Gazastan, Israeli Ghettos and the New Apartheid

I mentioned earlier that I intended to have guest postings on various subjects, and this is the first in what I hope will become a series.

James Carr is an Irish professional whose work has taken him to many disturbed parts of the world, and here’s his assessment of the dreadful events now taking place in Gaza.

— Bock


It is reported that Israeli citizens have taken to labelling the Gaza Strip somewhat sneeringly as Gazastan suggesting that it belongs more to the supposed backward (and predominantly Muslim of course) steppes of Central Asia than on the borders of a modern progressive ˜Western’ state like Israel. While such attempts to ridicule and diminish one’s enemy are by no means unusual at times of conflict, this appellation may be more revealing than might seem at first sight. Long before the dissolution of the USSR led to the proliferation of unstable and conflict-ridden ˜stan’ states, there was another notorious type of ˜stan’.

In 1970 the sanctions-beleaguered apartheid state in South Africa tried to polish up its ˜western’ democratic credentials and at the same time achieve the democratically impossible feat of ensuring that four million whites could continue to dominate a population of 26 million. Very simply, they created ten self-governing black homelands which they planned to be declared in time as independent states. In the event only four homelands – Transkei, Bophutstwana, Venta and Ciskei –  achieved full ˜independence’ between 1976 and 1981. The Apartheid Government planned to transfer the great majority of the African population to these homelands on the basis of their tribal origin. Naturally these people were now no longer considered South African citizens and naturally therefore could not vote in South African elections. These unrealistic and non-viable states were termed ˜bantustans’, initially in a parallel to the partition of the Indian sub-continent, but later increasingly as a term of derision. Just as the outrageous Bantustan experiment highlighted the fundamental contradiction in the concept of a ˜white’ South African state, Gazastan is an unavoidable counterpoint to the miracle in the desert, the modern state of Israel.

The Gaza Strip has a population of more than 1.5 million in a total area of 320 sq km giving a population density of 4688 per sq km, one of the highest in the world. However only about one third of the land is arable and most of the population is packed into the major urban concentrations of Gaza City, Khan Younis and Rafah making the real density much higher. Israel controls almost all the borders of Gaza, its maritime waters and its airspace, which is not very relevant anyway since the Israeli Air Force bombing destroyed the runway at Yasser Arafat International Airport in December 2001. Israel returned control of the narrow southern border to Egypt in 2005 but the single crossing at Rafah has rarely been open due to a number of factors including the withdrawal of EU monitors in the aftermath of the Hamas election victory in 2006.

I worked in Gaza during the innocent days of the first Intifada when 10 casualties a day was considered appalling. At the time the entire strip was under Israeli occupation, as it had been since 1967, and living conditions, although far better than today, were still grim for the Palestinian population, with high unemployment, food and fuel shortages, constant intimidation and often arbitrary arrests, beatings and killings.

Supporters of Israel consider the use of the term concentration camp in relation to Gaza an outrageous parallel to the Nazi era, but of course concentration camps were not invented in Germany.  They were invented in in British-run South Africa during the Boer war — another interesting parallel. So let’s not use the term. Just look briefly at some of the facts. About 1 million or 70% of the population are refugees or descendants of refugees from what is now southern Israel. Gaza was part of Mandate Palestine in 1948 and although administered by Egypt from 1948 to 1967 the population were never given Egyptian citizenship. The entire population is effectively stateless living in an entity whose legal status is highly ambiguous. Israel claims it no longer has the responsibilities of an occupying power since its withdrawal in September 2005. Since then, however, it has used the enormous powers at the disposal of a modern state to control virtually every aspect of life in Gaza. Especially after the victory of Hamas in the 2006 Legislative Elections, Israel has used this power to impose what is effectively collective punishment on the entire population of Gaza, declaring the strip ˜a hostile entity’, restricting fuel and food supplies and restricting movement between Gaza and the outside world including the West Bank. All Gaza electricity is supplied from Israel. You will remember the many TV appearances of Irishman John Ging, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, pleading with Israel to permit the entry of essential humanitarian supplies.

So Gaza is not really a concentration camp. The Guards do not patrol  inside the area. They do allow the population to arrange much of their own lives. However, people are generally not allowed to leave or to develop a reasonable economy, and the basic necessities of life are withheld at the whim of the invisible controlling power. The perimeter of the zone is patrolled by an aggressive military force. No, it is not a concentration camp. It is much more like the large urban zones established in the early 1940s by the occupying German authorities in places like Warsaw and Riga into which a demonised and disempowered ethnic group were ruthlessly corralled, contained, dehumanised and controlled.

Gaza is a ghetto.

Demonisation is a very important weapon in modern conflict and one of the most potent agents of demonisation is the word ˜terrorist’. Hamas is a ˜terrorist’ organisation; Gaza which it controls is a ˜terrorist’ entity and everything within the entity, whether human or infrastructure can be presented as a legitimate target.

But back in 1988 it was very different. Then the secular, non-sectarian Fatah was the ˜terrorist’ organisation and a new religious organisation called Hamas which means ˜zeal’ in Arabic was considered a suitable target for Israeli support. It was facilitated in the receipt of foreign funding and assisted by Mossad in establishing itself as a force in the occupied territories to fragment the united PLO-led front during the first intifada. When Arafat supported Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the 1990-91 Gulf conflict, the wealthy Gulf states switched their funding from the suspiciously progressive Fatah to the religiously conservative Hamas. In 1992, in another slightly weird parallel with South Africa, Arafat attacked Hamas as being the Zulus of Palestine comparing their activities to certain Zulu leaders who supported the apartheid Government against the ANC. Of course much has changed since the early 1990s. But however unwittingly, Hamas have served the long term strategic interests of the more right-wing elements in Israel quite  well over that time, transforming the image of the Palestinian cause in the West from a populist national liberation struggle to an alien, fanatical and frightening fundamentalist jihad.


