Dec 17, 2023·edited Dec 17, 2023Liked by Steve QJ

All good points, save one. In your equivalence argument on the genocide point, you don't present an alternative, and the "your family" analogy is really not up to your standards. If Hamas acts as Hams is acting, then what is Israel to do? As you pointed out, negotiation with them is futile. But if you don't act, then endless repeats of October 7th is inevitable. And it's hard to come up with a strategy that doesn't end up with about 50% Israeli casualties if they don't go the total war route. It's incumbent on a civilized army to respect civilians, but to sacrifice themselves for the other side's civilians. So by your strategy, human shields would become the MOST effective tactic in war, and it's use would not only increase, it would give civilians incentive to embrace it since they have no consequences. And 2006 poll results? REALLY?

We killed 100sX more German and Japanese civilians than they did of ours. That doesn't make it genocide. It is what happens when your brutal rulers begin a Total War. It's horrible; but inevitable.

Expand full comment
Dec 17, 2023·edited Dec 17, 2023Author

"If Hamas acts as Hams is acting, then what is Israel to do? As you pointed out, negotiation with them is futile. But if you don't act, then endless repeats of October 7th is inevitable."

Yep, this an important point. And the honest answer is, I don't know. Just as I don't know for sure what I'd do if somebody really did kill my family. Now and then, life presents us with horrible decisions. My point is, you have to own the horror of the decision you're making, not insist that whatever happens your actions are righteous. And it's also in no way surprising if the horror of your decisions makes people hate you. One the most pragmatic arguments against Israel's actions is that it's gong to radicalise thousands of people against Israel.

So if Israel chooses to shoot through the child, that's one thing. It's a horrific thing, obviously, but there are ways to structure this analogy so that it's a genuine dilemma. But if we keep adding children to this scenario, there comes a point, for everybody, when the choice to shoot becomes indefensible, no? Or if you shoot so recklessly that you end up killing over 6,000 kids, that too is an issue, right?

As I've said, there are no clean moral choices here. Hamas put Israel in a terrible position. I'm not disputing that. But that doesn't forever absolve Israel of responsibility for the decisions they make. Or the way they execute these decisions.

As for the 2006 poll, it's the best/only data we have regarding Palestinian sentiment. 79.5% is a pretty big chunk of the population. And it's a pretty strong refutation of the idea that Palestinians aren't interested in peace. Have those numbers changed in the past 17 years? Inevitably. But support for war tends to go *down* as time goes by. Especially when that war is in your backyard.

I've seen plenty of evidence that Palestinians are angry with Israel. As literally anybody would be if they were treated the way Israel has treated Palestinians. But I've seen no evidence that Palestinian citizens would choose their current situation over a peace that respected their human rights.

Expand full comment

Another well thought out article from you Steve.

I think that people fail to understand fourth generation asymmetric warfare. It is war.

Israel is trying to sell what they are doing as counterinsurgency which is essentially the police activity of getting the bad guys who exist within the body of good, or at least neutral people. Everybody sucks at it. America's failures in warfare have been in wars of counterinsurgency. Vietnam and Afghanistan are examples. Israel knows that they cannot succeed at that. Let's not bullshit ourselves, they are at war, just as Hamas is.

What happens in war? Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius (Kill them. For the Lord knows who are His.). Firebomb or nuke cities where most of the dead will be non-combatants. Kill all the males including infants and rape the women while the men are forced to watch the rapes and the women are forced to watch the murder of their sons, brothers and husbands. Destroy their homes, factories and infrastructure. A most grotesque horror.

What do we see both Israel and Hamas doing? War. The problem with condemning what is going on is that sparing the non-combatants assumes that the objectives of the belligerents is not total war but rather a counterinsurgency police action. Evidence says that that is an incorrect assumption.

Fifth generation warfare pertains to dis/information and perception. The opinions and side taking is a result of that.

"It's not a war on all of the people of Israel or Palestine, just the ones victimizing us.". With a slow Southern drawl, that sounds like a bullshit story to me.

