zaterdag 24 november 2012

Zionist Terror 74

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Israel's Assault on Gaza Only Gave It a Black Eye and Strengthened Hamas

Israel accomplished its military goals, but lost badly in the political arena.
Now that the most recent assault on Gaza has come to an end, there should be no doubt that Israel has achieved the narrow military objectives it set out for its army when it commenced “Operation Pillar of Cloud” last week. The operation began with with the assassination of Hamas commander Ahmed al-Jabari last week, and ended with a ceasefire agreement on November 21. 
When the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced the start of its assault on the Palestinian Gaza Strip, it laid out an objective of protecting Israeli civilians by crippling the “terrorist infrastructure,” meaning the infrastructure of armed Palestinian groups like Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. More specifically, the Israeli air force combed the densely populated Gaza Strip to look for rocket launch sites and top-level militants firing projectiles into Israel. A week into the operation, the IDF claimed to have hit 1,500 targets in the Gaza Strip.

It’s clear that one of the most powerful militaries in the world, armed with high-tech American weaponry ranging from F16 military jets to Apache helicopters, struck most of its targets. And when the ceasefire agreement was reached, Israeli leaders sounded triumphant. “We hit their senior commanders, we destroyed thousands of rockets which were aimed towards the South and most of those aimed towards central Israel, and we crushed Hamas’ control facilities,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement announcing Israel’s agreement to the ceasefire.

But the triumph will fit the definition of a pyrrhic victory, a nominal win that comes at great cost. And Israel will come out of waging this assault as the loser, no matter how many of its targets it hit. It’s a reminder that the Israel-Palestine conflict will not be won militarily; the only lasting solution will be political.

Israel’s image will be blackened by the high civilian death toll; the country’s regional position has been exposed to be weakened; and Hamas will survive another day, boosted by resisting the might of the Israeli military, no matter how much dissent against its authoritarian rule exists in Gaza. The fact that Israel will win the war but lose the battle, so to speak, is a replay of what happened during Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza in 2008-'09, which was dubbed “Operation Cast Lead.”

