My Dad’s Thoughts on the Israel-Gaza Situation

Recently a sad little fat man blogged about me–accusing my father of being part of the “Pro Israel Lobby”. Wow. A simple google search would have shown this little blogger that my dad is in no way a lobbyist, but a man who writes with the hopes of peace one day coming to the middle east. Here is his piece from Friday….

Where Is Israel Going?

These are terrible days for those of us who long to see Israel finally accepted by its neighbors. At a time when all 22 Arab states have offered Israel peace and normalization in exchange for the ‘67 territories, this war could destroy that possibility once and for all.

No, that does not mean that I question Israel’s right to respond to the rocket onslaught from Gaza. Of course, it has that right. Any country has the right, even the obligation, to respond militarily to thugs who rain down thousands of rockets on its people, leaving its children quaking in terror. The question is not whether Israel has the right, but whether exercising it this way is right.

For Israel, the only right response is the one that will bring it closer to the security it will only have when it is accepted by its neighbors. Some argue that this attack on Hamas will indeed accomplish that. Eliminate the fanatics, they say, and Israel can make peace with the moderates.

But, Israel is incapable of even dealing with its own crazies. Under conditions infinitely more comfortable than those of Gaza, Israeli lunatics—settlers who attack children and burn down olive groves—have become significant political players.  In Israel, it is impossible to form a government without the crazies. How can anyone imagine it possible to bomb Hamas into moderation?

Of course, it would be sufficient if this war could eliminate Hamas’ ability to attack Israel. Even that is a long shot with few Israelis predicting this assault will accomplish that for long.

But one thing is certain—this war is unlikely to bring peace any closer. In fact, I believe that the pictures Arabs and Muslims worldwide are seeing of the attacks on Gaza may push that day so far into the future that none of us will see it. 

The other day The Washington Post put a photo of the family of five young sisters killed in a single attack on its front page. Imagine how that played in the Arab world or in the world at large. Imagine how long it will take for the memory, the stain, of those five little girls to fade.

And, no, it’s not relevant that Hamas kills children too or that it does it intentionally and Israel does it by accident. Hamas is a terror organization. The standard that applies to Hamas is not the one to apply to a civilized state, a member of the United Nations, and an ally of the United States and the West. Israel is not Libya, but the state created by Jewish idealists and humanists seeking not regional domination but a Jewish refuge.  It is that refuge that is now compromised.

In The New York Times the other day, the conservative Israeli historian, Benny Morris, wrote that Israelis feel that “the walls—and history—are closing in on their 60-year-old state.”

He specifically refers to Iran’s nuclear program, the growing power of Hezbollah and Hamas, and the disaffection of Israeli Arabs.

“Public opinion in the West (and in democracies, governments can’t be far behind) is gradually reducing its support for Israel as the West looks askance at the Jewish state’s treatment of its Palestinian neighbors and wards. The Holocaust is increasingly becoming a faint and ineffectual memory and the Arab states are increasingly powerful and assertive,” he writes.

Just a few years ago, Israel’s situation was entirely different. It was close to achieving virtually universal acceptance.

Some of Israel’s most vocal supporters want us to forget that. They cling to the idea that “the world has always hated Israel” (and the Jews), rejecting as irrelevant the idea that Palestinian statelessness is at the root of the problem. 

They reject that fact because it suggests that Israel is in charge of its own destiny.  It can determine where it stands in the eyes of the world, and especially the Arab world, by changing its relationship with the Palestinians.

How do I know that?  Because it happened once before.

Following Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s decision to recognize both the PLO and the Palestinians’ right to a state in the West Bank and Gaza, nine non-Arab Muslim states and 32 of the 43 Sub-Saharan African states established relations with Israel. India and China, the two largest markets in the world, opened trade relations. Jordan signed a peace treaty and several of the emirates began quiet dealings with Israel.

The Arab boycott ended. Foreign investment soared. Israel’s isolation appeared to be over.