It is powerful and influences the ultimate result. People can participate without doing the killing with their own hands. Bloodthirsty voyeurs claiming righteousness. The privilege of distance and willingness to believe the sweet bullshit that is a balm for or conscience.

Expand full comment

Meanwhile Netanyahu is dragging it out as long as he can to delay his legal troubles, but the IDF shooting three of their own citizens waving white flags has the streets full of people demanding his removal.

I'm so sick of reading that Israel's shit doesn't stink. But I'm reading that a lot, lot less lately.

Expand full comment

Was that cowardice on the part of those IDF troops and/or evidence of them using an Abbot of Cîteaux operations manual? Do they consider killing a non-IDF Israeli fratricide or just some bug splat like killing non-combatant Palestinians? According to what I read in the WSJ they immediately killed two of the three. The third ran to safety, started yelling in Hebrew, came back out and was killed. What a disgrace!

Expand full comment

This kind of nastiness has happened before; in Gaza, even. Now, it's broadcasted. Which is overall a good thing; the winners don't get exclusive rights to the narrative anymore. But it means emotional reactions are running wild. It's one thing to know in the abstract that our fellow humans are willing and able to act this way...and another to see it.

Expand full comment

Well done. I'd add this article from the WSJ about how few of the students know much at all about the chant "from the river to the sea." (I think it's unlocked)


Expand full comment

Jeez. I'm not sure I can say that was a *great* link (I think I need to have a lie down after absorbing that much stupidity) but it was certainly useful. Thanks for sharing.

Expand full comment
Dec 17, 2023Liked by Steve QJ

A great article Steve. Thank you again. Woke up feeling sick this morning after shouting a a friend that I agree with her (mostly but totally with you) but even that agreement wasn't heard. Such deaf conversations at the moment.

Expand full comment
Dec 19, 2023Liked by Steve QJ

Great summary. Unfortunately, this has become (or has always been) a proxy war, with Israel as the Jewish Ulster representing Western interests (while taking Western money), and the Palestinians as cannon fodder, to keep up grievances and allow their Arab masters to continue to scapegoat Israel. And a proxy for American Christians to pretend to care about Jews, while hoping this makes their Jesus come back sooner and kill us all. And a proxy for the War on (T)error: Bin Laden cited it as one of his reasons, and the "clash of civilizations" propaganda pumped out during the 2000s saw Israel as a guide for "how to deal with Muslims." Now it's a proxy for "colonial" vs "anti-colonial" forces, schizmogenetically projecting their identitarian politics onto the latest cycle of violence.

And any attempt at saying anything more than "hope for peace" gets you jumped on and accused of being a Zionist shill or an anti-semite (sometimes both in the same conversation).

Expand full comment

“ any attempt at saying anything more than "hope for peace" gets you jumped on and accused of being a Zionist shill or an anti-semite (sometimes both in the same conversation).”

Haha, yep, definitely seen this in action. I learned a while ago that the only way to say anything worth saying is to ignore what people call you.

Expand full comment

Wow, this article most definitely kicks ass!! Thanks Steve for putting forth a lot of the points I have been struggling to express in a more clear and eloquent manner than I ever could. I urge you to consider putting forth more information about groups or individuals who are truly trying to move things in what you think is a more positive direction on Israel/Palestine, as well as other issues. A group I recently encountered that seems to be doing this is Standing Together (www.standing together.org). They are Palestinians and Israeli Jews working together for peace by developing empathy, stressing the humanity of the other, and developing a new group of leaders from both groups clearly devoted to peace and coexistence. I am curious if you have checked them out and if so what you think.

What you are doing provides a truly invaluable service. I just think if you directed even a little more of your clarity of thought, empathy, and eloquence towards pointing to positive solutions, you would be even more effective.

Expand full comment

Thanks a lot Joseph, actually working on a Medium article right now which is more solution focused.

Expand full comment

Awesome , will very much look forward to it

Expand full comment

Sheer perfection. I can add nothing. Kudos and thanks.