“Netanyahu gained, not Israel. Netanyahu perhaps gained domestically by demonstrating that he’s willing to go to war very aggressively,” Noura Erakat, a human rights attorney and activist, told AlterNet in a phone interview. Indeed,polls show that the assault on Gaza boosted Netanyahu ahead of Israeli elections in February.
But “Israel, on the whole, has lost a lot,” Erakat added. “And I can only say this by looking at how the media has responded...During Operation Cast Lead there was some sort of sympathy that Israel had to do something about the rocket fire. It falls on deaf ears when Israel does it again four years later. And when it becomes evident to many that Israel’s strategy is to pummel Palestinian society every four years and not achieve long-term solutions, then...I think Israel has lost on this level.”
Even at the most basic military level, Israel's pummeling of Hamas—an easy feat considering the vast disparity in power between the two sides--will not radically change the status quo that has existed since the Islamist movement took over running Gaza in 2007. After the 22-day operation in 2008-09, Israel credibly claimed victory. Again, the military power dynamics favored Israel. But a year later, Israel was telling American officials it was worried that Hamas was rearming. Israeli officials meeting with U.S. military officials in November 2009 noted that “one of the goals of Cast Lead was to damage Hamas' ability to produce its own weapons. In this regard, the IDF was successful, but Hamas is reconstituting its capabilities,” according to a WikiLeaks cable.
And it's an assault that Israel will likely repeat again in the next couple of years, as Yousef Munayyer of the Palestine Center pointed out in the New Yorker. “In Israel, they talk of 'mowing the lawn' in Gaza, a callous idiom used to refer to the periodic bombardment of a besieged territory in the hopes of reducing the capacity of militant groups every few years. Each time they 'mow,' however, they sow seeds of hatred for the next generation,” Munayyer wrote. “How successful, morally or militarily, is a war whose repetition is planned?”
Beyond the military question is how Israel looks to the world coming out of this assault. The Israeli government has put a lot of resources into branding Israel as a progressive, liberal place, but the continued occupation and human rights abuses are quite clear to those who look closely. And now the death toll in Gaza will further blacken Israel's image. After eight days of pummeling the Gaza Strip, an estimated 136 Palestinians died—including 91 civilians, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Twenty-eight children and 13 women were killed during the offensive, and the overwhelming majority of the nearly 1,000 Palestinians injured were civilian as well.
Perhaps the lasting image that will motivate activists and lawyers to push for Israeli accountability for potential war crimes again is the killing of the al-Dalou family. Twelve members of the same family were wiped out by an Israeli air strike that the military says was meant for the head of Hamas' rocket-launching unit. As the Haaretz reporter Avi Issacharoff noted, “just as the pictures showing the results of the Israeli bombing of Kafr Qana in July 2006 changed the face of the Second Lebanon War and turned world public opinion against the Israeli operation, in the same way the bombardment of the house in Gaza and the killing of all 12 of its residents is liable to elicit Arab, European and, above all, American pressure on Israel to stop the aerial attacks immediately.”
Whether efforts to hold Israel accountable for the killing are successful, though, is another question, given the U.S. role in shielding Israel from any attempt to achieve justice for war crimes.
The Israeli assault on Gaza over the past week was also the first major test of how the Arab uprisings changed the Israeli regional position. While the Israeli nightmare of an “Islamist winter” with dire consequences for the state coming to pass seems overblown, the new Middle East did flex its muscles, albeit for their own interests. Egypt and Tunisia, longtime U.S. allies in the midst of a revolutionary process that brought Islamists more sympathetic to Hamas to power, sent high-level delegations to express solidarity with the people of Gaza as the Israeli onslaught wore on. Turkey's prime minister, still angry over Israel's 2010 killing of nine Turks on board a Gaza aid flotilla, called Israel a “terrorist state.”
These were powerful symbols of a new Middle East, though to Israel's comfort, the rhetoric never turned into drastic action. Egypt has been walking a tightrope, with Israel and the U.S. on one side and Hamas on the other. All players in the region have been bearing down on the Egyptian state. Compounding the Egyptian predicament was the fact that they wanted stability in the region as a way to help repair their reeling economy. But Egypt did come out of the Israeli assault with renewed prestige, as it used its contacts with Hamas to encourage the group to reach a ceasefire. The terms of the agreement point to Egypt as the guarantor.
Finally, there's the fact that, by many accounts, Hamas emerges from Israel's assault weakened, but only in the strictly military sense. Politically, Hamas has been strengthened. As +972 Magazine's Noam Sheizaf writes, “the details of the ceasefire are not clear, but if – as some reports indicate – Israel and Egypt loosen the blockade on the Strip a bit more, Hamas could claim a meaningful achievement that benefits the population of the Gaza Strip, thus strengthening its claim as the leading party in the opposition to the occupation.”
Given that Israel does benefit from pointing to Hamas as an existential, irrational threat, the continued fact of Hamas rule in Gaza may help Israel in the short-term, in terms of explaining its position to the world. But in the long run, Hamas will reap the dividends of its rational and nimble position post-Arab Spring. Hamas' leadership has thrown in their lot with the revolutionary wave sweeping the Arab world and has left behind Syria as its main patron. In the long run, Hamas' regional legitimacy will be enhanced.
And Palestinians in the West Bank may look to Hamas now with a new eye. Hamas demonstrates an ever stronger contrast with Mahmoud Abbas, the head of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority. Abbas, whose rule depends on U.S. and European financial support and has suppressed Hamas' activities in the West Bank, is going to the United Nations at the end of the month to push for Palestine to be accepted as a “non-member” state. But it likely will not change anything on the ground, similar to how last year's UN bid failed because of the U.S. blocking the effort. “Hamas has provided a model, albeit a painful one, of how you get Israel to the table. Abu Mazen [the nickname for Abbas] who offers everything, meets with no one,” wrote Mark Perry, a historian and former advisor to Yasir Arafat who has had extensive contacts with Hamas, in an email. “Ironically, the biggest loss Israel suffered is they proved to the world that the only time they'll talk to a Palestinian group is when they feel pain.”
Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip has now ended, and the status quo is back. But with a new Middle East asserting itself, and backing Hamas as a legitimate political player, Israel's military victory will be fleeting. Combined with the black eye Israel's image will have received again, the world may very well look back on “Operation Pillar of Cloud” as the moment when unchallenged Israeli hegemony in the region went the way of history. Israel remains a powerful state, but its position in the region is fast-changing. Israel will have to deal with a changed Middle East and a reinvigorated Hamas, and for them, that is no victory.