This demonisation of Gaza certainly distracts attention from the basic reason for Gaza’s existence. It exists primarily as a place to incarcerate the original inhabitants of what is now southern Israel without actually having to exterminate them or to give them any of the rights extended to the citizens of a state. It is also a place where  Israel can continue to intimidate its neighbours by regularly venting its military power on an entity that possesses none of the protections of a state. It provides a fig-leaf of justification for the massive wall built by Israel within the Palestinian West Bank and it also helps us to ignore the outrageously disproportionate distribution of casualties, where 300 deaths is seen as a reasonable response to the mere threat of death to one’s own citizens. There is here of course an insidious racism that Israeli Jews are really European just like us, and of course their peace of mind and freedom to maintain a western standard of living are more important than the lives of the alien demonised Palestinians, who are clearly not like us. Yet I wonder how we would view the situation if we were imprisoned in an impoverished overcrowded ghetto where our living standards were constantly diminishing and our lives and those of our family and friends were constantly hostage to the arbitrary whim of an invisible foreign power?

Remember Warsaw and Riga and those marvellously panoramic movies celebrating the resistance and fortitude of their doomed inhabitants. And remember Human Rights are universal. Political crisis and rhetoric should never be accepted as an excuse for selective application of these universal principles.


Also on Bock :-

Israel Murders 200 People in Gaza

The Ghetto Slaughter Begins


Elsewhere :-

Salem News

Richard Falk

The People’s Voice

54 thoughts on “Gazastan, Israeli Ghettos and the New Apartheid

  1. Thank you for your personal “Summary” of life in this stricken part of our World. I have only recently become interested in the whole area of Jewish history and Israel so I don’t feel qualified enough to pass comment. However,I cannot help but feel that Israel is way over the top in their treatment of these people and there should be GENUINE international efforts to put a stop to this.

  2. says it all bock. congratulations. to anthony their will be very little response by the worlds powers.. america and britain in particalar. because too many of the american senate are jewish background. same in uk. too much jewish money their, they run britain and america, any action will just be meeely mouthed words and nothing else.

  3. So we live and learn, according to James Carr .. Gaza is..”a place where Israel can continue to intimidate its neighbours by regularly venting its military power”. A kind of military training ground I suppose. Hamas is a creation of Israel. Suicide bombers never existed and neither is it true that thousands of rockets are being fired from Gaza into Israel, or at any rate these trivia are not worth mentioning. My God these Isrealis are more devious than even Hitler could have imagined. Could it be the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is not a work of fiction after all.

  4. Well written and interesting. At the end of the day we can argue who did what to whom and when (David Fromkin’s book, A Peace To End All Peace, is a fantastic macro view of how the manoeuvrings of the Imperial powers from WW1 on created the Middle East as it is today), but a two state solution will the the only solution that works. Israel does itself no good by killing innocent citizens even if does stop the rockets and suicide bombers, and Hamas does its own people harm by refusing to talk to Israel and condoning and supporting the rockets. There is plenty of blame to go around in the Middle East. The Arab countries have also treated the Palestinian people as second class citizens, and like the imperial powers of old Iran uses Palestine as a pawn it its “Great Game” strategies, whereby the impoverishment of the Palestinian people is it its interests, and a solution is not.

    This is another well balanced piece from the pro Israel side.

    BTW book, I hope you turn your righteous indignation on the previous 2 commenters and tear their asinine, tiny minded anti semtic world domination conspiracy theories apart.

  5. To Silverfox… it could well be argued that Hamas is indeed a creation of Israel. If people to not have a democratic or what they feel is a fair say then extremism will prevail. Did we not see this in Northern Ireland? It is a fact that they are indeed lobbing rockets all over the shop too but the question that is not being addressed is why they feel the need to do this… Bombing Gaza into the stone age is fueling this anger, this rage, this solves nothing. The children who survive this massacre will not grow up to love israel. Walls have solved nothing in the history of mankind, be they physical or in the minds of men. Do we not learn from history….

  6. Anthony — Well done on starting to look into this. I wish you luck.

    Starkie — What’s going on with these generalisations about Jews? I won’t put up with that kind of thing here. Show some respect.

    Silverfox — I’d be grateful if you wouldn’t try to change what was said. Nobody suggested that suicide bombers don’t exist and nobody denied the existence of rockets. Argue against what was said, but don’t make up crap and attribute it to this site. It’s dishonest of you, and a cheap debating tactic. I notice you haven’t refuted anything that was actually said in the article.

    John — The tragedy is that this murderous action will not stop the rockets or the suicide bombers, nor is that even the purpose of the whole thing. It’s about creating de facto political realities prior to Obama’s accession.

    Paul — There’s a deep-rooted racism behind all the pro-Israel comments, as if the Palestinians were somehow an inherently murderous people, rather than the victims of a massive ethnic cleansing designed to create living space for the Israelis.

  7. bock.I
    iI apologize for that remark. shouldnt have generalised and hope my apology will be accepted. thank you and happy new year to you

  8. bock. thank you very very much for your continued information and education regarding crisis in gaza.
    to silverfox; can you please answer, why in october 2008 did ehud barak authorise a plan for “disrupting electricity supply to gaza” ? this was during a “truce” this would further compromise the welfare of palestinian civilians.
    why did tzipi livni blatantly lie in a press conferance in paris to-day, claiming that “the border crossings are now open, even more so than before the military operation”
    the world knows all border crossings are closed, with the exception of rafeh, on the egyptian border, which the un entered to-day with very limited food supplies.
    why are the israelis making telephone calls to palestinians trapped in gaza, telling them to leave their homes as they are about to be bombed…..when they know these people have no place to go?…..please can you answer??
    on dec 13th 2008 president miguel d’escoto brockmann of un gen assembly stated that the international community should consider santions against israel due to the apartheid conditions inflicted on the palestinians in gaza.
    on 16th dec 2008 cape towns newspaper cape argus reported that president kgalema motlanthes had signed a published petition protesting “israels colonial oppression of the palestinian people”
    the continued support by america of israel will not be simple or easy for obama to address, as the relationship between diaspora jews and israeli jews is complicated and primal, it goes deeper than the lobbiests in dc.
    when america creates “puppets” they do not ever seem to see that pinnochio always intervenes and their “puppets” gain a life of their own, as they have done with hamas, who the americans thought would disrupt the plo and create civil war… they did with hizbollah, the taliban and of course very much so with saddam hussein.
    meanwhile the death toll rises, 430 to-day, injured 2000.
    77 mil litres of raw sewage leaking into the drinking water.
    god help those poor people.

