July 15, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
I've debated quite a bit with folks over at Mark Glesne's blog, since most of posts and comments come from the perspectives of the political and religious right. I'm not opposed to everything on the right-hand side of issues, but since I lean towards the left on the political compass, there's a lot of issues that I bit compelled to challenge.

I commented quite a bit on Israeli's relationship with Palestine, particularly with Hamas, and how the blame for the sudden escalation in violence really falls on both parties. The knee-jerk reaction of most folks on the right-hand side of politics and religion is to defend Israel's right to protect itself against terrorists who seem bent to disrupt Israel's peaceful way of life. Their feeling is often that Israel is the victem in the conflict. For the religious-right, Israel is "God's chosen people," which to them means that Israel is never wrong, and that any attack against Israel is really an attack on religious principles, and that Israel is continually being persecuted by wicked nations.

I think the religious-right needs to gain a bit of understanding of the massively superior military power that Israel possess, and how Israel hardly needs support in defending itself against terrorists. Furthermore, it would be handy if Americans would read the news from agencies outside the US, as it's rare that friends write scathing articles about one another. Israel is a close ally of the US, and our mainstream news tends to reflect that relationship.


Most news agency reported that the Palestinian group Hamas kidnapped Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier. It's key to pay attention to the words being used by our media, because perception most folks pick up tend to be created by way the media spins the information.

From Zmag:

Reporting of the June 25 capture of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, by Palestinian militants at an army post at Kerem Shalom near Gaza demonstrated the same bias. The BBC, ITV News, the Guardian, Independent and most other media described the incident as a "kidnapping". We emailed Guardian journalist David Fickling:

"In today's article, 'Israel detains Hamas ministers,' you write:

"'Israeli troops arrested dozens of Hamas ministers and parliamentarians today as they stepped up their campaign to free a soldier kidnapped by militants in Gaza at the weekend.' (,,1808570,00.html)

"Why do Israeli militants 'detain' and 'arrest', whereas Palestinian militants 'kidnap'?" (Email, June 29, 2006)

Fickling replied:

"There is a well-attested distinction between arrest - an action carried out by a state as the first step of a well-defined legal process - and kidnap, which is an action carried out by private individuals with no defined outcome, enforceable purpose, or rights of review or release." (Email, June 29, 2006)

In reality there is no "well-defined legal process" protecting the Hamas politicians "arrested" by the Israelis. Of what crimes have they been accused? Are we to believe that they have any rights of review or release whatever? Quite the reverse; the press reports that the subsequent bombings of empty Hamas political offices were intended as a clear signal that Hamas's leaders can be assassinated if Israel so desires.

More than the spin placed on "abduction" and "arrest" is the fact that most mainstream media failed to address the kidnappings that Israel conducted the day before Hamas kiddnapped the soldier

Few readers will be aware that on June 24, the day before the "kidnapping", Israeli commandos had entered the Gaza Strip and captured two Palestinians claimed by Israel to be members of Hamas.

Nor have the press suggested that the one-sided nature of the killing in the weeks leading up to the capture of the Israeli soldier might have "sparked" Palestinian actions.

Noam Chomsky talks a bit about this as well an interview on Democracy Now, and also states the following:

What's happening in Gaza, to start with that -- well, basically the current stage of what's going on -- there's a lot more -- begins with the Hamas election, back the end of January. Israel and the United States at once announced that they were going to punish the people of Palestine for voting the wrong way in a free election.

The Hamas election seems to have led to Israel's kidnapping (ahem... arrest) of Palestinians reported to be members of Hamas, which lead to the capture of Gilad, which led to Israel's attacks on Hamas leadership, which has escalated into Gaza, which may potentially involve Syria and Iran.

So who's to blame? Probably everybody. But the folks who are going to suffer most (as is generally the case in war) are the innocent civilians have have nothing to do the conflict whatsoever.
np category: politics


Steve said:
Your equation of the capture by Israeli forces of terrorists, to the attacks of terrorists against a sovereign state demonstrates the moral blindness that has always infested the left.

Sometimes there is only black and white.

July 15, 2006

Luke said:
Well Israel is wrong sometimes. They're certainly not without their own morally wrong choices of the past. However they are constantly the hated nation and will continue to be so until judgement day, that is at least clear from scripture.