Leon de Winter als Fascistische Grappenmaker 3

De Winter beroept zich met genocidegrap op 'ironie'

Schrijver vindt dat er 'te veel Palestijnen zijn' maar bedoelde opmerking over sterilisatie Gaza-bevolking als 'suggestie voor vrede'

Schrijver Leon de Winter verdedigde zich vrijdagavond in het mediaprogramma De Kunst van het Maken tegen de kritiek die hij kreeg over zijn opmerkingen dat er anticonceptiemiddel aan het drinkwater van de Gazastrook moet worden toegevoegd. Volgens de schrijver was hij slechts ironisch en sarcastisch.
De Winter stelt eerst dat zijn uitspraken verknipt zijn. Vervolgens leest hij de bewuste passage in zijn geheel voor maar die blijkt qua strekking nauwelijks af te wijken van wat er op de radio te horen was. De Winter vindt dat er te veel Palestijnen in Gaza-strook wonen. De aanwezigheid van veel jonge mannen brengt automatisch oorlog met zich mee, aldus de schrijver. Hij is van mening dat er na de Tweede Wereldoorlog vrede in Europa is gekomen dankzij de introductie van de pil. De vorming van de Europese Unie of andere initiatieven noemt hij in dit verband irrelevant.

Mooi zo. Hieruit blijkt dat Leon de Winter de Nederlandse taal niet beheerst. Ik vermoedde dat al. Sarcasme is namelijk fundamenteel anders dan ironie: 

Sarcasme is volgens Van Dale: bittere spot, uiting van verontwaardiging over onrecht of eigenwaan. 
Met andere woorden, bij sarcasme meen je wat je zegt.

Nu ironie: bij ironie zeg je precies het tegenovergestelde van wat je bedoelt. 
Kortom: sarcasme sluit ironie uit. Men is of sarcastisch of ironisch, men kan niet tegelijkertijd sarcastisch en ironisch zijn. Dus Leon de Winter zwetst.
Maar nu, ook als hij ironisch had willen zijn zit er een verdacht luchtje aan zijn opmerkingen, want er is ook zo iets als een dubbele bodem van de ironie:

In ‘Het ironische van de ironie, over het geval G.K. van het Reve,’ schreef Harry Mulisch aan het eind van de jaren zeventig over het racisme en antisemitisme van de ‘grote volksschrijver,’ Gerard Reve, het volgende:
  1. ‘De ironie leidt to parodie, de parodie leidt tot identificatie – dat is de onwrikbare wet, waaraan Van het Reve nog het meest onderhorig is… Zo wordt het spel ernst. De corpsstudent speelt net zo lang de man met de grote bek, tot hij het is. Dat is het ironische van de ironie: dat zij het plotseling niet meer is. Hij is als het ware door de dubbele bodem van de ironie gezakt. Wie ironisch spreekt, zegt het tegendeel van wat hij meent, maar zodanig, dat de ander dat doorziet. Van het Reve zegt wat hij meent, maar zodanig, dat de ander dat niet doorziet en denkt nog steeds met ironie te doen te hebben… Als hij… schrijft: ‘'Ik vind, dat de arbeiders in bepaalde aparte wijken zouden moeten wonen, die ze alleen op weg van of naar hun werk zouden mogen verlaten, & verder alleen met speciale verlofpasjes’' - dan is dat eenvoudig zijn mening, geen grap, geen fantasie.’

    Welnu, ik denk dat gezien het feit dat Leon de Winter het verschil niet weet tussen sarcasme en ironie, De Winter door de dubbele bodem van de ironie is gezakt. Leon de Winter meent wat hij zegt en is dus een fascist. Hij maakt geen grap, Leon de Winter meent het echt wanneer hij zegt:

    'misschien moet in het geheim een anticonceptie middel aan het drinkwater in Tel Aviv worden toegevoegd' 

    omdat er teveel joden in Palestina zijn die miljarden uit het buitenland krijgen om door te gaan met hun terreur tegen de Palestijnse bevolking.

Leon de Winter als Fascistische Grappenmaker 2


Leon de Winters racisme en joodse organisaties die zich eens op het hoofd zouden moeten krabben

Leon de Winter deed het weer. Abdelkarim El-Fassi schreef :
´En woensdag was het weer raak. In Amsterdam zei hij bij een solidariteitsbijeenkomst voor Israël - georganiseerd door onder andere het CIDI - dat de bevolkingsgroei in Gaza gestopt moet worden door anticonceptiemiddel in het drinkwater te doen. De zaal barstte uit in gelach en applaus volgde. Maar hoe schokkend het ook klinkt, het gelach van het publiek, in combinatie met de persoon De Winter is geen nieuws. Nieuws wordt het wanneer hij niets schokkends zegt. Leon de Winter is Leon de Winter. Lees zijn Elsevier columns eens, ik ken hem niet anders: van hem gaan er dertien in een dozijn. Kijk maar eens op een Twitter en Facebook, De Winter’s in overvloed. Ze hebben slechts een podium nodig om hun onverdraagzaamheid te etaleren.
Zo ook bij De Winter.
Het zijn wat mij betreft vooral de tv-programma’s, de kranten, de radiostations en organisaties als het CIDI die het mogelijk maken dat deze hofnar zijn rol kan blijven vervullen en zijn racistische uitspraken faciliteren. Dus mocht je de moeite nemen om boos te worden, richt je woede dan wel tot de juiste personen.
Het zou jammer zijn als eindredacteuren en de mensen die om hem kunnen lachen de woede-dans ontspringen. ´
Abdelkarim El-Fassi schreef dit op de Joop (hier is het hele stuk - met meer weerzinwekkende uitspraken van de grote schrijver dW. En hier valt De Winter te beluisteren op Radio 1 voor wie niet wil geloven dat hij het echt gezegd heeft).