  9. Obviously my attempts at sarcasm leave a bit to be desired as John Mc seems to have taken it literally, and has me down as an anti-semite, and Bock seems to think I am attributing the remarks in the latter part of my post to Mr Carr.
    Like Shelock Holmes and “the dog that didn’t bark”, in this case what was not said is as important as what was said. The Israeli attack did not erupt out of nowhere, and omitting these facts (rockets and suicide bombings) is tantamount to denying them. The accusation that the Israelis are demonizing the citizens of Gaza is laughable in view of the demonization of Jews, which is the standard practise of Hamas, Islamic Jihad etc. Hamas for example endorse and propagate the fraudulent “Protocols of The Elders of Zion”, as part of their Charter.
    This article from the Jerusalem Post is worth reading for readers of this site interested in another side of the story.

  10. Silverfox — I notice you continue to distract attention from the core issues.

    Let’s leave aside your attempts at sarcasm, and just mention in passing that sarcasm is not appropriate when debating an issue as serious as this one. I’d ask you to please engage in genuine discussion instead of ridicule.

    In the last seven years 12 people have been killed by Hamas rockets, and not all of those people were Israeli. To use the Israeli term, these deaths are regrettable, but hardly in proportion to the scale of suffering inflicted on Gaza, where the streets run with blood and shit.

    Secondly, any attempts to demonise or dehumanize Israelis, while disgraceful, do not absolve Israel from culpability for inflicting mass murder on the people of Gaza. The Israelis’ attempts to dehumanise the Palestinians are far from laughable in the context of the military power available to them. It’s much easier to kill people if you don’t have to think of them as fully human.

    Thirdly, I will repeat that Gaza is a ghetto where conditions are abominable, and this ghetto was created by Israel. No people, driven from their lands and hemmed in like animals, would fail to react violently. If anybody did that to me, I would fight back. As we have seen, so would the Israelis and they would be right, given their people’s sad history. However, I would not be right to oppress and kill others in order to facilitate myself, as the Israelis are still doing.

    Finally, and you will know this perfectly well if you have ever read the rest of this site, this is not an anti-Semitic issue, and I’m sick of Israel playing that tired old card. It’s unbecoming of a regional superpower to whinge about oppression while children die under its missiles in the mud of Gazastan.

  11. The demonisation of the Jews is a fact in certain circles. But the fact that Israel hides behind it’s jewish identity does nothing to help.
    If you critise Israel for it’s outrageous actions you are called an anti-semite. Of course the fact that Palestinians, being Arab, are a semite people too seems of little importance. It is a bogus defence and has as a result further demonised Jews and taken attentin away from the victims of real anti jewish behaviour.

    Take this quote from Rabbi Avigdor Miller;

    “Actually, the State of Israel solves nothing. All “problems” remain the same, and new ones are created.

    For example:

    1) The Arabian lands have been rendered uninhabitable for Jews;

    2) constant wars with neighbors must be waged, incurring huge military expenditures and loss of many lives, in addition to constant peril;

    3) it has exacerbated Jew-hatred in the nations, due to Arab influence and also to embroilment with the foreign policy of the nations;

    4) and the proponents of the State of Israel – attempt to kindle a fire under the Jews in all lands in order to make their position untenable so that they emigrate to augment the population of the new State. (For example, Ben Gurion’s statement in the N.Y. Times 4/22/1963. “Jews are in truth a separate element in the midst of the peoples among whom they live an element that cannot be completely absorbed by any nation. for this reason no nation can calmly tolerate it in its midst”).”

  12. I have never been able to understand hatred of Jews. One of the most influential friends I ever had was a Jew called Henry Glanz, and his Jewishness was an integral part of what made him so important to me, for reasons I need not go into. I went to Auschwitz recently, in part to honour his memory, because Henry’s parents were murdered there.

    It pains me to hear people in Israel cheapen the reality of oppression by shouting “anti-Jew” every time someone has the temerity to disagree with them.

  13. “It pains me to hear people in Israel cheapen the reality of oppression by shouting “anti-Jew” every time someone has the temerity to disagree with them.”

    Generalisation coming, apology in advance…..

    Isn’t that one of the issues with racism in general, disagreeing with someone can be deliberately reffered to as “racist activity”.

  14. Yes. It happens all the time. You resist me, so I accuse you of being anti-Irish, anti-Italian, anti-women, anti-men, anti-midget, whatever fits.

    It’s dishonest and it’s irrelevant, but it distracts from the real issues and it works.

    Nobody said the Israelis were fools.

  15. silverfox. i read your link to the “jerusalem post”, however, i fail to see its relevance to this discussion, in its entirety.

    my view on that is, when atrocities have been commited and attributed to “islamic terrorists” the powers that be, ie. Britain and America have been seen to react urgently.
    As in post 9/11 the invasion of Afghanistan, then Iraq and the setting up of Guantanamo.

    Also the rules and laws which govern travel and movement were seriously overhauled.

    The shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes by British police. post the London bombings.

    For populations to see the reaction of such governments, whether they disapprove or approve, in all liklihood dispels the need for public protest and/or demonstration.

    The above mentioned movement of a populace to demonstrate against a government is usually generated by fraustration at the ineffectiveness of a Government to deal with their problem.

