X Close

How the Israel-Hamas culture war shames us The online debate is stigmatising and reductive

They've picked a side. (Jacek Boczarski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

They've picked a side. (Jacek Boczarski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)


October 27, 2023   7 mins

Alongside the terrible war that started on 7 October, a virulent war of words is now erupting across the globe. And it seems that in both cases, many participants are not observing ethical rules of engagement. This week, for instance, Israeli officials demanded the resignation of UN Secretary-General António Guterres after he said in a speech that the 7 October attack “did not happen in a vacuum”. The Israel ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, has responded by accusing Guterres of expressing “understanding for terrorism and murder” and “compassion for the most terrible atrocities committed against the citizens of Israel”. He has also described the Secretary-General as “blaming the victim” in a way that amounts to a “blood libel”.

UK politicians have since added their disapproval. Rishi Sunak said that “there’s one person responsible for what happened and that’s Hamas”. Oliver Dowden added: “there can be absolutely no blaming of anyone for this terrorist attack other than those terrorists in Gaza”. The only problem is that it is unclear who they are arguing with — for Guterres seems to agree with them. In the very same speech, he stressed that he “condemned unequivocally the horrifying and unprecedented 7 October acts of terror by Hamas in Israel”. He also said that “nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians”; and that “the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas”.

What does seem clear from the content of Guterres’ speech is that he believes that both Israel and Hamas are currently engaged in human rights violations; and that Israel has committed such violations in the past. These are negative moral evaluations to which Israel was bound to react strongly. But  — leaving aside whether Guterres is right or wrong about Israel’s actions — strictly speaking, his condemnations do not imply that Israel is morally responsible for Hamas’s acts of shocking brutality. To recognise that two sides are both at fault does not justify what either of them do to each other; and positing historical causes is not the same as distributing blame.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that the charitable interpretation of opponents’ words is one of the first things to go in a war. But still, the phenomenon is striking. And a similar dynamic is currently playing out all over the internet. Everywhere you look, hidden meanings are being assigned to others with absolute certainty — despite the fact that their actual word choices say nothing of the kind

If you describe the plight of Palestinians empathically, you are probably a terrorist supporter. If you express horror at images of Israeli and Jewish agony — but not of Palestinian pain in the very same breath — then you are clearly prepared to cheer on whatever is now happening to civilians in Gaza. If, instead, you attempt to say something empathic about devastating suffering on both sides, then that’s not good enough either — for now you are a milquetoast apologist for the war crimes of whichever side your hearers object to the most.

Banal facts about the practicalities of much public speech — for instance, that word counts are often unavoidably limited, or that a single expression of blame or sympathy can’t possibly represent the entirety of one’s thinking or feeling on a matter — tend to be ignored in the emotional rush to shove a speaker or author into one hostile camp or other. In the face of such a widespread lack of interpretative charity, you would be forgiven for concluding that the best policy would be to say nothing publicly about the conflict at all; there is little likelihood of making any positive difference, and a high chance that you will only add pointlessly to the noise. A wise plan, perhaps, were it not for the fact that, according to many, your silence now makes you a moral coward.

Of course, there are those who make their meaning perfectly clear. Take activist and former UK ambassador Craig Murray, who last week tweeted that, though he had always “viscerally opposed war”, “in the coming Gaza genocide, every act of armed resistance by Hamas and Hezbollah will have my support”. He went on: “what do you expect the Palestinians to do when the Israelis sweep in to kill tens of thousands and drive millions into the Sinai desert. Sing kumbaya to them?” Here Murray is not just drawing a causal link between past actions of Israel and current Hamas aggression, as a historian trying to understand the background political situation might do — and perhaps as Guterres was trying to do too. He is unambiguously alleging that the former morally justifies the latter, effectively signing a blank cheque for whatever savagery is carried out in the name of Palestine next.