Ik kan niet anders dan Abdelkarim El-Fassi van harte bijvallen. Leon de Winter is het probleem niet. Leon de Winter is een ongeleid projectiel, een halve gare, een man die Arabieren haat zoals vroeger mensen Joden haatten, zonder agumenten, vanuit de onderbuik. ´Het probleem  is de tv-programma´s, kranten, radiostations en organisaties als het CIDI die het mogelijk maken dat deze hofnar zij rol kan blijven vervullen en zij racistische uitspraken faciliteren,´ schreef El-Fassi. 
Helemaal waar. Maar het probleem gaat nog verder dan dat. In wezen is het probleem oók het karakter van die bijeenkomst. Een bijeenkomst waar een racistische ´grap´ over het stoppen van anticonceptiemiddelen in het drinkwater kan worden begroet met applaus en gelach. Wie de moeite neemt de opname van radio 1 te besluisteren hoort trouwens nog meer racistische geluiden, van een andere spreker (ik vrees dat het rabbijn Evers is) die platvloerse, racistische opmerkingen maakt over de veronderstelde haatcultuur van moslims. Dat is kennelijk bon ton op een dergelijke Joodse solidariteitsbijeenkomst met Israel.
En het probleem is niet tot Nederland beperkt. Wat te denken van dit proza:

 "Operation Pillar of Defence is an entirely understandable response to the intolerable assault upon the citizens of Southern Israel and the continued provocations of Hamas --‐ an antisemitic terrorist organisation," the signatories stated. "We take pride in the commitment of Israel's political and military leadership to leave no stone unturned in seeking to avoid civilian casualties and remain true to the Jewish ethical ethos that underpins the doctrine of the IDF."
Dit was een gezamenlijke verklaring van ongeveer alle Joodse organisaties in Groot-Brittannië die werd afgegeven vrijwel meteen nadat het Israelische militaire leiderschap´  in overeenstemming met ´het ethos van joodse ethiek dat de doctrine is van het Israelische leger´ de aanval hadden geopend door de militaire leider van Hamas te doden. En dat net nadat deze een kladversie in handen had gekregen van een overeenkomst voor een langdurig bestand waarover hij aan het onderhandelen was. De verklaring ´die met trots´ werd afgegeven, moet zijn geschreven in het volle besef van hoe de vorige veldslag van Israel in 2009, in één van de dichtstbevolkte gebieden ter wereld, was uitgepakt, en wat daarover door mensenrechtenorganisaties als Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B´tselem, en het Palestijnse Centrum voor de Mensenrechten (PCHR) naar buiten was gebracht. (En dan laat ik het Goldstone-rapport nog maar even buiten beschouwing).