Expand full comment

Speak up louder. We need voices like yours.

Expand full comment
Dec 17, 2023Liked by Steve QJ

Thanks. You've injected sanity into the current conversation.uvh appreciated.

Expand full comment

A few days ago Israeli soldiers went into a Palestinian school. They shot and killed every student.

There were no Hamas militants present using them as "human shields." But of course we will keep hearing that, and hearing that Hamas stores ordnance in hospitals etc. And most supporters of Israel will believe this with unshakable conviction.

Netyanhu goes before the cameras and says that accusing Israel of war crimes is "antisemitism." And most supporters of Israel will believe this with unshakable conviction. To equate "Israel" with "Jews" ("antisemitic" is [erroneously] synonymous with "anti-Jewish") is to blame Jews everywhere for the brutal policies of a country, which is a political entity and not a people. Those who claim that opposition to the Occupation is bigotry against Jews have a lot to answer for. Looking at you, Alan Dershowitz.

Expand full comment

According to Hamas Twitter.

Expand full comment

“Because these aren’t Israeli or Palestinian problems. they're not Jewish problems or Muslim problems. These are human problems.”

One human side views the other, correctly, as oppressors who must be overcome to allow them to live their lives.

The other human side views the other as subhuman squatters and filthy animals, illegitimately occupying land that’s rightfully theirs because god.

I don’t see the symmetry.

Yes, Hamas is savage and needs to be eliminated. But the settlers are no better than them.

And whatever moral high ground Israel once held is washed away by bombing hospitals and schools.

Expand full comment

"I don’t see the symmetry."

I'm not really saying there's symmetry. I'm saying that the people who currently live in Tel Aviv, by and large, don't see Palestinians as animals and squatters. They're afraid of them, yes, because if you're a 25-year-old Israeli who wasn't even born during the Nakba or any of the rest of it, you just know that there are people out there who hate you. Some of whom are willing to blow themselves up to kill you. And you've been raised within a system that aggressively teaches you, at best, that their reasons for hating you are baseless. Not to mention, uses the holocaust to justify any and all wrongs Israel is guilt of.

I'm the kind of guy who loves neat (and above all, fair) solutions to problems. But I truly think that's impossible here. I don't think that 25-year-old kid should have to leave his or her home. As I say in the article, I think Israel does exist and will continue to exist. I understand the asymmetry and unfairness of what has happened to the Palestinians. But I think the only way forward is to put that aside and deal with what is

Expand full comment

Human beings, stuck in the millionth round of humanity's oldest game: "Let's you and me unite...and go smash them!" Have we really evolved from the days of bashing each other with rocks? Or have things just gotten more complex?

Expand full comment

There are Muslims in the Israeli Parliament. There are about 50 Jews still in all of Egypt. And Palestinians in the West started their demonstrations to mark October 7, NOT in response to the Israeli attack which hadn't happened yet.

Expand full comment

Israel and Palestinian people are nothing but TOOLS.

- Neither one can exist on their own.

- If both were to leave the Middle East, nothing would change except that some of the existing countries roles would be different.

- Where does history start? Is it with anecdotal books written 300+ years after the events occurred?

- Point to a moment in time when an enemy laid down their weapons and were allowed to live in harmony with its captors.

“Enforced peace” is the ultimate oxymoron. “Turn the other cheek” is countered with “An eye for an eye”.

Expand full comment
Dec 24, 2023·edited Dec 24, 2023Author

“ Point to a moment in time when an enemy laid down their weapons and were allowed to live in harmony with its captors.”

Not quite sure what you’re saying with the rest of these points, but this one I have a fairly good example of: the end of slavery.

One of the most common anti-abolition arguments was that if you freed 4 million slaves after brutalising them for centuries you’d have a massacre on your hands. And it’s true that before emancipation there were occasional slave rebellions in which white people were indiscriminately targeted and killed.

And yet, when the slaves finally *were* freed, no massacre materialised. They were too busy trying to build lives for themselves to waste time on hate. In fact, despite the rhetoric that black people were all savages, they were almost exclusively the *victims* of violence.