The most graphic demonstration of Israel’s changed international standing occurred at Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral in 1995, which rivaled President Kennedy’s in terms of international representation.

Leaders from virtually every nation on earth came to pay homage to Rabin. From President Clinton and Prince Charles to President Hosni Mubarak, King Hussein, and the leaders of every country in Europe, most of Africa and Asia (including India and China), Latin America, Turkey, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, and Tunisia.  Yasir Arafat wept at Leah Rabin’s apartment in Tel Aviv.

The world mourned Rabin because under him, Israel had embraced the cause of peace with the Palestinians. The homage to Rabin was a clear demonstration—as was the opening of trade and diplomatic relations with formerly hostile states—that Israel was not being isolated because it is a Jewish state, but because of its conflict with the Palestinians. 

Once Rabin moved to end the conflict, he ended Israel’s isolation as well. (If the problem was undying Jew-hatred, Rabin’s opening to the Palestinians would not have affected Israel’s standing).

We need to remember this as the hard-liners insist that anti-Israel sentiment is unconnected with anything Israel does. That is simply not true. Even Ariel Sharon, hated more than any Israeli by most Arabs and Muslims, saw his image transformed overnight when he moved to relinquish Gaza. He actually received an ovation at the United Nations, leaving the old man in shock.

But that was then, this is now. I agree with Morris who seems to believe that, at this rate, Israel’s days may be numbered. 

So the questions have to be asked. Does the Gaza war improve Israel’s long-term (or even short-term) situation?  Might it not have been better to induce Hamas to stop the shelling by ending the blockade Israel imposed back when Hamas won the Palestinian election? 

Was it right to insist that Hamas accept Israel in advance of negotiations rather than simply push for a total and absolute cessation of violence and blockade, followed by negotiations? Could Israel realistically expect the cease-fire to hold while Gaza remained under siege, rife with hunger, illness, and joblessness? And freezing cold. (Even during the cease-fire, Israel was turning on Gaza’s heat and electricity only a few hours a day).

Again, I am not questioning Israel’s right to respond. But that is the wrong question. The right question to ask is why it came to this.  And to ask ourselves if supporting the continuation of this war—rather than an immediate cease-fire—will do Israel more harm than good.

45 thoughts on “My Dad’s Thoughts on the Israel-Gaza Situation”

  1. PMD: your father is a very intelligent soul. Israel could use a few of those these days.

    I agree when he says that israel is quickly losing the support of the rest of the world with disproportionate attacks like the current fighting.

  2. very impressive. Are you sure this is your father peter?

    I must admit, not being inheritly islamic or jewish i have tried extermely hard to find my objective view on this situation and i like how your old man put it. Israel does have the right to protect its civilians, maybe not the way it has chosen to, but neverthless it has the right.

    As for the sanctions israel have imposed on Hamas prior to this, well…….need i say more.

    However, im a little concerned about your fathers insensitivity to the situation in Gaza – i couldnt help but feel a little angered at the fact he referenced the picture of the 5 dead sisters with respect to the world’s perception of Israel (jews). Is he saying that such pictures should not be published for this reason or is he saying that this is one of the EXPECTED consequences of bombing innocent civilians??????

    P.s. google tiger bone, i cant believe you drank that shit pete!

  3. Yeah I tried googling Tiger Bone after reading that NORE interview, and all I could find was a bunch of articles about illegal wine made with tiger bones in China, and a sex tonic called Tiger Bone that’s sold on amazon. I’m guessing it was the latter. :P

    Sean Paul/Mr. Vegas tune is HOT though.

  4. I can’t believe you got that pissed off about something Byron Crawford said on his blog though. Dude is a known shit-stirrer. Sometimes he’s a bit of a tool, other times he’s spot on. Always, always entertaining to read though.

  5. all due respect pete, even though the jews have been there for 60 years, ppl seem to forget that the palestinans were there prior for more than a 1000 years.

    israel is just totalling going crazy right now. although i realize that hamas are very extremist, israel does not seem to be any better @ the mo.