Hoe zal ik het zeggen? Dat joodse organisaties sympathie voelen voor Israel, er verbonden mee zijn, is logisch en voor de hand liggend. Maar wat minder logisch en voor de hand liggend is, is dat dit wordt gedaan met een blindheid voor de feiten die langzamerhand onbegrijpelijke vormen gaat aannemen. Israel is al 45 jaar en bezettingsmacht, het breidt met een ongekende snelheid de nederzettingen uit in Palestijns gebied, het heeft sinds 1993 geen enkel - nee, eigenlijk nog nooit - een serieus vredesvoorstel op tafel gelegd en het heeft alleen al de laatste dertig jaar een aantal oorlogen en militaire veldtochten op zijn naam waarvan er niet één echt een verdedigingsoorlog kan worden genoemd. Er is kortom wel eens reden voor wat meer distantie - zeker voor joodse religieuze organisaties die in het wonderlijke Nederlandse spraakgebruik ´kerkgenootschappen´ worden genoemd  Die horen over religie te gaan en niet over politiek.
 Joden stellen altijd  terecht - wij Joden mag ik in dit geval zeggen - dat wij niet verantwoordelijk kunnen worden gehouden voor wat Israel doet en dat anti-Israelische uitingen die zich tegen Joden en joodse organisaties hier keren, verkeerd zijn geadresseerd. Israel is immers daar, en wij zijn hier. Maar dat argument wordt wel heel erg dun als die zelfde joodse organisaties maar steeds als een blind paard solidair blijven met een Israelische regering - het is de meest rechtse ooit op dit moment - die  zwarte vluchtelingen uitzet of in gevangenissen opsluit, in volle vaart de Westoever blijft judaïseren en nu - opnieuw - een slachtpartij in Gaza aanricht die, als men de moeite zou nemen om de feiten echt tot zich door te laten dringen, totaal onnodig en bovendien totaal nutteloos was.
Dat blind achter Israel blijven aanlopen, ook als Israel duidelijk bezig is misdaden tegen de menselijkheid te plegen (iets waar ongeveer alle organen die tot oordelen bevoegd zijn het over eens zijn), in plaats van de daden van Israel met normale, juridische en menselijke maatstaven tegen het licht te houden, maakt de Nederlandse joodse organisaties in wezen wél medeplichtig aan wat Israel uitvoert. Dat is een onethische houding - over joodse ethiek gesproken. En de kans is aanwezig dat de joodse organisaties er op den duur ook over zullen worden aangesproken. Maar wat hoe dan ook helemaal en totaal moet worden veroordeeld, is als dit soort solidariteitsbetuigingen met onrechtvaardige oorlogsdaden dan ook nog eens gepaard gaat met onvervalst racistische uitingen van iemand als De Winter of welke rabbijn dan ook. Racisme, op een joodse bijeenkomst. Ik denk dat het hard nodig is dat de leiders van officieel joods Nederland zich eens op het hoofd krabben en zich afvagen waar ze mee bezig zijn. Was het niet rabbijn Hillel in de oudheid, die zei dat het jodendom samengevat neerkwam op niet een ander aandoen wat je niet wilt dat jou zelf zal worden aangedaan? 

Zionist Terror 73

Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
CLIMATE CHANGE AND CULTURAL EXTINCTION — Vijay Prashad reports on the vanishing of Kiribati and other Pacific Islands, as the seas rise and communities, cultures and languages disappear; PAKISTAN AND THE US: CAUGHT IN A BAD ROMANCE: Charles Pierson dissects the dysfunctional and deadly relationship between Islamabad and Washington; BLACK PANTHERS IN SWEDEN: Gabriel Kuhn travels to Sweden to document the curious new movement for racial and economic justice inspired by the Black Panthers; ETHIOPIA AT THE CROSSROADS: Graham Peebles sifts through the rubble of Ethiopia in the wake of the strange death of the CIA’s old pawn Meles Zenawi.
A Pillar Built on Sand

What is Israel Really Up to in Gaza?

