Monday, December 29, 2008

Israeli Bombardment of Gaza, etc.

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Update 1: Comments to this post are now closed.

Update 2: A succint commentary that hits all the right points from the editors of the Middle East Report (Online):
"Cast Lead in the Foundry."

Update 3 (courtesy of Brian Leiter): Gaza Petition and More Resources.

Update 4: A deputy of the political bureau of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook, in the Los Angeles Times (1/6/09): "Hamas Speaks." And Avi Shlaim, professor of international relations at the University of Oxford: "How Israel Brought Gaza to the Brink of Humanitarian Catastrophe."

Update 5: Mouin Rabbani, "Birth Pangs of a New Palestine." Helena Cobban, "Gaza and Israel's Wars of Forced Regime Change." See too Cobban's blog, "Just World News."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good article at:

12/29/2008 8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also -- check out this book by Ahmed Bouzid, President of Palestine Media Watch:

12/29/2008 8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


If all you're posting are B'Tselem articles, Arab "Human Rights" organizations, Chomsky, and drivel like "Israel: An Apartheid State," I think we have a pretty good idea of where you're coming from.

Do refrain from spam-whoring your blog on Volokh comment threads. Your odious presence on Opinio Juris is annoying enough as it is.


12/30/2008 6:55 AM  
Blogger Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

Cheers? It's the holiday season and all that but I'm afraid you've had a bit too much to drink. At least you were sober enough to remain anonymous: best not to shame yourself in public.

BTW: my "odious presence" and "spam whoring" is not confined to Volokh Conspiracy and Opinio Juris, but can also be found at Concurring Opinions, the Constitutional Law Prof Blog, EJIL Talk!, Intlawgrrls, the Legal Ethics Forum, the Legal Profession Blog, the Medical Humanities Blog, the Neuroethics & Law Blog, public reason, Sentencing Law and Policy, the Workplace Prof Blog, among other blogs, so you need to get busy and leave your witty and profound observations there as well. But consider drying out first.

All good wishes,
The annoying one

12/30/2008 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah. But you couldn't recommend Benny Morris's new book '1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War'. Might we suppose that you'll recommend what he has to say so long as it supports an anti-Israeli agenda? A ridiculously biased list of works.

12/31/2008 12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leiter Reports has your comment that:

"So much nonsense uttered about what Hamas is all about could be avoided (i.e., something other than the ad nauseum references to statements from its Charter) were the information and arguments found in these two works well known."

Indeed, why look towards the Hamas Charter of all things, or the constant rantings of Hamas, when we have such nuanced studies? After all, there's so much more to genocidal theocratic criminals.

Also, could you recommend a more nuanced appreciation of the Bush administration that moves beyond the ad nauseum references to such minor blunders as the war in Iraq?

12/31/2008 1:06 AM  
Blogger Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

There are already three books by Morris on the list. However, now that he's gone off the deep end, one has sufficient reason to be suspicious of anything written by an historian who believes in the Zionist necessity of ethnic cleansing: In an interview several years ago with Ari Shavit of Ha'aretz, Morris said that "there are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing." The Jewish state, he argued, "would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. Therefore it was necessary to uproot them. There was no choice but to expel that population. It was necessary to cleanse the hinterland and cleanse the border areas and cleanse the main roads. It was necessary to cleanse the villages from which our convoys and our settlements were being fired on."

Yes, we need another book by an historian capable of such a magnanimous feat of empathy and clearheaded objectivity with regard to the founding of the state of Israel. It's clear indeed you are well placed to judge instances of "ridiculous bias." Precious.

12/31/2008 2:39 AM  
Blogger Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

It's hazardous to use terms and expressions the meaning of which you are uncertain or confused. To wit, if you want to speak of "genocidal theocratic criminals," then you would be on firmer ground were you to look no further than early Zionist history in Palestine: Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. (Oxford, UK: Oneworld, 2006).

Before you go to sleep you might take three books to bed with you: First, by way of a propaedeutic and prescription: Stanley Cohen's States of Denial: Knowing about Atrocities and Suffering (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001); eyes opened, you're now fit to read Saree Makdisi's Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation (New York: W.W. Norton, 2008), and Sylvain Cypel's Walled: Israeli Society at an Impasse (New York: Other Press, 2006).

Sweet dreams, my friend.

12/31/2008 3:19 AM  
Blogger Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

Incidentally (or not), the accusatory trope, "anti-Israeli agenda," is timeworn thus tiresome, and all too close to its ideological forebear, the reflexive charge of anti-Semitism (cf. Judith Butler's 'No, it's not anti-Semitic,' London Review of Books, 21 August, 2003). Typically, its meaning is highly plastic, hence well-suited to ritualistic invocation whenever anyone has the audacity to criticize the political policies of the Israeli government or the IDF, let alone question the tenets of Zionism. Not for the first time do learned critics both from within and without the state of Israel evidence a concern for what is both viable and best about the state while its would-be defenders sustain the conditions of insecurity and instability that undermine whatever democratic elements and degree of democracy has served to define its political institutions and character to date.