    With regard the ongoing support of the U.S. and Israel, the Israel’s have had many allegiances and support down the years,

    Firstly with the Russians, until Stalin went on an anti-semetic rampage.
    Israels support of America during the Korean war severed their ties with russia.

    In the late 50’s early 60’s their main arms supplier was France, until the eve of the 6 day war, President Charles de Gaulle placed an arms embargo on Israel, due to their preemtive strike on its arab neighbours, at that time he described the Israeli’s as “an elite people, self assured and domineering”.

    Up to 1963 the Americans were wary of becoming Israels patron, in case it damaged ties with emerging Arab oil powers.

    After 1970 when Soviet Russia became involved with Egypt and Syria in an attempt to destabilise Jordan, the Nixon administration felt compelled to support Israel to maintain a balance of power in the region.

    That is now history, and the lands comprising the state of Israel have grown and flourished, while Gaza and the West bank have become smaller and smaller. It might be akin to Ireland ending up with half of Mayo and possibly Cork, would that be acceptable to the Irish ? or would we fight back?

  16. Sephardic Jews are those who originate from the Arab world (and many, many of these people ended up in Israel because of Zionist provocations married to Arab bourgeois nationalist expediency). Ashkenazic Jews are those originating from Europe. An ‘apartheid’ exists within Israel with the Ashkenazic elite dominating the establishment. More recent right-wing radicals (Likud…..) have exploited the bitterness of certain brutalised Sephardic layers to turn the p0litical path along the counter-revolutionary road that developed from the mid to late 70’s worldwide. Looking for a nationalist ( a Palestinian state) or a reformist (pressure the Israeli state) solution to the plight of the Palestinian dispossesd is illusory.
    The backward, reactionary, increasingly fascistic actions of the Israeli state are an expression of the crisis of the whole capitalist system.
    Progress is halted, historically, by the contradiction between a globalised, international economy (which the capitalist system has brought to such integrated and complex levels) and the enforced imposition onto this economy of national barriers in the interests of competing bourgeoisie whose power is based on the nation state; and an economy in the private hands of this same borgeoisie organised to gain profit for it’s particular owners, not for the common good – and not to be efficient.
    Socialism, the concious re-organisation of the world economy as a world economy, owned by society as whole, planned rationally and controlled by the world’s people, is the next step in human history. A socialist world state system which will lead to a communist society( no classes actually existing). The spiral of human history coming back on itself at a higher level – the return of human society to a non-class society (the period of human history from the emergence of Homo Sapiens, perhaps over 200,000 years ago, up until the development of agriculture and the first created surpluses, and classes); but at level beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors. This coming communistic society is what Marx referred to as the beginning of human history.
    The barbarism meted out to the residents of Gaza is the only answer a bankrupt capitalist system has to offer. Livni’s ominous threat to expel the 1 million plus Arab citizens of Israel into Gaza and the remnants of the West Bank can only lead, along with the attacks on the current residents of these open-air prisons, to the ‘logical’ conclusion, for crisis-capitalism, to the fascist conclusion of extermination. That is the future we are offered worldwide if we let this system persist. Politics is everything. Conciousness, education, leadership, struggle. We are living at a turning-point in history.

  17. I’m sorry Mervyn, but that isn’t English. It’s jargon. You might know that I have a policy about gobbledygook on this site and I can’t understand a word of what you’ve written here because it’s all in your own private language. If you want to write a long socialist diatribe on this site, the least you might do is write it in terms people can follow.

    Plain English, please, if you wouldn’t mind.

  18. Before i try yet again to switch my mind from what is happening in gaza….just this.
    The boat called “Dignity” carrying medical aid to Gaza was rammed by an Israeli navel patrol in international waters.

    On board were 4 Doctors, an Al Jazeera reporter, other crew…and Caoimhe Butterly from Ireland and Derek Graham from Ballina Co Mayo.

    you can view this on also on youtube.

    judge for yourself, but if you have questions regarding this incident, then you might call on a representative of the Irish government to question this act by the Israeli navel vessel.

  19. Hello Bock, you keep long hours!
    Might I first offer a comment on your site – it’s refreshing because it does not participate in petty ‘slagging’ or mud-slinging (or vulgarity). It offers a place to have a discussion. You are to be applauded. Wholeheartedly.
    Now, instead of me trying to justify or explain my comments, I suggest you perhaps tell me what you do not understand in my submission?
    I am in complete agreement with you about empty sloganeering, soap-box stuff.
    Maybe I could put it back to you that a lifetime of experiencing that kind of two-dimensional petty politicking (barren ‘socialist’ droning) has turned you right off considering anything at all which smacks of that.
    (Compounding the problem of course are the sorry attempts by me to be articulate. If you look back at my first first foray you’ll see I did refer you and the community of contributors to a site where I believe the arguments I put are fought for persuasively.)
    Anyhow, your general comment is taken on board by me; but is there something in the particular points I have raised concerning what I believe to be the source of Zionist barbarism?

  20. -Mervyn Crawford
    It sounds like you’re promoting a New World Order. A world government at this time, given the powers that control the economies, militaries, banking etc of the world, would probably resemble a global fascist police state rather than your socialist utopia.
    Your New World Order would also require a New World Government. Would it be made up of the workers do you think, or as is the case, a class of political elites.

    Also I don’t really see the connection with what is happening in Gaza.

  21. Hello C’est la Craic,
    It is very late and tomorrow calls.
    Quick answer:
    New World Order? Not new at all (capitalism in a new garb, answering changed circumstances) except in the sense that instead of being beaten up to keep in line the death penalty is now the punishment of choice; and instead of progress of any sort, across all fronts – arts and science – we now have right-wing radicalism (seemingly progress, Hitler’s work programs in the 30’s etc).
    World government? Very definitely yes. It is a world economy.
    Imposed? No. Except in the sense that no tiny percentage of the population have freedom to exploit and abuse all humanity. Impose there narrow ends.It should be imposed that exploitation is not allowed!
    Utopia? Could I refer you to Frederich Engels “Socialism; Utopian and Scientific”.
    Available on the web.
    Much apologies for rushing. Have to sign off now. Will check back tomorrow.