In response to a recent upsurge in tit for tat strikes between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, Israel decided to ratchet up the violence even further by assassinating Hamas’s military chief, Ahmad Jabari. Hamas, which had been playing a minor role in these exchanges and even appears to have been interested in working out a long-term ceasefire, predictably responded by launching hundreds of rockets into Israel, a few even landing near Tel Aviv. Not surprisingly, the Israelis have threatened a wider conflict, to include a possible invasion of Gaza to topple Hamas and eliminate the rocket threat.
There is some chance that Operation ‘Pillar of Defence’, as the Israelis are calling their current campaign, might become a full-scale war. But even if it does, it will not put an end to Israel’s troubles in Gaza. After all, Israel launched a devastating war against Hamas in the winter of 2008-9 – Operation Cast Lead – and Hamas is still in power and still firing rockets at Israel. In the summer of 2006 Israel went to war against Hizbullah in order to eliminate its missiles and weaken its political position in Lebanon. That offensive failed as well: Hizbullah has far more missiles today than it had in 2006 and its influence in Lebanon is arguably greater than it was in 2006. Pillar of Defence is likely to share a similar fate.
Israel can use force against Hamas in three distinct ways. First, it can try to cripple the organisation by assassinating its leaders, as it did when it killed Jabari two days ago. Decapitation will not work, however, because there is no shortage of subordinates to replace the dead leaders, and sometimes the new ones are more capable and dangerous than their predecessors. The Israelis found this out in Lebanon in 1992 when they assassinated Hizbullah’s leader, Abbas Musawi, only to find that his replacement, Hassan Nasrallah, was an even more formidable adversary.
Second, the Israelis can invade Gaza and take it over. The IDF could do this fairly easily, topple Hamas and put an end to the rocket fire from Gaza. But they would then have to occupy Gaza for years to come, since if they left Hamas would come back to power, the rocket attacks would resume, and Israel would be back where it started.
An occupation of Gaza would trigger bitter and bloody resistance, as the Israelis learned in southern Lebanon between 1982 and 2000. After 18 years of occupation they conceded defeat and withdrew all their forces. This experience is the reason the IDF did not try to invade and conquer southern Lebanon in 2006 or Gaza in 2008-9. Nothing has changed since then to make a full-scale invasion of Gaza a viable alternative today. Occupying Gaza would also place another 1.5 million Palestinians under formal Israel control, thereby worsening the so-called ‘demographic threat’. Ariel Sharon withdrew Israeli settlers from Gaza in 2005 to reduce the number of Palestinians living under the Israeli flag; going back now would be a huge strategic reversal.
The final, preferred option is aerial bombardment with aircraft, artillery, missiles, mortars and rockets. The problem, however, is that the strategy does not work as advertised. Israel used it against Hizbullah in 2006 and Hamas in 2008-9, but both groups are still in power and armed to the teeth with rockets and missiles. It is hard to believe that any serious defence analyst in Israel thinks another campaign of sustained bombardment against Gaza will topple Hamas and end the rocket fire permanently.
So what is going on here? At the most basic level, Israel’s actions in Gaza are inextricably bound up with its efforts to create a Greater Israel that stretches from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the endless palaver about a two-state solution, the Palestinians are not going to get their own state, not least because the Netanyahu government is firmly opposed to it. The prime minister and his political allies are deeply committed to making the Occupied Territories a permanent part of Israel. To pull this off, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza will be forced to live in impoverished enclaves similar to the Bantustans in white-ruled South Africa. Israeli Jews understand this quite well: a recent survey found that 58 per cent of them believe Israel already practises apartheid against the Palestinians.