Meanwhile, there are also plenty on the pro-Israel side prepared to declare in public that whatever Israel does in response is fully morally justified, with little apparent concern for the detail of what is occurring on the ground. But in between these two absolutist stances, there are lots of others responding to the conflict who are not saying or thinking either of these things, yet who are being interpreted by others as doing so.

Admittedly, some attributions of sinister meaning do seem apt. The Artists for Palestine UK letter, which was circulated last week, heavily focuses on Israeli infractions, while assiduously avoiding specific mention of the horrific murders, rapes, and kidnapping of Israeli civilians. As such, it appeared to be a prime example of what philosopher of language Paul Grice called “conversational implicature”: that is, intentionally implying some meaning not literally present in one’s choice of words (namely, that Israel is the only morally relevant aggressor). In this case though, unlike other superficially similar ones, there were some features which made the attribution of implied meaning look more plausible.

Most obviously, the authors of the letter had plenty of time and a relatively unlimited word count at their disposal when they wrote it. They might very easily have condemned the actions of Hamas and expressed sympathy for Israeli victims in addition to making their other points, but they did not. Instead, they talked vaguely only of “condemning every act of violence against civilians and every infringement of international law whoever perpetrates them” before swiftly moving on.

Equally, and as a recent counter letter from Israel-based progressives and peace activists has pointed out, the artists’ letter uses the language of human rights and yet apparently fails to extend the logic to Jewish people in particular. Since we generally expect people to take positions consistent with their background political commitments, where there is ample opportunity for a set of authors to manifest those commitments in a particular case yet fail to do so, it looks like something important is implied by the omission. All the more so where the authors also know they will be expected by readers to say what is being avoided.

Even here, though, it is worth bearing in mind that one’s interpretation might — just might — be wrong. (I don’t think it is in this case, but still.) Working out what is being implied but not directly stated is not like deducing the answer to a problem in arithmetic. As an interpreter of others’ pronouncements, you make assumptions which are always defeasible: for instance, that the speaker uses particular concepts as you do, that she has access to the same basic facts that you do, and that she actually has, at least roughly, the communicative goals that you attribute to her. This may not always prove to be the case, on further inspection.

Grice himself thought that working out what someone means to say is partly a matter of working out what purpose she is trying to achieve in speaking. His paradigm example was an ordinary conversation between two people in which the goal is the exchange of information. The speaker tries to get the hearer to believe something that she, the speaker, also believes. If information exchange is indeed a particular speaker’s goal, Grice thought, you can usually also assume that she will try to be truthful, relevant, economical with unnecessary detail, and clear in her expression — even if she fails in the attempt.

If she then omits something that you expected her to say — for instance, that Hamas’s treatment of Israeli civilians in the past few weeks is a disgusting breach of their human rights — perhaps the most straightforward explanation is that she doesn’t believe it herself, and so doesn’t intend to get you to believe it either. But it might also be because she thinks you already believe this, so that it would be uneconomical and perhaps even irrelevant to tell you again. The latter explanation looks unlikely in the case of the artists’ letter, but is not completely out of the question.

On social media, the necessarily truncated format — and moreover one that is often divorced from relevant context about the speaker or author — means that attributing unspoken implicatures to others is highly fraught. But to some extent, the same applies to public speech more generally. It’s why, despite their popularity amongst vengeful types, most complaints of “dog whistling” tend to fall flat: nobody can work out how to distinguish “covertly signalling your political commitments to your tribe in a way that only they will recognise” from merely accidentally saying the sorts of things which make it look as if you are. So much depends on background context about the speaker, to which hearers don’t usually have deep access.

