israel is going to draw a very heavy-handed response, as well it should. They know from past experience the kill ratio will be 100:1 in favor of GoI. They know that this plays into GoI's plan of making life miserable for Palestinians, at least those that survive the retaliation.

So why don't Hamas dig their tunnels, stockpile/improve their missiles, and do what they need to do to reverse that ratio, or at least bring it down to 1:1, before inviting a certain F-16 spanking. Are they that stupid or am I just not seeing the fox for what it is?

In order to keep world opinion on their side, Hamas has to convince the world that their massive rocket attack was proportionate to the GoI crack down on Hebron and Ramallah. I'm not sure most of the world sees it that way, especially when ABC's Dianne Sawyer is showing bombed Gazan homes and telling the world they are Israeli homes.

The other thing I'm not seeing is Hezbollah. I have not seen them mentioned all the way back to the May12 killing of the Palestinian boys, Narwara and Salameh, which is the real point at which this current mess began, not the killing of the Israeli boys. Is Nasrallah too bogged down w/ ISIS in Syria & Iraq?

Bibi must have nightmares about Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah becoming the new Trois Amigos in town. They are 2/3 of the way there, which is why Bibi is buzzing overtime to split Hamas and Fatah. As always Bibi is counting on the Shia and Sunni being so stupid that they'll never stop butchering each other long enough to turn on their common enemy.


I doubt ANY of Israeli parties will tell Israeli citizens that they cannot have what they want. Every Israeli politician, or indeed, any politician in any country nowadays, is devoted to telling their supporters that they deserve everything and everyone who opposes them is wrong. Citizens (and political leaders) have to learn the limits of reality on their own for most part and not enough Israelis (or, indeed, US political leaders) have been administered appropriate lessons yet.


You are asking a central question. My thoughts on it begin with a detour. The Palestinians need cultural and material support from beyond their small communities to stop their total erasure/expulsion.

Which is why Lebanon was attacked, Iraq was attacked, Syria is being attacked: to stop the "reserve" support for the Palestinians. It is why Iran is being sanctioned, and may be attacked. It is the thrust of the US brokered agreement with Egypt (we'll pay you not to support the Palestinians).

We have long passed the point where the "Palestinians" threatened the existence of Israel; however, we are watching Israel enforce the total separation of the Palestinians from their related cultural communities to facilitate the on-going cultural erasure and physical expulsion.

So in my reading (FWIW), your question evolves into: will Israel and the US succeed in this separation of the Palestinians from their allies by subjecting those allies to military and financial pressure?



"Are they that stupid ?" Comments like that are a sure indicator of a hasbara operator. How many centuries do you people want them to wait for something like a human existence?. As for Oren's father nothing could be more irrelevant. Oren is not his father anymore than Gingrich is his own and I have heard Gingrich cite his own as proof of his virtue. Oren is an Israeli? That's right. He walked away from us all. pl


I was wondering if these are the poll numbers you were referring to?


The headline is extremely misleading. Basically, the numbers say that 2/3 of Israelis think only that their country should go through with only a pretense of negotiation, while the rest don't even want to bother. Only 1/3 thinks negotiations should involve concessions and their numbers would dwindle even further once more details are penciled in. So, that's wjat "peace" means to these folks, peace thru the other side unconditionally surrendering, except they don't want (or can't) quite do what would take to force unconditional surrender. Thus all the meaningless posturing and hypocrisy. (This applies not only to Israelis but also to many US political leaders these days too...)

Babak Makkinejad

They are teaching Arabs how to fight and since this War has been generational, I expect the Arabs to absorb the casualties and keep on getting better.

The failure of Israeli program - in spite of full diplomatic, financial, and technological support of the 1-billion strong NATO alliance - has been a reduction in their security; in the first Intifada rockets were not falling on Israel and they did not have to put into place the Iron Dome system.

I also think that it possible that Israel would be designated as Enemy of Islam by a legitimate Muslim leader or leaders, or by a Muslim government or collection of governments, or by a group of Doctors of Religious Science of Islam with the authority to issue such a Fatwa.


...a hasbara operator.

What a risible, unworthy retort, but there are those who feel that anyone who doesn't laud everything the Palestinians do must be pro-GoI. Sorry, not everything in life comes in black or white.

I am just being objective and any objective person is going to see -- and hopefully comment on -- the idiocy driving both sides of this conflict.

For the record, I abhor Oren and everything he stands for; i.e. Zionism, subservience of American Jews, and Jewish racism. I cannot count the times I have blistered him in blog comments and on my own blog. I was merely correcting the record, as I now see you have also done. People who comment on him should educate themselves and quite saying he has dual citizenship. His father's service is relevant b/c Anna-Marina raised the issue of what country Oren's family serves: "Michael Oren prefers his children serving in Israeli army, not in the US army." That was the irrelevant comment -- didn't see you going after that one, tho'.

But, please, give us the advantage of your military experience and address the issue I raised. Why does Hamas invite international scorn and F-16 attacks by throwing 175 missiles at Israel? What is their objective?