  22. -Mervyn
    If you remember, Utopia was not made for man.

    Every system of government creates positions of power and power enivitable corrupts, and as the saying goes, absolute power(as in World governance) corrupts absolutly.

    But we are straying from the subject. Bock will most likey offer you another occasion to air your views but for now lets stick to whats happening in Gaza, before the man himself shows up to put us back in line.
    Good night

  23. Mervyn — I can’t comment on the points you made. The syllable-per-word count was so high I lost the will to live halfway through reading it.

    I have no objection to jargon when it stays at home. It serves a useful purpose among the people who share it, and in your case, I imagine that would be people who have a common socialist ideology.

    However, when trying to get your point across to ordinary people like me, it becomes an obstacle to you, because I immediately lose interest if I have to wade through all this in-speak. In the same way that I ask you to write in plain language, if a doctor left a comment here about myocardial infarctions I’d ask him why he didn’t say “heart attacks”.

  24. C’est….. – the proposed socialist revolution is based on the exploited class taking power, as opposed to a new exploiting class (as the bourgeoisie were when they replaced feudal exploitation). The working masses interest is to abolish exploitation. The economic revolution wrought by capitalism in the last two hudred years plus, has created the very conditions to attain the end of exploitation, superabundance in economic product – if planned internationally and taken out of narrow private hands.

    Bock…. I don’t think my points are actually difficult to comprehend, as I put them. The thrust of the argument would not be found outside political socialist comment, that is true; but inherently opaque?
    Acquainting oneself with basic principles of socialist thought is, I believe, an absolute requirement for our generation because of what lies ahead; and because socialism is for our generation an unknown thing -completely unlike the generations preceeding us.

    With regard to history, politics, philosohy we are a very ignorant bunch. Artisans and small farmers in pre 1798 Ireland had much more sophisticated and informed world outlooks than we do. We have a lot of learning to do, and quickly.

    Might I suggest Bock opens a topic on Socialism?

  25. mervyn crawford. whereas i find your posts way off topic, i also find your definitions of Sephardic and Ashkenzi Jews somewhat misleading.

    Sephardic Jews originated in Spain, direct translation, Sephardic meaning Spain, they, together with the moors built a civilistation in Cordoba known as Al Andalus, where they co existed with their muslim brothers for over 400 years in total peace.

    The Ashkenzi jews were a very small sector living in Rhineland W Germany, in 1931 Ashkenzi jews made up 3% of jewish population, this has now grown to 80% now 7 million of 8 million jews in America are Ashkenzi.

    With the crisis in Gaza escalating by the hour, and all the signs of a ground force invasion on the way, i don’t think the differences in customs or liturgy of Sephardic and Ashkenzi jews will be an issue to the forefront.

    Neither will issues of “utopia” or “Socialism” it seems that regardless of religious affiliations or political will, this murderous intent will continue to grow.

    I don’t ever feel comfortable with the collision of religion and politics, but how was it that Jews and Muslims did coexist in peace, how was it that Christians and Muslims coexisted in peace ? The Christian population in Jerusalem has fallen to 1.8 %.

    With the very complex rules of “right to return” laying over all religious persuasions living in Israel and Palestinian, my question is…Who sees God as an “estate agent”

  26. Why is it always anti-Semitic when people say that Israel is wrong. Can’t they sometimes be wrong?

  27. Steiger..My point in raising the issue of Jews of different origin and historical background was not to interject an obscure point about liturgical difference. rather it was to bring out the issue of political complexity and class within Jewish Israel; and point out that Israeli society is not apart from the world trends post 1960’s that underly the developments in every country in the world – namely the re-emergence of world capitalist crisis and the turn by the world’s bourgeoisie to the right.
    The immediate incipient allies of the Palestinian oppressed are the Israeli oppressed. Just as the Unionist establishment and British Imperialism are, objectively, the mortal enemy of the Protestant working class in the north. So the Zionist establishment and US Imperialism are, objectively, the enemy of the Israeli Jewish masses.
    The problem however is that subjectively, conciously, the Jewish Israeli is not fully aware of this – because in the final analysis the Jewish Israeli, just like the Palestinian Arab, and the Irish toiler, have no political party of their own to articulate these objective class interests. The bourgeoisie have very political device and tool at their disposal. What do we have?
    The struggle to free the Palestinian oppressed (and a small minority are not oppressed) can only be achieved with the destruction of Zionism and overcoming of bourgeois Arab nationalism through a common struggle by Arab and Jew for a secular socialist Palestine – as part of a United Socialist States of the whole region. This is not pie in the sky – rather I would conterpose that expectiing reforms from Zionism and Imperialism is the great delusion.

  28. Mervyn — Fascinating though your analysis might be, this isn’t the place for it. Stick to the bombing of Gaza.

  29. mervyn; i do not wish to illicit any further diatribe from you out of respect for bocks specific post on Gaza.

    all i will say is that your comment “jewish Israeli/Palestinian Arab/ Irish toiler have no political party to articulate for them” is incredibly condesending and archaic.

    Rob; Anti Israel and Anti Semitism are inextricably cloaked in the challenge of Israels right to exist

    A challenge to Israels right to exist is percieved as a challenge to the existence of the Jewish people, only if one believes that all Jews invest their perpetuity in the State of Israel in its current form.

    It is not progressive or acceptable to equate Jews with Zionists or Jewishness with Zionism, it was well debated as to whether Zionism should become the basis for a state, whether the Jews had the right to lay claim to land inhabited by Palestinians for centuries, could the future of a Jewish state be founded upon the violent expropriation of land.

    There are those who sought to make Zionism compatible with peaceful coexistance with Arabs, and those who used it for an excuse for extreme military aggressin, and continue to do so.