Ideally then, if interpretative accuracy were really the goal, most public speech would be interpreted cautiously. Perhaps though, it will be riposted that this precisely should not be the goal, now that a war is on. Maybe the more morally urgent task is to stigmatise certain dangerous viewpoints, and also to be seen to do so, so that the habit spreads — whether the speaker currently being shamed or upbraided actually holds those viewpoints or not.h

Indeed, this seems to be Israel’s attitude, at least sometimes. Last week, the “State of Israel” Instagram account singled out model and actress Gigi Hadid for having shared a post saying “There is nothing Jewish about the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians. Condemning the Israeli government is not antisemitic and supporting Palestinians is not supporting Hamas.” In response, the Israel posted: “@gigihadid Have you been sleeping the past week? Or are you just fine turning a blind eye to Jewish babies being butchered in their homes? Your silence has been very clear about where you stand. We see you.” In tweeting in this way, the account delivered a strong rhetorical message to millions of onlookers, highly economically, and irrespective of whether Hadid is actually indifferent to the murders of Jewish babies or not. (I suspect she probably isn’t, though what do I know).

In any case, I am not so sure that the defence really works. Grice’s crucial insight was that interpreting another person’s speech or writing is just a sub-category of interpreting the actions of other people more generally. Working out what someone is trying to say is a form of working out what she is trying to do — to do, that is, with her words. In the realm of action, sometimes what initially looks like cold-blooded, indefensible murder is just what it seems to be. But sometimes it is really something else — and it’s important that we try to tell the difference. Equally, sometimes what initially looks like a case of justifying a cold-blooded, indefensible murder — or a case of blaming the victims for what happened to them — is really something else as well. Here, too, I still think it’s important for us to try to tell the difference.


Kathleen Stock is an UnHerd columnist and a co-director of The Lesbian Project.
Docstockk

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

378 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Leigh A
Leigh A
8 months ago

Suppose there’s a news story of a woman who is brutally murdered by her husband following an acrimonious divorce. Now suppose a male acquaintance you know says “I condemn that man for murdering his wife, but I also condemn the legal system for systematic bias against men.” Nobody is going to applaud such a comment. Nobody is going to think he makes a profound, reasonable point. Instead, they’re going to rip him to shreds. And rightly so – his refusal to offer unconditional compassion to a woman who has suffered a terrible death betrays a total lack of humanity.

I see that hypothetical man’s behaviour amongst many in our progressive classes, and I am profoundly disgusted by it. These ideologues, whose education and privilege means that they can’t use ignorance as a shield, refuse to state plainly that what Hamas did to innocent civilians is an outrage, without justification and beyond the pale of civilised society. Instead, and without fail, these self-described advocates for human rights, justice and equality adamantly refuse to condemn Hamas without compulsively caveating that “Israel has committed crimes too.”

Stating without qualifiers that Hamas has committed a terrible atrocity doesn’t undermine you when you say – later – that you’re concerned about the suffering of Palestinian civilians. It doesn’t expose hypocrisy to condemn Hamas, and then – later – note Israel’s past crimes against Palestinian people. What it does do is show that, when you say you support human, justice and equality, you actually believe it applies to all humanity. Not just the Palestinians or other ‘oppressed’ people. Everyone.

If you can’t bring yourself to do that, then you are as insincere, callous and repulsive as the man in the hypothetical scenario above. And you shouldn’t be surprised when the rest of the community, who have the decency and humanity to unreservedly criticise Hamas for this massacre, rip you and your phony values to shreds.

Last edited 8 months ago by Leigh A
Hazel Gazit
Hazel Gazit
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

Excellent response.

Michael Brett
Michael Brett
8 months ago
Reply to  Hazel Gazit

An amazing ,brilliant comment.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
8 months ago
Reply to  Hazel Gazit

Yes indeed.