Creating a Greater Israel will produce even bigger problems, however. In addition to doing enormous damage to Israel’s reputation around the world, the quest for a Greater Israel will not break the will of the Palestinians. They remain adamantly opposed not only to the Occupation, but also to the idea of living in an apartheid state. They will continue to resist Israel’s efforts to deny them self-determination. What is happening in Gaza is one dimension of that resistance. Another is Mahmoud Abbas’s plan to ask the UN General Assembly on 29 November to recognise Palestine as a non-member state. This move worries Israel’s leaders, because it could eventually allow the Palestinians to file charges against Israel before the International Criminal Court. Thus, the dream of a Greater Israel forces Tel Aviv to find ways to keep the Palestinians at bay.
Israel’s leaders have a two-prong strategy for dealing with their Palestinian problem. First, they rely on the United States to provide diplomatic cover, especially in the United Nations. The key to keeping Washington on board is the Israel lobby, which pressures American leaders to side with Israel against the Palestinians and do hardly anything to stop the colonisation of the Occupied Territories.
The second prong is Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s concept of the ‘Iron Wall’: an approach that in essence calls for beating the Palestinians into submission. Jabotinsky understood that the Palestinians would resist the Zionists’ efforts to colonise their land and subjugate them in the process. Nonetheless, he maintained that the Zionists, and eventually Israel, could punish the Palestinians so severely that they would recognise that further resistance was futile.
Israel has employed this strategy since its founding in 1948, and both Cast Lead and Pillar of Defence are examples of it at work. In other words, Israel’s aim in bombing Gaza is not to topple Hamas or eliminate its rockets, both of which are unrealisable goals. Instead, the ongoing attacks in Gaza are part of a long-term strategy to coerce the Palestinians into giving up their pursuit of self-determination and submitting to Israeli rule in an apartheid state.
Israel’s commitment to the Iron Wall is reflected in the fact that its leaders have said many times since Cast Lead ended in January 2009 that the IDF would eventually have to return to Gaza and inflict another beating on the Palestinians. The Israelis were under no illusion that the 2008-9 conflict had defanged Hamas. The only question for them was when the next punishment campaign would start.
The timing of the present operation is easy to explain. For starters, President Obama has just won a second term despite Netanyahu’s transparent attempt to help Mitt Romney win the election. The prime minister’s mistake is likely to have hurt his personal relations with the president and might even threaten America’s ‘special relationship’ with Israel. A war in Gaza, however, is a good antidote for that problem, because Obama, who faces daunting economic and political challenges in the months ahead, has little choice but to back Israel to the hilt and blame the Palestinians.
The Israeli prime minter faces an election of his own in January and as Mitchell Plitnick writes, ‘Netanyahu’s gambit of forming a joint ticket with the fascist Yisrael Beiteinu party has not yielded anything close to the polling results he had hoped for.’ A war over Gaza not only allows Netanyahu to show how tough he is when Israel’s security is at stake, but it is also likely to have a ‘rally round the flag’ effect, improving his chances of being re-elected.
Nevertheless, Pillar of Defence will not achieve its ultimate goal of getting the Palestinians to abandon their pursuit of self-determination and accept living under the heel of the Israelis. That is simply not achievable; the Palestinians are never going to accept being consigned to a handful of enclaves in an apartheid state. Regrettably, that means Pillar of Defence is unlikely to be the last time Israel bombards Gaza.
Over the long term, however, the bombing campaigns may come to an end, because it is not clear that Israel will be able to maintain itself as an apartheid state. As well as resistance from the Palestinians, Israel has to face the problem that world opinion is unlikely to back an apartheid state. Ehud Olmert said in November 2007, when he was prime minister, that if ‘the two-state solution collapses’ Israel will ‘face a South-African-style struggle’, and ‘as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.’ One would think Israel’s leaders would appreciate where they are headed and allow the Palestinians to have a viable state of their own. But there is no sign that is happening; instead, Israel foolishly continues to rely on military campaigns like Pillar of Defence to break the Palestinians.
John J. Mearsheimer is an American professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is the co-author of The Israel Lobby.
This essay originally appeared in the London Review of Books.