Expand full comment

The Civil War was fought by the Whites in the South and the Whites in the North. Blacks were not allowed to enlist until late in the war and emancipation for Slaves was not even introduced until 1863. There are incidents of regiments of Blacks fighting for the North but promises made to them were immediately broken after the war... but the Slaves never laid down any arms, they did not sign anything at Appomattox. Living in harmony? KKK rose after the war, Jim Crow laws were extremely repressive, the lynching of Blacks, blocking voter registrations in the south, Segregation in schools, the summer of '67 riots across the country, BLM riots in Portland, OR and other cities, George Floyd death with associated riots.

This is not harmony... we still actively have White Supremist advocating their extinction, the BLM has done exactly nothing to move the needle in the right direction... all BLM did was enrich those who headed up BLM... just like Congress does for themselves.

I appreciate you responding and we may not disagree if we were to have a dialogue and not a monologue but my main point in my post is that when a country/or a group of people lose their resistance it means capitulation and are treated as such.

By the way, you mentioned that you don't know what some of the other points I made mean... Is there something about Palestinians and Israel not being able to survive on their own that I missed for clarification? Thanks again for responding to my earlier post.

Expand full comment

Yeah, not sure what you mean by Israelis/Palestinians can’t survive on their own. Or why you’re asking when history starts. Or even what you mean by Israelis/Palestinians being tools.

Expand full comment
Dec 25, 2023·edited Dec 25, 2023Author

“ Living in harmony? KKK rose after the war, Jim Crow laws were extremely repressive, the lynching of Blacks, blocking voter registrations in the south, Segregation in schools, the summer of '67 riots across the country, BLM riots in Portland, OR and other cities, George Floyd death with associated riots.”

Haha, yeah, you don’t have to tell me about any of this. I wasn’t saying everything was perfect. I’m saying the war ended and black people didn’t seek vengeance against white people. The things you mention are almost all examples of white Americans reacting out of fear of a black backlash that never came. And before the stupidity of last 10-15 years or so, race relations were far better than they are now.

The main point I’m making is that I think the same would happen in Israel. The chief justification for the blockade and the checkpoints and the West Bank barrier is that Palestinians would slaughter Israelis without them. But I think if Israel ended the occupation and gave Palestinians equal rights in Israel and a contiguous state, the violence would almost completely stop.

I have no way to prove that obviously, other than that in mixed towns where Jews and Arabs currently live side by side, there is (mostly) peace. And when there isn’t, it seems to be more often than not Israelis starting the fighting.

p.s. African Americans fought in the civil war from mid-1962.

Expand full comment

I agree some African Americans after the war started, they were small and brave groups... some even fought for the South (that I don’t understand).

Hamas is both a political and military entity... the Slaves were people who had bondage, origin, and skin color in common but zero level of collective organization. Netanyahu is responsible for Hamas having the ability to do that despicable act; he gave permission for release of funds and the ability to represent them in order to provide a counterbalance to the West Bank regime.

Nonetheless, the Palestinians have had their own bondage since 1967.

By the way, I have no disagreement with your characterization of the reaction of the South and your other statements. The sad truth is that we(USA) proclaim ourselves as the guardian of democracy but we don’t even teach our children about the abuses that was unleashed on the Slaves and the Native Americans throughout the years in our public schools... I can’t even imagine what it’s like in charter schools.

I majored in Geography with emphasis on the Middle East and North Africa with a minor in Recent American History back in the early 70’s. Very little has changed in the Middle East since then but a ton has been accomplished to move the needle for Blacks in America.

As long as Saudi Arabia is “hands off”, the balance of power will remain intact.

As an aside, my favorite History Professor had us read: ‘Soul on Ice’, ‘Autobiography of Malcolm X’, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest’, ‘Trout Fishing in America’, and a few others that actually put recent history in perspective of a controlled population. Even 50 years ago we had idealistic professors who were not afraid to give protected white kids a true education.