Angela Redman
Angela Redman
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

Brilliant response

George Venning
George Venning
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

Before I start, I want to be absolutely clear that, I agree with you that Hamas committed a terrible atrocity and that nothing Israel has done before or since should obscure that fact.
I would, however, quibble with the applicability of your analogy for two reasons.
First, the provocations that the murderous husband is citing to justify his actions are not the responsibility of his wife (she did not cause the bias in the legal system) and his response is entirely disproportionate (being murdered is much worse than coming off worst in a divorce).
But, second, a population is not a person and, in my view, ethical considerations do not apply in quite the same way. If you oppress a person, they may respond with violence. They would (generally) be wrong to do so (and certainly in this case) but the party who responds with violence is then subject to the consequences of their actions. The law then weighs the provocation against the response and in the case of your analogy, the husband would be condemned and anyone who defended him would be talking nonsense.
If you oppress a population badly enough and for long enough, you may eventually get a violent response. But the violent response comes not from the population as a whole, it comes from some subset of that population (Hamas rather than the children of Gaza). If Israel’s response could be confined to Hamas’s gunmen, then your analogy would be a better fit.
But it can’t.
We know that far more Gazan children have died from Israel’s airstrikes than died in the Hamas’ initial attack.
We also know that, in the 20 years leading up to the recent violence, far more children have been killed by the IDF than by Hamas rockets.
So, your analogy is flawed both because it mischaracterises the proportion of provocation and response and also because it conflates the wrongdoer (Hamas) with the person liable to punishment (the wider popluation of Gaza).

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

An excellent point George, are you a barrister, may I ask?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Agreed and much better than my response

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

I doubt it very much! Any half awake judge would have him ejected from the court if not committed for mental health reasons.

George Venning
George Venning
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

We agree on that at least Liam

George Venning
George Venning
8 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Ha, no. Just verbose

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Children in Gaza are killed by Hamas, who build their various bases of operation underneath their schools, hospitals, and playgrounds. In the 20 years you cite, Hamas has been sending rockets into Israel to provoke the kind of camera-ready devastation we are now seeing; up until the October 7th atrocity, Israel has shown remarkable restraint.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago

“Remarkable restraint”. Oh my God, what would you describe as unrestraint? Total annihilation? complete genocide? 2 million innocents dead? Gaza flattened?
6,500 and counting doesn’t satisfy you? How full of hate, how bloodthirsty, how Satanic do you need to be to hold such a view? I’m utterly appalled that anyone would call the wanton, indeed gleeful murder of totally innocent human beings in their thousands “restrained”.. I recommend you do some soul-searching; firstly to see if you have a heart let alone a soul..

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

So what’s the solution then? A ceasefire? That didn’t work out too well for Israel a few weeks back.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Israel has returned the gift of death that Hamas sent them. But given the barbarity of the death those savages enacted in Israel, the gift returned has to be many times more potent.
These are very old dynamics of human culture. But a real warring would have send several nuclear missiles over to Gaza because those Islamist folk over there regard that 2 million as a large group of martyrs and potential martyrs.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Stop getting carried away by yourself . She said ‘up till the atrocity on October 7th’

Andrew E Walker
Andrew E Walker
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

On several forums I have asked the same question. What did Hamas think Israel would do after repulsing 2,500 rockets and suffering the barbarous atrocities of 7th October 2023? I am still waiting for a reply.

Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
8 months ago

Remarkable restraint. Check what Prof Norman Finkelstein has to say if you have the stomach for it.
All his family except his parents were killed in the Holocaust.
Pls don’t be put of by the fact that he is called a ‘self hating’ Jew.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Corbett

Boo hoo. So what. All my family except my parents were killed in the holocaust too. I don’t give a flying f about what Finkelstein says. He’s entitled to his opinion, and I’m entitled to think his opinion about these matters is absurd, as do the vast majority of Jews, especially those who survived the holocaust. I love how the israel-bashers always trot out a jew to make their point, as if it does.

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

Jews do not have the monopoly on genocides. But they do get the first prize when it comes to using it as an excuse to behave abjectly.