    The dislocation of almost a million Palestinians was not a suitable foundation upon which to build a state.

    However, this labelling of “Anti Semite” confines free thinkers to becoming either pro Israel or pro Palestinian.

    It is unrealistic for Politicians to take such extreme a stance, in general terms.

    We can openly admire the self determination of the Palestinian people, but condemn “suicide bombers” We can accept Israels right to exist, but we can question what legitimate and democratic form that existence ought to take……and that brings us right back to the drawing board.

  30. Bock..I would like to thank you for your courtesy and efforts in extending your offers for discussion. I must follow your instruction.
    It is my view, however, that the political points I have raised are at the very heart of the way to end Imperialist barbarism. That is my unshakeable belief.
    Stleger… I do not agree it is codescending to state that the great mass of humanity do not have their own political party and voice, whilst the ruling class have no end of political and ideological weapons (including, for example, the US Democratic Party; The Irsh Congress of Trade Unions; the middle class protest left MOVEMENT – NOT middle class protesters per se; and so on ad infinitum).
    It is because there is no modern expression of a very proud socialist heritage that you find my comments so puzzling, foreign and even disagreeable. ‘What has all that waffle/jargon/gobbledygook got to do with sorting out the real problems now?!)
    But might I not put it back to you that the ‘Real problem now’ of Palestine has existed since 1948, that’s 60 years ago. There are people in their 80’s and 90’s now who said in 1948 ‘Never mind all that politics, we must deal with the masacare of the Palestinians NOW!’
    So it’s my belief that instead of trying to confine discussion, it should be expanded. That is the way forward for humanity. That is th struggle, the CONCRETE struggle.
    In case some fellow contributors and readers were not aware of a site I referred to in another discussion topic, might I repeat just once more an appeal to read
    I cannot ignore Bock’s own appeal; and must say here that I will will close my comments with this one.

  31. Mervyn — In my experience, unshakable belief is the most dangerous thing in the world. It gave us Auschwitz, Babi Yar, Katyn, Jasenovac, Treblinka, Cambodia, Sabra, 9-11, Chatila, Rwanda, Gaza, and those are just a few random examples off the top of my head.

    So no. I’m sorry, but I’ll have no unshakable beliefs on this site.

    Also, whether you realise it or not, you are in fact proselytising on behalf of your unshakable belief, so could we get back to the here and now please? People in Gaza are being murdered today and I want to stay with that.

    The new world order will have to look after itself for the moment.

  32. stleger norma
    You say: “my view on that is, when atrocities have been committed and attributed to “islamic terrorists” the powers that be, ie. Britain and America have been seen to react urgently.”
    Maybe in regard to international terrorist attacks such as those you mention this is true, but in the context of the present crisis it seems to me that the complete opposite is the case. The international community only woke up when Israel decided to take action to prevent the rocket attacks. It was exactly the same two years ago when Israel decided to follow Hizbullah terrorists into Lebanon. I’m not sure what news media you read or listen to but it appears to me that the bulk of commentators are anti the Israeli actions. Two years ago Israel took enormous criticism for chasing Hizbullah, again unfairly in my opinion, but as things turned out their incursion was extremely effective, since it triggered enough international action to ensure that Hizbullah have been prevented since then from firing, as one commentator said today, ” so much as an arrow” into Israel since. Then Israel was provoked into aggressive action. Now it is forced to do so again. I hope it is as successful. The loss of innocent lives is not something anyone welcomes, but the blame for that loss must be placed where it belongs, and that is squarely with Hamas. By the way I also posted a link to that organisation’s Charter somewhere which makes revealing reading.
    Bock: I’m not sure about this but some of your posts indicate that this site was being accused of anti-semitism. I re-read my post to see if it was something I’d said in that, explicit or implicit, and I can’t find it. I do accuse Hamas of this charge. I don’t believe anybody, not even Hamas could credibly deny that. Anyway to put the record straight I don’t believe that you or most posters on this site are racist or anti-semitic. There was one pretty anti-semitic post up there but he seemed to back off when you got at him.

    Mervyn: All I can say is you must be young. Did you swallow Das Capital or something?

    I woke up this morning with a belated New Year resolution not to post again on this subject – but as with all the others here I go again, so apologies to all.

  33. I have read Mervyns magnificent posts and marveled at the vast incoherence of his intelligence.

    Having lost lost the will to live twice during my meandering descent into their deep insignificance, I was suddenly jolted back to life by the lines, “this is the struggle, the CONCRETE struggle.

    No ordinary struggle this one, but a CONCRETE one, you hear, you swivel eyed, snot nosed urchins of the recently deceased Celtic Tiger.

    Mervyn also invites us to visit a socialist web site…….The horror, the horror” as Brando whispers at the end of Apocalypse Now.

    In my naiveté, I assumed that the history of Marxism part on said site would be full of one liners from Groucho.

    But, alas, it is of the less intellectual variety. The history part does mention mention Des Kapitol however.

    Ronald Regan once said that a communist was someone that had read Des Kapitol and a capitalist was someone that had read it and understood it.

    Groucho, the only true Marxist, would have loved that one.

    Meanwhile, I have to take issue with Silverfox and he on here with his high felutin ideas, upsetting the overwhelming consensus – disproportionate response anyone?.

    I mean, this outrageous man appears to be suggesting that sovereign states should react, react I tell you, when agencies, who have vowed to wipe out said state, fire rockets into their territory.

    Not so Silverfox, we can bring Islamic Jihad to its knees by taking to our beds like John and Yoko, joining hands and signing “all we are saying is give peace a chance”.

    That would teach them.