    *quick note- being critcal of a countrys actions does not make you a racist. it seems when someone critises israel, they are called anti-semite…thats crazy! critizing zimbabwe, america, iran etc does not make you racist..

    peace rosenberg

  6. good read. my moms talked wit some families in Gaza. she said the people were split on who to support, if they should support at all. not all of palestine is behind hamas, just like not all of israel is behind their government.

    at a protest in n.y., we had about 600 jews and christians walk wit us (muslims)from times square to the israeli embassay. death in general sucks. i pray for both sides to stop killing each other. we should do like our moms said back in the day when siblings argued, ‘SPLIT UP AND TO OTHER ENDS OF THE HOUSE!’

  7. Israel pulled out of all of Gaza in 2005 which was a big step in the peace process, calm in that region would have made it much easier to pull out of the west bank.

    “Gaza remained under siege”
    Why should israel supply metals and other supplies to a country that wants no peace with it and is actively tring to kill its citizens. NO other country in the world would do that.
    And ask yourself why Egypt wont lift its blockade on Gaza.

  8. Wow pete I just was twitting and I came across your page and decided to check your website. Tell your pops thanks for putting me in the know

  9. Your pops’ sounds fairly sensible but Israel is guilty of genocide and there is absolutely no justification for what they are doing right now.

  10. mike while i think israel is decidedly in the wrong and im disgusted with whats going on..genocide is a term that is sort of specific if you use it in this context…

    be easy

  11. listen fam

    i know whats going on over there. my family have done humanitarian work in gaza over the past 2 years and seen it first hand; so unless you claim ignorance, how can you deny genocide?

  12. mike…

    because a genocide implies a lot more historically…

    maybe its just semantics…but this atrocity does not get genocide status for me…and God willing it wont get to that point…

    i think i can condemn it without believing its pure genocide

  13. and cipha thinks that hip hop and politics don’t go together… shit.

    all americans should be fortunate that this isn’t happening to us… yet.

  14. semantics? there is no debate here my dude, genocide is genocide. you sound like a politician picking and choosing what qualifies a mass murder based on your own personal agenda.

    i believe israel has the right to defend themselves against terrorism but at what cost? 100 palestinians for every israeli? is there any real strategy there besides punishing people that have nothing to do with the terrorism?

    as for historical context, you can’t be serious?

  15. I’m a neutral observer on the Israel/Palestine issue.

    However, if the situation was reversed, & Palestine murked 500+ Israelis while suffering 1% or 10% of Israeli-killed Palestinians…

    the US Corporate Media, & also prolly Rosenberg on his blog, would be classifying this massacre as “Israel’s 9/11″, & a “genocide”

    and u know this man, no Chris Tucker

  16. No Mames Buey,

    Its very possible we could see Israel/US stage some sort of attack, framing the Palestinians and then using the US corporate media to brainwash us into believing that we need to stomp them out.

    The US/Israeli lies are now at an all time high and a lot of people are waking up and seeing what is happening. The US and Israel are going to have to do something drastic to steer public opinion and also further their capitalist activities.

  17. No Mames Buey, good point about, what would happen if the roles were reserved

    pete, i’m disappointed, in your response bro, when i usually hear you talk u usually make fair points. of course this is a genocide. 300 dead include women and children. 1000 injured. c’mon we all got the stats.

    peace

  18. also PMD Rosenberg, it’s bad enough that you don’t logically debate B Crawford on the issues at hand, u resort to ad hominem attacks.

    Even then tho, if ur gonna roll with ONLY personal attacks, at least roll with attacks that don’t ALSO APPLY TO URSELF.

    Rosenberg said “..little fat man..”

    Dude, Rosenberg aren’t u like 5’8″ (little) 210 lb (fat)? “Pot calling the kettle black” out this bitch, no?!