I mean Hamas is so wild with those missiles, they couldn't hit the side of a barn from the inside. Most of them hit nothing but dirt. There can be no sane military objective in hitting dirt. Yesterday Ted Postol, of MIT, told NPR this about the Hamas rockets:

"A typical explosive is 20 to 30 pounds which is quite enough to kill you if it lands near you. But, you know, if you take shelter it's unlikely to cause your house to collapse, and Israelis are set up to take shelter."

I don't believe a single Israeli has been killed. And yet Hamas and the entire world know that dozens or hundreds of Palestinians -- a third of them children -- will die as a result of Hamas' futile attack. If Hamas drives Obama away from his tepid support of the Palestinian coalition, they are done for.

So I don't get it. If you do, please,rather than go the ad hominem route, answer that simple question: WTF is Hamas doing? What is THEIR objective, never mind the Israelis' objective.


An old quote comes to mind

"When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle." Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, New York Times, 14 April 1983.

Damn them.



I do not believe you . you are on probation. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I think that HAMAS is resisting Israel in face of hopeless odds.

Asking "WTF is HAMAS Doing?" is akin to a German or a Pole posing the same question in regards to Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; in my opinion.

I also think that this latest conflagration demonstrates Israel's failure at the Grand Strategic level.


"I wish someone would explain Hamas' objectives. They know that firing 150 missiles at Israel is going to draw a very heavy-handed response, ..."

My guess is that they see their firing of rockets simply as an act of resistance that is an end all by itself. They aren't morons: they know very well any physical damage they cause is not going change the balance of forces. It's an act with a mental objective.

Palestinians have been getting pummeled by the Zionists for 3 generations, with no end in sight. The reality is that in Gaza, Hamas is what passes for what we would call a national government. I think they see themselves as the guardians of their people during this stage of a 3+ generations long war. In their situation, on a sliver of their former homeland with their backs to the sea, when an enemy hits you, you HAVE to hit back. The alternative is to become accustomed to passivity, to lose the habit of resistance, to become a broken people.

I think they know very well that the body count ratio will be overwhelmingly against them, and see Palestinian deaths and injuries as unavoidable casualties of war. It's not that they are unmoved by the deaths of their people, but that they see them as an acceptable price to pay to maintain the habit of resistance.

Those who step up to the plate and take responsibility for defending their people, especially when losing a war, have to do the cold calculus. Similarly, think about Putin. I think it highly unlikely that he simply doesn't give a damn that ethnic Russians are being murdered by Russian-hating oligarchs, neo-nazis and assorted useful idiots. He made the correct call imo that not intervening directly gave the least disadvantage to the RF and more generally Russian civilization. I think he sees himself as a steward of his civilization during a time of conflict with dangerous and powerful enemies. I suspect that he sees the ethnic Russians and Russophilic/phonic Ukrainians dying in Donetsk and Luhansk as unavoidable casualties in a war that he neither started nor wanted. He, or competent advisers to whom he actually listens, did the calculus.

"In order to keep world opinion on their side, ..."

I suspect that Hamas' leaders don't give a damn about 'world opinion'. I think that they see trying to convince Europe and the United States to cease support for Israeli ethnic cleansing as a fool's game. They think that it isn't going to happen, therefore it's not worth compromising other objectives, e.g. maintaining the habit of resistance.

The beaver


You must have missed what happened in Syria in 2011?
Since then , it has been splitsville between Hamas and Hizb'Allah. Hamas left Syria to settle their HQ in Qatar with the blessings and $$$$ of the King ( the sectarian divide).

Forward in 2013, they were fighting each other in Qusayr.
Tehran which has been the god father of both group stopped funding Hamas when they went to the Qataris and for fighting the Syrian regime.
Now that MB is dead in Egypt ( thus may be not enough $$$$ from the new Qatari King), Hamas may run back to the god father.

Hamas and Hizb'Allah had similar goals and objectives , ie, Israel being their enemy. However the Syrian uprising changed everything. Hizb'Allah shifted its primary focus to defending the Assad regime rather than messing with Israel.

The conspiracy theorist in me asks myself these questions:

1. Why did the P3 and their Zionist friends like BHL or the 100+ friends of Syria decide one day that Assad had to go?
2. Is it to benefit Israel?
3. Getting closer to recapture Iran ?
all with the blessing of the GCC!!!

FB Ali


"WTF is Hamas doing? What is THEIR objective...."

Hamas did not start this exchange of rockets and bombs; Israel did. The token few rockets fired into Israel's desert by Islamic Jihad has been a regular feature, regularly ignored, or inviting only the odd air strike. This massive escalation was started by Israel. Hamas cannot afford to be cowed into silence.

This largely futile response (in terms of kinetic effect) also serves to send a message to the world. For Muslims everywhere it points out how weak (and possibly complicit) their rulers are. For the non-Muslim world it is a challenge to their conscience.

Hamas (and the Palestinians generally) are not in any position to consider strategy or tactics or options; for them it is just a question of how they choose to die: grovelling in the sand or fighting back, however hopelessly. Hamas and the people of Gaza have obviously chosen the latter course.


Israelis' objective is to take over Palestinians' land, their water resources, and anything else that is valuable. If Palestinians did nothing, Israelis would have taken them peacefully. With the Palestinians fighting back, Israelis have to take what it wants by force. Yeah, how rotten and treacherous these Palestinians are, forcing the Israelis to commit armed robbery instead of mere swindle.

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