  34. The mind boggles. The comments above remind me of the gobbledygook that we used to have to learn during our apprenticeship……
    Now where is that spellbook?
    oh bloody hell……….
    FIREBALL, damn you….
    Just a small one please, oh mighty god of magic? I’m not looking for Hiroshima or anything like that but bigger than K20

  35. Abdul be careful! You broke two rules in that post.
    1. Sarcasm is disallowed.
    2. You can’t be funnier than Bock.
    That last one is unwritten but everyone else adheres to it.

  36. Mervyn Crawford

    Set up your own blog and see how many visitors you get.

    People of whatever class or religion will be FREE to take your instruction.

    Personally I find Marxisim/Leninism/Maoism/Facisim/National Socialism completely offensive.

    Israel is behaving to the residents of Gaza as the NAZIs behaved to the Jews of Warsaw.

    Its that simple.

  37. silverfox; Hamas offered to renew the ceasefire if Israel would agree to reopen the border crossings, the closure of same had placed an economic stranglehold on Gaza.

    Israel refused. I am not supporting the actions of Hamas in this instance, I will not repeat the massive gaps in the death toll either.

    Let me make this real simple, lets say I am driving somewhere every day, these “lads” persistently throw stones at my vehicle, not doing much in the way of damage but physcologically stressing me out as to the potential damage they might cause.
    So one day I see them take aim and decide to turn my big 4×4 toward them and drive right over them, lets say killing 2 and rendering the 3rd paralysed, have i used disproportionate force ?
    I have kept this analagy good and simple.

    Its becoming downright ludicrous that the people of Gaza are being blamed for their own deaths, “you are being murdered and so is your family because you live too close to a member of Hamas” Its beyond any description of crazy.

    My posts on bocks site are one’s of human concern, I completly fail to understand how anyone with a conscience could condone this mass slaughter.

    May i please refer you to the following.

    silverfox; “don’t be funnier than bock” in your dreams mate

  38. Dreadful events in Gaza. All that awful misery and destruction. We are all of us are diminished by these events. Dreadful. It must stop now and the criminals must be held accountable.

  39. This from FIDF

    “The Friends of Israeli Defence Forces”

    “Having just this morning visited our boys on the frontline as they await only a green light to hurl themselves into the line of fire, I can say that what we ask of our fellow Jews in the Diaspora is exceedingly modest relative to the sacrifice that these young Jews are about to undertake. The anticipation in the air is palpable, along with a stern confidence rooted in readiness.

    But some of these expectant faces will not return from battle and others will return less than whole. Though they ask for nothing and thank us for every gesture, what we owe them is incalculable. They must not be taken for granted and every Jew on earth must know that a life and death battle is about to be fought on behalf of all the Jewish people by these young anonymous souls, connected to us by G-d and a milennial bond. Let us not fail to show them our support.

    Arthur Stark
    FIDF National Chairman”


    It looks like Israel is looking for peace.

    Or it is just a Facist State.

    What is this?

    “Though they ask for nothing and thank us for every gesture, what we owe them is incalculable”

    They? Nothing? Thank? Us?

    Hallelu – JAH

  40. -stleger norma
    Well said. Your link was incomplete but I found it again.

    -Silverfox and Abdul
    Yes, the mass death of these non-people is indeed quite the chuckle. Let’s face it, the Earth is over crowded anyway so sho’s going to miss a few barbaric sand monkies right…?
    You both could easily be accused of anti-semitism but I think your lack of human compassion is probably worse.

  41. Abdul — Israel is not reacting to the Hamas rockets, and well you know it.

    The rockets, which are utterly ineffectual, are Israel’s excuse for attacking the people in the ghetto.

    In seven years the rockets killed 12 people. In seven days, Israel has killed 500.

    Sneer at that.

    You, and one or two others commenting here, have a single agenda: to distract attention from the killings in Gaza. That will not happen.

    Likewise, you will not shift the discussion away from what was written in this article. Address the specifics of what was written here, if you wouldn’t mind.

    Silverfox — Do you think this is a private club between you and Abdul? Comment on the details of the article and keep the smart-ass remarks to yourself. Show a bit of respect.

  42. c’est; sorry about that, i fell foul of the “brain working faster than the fingers” obstacle, glad you found it.

    a question for you c’est, as you seem very “au fait” with all things “francophilian” (no such word) do you think Sarkozy might be haunted by De Gaulle in the “chambres” of The Elysee, and somehow say something relevant on his visit to the region on monday?

    I’m probably being totally naive again.

    And where the hell IS Mr Tony Blair ? special envoy to the middle east ? good question asked by Robert Fisk.

  43. -stleger norma
    Not to worry. I just wanted to read the article and found the link didn’t work. It’s always those few numbers at the end that make the difference.

    Sarkozy is a power hungry asshole. Like Bertie but with a mind like razor. I would never be so niave as to compare Sakozy to Bush because he is vastly more intelligent. He has mastered the art of spin to the point where Communications agancies use his campaigne as a reference point.
    Sarkozy regularily uses De Gaulle’s name in his speaches but it is really Bushism (or Chenyism in disguise). He wants a consolidated Europe, not for the benefit of his voters but for the benefit of his “chére compatriots” or his business associates, who he will put in power. That is how he acts in France. If you disagree you are out.
    Normaly we would call this Totalitarianism but because it happens in a Developed country we say it is normal. I can assure you from personal experience it is false. Everything Sarkozy says is ‘Blah, blah’, lip sevice, point. His hate for Arabs is well known. He has expressed it on numerous occaisons. Please I ask all readers to FULLY research Sarkozy and his philosophie before giving him some kind of white knight status. He is REALLY the French Bertie but with alot more intelligence and with much better publicity.

    When he goes to Gaza he will say everything that is expected of him, but behind closed doors he will say that these ‘terrorists’ need to be irradicated. He is one of the most public rascist in France.
    Even Jean Marie Le Penn would be proud. After all, by stealing his voters, that’s how Sarko won the race.

  44. c’est. Thank you for your insight again.