  19. mike there is no genocide in gaza there are in africa going on right now though that no one cares about
    “gen⋅o⋅cide
    the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.”

    Since the state of Israel was created Palestinian population increased vastly not decreased and Palestinians in Israel bank have a higher standard of leaving then other arabs in the middle east.

  20. what israel is doing is mass murder, but it’s not necessarily genocide. genocide is the systematic and intentional extermination of a culture/race/etc. what’s happening here is different.

    semantics aside– israel is full of shit, and so is hamas. and that was basically papa rosenberg’s point in his essay. and i couldn’t agree more. at some point these fucks needs to rise above their anger and fear and create a liveable future for their children.

  21. Yo Pete… i am a fan of Juan Epstein…. but BOL got at you hardbody….. Hope you dont bitch out…. i mean you got at soulja boy…
    (if i were him i would wash you for talking shit about me) get a BOL… its bad enough it took you like 2 weeks to respond..
    p.s. thats not Hip Hop

  22. Israel gave to the Palestinians the Harvest Bloc:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gush_Katif
    did it stoped the rockets?
    No.
    The situation only got worst…now they rocket at Israel from Harvest Bloc.
    So maybe giving to the Palestinians lands it’s not the right solution…because they will keep firing rockets at israel to get more lands and they will never stop!
    This is why this is the only way to stop the rockets…
    And don’t get me wrong I really hate wars…

  23. You are a little misinformed, and its obvious you are watching too much CNN. First and foremost, this is NOT A GENOCIDE. Palestinians are not systematically being killed. Secondly, where does responsibility take place? For years the Palestinians have been receiving millions of $ in aid from Israel, USA, and the rest of the world including many “charity organizations”. Why do they live in such miserable conditions? Its because instead of using that $ to create a society they invest it on terrorism. They benefit in the media by making themselves more miserable. Dont get it TWISTED, they have been hijacked by fanatics who dont want peace. Look up PALLYWOOD and maybe youll understand better. Its unfortunate that innocent civilians are dying but thats the reality of WAR. War sucks and isnt sweet……and it doesnt help that Hamas hides amongst its palestinian population knowing the consequences of doing so. And Isreal should not be bashed because of “disproportionate” response…..this is WAR. To add another point, the Jews have been in Israel for thousands of years alongside arabs……and they have been fighting for thousands of years. The palestinians are unwanted “Jordanians” and “Egyptions”. Read your history books if you didnt know that. Ask yourself why none of the nieghboring Arab countries want to help them?

  24. Peter, stop this bullshit, don’t react as a child pleaseeeeee.

    AND RELEASE THE DJ PREMIER INTERVIEW!!

  25. @ No Mames–If you think BC ‘intellectually ethered” Pete, you don’t even know what intellectual means. That is some fucking meaningless drivel that guy wrote. Totally circular and ignores all evidence to show that he’s wrong.

    Why don’t you do your own research rather than listen to that retard?

  26. “pete, i’m disappointed, in your response bro, when i usually hear you talk u usually make fair points. of course this is a genocide. 300 dead include women and children. 1000 injured. c’mon we all got the stats.”

    america is full of hypocrites. 300 people? there’s a million dead iraqis in need of a much better publicist or a jewish opponent so their story could have spread by people’s ignorance.

    how complicit are you in your own country’s much larger mass murder? at least gaza had hamas provoking israel, iraq got MUCH worse for no fucking reason.

  27. Again, I am a neutral observer.

    however, *smh* at this Rafi guy’s ignorance, calling other people ignorant. If possible, that’s the “pot calling the kettle black”, even more so than Rosenberg calling B Crawford “a little fat man”.

    I was against my country’s occupation of Iraq from the beginning in 2003. But what does the US’ Iraq occupation have to do with Israeli’s 2008-9 killing of 680 Palestinians (130 of which are children), while only Palestinians only killed 10 Israelis.
    source Democracy Now, an independent media run by an award winning excellent journalist, Amy Goodman, who also happens to be an American Jew.
    http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/7/headlines

    What does the Iraq occupation have to do with the Israel-Gaza conflict or the price of tea in China? Nothing.