Expand full comment

A thing we should not be quick to dismiss, Israel is in an untenable situation. Counterinsurgency would be no end nightmare. But they are as guilty of perpetuating it as Hamas. If they put an end to settlements and harassment would Hamas stop? Probably not, but they would have less support and that's more important than many believe.

What do you do when your situation is untenable? Fight to stay alive. What's do you do when your daughter is killed during the process of stealing or bulldozing your home? Seek revenge. Is one a righteous cause? History says it's what we can expect. That is not where the debate is.

I remember going into villages in Vietnam and seeing sandbag bunkers next to humble dwellings. How would you like to have real reasons to wonder if you came home from work and your family would be dead, or an errant round would kill you all in your sleep?

Looking at a war "over there" is quite different from war that might kill you or your loved ones. Do you have a bomb shelter? I'm reading that they are catching (some) military grade weapons and explosives at America's Southern border. Maybe we'll find out.

Expand full comment

"If they put an end to settlements and harassment would Hamas stop? Probably not, but they would have less support and that's more important than many believe."

Exactly. It's interesting how many people talk about Hamas without realising that the leadership, most of whom live safely in Qatar, is powerless without the people who suffer in Gaza and are therefore willing to fight and die. If the people in Gaza are no longer suffering, how many of them would be interested in fighting? If nothing else, it's a strategy that Israel have never tried.

Expand full comment

If Palestinians want peace they should rethink who they vote for. Did they *seriously* think Hamas would have been willing to broker a peace deal with Israel? Share the land? Fuck no. They were insane if they believed that. What they tell pollsters and what they actually want/believe are often two different things (as they are for all of us, which is why anonymous are the most reliable ones). They remind me of all the morons who voted for Trump, aren't appreciably better off than they were the last time, but delude themselves they are. *And they'll vote for him again*. After all the shit he's pulled. As, I believe, they will again. Happily. So will the Pals, for their vicious psychopaths.


As far as I'm concerned, the hell with a two-state solution. I wouldn't trust the Palestinians if Hamas were removed entirely. Yanno, the Oct. 7 attack has happened before. Google the 1929 Hebron massacre, instigated against Jews by guess who, since neither Israel nor Hamas had been invented yet. The viciousness of the attacks closely resemble Oct. 7, sans the hang gliders.

No, this has a lot less to do with the existence of Israel or abuses of the Palies since 1948. They've had a hate-on for Jews as dictated by their Koran since 632 AD.

Expand full comment

"What they tell pollsters and what they actually want/believe are often two different things "

How you can be so convinced that all the Palestinian people are genocidal maniacs with a 2,500-year-old "hate-on" for the Jews and simultaneously imagine that they'd lie on an exit poll about wanting peace with Israel is a total mystery to me. Why would they lie? For whom??

Even David Ben-Gurion understood why the Palestinians were angry with Israel. Any sane person in Palestine would be angry with Israel. Thankfully, angry doesn't necessarily mean genocidal. But of course, I've seen so many videos of Palestinians who have lost their parents or their spouses or their children. Both pre and post Oct 7th. Are you surprised that they support the people willing to strike back at those who did the killing?

The only ray of hope, as I said, is that I think almost everybody would prefer to put their anger aside than condemn their children to more of this endless war.

Without a two-state solution, what do you see as the alternative? Because the only other solution I can see (other than sharing the land, which I presume you think is even less workable) is genocide. Is that seriously what you're advocating? You know there are women and children in Gaza too, right?

And yes, there have been plenty of massacres. As I said, there's no meaningful way to look at this conflict without acknowledging that both sides have behaved with inhuman evil over the years. But I mean, look at what happened in Tantura (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ1TAOibLss). Or just the Nakba in general really. These attacks were easily as vicious as Oct 7th. Rape, murder of children, you name it. No hostage taking though. As one of the Israeli soldiers in the video above admits, they just emptied their guns into any civilians they found.