Last edited 8 months ago by Danielle Treille
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem caused the progrom in Iraq in 1941 which led to murder of Jews. The GMJ moved to Berlin , supported the Final Solution , was friendly with Himmler and raised muslim Bosnians for SS. In 1947, the arab nations promisd to exterminate Jews and Hamas still does.
Please provide the plans so Israel can remove the threat of Hamas and not kill any Palestinian who have not been able to move to safe zones. Obviously this is easy to achieve nd israel is just being vengeful.
Since 1948 how much money has been given to Palestinains , how much stolen and how much spent on waging war on Israel? Hamas has built tunnels but not bomber shelters: why ?
In the 1930s The Trnchard doctrine said bombers would always get through and 100,000 would be killed. HMG said this was unaccetable so sent out specifications to develop figjhters to stop bombers; the Hurricane and Spitfire were the result. HMG developed bomb shelters and though the Anderson would not protect from a direct hit it did protect from being crushed from collapsing buildings, blast and splinters. Britain does not put military targets, such as command centres and munitions stores next to civilians. In WW2 HMG made strenuous efforts to protect it’s citizens; Hamas uses them as hostages and potential martyrs.
If you can show how Hamas protects the people of Gaza, please do so.

james goater
james goater
8 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Excellent comment — though am reading way after the thread has ended.

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
8 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

As I said earlier same rehashed comments, once again.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago

As if your repeated comments on rehashed comments isn’t.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago

The Israel basher brought the holocaust into this, not me.Your comment has nothing to do with my response, but it is nasty.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

People may make a point about what they think without being subjected to name-calling and abuse.
It’s difficult enough for two individuals who both claim the ethnic, cultural, historical, geographical, moral and religious high ground to reach agreement. How two entire populations will ever do the same looks nigh on impossible.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

Exactly Jane. Ecclesiastes 3-11 come to mind of course.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

Easy to say. Person one invokes the “Jew on his side”, person two then mocks the holocaust by treating it as some gambit by Jews. I have no problem calling Calling them both out as Israel-bashers. Your concern about politeness is touching. Too bad you couldn’t spare any for the targets of those bigoted remarks, for that’s what they are.

Paula Fields
Paula Fields
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

Saying ‘boo hoo’ when referring to an entire family beingkilled in Nazi concentration camps sounds calous and it is hard to believe you suffered loss.
Of course we use jewish people as a source. For two reasons. Firstly, to address the claim that those who quetion the Israeli state or questions its policies are simply anti-semitic (a tiresome trope usually trotted out without any justification). Secondly, and more importantly, because some of the best crtics of Israel are jewish. Finklestein being one such critic. It seems to me you want to close your mind to the obvious – Israel (with the full-throated backing of Israel) has committed war crimes, is committing war crimes and will continue to commit war crimes. Be honest you don’t care about Palestinian lives and you are dishonest in your claim that an extreme right wing government in Israel is not committing war crimes.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Paula Fields

Wow so many false claims presented as fact. 1-No serious people, include Jews, ever call “critics of Israel” antisemitic, unless they indulge in demonization, delegitimization and double standards. Second: Israel hasn’t commited war crimes, you only say it has. third you have no idea how I feel about Palestinian lives. As for finklestein, he’s entitled to his opinion, and I’m entitled to state mine, which is that he’s full of it. And we both have (or rather had) holocaust survivor parents.As for this endless trotting out of the tiny minority of Jews who turn on their own people, yes I’ll always call it out for what it is: namely “look, he’s a Jew and he agrees with me.” So what? And yes, disbelieve all you want, but my mother’s brother, my father’s mother and his two brothers, not to mention their entire extended family and virtually all the Jewish community in the cities they lived in, were exterminated by the Nazis.