    Rafi implies idiotically that the current Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza is “worse” in the US public opinion because of “American ignorance”, because the murderers are Jewish.

    I again restate, what if it was Arabs with only 10 deaths, & Israeli Jews with 680 dead? The US “ignorant” reaction would be infinitely worse, & it would be called “Israel’s 9/11″ “a massacre” & “a genocide” by the US Corporate Media. What if it was 680 NYC American Jews? US Corporate Media’s outrage would be even more 10X worse.

    Now, instead of lame ad hominem attacks against me, Amy Goodman, or anyone else, I challenge Rafi, Rosenberg (peter, bro, or dad), or any other Israeli massager apologists to address my prior paragraph on the US MEDIA’S DOUBLE STANDARD ON ISRAELI VS PALESTINIAN VIOLENCE/TERRORISM.

  28. no, i’m the voice of reason here.

    people are calling the death of hundreds “genocide”, ignoring the fact that israel’s over-the-top response was provoked by a heinous thing in itself – missile strikes breaking a 6 month ceasefire launched seemingly because hamas wanted to provoke a disproportionate reaction so they could stay in power.

    your question is ridiculous too because it strips the whole situation down to just one data point – casualty numbers – and avoids the fact that these are disproportionate entities in terms of power and responsibility for the start of these actions.

    so you tell me if one party starts the shit and keeps shooting missiles but only have killed a small number of people what is an appropriate response? letting it go on? only doing a teeny military response?

    and i raise the topic of hypocrisy because compared to iraq, this is nothing! there’s a whole lot of anger and vitriol here because people are already rooted in their anti-israel politics.

    people want to talk genocide? iraq is a genocide and where are the angry american voices on that? silent. yeah they’re mad at bush and opposed to occupation.. big shit. you just called it an occupation that you’ve been opposed to.. great, you and the majority of your generation and the world. but ppl are tossing “mass murder” and “genocide” at israel. don’t you hear the difference in the framing there? why is it that whenever that war is discussed over here all people talk about are american casualties? yet when israel is discussed palestine has all these american supporters? where are the american supporters of the dead iraqis who outnumber dead palestinians by over 1000:1? 1-million+ dead civilians in iraq, where let me remind you.. no group in power was ever shooting missiles at america. that is a fucking genocide that the world is silent on. israel is a sad situation but lets be clear on our terms here.

  29. and a little background info on my pov:

    as polish jews born in ’36 and ’42, my parents were born during an actual genocide against them. both of their respective parents escaped to russia which is how they survived. the rest of their extended families were all wiped out though. after the war both of them returned to an antisemitic and generally un-fun poland.

    in the early 60s my dad’s family left poland for israel and he lived there for 7 years in between wars. they found it too hard to earn a good living there so left in the late 60s. his sister stayed behind and married an israeli quasi-native to the region – a jew from iran (as someone just stated the mid-east was not without jews 65 years ago) and raised an israeli family there. that family moved to ny in the early 80s where they still live but they still go back a whole lot, sometimes to live for a while. they’re pretty bigoted and i tend to avoid them but that’s the israeli side of my family.

    i spent a mere two weeks in israel myself nearly 20 years ago. i dont think americans really understand what it’s like to live in a place where terrorism is a daily concern. there was a suicide bombing on a bus that took place during our stay there. we were in an ourdoor shopping area in jerusalem and the whole block had to be cleared out by soldiers because someone left their bag of garbage on the ground and it was assumed to be a bomb. israeli soldiers walk around carrying assault rifles like it ain’t no thang.

    i’ve always been a liberal jew, opposed to hardliners and sympathetic to the palestinians but i still try to approach this pragmatically. i studied the conflict just a little bit in college (only one class but it was a good one) and was really saddened when rabin got killed by his own people who didnt want to compromise for peace. thats the kind of environment it is over there. fanatics on either side always fucking shit up.

    as a fairly liberal american on most topics i’m bothered by the Left’s one-sidedness on this topic. ok the creation of israel was kind of fucked up but can we move on towards peace? because it’s not going anywhere. i do think there are clear media tactics that do go back to the first intifada which the plo and now hamas are both smart and sort of evil for using. i think they are extra effective because people (even jews) love to angrily blame jews for shit.