Expand full comment

Maybe he notices the mass celebrations in Gaza on October 7th and 8th. Maybe he saw the cooperation of civilians in using their homes as rocket sites-- Shin Bet DOES take anonymous tips. Maybe he saw people gathering in the street to get their kicks in on a dragged Israeli hostage. There IS pathology in Gaza, denying it in unrealistic.

Expand full comment

"Maybe he notices the mass celebrations in Gaza on October 7th and 8th"

*She. Also, I'm currently writing about this. So I'll give you a preview.

Imagine you're a slave in 1830s America. One day, you hear that a man named Nat Turner has launched a slave rebellion. He's moved from house to house, killing masters and recruiting slaves to his cause. So far, he's killed sixty white people, including women and children. This might finally be the moment where you and your fellow slaves get to strike back at the people who have oppressed you for so long. This could be the movement that sets you and your family free.

How do you think you'd feel in this scenario? You might well oppose Turner's methods, of course. You might personally condemn the killing of innocents, assuming that the news you received about the attack even included details about the killing of innocents. But don't you think you'd also be somewhat supportive of his cause? Do you think you might even celebrate the deaths of the people who have oppressed you for years? Who have killed and beaten your friends and family? Whose rule you still have to live under?

In case it needs to be said, I'm not condoning or justifying Hamas. You and I and almost everybody living in the West have the luxury of a very clear, somewhat detached moral view on this. But I can understand why a person living in Gaza is reluctant to condemn them. And I don't think this makes them a homicidal maniac. Again, I think every single one of us would have an issue with Israel (not necessarily Jews, but Israel) if we were born and raised in Gaza.

When slavery ended, many white people were terrified that the former slaves would massacre them. Four million slaves, all of whom had excellent reason to hate white people, were now free. They too saw the slave rebellions as evidence of pathology. Much of the cruelty we saw against black people during this period was a direct result of that fear.

And yet, in reality, nothing happened. The former slaves were too busy trying to live their lives to be interested in a war with white people. All the rhetoric about black people being animals and savages was proven false. Black people, it turns out, were people.

And here's the kicker; if you'd spoken to a white person in 1830 and said, "what should we do about these slave rebellions?" hardly any of them would have given the answer that seems obvious to us now; just free the damn slaves.

Expand full comment

Except here's the thing: it is HAMAS oppressing the people of Gaza. They have a completely unblockaded coast. It is HAMAS who is digging up the water pipes to use as ineffective rockets incapable of targeting military facilities. It is HAMAS who has kept peace agreements from happening. WHY do foreign investors not want to make Gaza the Singapore of the Med? Because of the government in GAZA. Israel does NOTHING to restrict this. Israel, in fact, allowed people to come to Israel for jobs from Gaza.

And I know I'm not supposed to say this, but the dominant religion among the former slaves was far less accommodating of the tactics of Nat Turner than the religion of Gaza is. (And Turner gave excuse to the pro-slavery side, and was counterproductive when looked at cold-bloodedly.)

Expand full comment
Dec 18, 2023·edited Dec 19, 2023Author

"Except here's the thing: it is HAMAS oppressing the people of Gaza"

Yes, this is absolutely true. I've written at length pointing this out. But so is ISRAEL. And ISRAEL have been oppressing them for far longer and far more overtly. Not only in Gaza, but in the West Bank and in Israel itself. The coast is not unblockaded. Access to Gaza is prohibited by sea and air and heavily restricted by land. There's obviously no way for any foreign investor to build anything in Gaza while this is the case. You'll never find me writing a word in defence of Hamas, but the situation in Gaza simply cannot be laid entirely at their feet.

And yes, Turner's actions were definitely counter-productive. Much like Hamas, he brought down suffering on his people's heads for years to come. Slaveowners passed new laws and meted out collective punishments to dissuade future rebellions. And yet many people saw him as a hero. Because he fought their oppressors. That's what I'm trying to explain regarding Palestinian support for Hamas.