Last edited 8 months ago by harry storm
Paula Fields
Paula Fields
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

There are plenty of serious and unserious people using anti-semitism as a trope and seeing any opposition to Israel as a hate crime. The risk is that if we can’t discuss the issue seriously then we can’t determine a boundary as to what is anti-semitic.
Deprivation of clean water, fuel, medical aid of the civilian population against international humanitarian law, as is he forced movement of a 1 million people (especially whilst bombing their passage and destination). The President of the EU called the deprivation of water a war crime when speaking about the Ukraine but doesn’t know.
I don’t doubt you lost family what I found hard to believe was you said ‘boo hoo’ in relation to losing family in the concentration camps. If I said ‘boo hoo’ you would quite rightly call me anti-semitic.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago

But what could the children have done Allison!? You think they could just pack their bags and leave?? No one wants them in the West or neighboring countries, the y are not allowed to leave. The children are innocent victims, any fool can see that, even you…

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

But why were so many Palestinians killed in the past? Because there have been never ending hostilities against Israel with daily rocket attacks. The people responsible, where hiding between the innocent, in mosques, schools and civilian housing. Do you expect any country in the world to endure this onslaught and not react?
As soon as there were plans to reconcile (Oslo Peace Accords), the PLO walked away as Arafat got cold feet, probably afraid, that his own people would kill him. Now as Hamas is in charge there seems to be no solution , because they declare in their Charter, that there is only one way for peace in Palestine, which is to conquer the whole land “from the river to the sea” and annihilate the whole Jewish population.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago

I suggest you read up on the Nakba.. The Palestinian people fought to keep their homeland like any people would do.. they were defeated thanks to USUK support for the Zionists and have been subjected to heinous war crimes and crimes against humanity ever since (UN say so, not just me). Hamas was set up by Israel to defeat the 2 state solution and the PLO defeated as a result.. Hamas is funded by Israel as well as Iran! Unbelievable? Yes, but true nonetheless. Are you aware that Israel’s murder rate is 25 times greater than Hamas’s.. both are EQUALLY reprehensible but one is far, far worse than the other!

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I suggest then you read up on the Farhud and many other similar events across the ME.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

My family was part of 12 million Eastern European refugees after WWII. Btw. 2million refugees lost their lives on the way to the West. All of the survivors had to find a new home and start new lives. If you look at the map of Europe now and before WWII, you find that many borders are redrawn… I don’t understand why after 75 years, “Palestinian Refugees” haven’t found a new peaceful home in either neighbouring Arab countries or agreed to a peace deal when Y.Rabin was PM, who tried extremely hard to find a solution. It seems totally incomprehensible and very tragic.

Last edited 8 months ago by Stephanie Surface
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
8 months ago

Agreed. at some point it is incumbent upon people and nations to accept the verdict of history. Most of the Jews who immigrated to present day Israel did so peacefully and legally, to the extent they outnumbered the Arabs, who resented this intrusion. They’ve been trying to use military force and terrorism to undo the sorts of natural demographic and border changes you mention, with little success.
Sadly, the Arab nations are complicit in the problem as well. Rather than let the refugees find jobs and integrate into the regular population, they specifically forbade them from doing so. Instead, starting in 1948 and continuing through successive rounds of conflict and refugee crises, they set up refugee camps, which still exist to this day. Since most of the original occupants are long dead, one might question how this is possible, but in fact the Arab countries now house the children and grandchildren of the original refugees in these same camps. This is rarely mentioned by media.
Like so many complex historical problems their original reason is vastly different than their current reason. At the time, they were still angling to destroy Israel themselves and the refugee camps made an excellent symbol for rallying their own people’s sympathy. They also thought terrorist tactics would work, and the camps made ideal recruiting sites. Over time, however, and after a series of unsuccessful wars against Israel, the Arab powers gradually realized they couldn’t reconquer the land, and they eventually saw how terrorism could come back to bite them and most renounced terror tactics, at least in principle. By that point, though, the camps had by then become hotbeds of crime, terrorism, and the type of radical Islam that has caused internal conflict within every nation. Radical Islam spreads terrorism and violence wherever it thrives. It’s a situation Europeans understand quite well I should think.
The Arab powers don’t want radical terrorists in their countries any more than Europeans do, but their leaders aren’t as idealistic (or perhaps just not as stupid) as those of Europe, and they are largely undemocratic states who don’t have to answer to their people for their policies. The proverbial 800 pound gorilla in the room is that nobody, not the Arabs, not the west, not Israel, wants these people because so many of them are terrorists or support terrorists. How many unskilled, foreign refugees would any nation be willing to take if one of every ten is a terrorist and half are potential terrorists? Nobody wants a bunch of radicalized terrorists and criminals in their territory. That’s why Israel unilaterally withdrew in 2007 rather than try to annex the territory as India finally did with Kashmir. Gaza had become so poor, so corrupt, and so thoroughly tainted by radical Islam that it was basically impossible to govern in a civilized way. Egypt has had a border with Gaza all this time, and for most of that period, they have actively participated in the blockade that Israel is usually solely implicated in.