Hamas is a terrorist organization and in no way remotely on the level of any normal government. They've supported terror against Israel for a long time. I don't see a problem with Israel arresting terrorists who have a history of actively seeking to disrupt the nation.

Before the Palistinians would throw rocks, now they shoot missles. I think Israel has every right in the world to defend itself in this case. History has shown Israel has been reluctant to war in similar times. In the 80's there were 3 Israeli soldiers captured. Upon the demands of captures more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners were released in exchange for the three soldiers. In the 90's another of the same event occured and over 400 prisoners were released for only a few Israeli soldiers safe return.

Hizbolla started the conflict again but Israel did not strike until their soldiers were again kidnapped.

Again, Israel is not without it's faults. They're not right all the time but deserve to fight in this case. I believe that it's justified without a doubt.

BTW do you realize that almost every one of your posts in some way rips on Christians and conservatism? It's just odd to seldom if ever see the other side of you. Sometimes encouragement is okay JC.

July 15, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
Steve - thanks for the comment! It's unfortunate that you can't enter the conversation without your accompanying sense of moral superiority, but I appreciate your visit anyhow.

Luke - you bring up some good points. The purpose of my post wasn't to state that Israel was at fault here in the conflict, but rather that people can make a more informed decision about who is responsible when they are given the information without any spin. If big media stated first that Palestinians had been kidnapped or arrested or whatever, and that Hamas responded in kind, the issue would make more sense. I stated in my post that I believe that both parties are at fault. I disagree with commenter Steve's position that there is no equation of culpability in the attacks. But I'm certainly not saying that I'm anti-Israel, or even think that the Palestinian leadership is entirely right. I don't think that at all.

The other piece of this is the general usage of the term "palestinians." That's a bit like saying that the US military raped an innocent Iraqi girl, when in fact it was a particular group of soldiers from a particular unit. Hamas is not Palestine, regardless of their elected status. Bear in mind the civilian Palestinians in the situation, who (from their perspective) view Israel as the reason for their checkpoints, the source of the destruction of their homes, marketplaces, and schools, the reason for the abductions and deaths of their brothers and sisters... and consider that Hamas campaigned as the political group that would free people from oppressive Israeli rule. Of course they won the elections. But that's not to say that all Palestinians want to strap bombs their body and get on Iraeli busses and kill innocent people. The situation is a little more complex than that.

And yeah -- I know that most of my posts criticize the religious- and polital-right. It's a criticism site, after all... and I disagree sharply with most of the ideals of the right. :)

July 15, 2006

Luke said:
Point taken. If looked at in context I suppose the Palenstinians actually elected Hamas because their old leadership was impotent and they needed a change no matter how desperate Hamas seemed. I didn't mean to say that all Palestinian people are terrorists, that's certainly not the case. I just watched a news story interviewing a young man in Lebannon who stated that Hizbolla is destroying Beruit and bad for their country. I suppose I tend to lump them altogether because of Islam's increasing agreesiveness toward Jews and Christians. There are some peaceful Muslims (most of which are in the US) but the world is seeing a large influx of followers who are believing the likes of Iran's President (couldn't spell his name for the life of me) and the call for global Jihad. Maybe we agree after all.

I didn't mean to say that your site shouldn't criticize because I certainly do my own fair share of that. But I just (as your friend) wanted you to consider that balance is a key to gaining an audience that is willing to consider your assertions, or criticisms. Otherwise you can come off as too extremist which for some reason is very easy to de-humanize as a reader. Just a thought though, you know I love you bro.

Is your mom still around or did she make it back to Korea yet?

July 16, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
I tend tend to look for balance in these issues, which is exactly why I'm asserting that both sides of the Israeli conflict are at fault.

I think the folks on the right tend to see my posts as being more to the left than they actually are. I tend to counter extreme-right events and mindsets by pointing out the error in extremism, and as a consequence, it *looks* like I'm promoting a far left-wing agenda. However, you'll rarely find me pushing extreme-left messages. Most of my messages *from the left* (as opposed to responding to events from the religious- and political- right) generally involve things like social-justice/equality and things like net-neutrality.

My mom flew back last weekend. I guess she cought a really bad flu or something when she got back, and had to spend some time in the hospital. Sucks. But she said she's doing better now.

July 16, 2006

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