Again, when the slaves were freed, even though they didn't condemn Turner, they didn't *become* Nat Turner. Because support for Turner's rebellion (totally understandable) was not support for Turner's tactics (morally reprehensible). The fears you're expressing about Palestinians are exactly the same fears slaveowners expressed about slaves (not comparing you to slaveowners obviously😅).Those fears were even understandable. But they were also totally wrong.

Expand full comment

Like I said, the slaves are not comparable to Hamas, because their dominant religion did not command them to seek out white people and kill them. And yes, I know, Islam lived in peace with Jews for centuries in Palestine. But that is not the brand that the Palestinians practice to a large extent-- and why other MUSLIM countries will not take them in.

Expand full comment

"What they tell pollsters and what they actually want/believe are often two different things

How you can be so convinced that all the Palestinian people are genocidal maniacs with a 2,500-year-old "hate-on" for the Jews"

I'm not sure how many support it, and neither do you. The polls are all over the place on this.

"and simultaneously imagine that they'd lie on an exit poll about wanting peace with Israel is a total mystery to me. Why would they lie? For whom??"

If it's anonymous poll, no, they probably wouldn't. If they're being asked by someone else, yeah, they might lie to make themselves look good. Because no one wants to look like a genocidal maniac when you're facing another person or even in a crowd. Do *you* know how these polls are conducted? I don't.

"Are you surprised that they support the people willing to strike back at those who did the killing?" I sure am, when Hamassholes are using them as human shields, taking foreign aid meant to feed and care for them and using it to build rockets and tunnels. Yeah, when they support a party expressly clear on how a Jewless river to sea means kill all the Jews. Yeah, when they said they wanted Hamas to broker a solution when they first elected them and then it didn't happen and then they cheered on Oct 7 and now they're supposedly going to vote for Hamas again, although I don't know if there will be another option. But they had one before and they voted for the genocidists. That's why I compared them to the Trumpers before (although I've said it about those peoples' support for the Republicans overall): No matter how much they get screwed, no matter how badly they're being bombed and slaughtered near out of existence, their grand plan is "Please Israel, may I have some more?"

"The only ray of hope, as I said, is that I think almost everybody would prefer to put their anger aside than condemn their children to more of this endless war." I wish that would happen, but I don't think it will. As Golda Meir put it, I think, "This will only end when the Palestinians love their children more than they hate us." I agree with her assessment.

"Without a two-state solution, what do you see as the alternative?" How do you see that happening when Palestinians keep rejecting it?

What's the alternative? Same-old same-old, I guess. I for one am not interested in hearing about a two-state solution until Hamas is gone and Palestinians have proven, say for 3-5 years, that they can live peacefully with Israel. Although I'm not sure Israel will ever trust them, and I'm not sure they should.

As you note, there've always been plenty of massacres. And the one going on in Gaza now is too impossible to ignore or right off as 'human shields'. Israel is pretty clearly going over the top with this. I don't know what your solution is, Steve, but I don't have one. I don't think there can be one unless both sides can agree to live with each other. There are some giant us-only buttheads in Israel, but there are, I suspect, a helluva lot more on the other side. Bill Maher put it pretty succinctly in his New Rule yesterday: This taking and settling of the land has gone on for many thousands of years, and the only people who can't move on are the Israelis & Palestinians. And these are ancient enmities that go far, far behind the creation of Israel or even the creation of Islam. These are two peoples intertwined with each other's DNA who have hated each other for a very, very long time. I mean, I understand why everyone hated the Israelites in the Old Testament - they were major assholes to their neighbours.

No one has a solution to this, Steve. No one anywhere. I suspect it will end when one side or the other actually succeeds in wiping out the other. Or maybe not, I don't know. No one does. But for the far-seeable future I expect a lot more wholesale murder, brutality, death and destruction on both sides.

Expand full comment

There are two problems with any hope of this conflict winding down.

1) The Palestinians are part of an honor-driven society whose treatment has been light-years past what any such culture can simply "move on" from. The young man who carried the headless corpse of his mother out of the rubble of their house is going to grow up to a life dedicated to vengeance, and it would take at least a generation, perhaps two, after Israel withdrew from what remains of Palestine before the memories faded and the old guard died off.