    I am considering scrapping my 4 mile walk on this lovely day to carry out the research you have suggested…

    just passing on to you 2 further articles, i am taking more care this time so hopefully it will be succesful for you.
    the above came from a google type “neocon calls on obama for “regime change” in iran”
    I’m no believer in conspiracy theories, but that one is really frightening.

    I am obviously a big “Robert Fisk” admirer so heres another one.
    hope all that works.

  45. stleger norma:
    Your “analogy” is fine except it is not analogous to what is going on in this situation. Hamas has been firing rockets into Southern Israeli cities attempting to kill as many Israeli citizens as they possibly can. No attempt of any kind is made to distinguish between military or civilian, or young or old. The rockets fail not because the weapons are not lethal, as you appear to suggest, but rather because Israelis in those cities must constantly take to shelters.
    Any country has a right and a duty to defend it’s citizens against constant rocket bombardments and attempted murder. What would you like them to do?

    I don’t get the “disproportionate response” argument either. It seems to be some new war rule invented by anti-Israeli commentators. What war in history ever totted up the casualties and agreed to have one for one. You enter a war with the purpose of winning. Yes there are rules, such as not deliberately targeting civilians. You decide which side is in breach of that one. One thing is certain. If Hamas had the military capacity to wipe out all of Israel and it’s citizens, it would certainly not hesitate.

    I find Robert Fisks opinions so one-sided and predictable as to be valueless. He is anti- American, and anti-Isreali and that colours everything he writes. I read an article of his a day or so after the 9/11 twin-towers bombing and the gloating tone of it sickened me.

  46. Silverfox — You herd 1.5 million people into the most densely populated place on earth, and then, when you drop bombs on that place, you claim not to be targetting civilians.

    That’s as neat and dishonest a piece of doublethink as I’ve seen in a long time. The Vatican would be proud of you.

    On your point about Fisk, this ad hominem argument really is becoming tiresome. Instead of labelling people anti-American or anti-Israeli, what about addressing substantive points? Deal with the issues instead of trying to smear the people you disagree with.

    There is no substance to anything you’ve said so far. Just bluster. All you’ve done since you came here is contradict and deny like a character in a Monty Python sketch.

    Which reminds me — it’s a crime to deny certain atrocities, but not others. Sauce for the goose.

  47. silverfox; there is little need for me to reply as bock has already responded to you.

    As you directed your post to me, this is what i have in response.

    My analagy may well be “analogous” and that response is particularly ambiguous.

    “you enter war with the purpose of winning”

    There are many, many intelligent people who disagree with that statement.
    War is about change or defense or force, there are no “winners” in war, but if thats your perception.

    “not deliberatly targeting civilians”
    No ? when did you last hear of a “terrorist donkey”
    On tues last one of the Israeli guided missiles fired on a donkey with a small cart and 2 children, aged 11 and 12, killing all… tiny incident in this crisis.

    At no time have i suggested “hamas rockets” not lethel…..reread.

    “Israelis take to their shelters”
    well at least they have fucking shelters.

    Your rant of anti-israel/anti-american is just ignorant, it is a wonder of the “free world” that it is not only ok but vital that people can criticise the foreign policy of any government or agency they wish.

    I will leave you with a quote from David Ben Gurion
    “where we plough our last furrow is where we will put our border”
    and on they plough.

  48. stleger norma
    “My analagy …” I’m afraid I can’t make sense of this so maybe it got garbled.
    “War is about change ..” . Are you saying that in certain wars, you don’t try to defeat your enemy? Some example please – I can’t think of any.
    “The children and the donkey” I don’t know about this incident so I will take your word for it. I certainly don’t condone it. I am not saying that all Israeli combatants behave correctly. I don’t believe that IDF target civilians.
    You used throwing stones at vehilcles as analogy. That hardly implies lethal – seems to me to suggest a bit of vandalism.

    “At least they have their fucking shelters”. Was the abusive language necessary? Would you prefer they didn’t?
    As far as my “ignorant rant” goes I will not respond in kind. Bock also doesn’t like this because of “argument ad hominem”. Call it what you want. I am not debating against Robert Fisk. It is a matter of trust of sources, I don’t trust that one – I have read and listened to him over the years, and I don’t propose to waste time arguing over what he says.
    Just to balance your Ben Gurion quote: Here is one from Hamas Charter:
    “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.”
    This is who Israel must deal with.
    Bock: Abuse is no substitute for argument. I won’t respond to that.

  49. Silverfox — State what abuse you refer to. I’m saying you have not yet responded to any of the specifics of this post.

    That is not abuse. That is a fact. Do you take me for a complete fool?

    You have refused several requests by me to deal with the issues raised on this post, and choose instead to deal in spin.

    Because you have refused to respect those requests, I intend in future to treat your comments as propaganda.

    You’re not very good at this, are you?

  50. bock; I think silverfox was refering to my comment “fucking shelters” as being an “abusive comment”
    If anybody else found that abusive, i apologise, however to you silverfox, i exclude you from my apology, reason being it is very revealing of your mind set that you would focus on my use of a “swear” word, in light of discussion here.
    I will not respond to such blatant “nit picking” and hypocrisy.

  51. It isn’t abusive language and Silverfox is perfectly well aware of it. He’s just trying to distract attention from the fact that innocent people are being murdered now in Gaza, as we speak.

    Silverfox is a politically-motivated drone and will pull any cheap trick to derail the discussion, including trying to correct you on your language. You didn’t abuse him and he has no business commenting on your choice of language. If you want to say “fucking shelters”, go right ahead. It isn’t for a schoolboy to correct you.

  52. With much respect for this site I wanted to bring to your attention two clips on Youtube that may interest your readers. It involves a writer and a “philosopher”(self proclaimed). Both of Jewish origin, unfortunatly the discourse is in French but if someone can translate it it really would explain so much. I might give it a crack later but I will post the link anyway. Sorry for draging up an old subject but it may put several points of view to bed
    If I am being a prick with the French thing I will sort it Monday!
    Enjoy the weekend!

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