vrijdag 23 november 2012

The Neoliberal Religion 53

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Why the Country's Top Economists Keep Making Wildly Stupid Claims

Underwater homeowners can't explain the weak recovery. It's reduced demand and wiped out housing wealth.
Photo Credit:

Anyone wanting to learn about the economy who talked to the nation's top economists in 2006 would have been wasting their time. Almost none of them had any clue that the collapse of the $8 trillion housing bubble was going to wreck the economy. This presumably reflects a rigid dogmatism and conformity on the part of these economists, since it should have been both very easy to recognize an unprecedented run-up in house prices as a bubble and also to understand that the collapse of the bubble, which was quite evidently driving growth, would lead to a severe downturn.
Remarkably, it seems from a Washington Post article that attributes the continuing weakness of the economy to the indebtedness of underwater homeowners, that many of the country's top economists have no better understanding of the economy today than in 2006.The claim is the dropoff in consumption due to the debt burden of these homeowners explains the weakness of the recovery.
Some simple arithmetic shows the absurdity of this view. The amount of underwater equity is estimated at between $700 billion (Core Logic) and $1.1 trillion (Zilliow). Suppose that we can disappear this debt through some decree, how much additional consumption would we see? If we assume that these households spend an incredibly large share of this increase in their net wealth, say 15 cents on the dollar, this would imply additional consumption of between $105 billion (Core Logic estimate) and $165 billion a year (Zillow estimate).
However we would have also destroyed the wealth of the mortgage holders. Let's assume that they just spend 2 cents on the dollar of their wealth. This would imply a net boost to demand of $91 billion to $143 billion. While this would be a helpful boost to the economy, equivalent to a government stimulus program of this size, this would hardly be sufficent to make up a shortfall in annual output that the Congressional Budget Office puts at close to $1 trillion.
Furthermore, even this gain is almost certainly a huge exaggeration of the actual effect. With 11 million homeowners underwater, the above calculaton implies an increase in average annual consumption of between $9,500 and $15,000 a year. The median homeowner has an income of less than $70,000 a year. It doesn't seem likely that such a family would either have this amount of savings each year that they could instead decide to consume if they were no longer underwater in their mortgage or that they could borrow this amount on any sort of sustained basis. In short, the numbers in my calculation above almost certainly hugely overstate the economic impact of eliminating underwater mortgage debt.
In fact, there is no need to turn to implausible underwater mortgage debt explanations for the weakness of the economy. The economy is acting exactly as those who warned of the bubble predicted. We saw a sharp falloff of residential construction as we went from a near record boom, with construction exceeding more than 6.0 percent of GDP at the 2005 peak, to a bust where it fell below 2.0 percent of GDP. This meant a loss in annual demand of more than $600 billion a year.
We also saw a large falloff in consumption due to the loss of $8 trillion in housing wealth. The housing wealth effect is one of the oldest and most widely accepted concepts in economics. It is generally estimated people spend between 5 and 7 cents each year per dollar of housing wealth. This means that the collapse of the bubble would be expected to cost the economy between $400 billion and $560 billion in annual demand. 
There is no mechanism that would allow the economy to easily replace the combined loss of between $1 trillion and 1.2 trillion in demand that would be predicted from the collapse of the housing bubble. Therefore it is hard to see why anyone would feel the need to look to explanations involving the indebtedness of underwater homeowners, the whole downturn is easily and simply explained by the collapse of the bubble.
In this respect it is worth noting that, contrary to the impression given by the article, consumption remains unusually high relative to disposable income, not low.
                             Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and author's calculations.
As can be seen consumption as a share of disposable income is well above the level of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and even the 90s prior to the point where the stock bubble led to a consumption boom in the late 90s. If anything, we should be asking why consumption is so high, not why it is low. (Adjusted disposable income refers to the statistical discrepancy in the national income accounts.) In short, the underwater homeowner story is an explanation for a mystery that does not exist.
There are a number of other points in this piece that incorrect or misleading. For example, it refers to the Obama administration's failure to address the situation of underwater homeowners as:
"a persistent and largely unaddressed problem that represents the missing link in what many economists consider the administration’s overall strong response to the recession."
Actually, many economists did not view the administration's response to the recession as strong, pointing out at the onset that the proposed stimulus was woefully inadequate. These economists were not surprised by the subsequent weakness in the economy.
At another point it explains to readers:
"Some people reduced spending because they had lost their homes to foreclosure, damaging their ability to borrow. Others no longer could tap home-equity lines of credit. Still others, facing high monthly payments, used every extra penny to pay off debt."
This comment is extremely confused. If someone loses their home to foreclosure, then they are no longer in debt, except in the extremely rare case where a lender pursues a deficiency judgement against the homeowner. Lacking the ability to borrow because they are not homeowners or losing access to a line of credit because they have no equity are not problems of indebtedness, they are problems of lacking equity in their homes. This is the standard housing wealth effect story. No one has proposed that the government should not only eliminate the negative equity of underwater homeowners, but also give them substantial positive equity so that they can again borrow against their home. Therefore this argument has nothing to do with the underwater homeowner story that is the central theme of this piece.
The economics profession did an astounding amount of damage to the country as a result of its complete failure to see the housing bubble and the dangers it posed to the economy. Economic reporters also failed the country by not being able to exercise any independent of thought to understand that the bulk of the profession was missing something important. (There were prominent economists like Robert Shiller at Yale and Paul Krugman who did warn of the bubble.) It is unfortunate that economics reporters still write pieces that rely exclusively on economists who could not see an $8 trillion housing bubble. 
Btw, we certainly should be trying to help underwater homeowners as a simple matter of fairness. We bailed out Wall Street billionaires, it seems a pretty minimal proposition to offer assistance to homeowners who bought into a bubble that all the top economists insisted did not exist.

Leon de Winter als Fascistische Grappenmaker

Els Vredenburg heeft een nieuwe reactie op uw bericht "Ankie Rechess Zionistische Propagandiste 5" achtergelaten: 

voor de goede orde hierbij de integrale text van de speech van Leon de Winter:

De Gazanen behoren tot de snelst groeiende volken in de wereld. Er is geen hoop voor al die mensen in die zandbak. Ze zullen gefrustreerd en woedend blijven, en al hun armoede en gebrek aan levenslust en gebrek aan toekomstverwachtingen en het gebrek aan plezier en seks en lol en alles wat het leven de moeite waard maakt, aan Israel en de joden verwijten. Houdt u het volgende voor zich, anders word ik hiervoor in de media, die al zo gek op mij zijn, weer aangevallen, maar ik zeg het toch (let op, dit is sarcasme): misschien moet in het geheim een anticonceptie middel aan het drinkwater in Gaza worden toegevoegd.

Sarcasme: bittere spot, uiting van verontwaardiging over onrecht of eigenwaan.


aan mij
Sonja heeft een nieuwe reactie op uw bericht "Leon de Winter als Fascistische Grappenmaker" achtergelaten:

"en het gebrek aan plezier en seks en lol" In werkelijkheid heeft hij het woord "seks" niet gebruikt, en ook niet toen hij het later nog eens voorlas in een talkshow van de Vara.

"(let op, dit is sarcasme)" heeft hij in werkelijkheid niet gezegd.

Het is dus zeker geen transcriptie. 

sonja, wel volgens deze bron:

Nazi Crimes of the Self Proclaimed Jewish State Sulaiman Ahmed @ShaykhSulaiman NEVER FORGET WHAT THEY DID 11:59 a.m. · 15 jun. 202...