  30. by the way there have been over 500 Israeli deaths and over 8,000 injured from palestinian terrorist acts since 2001. so there’s something not that far off from your hypothetical question answered Buey.

  31. ^that’s apples-to-oranges non-comparison.

    Pls find a sourced tally of Palestinian murders of Israelis (which you claim is 500 since 2001), alongside of Israeli murders of Palestinians OVER THE SAME TIME INTERVAL. I would be genuinely interested in seeing such a report, sourced by a journalistic org or professor with an acknowledge neutral track record of integrity/accurate reporting.

  32. No Mames Buey…i hadnt been reading this cuz i dont care what people have to say on this issue, but listen to me…

    you have no idea what i feel about this issue and i know that cuz if u did–u would shut the fuck up…

    im not responding to byron crawford or any other internet commenters cuz I have no need to…to respond to something that ignorant would make me ignorant for wasting my time..as a matter of fact–I’m mad I just wasted my time writing this..

  33. Religion : A Bit Of Clarity

    I know where supposed to respect everybody’s opinion and there right to stick there fingers up there ass and go finger painting with it BUT .. .. When a three year old girl gets mauled by 3 dogs and doesn’t survive God is not there… .. When a shot gun accidently goes off into a teenagers chest at the hands of his uncle God is not there .. When the supposedly most Righteous and Religious people on this planet who hold nothing closer to there hearts murder innocent women and children for there own well being the evidence should be crystal clear. The hypocrisy becomes a reality and religious teachings should be seen for what they really are. If you follow a religious teaching you are immediately suspect regardless of wether or not you are able to fathom or comprehend the blasphemy of it towards humanity. GOD is not on this earth people. Lets respect peoples culture, tradition and heritage rather than there various versions of insanity. …. This has been said before hasn’t it ? .. Im 25 and i feel like i have just been inaugurated in to what has to be the biggest living group of liars snakes and cheats on the planet. The said thing is you dont realize you automatically are one by default until you watch the news. I haven’t killed anyone and I dont intend to so leave me and especially GOD the fuck out of the it.

    Peace ?

  34. THIS IS GENOCIDE AND ETHNIC CLEANSING BACKED BY THE US!!!

    People you can not see the true devastation on American TV. The media is clearly doing their best to minimize this horrific crime against humanity. Look for your news on youtube or elsewhere on the internet and please speak out in anyway possible.

    As I write, the Palestinian death toll is now quickly approaching 1000 with nearly 5000 injured; many of which are women and children. The Israelis have 13 deaths, 10 of which are soldiers.

  35. This is the worst kind of peril the human soul and spirit can be associated with. smart people know to avoid conversation about it and let theretarded wipe themselves out. Israel will be looking over there shoulders for the rest of there lives. And after atrocities like this

    World Peace ? Is never on the cards. Unless GOD ? Pushes the reset button or we push it ourselves.

    I thank my lucky stars my Grandparents had the brains to move to Australia. We have shark attacks here.

  36. I see that nobody answered my question “US MEDIA’S DOUBLE STANDARD ON ISRAELI VS PALESTINIAN VIOLENCE/TERRORISM”

    Just rafi’s apples-to-oranges conflating years of Israeli deaths to days of Palestinian deaths,

    & Rosenberg saying “u would stfu”. WTF, very disappointing.

    B Crawford pwned Rosenberg here, I lost some respect for Rosenberg after this mess.

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