2) I don't know if you have any Israeli friends, but I do, and back in the days of psytrance raves I had a lot more, a lot of the musicians were Israeli. And my best friend from high school married and converted and took the obligatory pilgrimage.

And while the Palis are an honor-driven society, much of Israel is full of itself to a degree that would make Father Coughlin and Heinrich Himmler get sick. They truly believe themselves to be the Master Race, quite different from American rural racism, which is more based on the accurate appraisal of their own inferiority.

Three Israeli hostages are shot and the country is aflame with outrage where the murder of what is now probably 10,000 children didn't raise an eyebrow.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, uh-huh, "they're not all like that." I know that. But the peaceful non-butcherous Israelis aren't running the government, the settlers are, and I don't know how familiar you are with the settlers when I heard one on NPR I had to pull over and calm down. They are utterly vile people. Compared to "Jewish" settlers (most have been unobservant for generations), the Palestinians are saints.

Of course, all this is falling on deaf ears because some 𝑾𝑶𝑴𝒀𝑵 were raped and tortured, likely by people who buried their own children, killed by Israelis for sport.

Hamas should have bombed some settlements, and not raped anyone. Things would be very different right now, as getting the settlers on camera would shatter Israel's self-righteous "self defense" and "right to exist" rationales.

Expand full comment

Speaking of insane, it is exactly that to believe that people who have been treated so brutally would, as a people, remain reflective and objective. Probably not one Palestinian in a hundred is two degrees of separation from someone who's been murdered or had their houses bulldozed with five minutes' notice to build another "settlement."

What would be insane is if they voted for someone who vowed anything less.

They aren't the only ones nurturing a hate-on.

I wouldn't want to work with you again, either.

Expand full comment

People do not have a right to exist.

From a scientific perspective using evolution as our rationale, people exist for the same reason that the US and Israel exists. They have power over the rest of nature.

Your analysis is largely valid except when you start greying the line between subjective morality and facts.

Expand full comment

"People do not have a right to exist."

The right to life is universally recognised as a human right.

Expand full comment

Living people have a right to go on living but the idea that people have a right to exist in the first place, e.g. be conceived and not aborted, has a lot of logical problems, not the least of which is the infeasibility of time travel.

Expand full comment
Dec 17, 2023·edited Dec 17, 2023

Then we get into the definition of "right".

Is "right" a moral concept or a factual concept.

If you are referencing the UN definition of Human Rights. Both the United States and Israel are recognized states by the UN. From the UN perspective, they have a "right" to exist.

You cannot use "right" as a UN concept on one side and then "power" defined as a fact on the other.

Evolution trumps the UN in all cases. Its just a matter of time. The UN is trying to maintain status quo in the face of evolution and power makes right. I believe in evolution. The UN is a figment of peoples imagination. It ignores the human condition and the facts of human history.

You are falling into the same inconsistency as the people you are referencing in the article.

Expand full comment

"If you are referencing the UN definition of Human Rights. Both the United States and Israel are recognized states by the UN. From the UN perspective, they have a "right" to exist."

States are not people. And the legal and political concepts that apply to states and people are different in many ways. Therefore recognising the existence of a state without arguing it has a special right to exist, is not a contradiction.

If you want to talk about some anarchist future where rights and governments and the UN no longer exist, and everybody just does whatever they want because that's your conception of the human condition, that's fine. But it's not the world we live in today. So I'm not talking about that.

Expand full comment

Very defensive response.

You are ignoring the basis of the human condition for idealistic morals.

Might makes right and always will. Human history proves it. That’s why the US and for that matter Israel invest heavily in the military. Western Europe ONLY exists today because they have the US as part of NATO. The have under invested in their military because of their idealistic perspectives that humans will rise to a greater moral perspective, They are realizing now that the Muslim world and Russia for that matter don’t agree with western morality.

Thats the reality of the situation. Anything else is pretending humans can get along!

Expand full comment