12/31/2008 3:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two points. First, Pappe's work has been exposed by various historians as monumental fabrication and hoax:

Secondly, the interview doesn't affect the truth of Morris's history one bit. He explains his political views against those who distort the sensational interview ad nauseum in the following interview:

You might be interested in this interview because here he also smashes Norman Finkelstein and Sari Makdisi in debate.

12/31/2008 12:04 PM  
Blogger Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

I never claimed ALL Zionists were "genocidal theocrats," and I know all about "socialist" Zionism, having carefully read over a dozen or so books on Zionism proper in my library, the most recent by Gabriel Piterburg: The Returns of Zionism: Myths, Politics and Scholarship in Israel (2008). Alas, the truly secular and universalist socialists that early on identified with Zionism were soon to be disenchanted and their views relegated to the margins of Zionist discourse, on the outside looking in as it were (Chomsky's biography is telling on this score).

The New Republic is not a reliable source for-most-things Israeli or Zionist, or on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on Islam, etc., etc., indeed, talk about overweening bias! You'd be better off reading the London Review of Books, The New York Review of Books, Middle East Report, etc., in addition to the well-known journals in Middle East Studies, several of which Pappe has routinely published in.

Pappe is well-respected among the majority of his peers in the profession and that is credibility enough for me. You tried this same response at PrawfsBlawg and it wasn't reasonable then and is no more so now. To claim his work is an "enormous fabrication and hoax" is to make painfully evident that you are not at all well-versed in the scholarship in this area, as much of what Pappe has written is synthesizing and publicizing the research of others before him, work that was rather obscure owing to either the identity of the researcher or the language in which it was first published. A decade from now please get in touch with me and remind me of this fanatastical claim: we'll see then whose work survives the test of time and is frequently cited (as it is today) by his academic peers.

I never attempted to defend everything any Hamas leader has said or published, in fact, I've never tried to defend their political and religious views as such in any manner whatsoever: I have endeavored to fairly understand and explain them: you might want to think about the distinction between explanation and justification, as the former need not imply the latter, although to conflate the two is a common enough problem, as you help us appreciate.

Now ends my discussion with an anonymous interlocutor (especially now that I have an inkling as to your identity).

12/31/2008 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have no inkling of my identity. I've never published on PrawfsBlawg. I'll also add that I didn't accuse you of anti-semitism, so don't mislead your readers with contrary suggestions. Radical critics of Israel often pretend that they've been victimized in this way.

A number of historians like Pappe's work, but a number think his work is bad history for a political agenda. Or in his own words in his History:

"My bias is apparent despite the desire of my peers that I stick to facts and the "truth" when reconstructing past realities. I view any such construction as vain and presumptuous."

Responsible readers can decide for themselves from the reviews I've posted and by reading his history along with Morris's new book "1948: A History of the First-Arab Israeli War".

There are a number of anonymous commenters here, but I'll stop replying for now. Since you won't be duplicitous or disproportionate in your criticism, I do look forward to your post on the human rights abuses in Arab countries, including the genocide in Sudan where more innocent people have been killed every day for years than in Israel's attack against Hamas.

12/31/2008 1:56 PM  
Blogger Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

"I didn't accuse you of anti-semitism, so don't mislead your readers with contrary suggestions."

For the record, please read, carefully, what I wrote. I did not claim or insinuate that you were accusing me of anti-semitism:

...the accusatory trope, "anti-Israeli agenda," is timeworn thus tiresome, and all too close to its ideological forebear, the reflexive charge of anti-Semitism (cf. Judith Butler's 'No, it's not anti-Semitic,' London Review of Books, 21 August, 2003). Typically, its [i.e., the 'anti-Israeli agenda' imputation] meaning is highly plastic, hence well-suited to ritualistic invocation whenever anyone has the audacity to criticize the political policies of the Israeli government or the IDF, let alone question the tenets of Zionism.

12/31/2008 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like Paranoid Patrick needs to dry out himself. He apparently thinks he has "an inkling" of Anonymous's identity, not realizing that there is more than one Anonymous writing here. Sad really. Oh, and I count myself lucky not to have seen any of your spam-whoring at Concurring O. and Sentencing Law & Policy, otherwise I would have told you to shut the fuck up at those places as well. Consider my admonition against spam-whoring a standing order.

And yes, you have an anti-Israel agenda. That much is obvious. It explains the surfeit of books from shitty non-academic presses for one thing. :)

1/01/2009 3:22 AM  
Blogger Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

One can only pity the poor anonymous commenter above whose naked display of uncouth cowardice is on par with the shameful exhibition of emasculated intelligence. And one can only marvel at the mindless revelling in vulgar vocabulary: it was both fun and naughty to frolic in the muck and mire as a child, but when one becomes an adult, the expectations for mature behavior are raised a bit higher, you might attempt to at least aspire toward them.

1/01/2009 3:47 AM  

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