Last edited 8 months ago by Steve Jolly
Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I shouldn’t think the Palestinians wanted a bunch of radicalised terrorist Israeli’s in their land as uncontrolled immigration submerged their country and many were told to leave their dwellings at gunpoint.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
8 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Corbett

Palestine wasn’t a State, but an area, which got divided into separate countries. The borders were drawn in the sand by the the victorious Allies over the Ottoman Empire. Britain in the end decided to give a slither of Palestine to the Jews. Yes, many Arabs got displaced and lost their homes, some got compensated, some didn’t, which was a tragedy. But Jews were also kicked out of nearly every Arab country and lost everything.
Do you hear in Europe, that any Germans( from East Prussia and Silesia) or Poles ( from the Soviet Union/ Ukraine) live in artificial Refugee Camps and are radicalised or become terrorists after 78 years? They got absorbed by West Germany and the new Poland and got on with their lives. How many years does it take to accept the past ? Never?

Last edited 8 months ago by Stephanie Surface
Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
8 months ago

Perhaps you describe the problem of excessive immigration.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The arab nations via radio told the Arabs to flee to better be able to destroy the Jews. After the war had been won and Jews wiped out they could return. The 1948 war did not go to plan for th arab nations even though they outnumbered the Jewish people 7 to 1.
Of all the money given to the Palestinians how much has been used to wage war on Israel, how much taken by the leaders and how much on peaceful development, perhaps bomb shelters? Tunnels cost £0.5M per mile to build. Why store munitions near civilians ?

Mark Turner
Mark Turner
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I see the useful idiot is here again spouting his student politics……Reminds me of Mark Twains famous comment …..”Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Turner

Head towards Prof Norman Finkelstein for a more hardened well informed opponent.
He’s a self hating Jew as they say in some quarters.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Turner

Ahh Mark Twain, I love him too: – ‘Once a man gets a reputation as an early riser he can get up at midday!
Yes that wasn’t relative either! Liam’s point was valid and well intentioned, unlike yours?

Niels Georg Bach Christensen
Niels Georg Bach Christensen
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

In fact USA and UK didn’t direct support the coming Israel in the 1948 war, the idea behind the war wasn’t to create a palestinian state but to throw jewish people out, and then let the parts of the country be parts of arab contries. The UN partition plan was seen in retrospective a big advantage to the palestinians.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

‘Murder’ LOL

Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
8 months ago

No, because the Palestinians have been kept in the largest concentration camp in the world, with rations calculated to be just above starvation, by Israel.
A jewish Prof at a Hebrew University stated that Gaza was as described as above, David Cameron said it was an open air prison. 20 yrs not allowed in or out.
No wonder abomination occurs.

Last edited 8 months ago by Marcus Corbett
harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Corbett

That is utter BS propaganda from start to finish. It reveals your ignorance about Gaza and even greater ignorance about what a concentration camp was. And talking about the blockade — nobody allowed in or out — without a word about why there is a blockade, i.e. unrelenting hostility, is disingenuous, to put it mildly. Never mind the shops in Gaza are flush with food, Israel had allowed workers from Gaza into Israel, sick children and others were treated in Israeli hospitals. Some concentration camp. Unbelievable people actually believe this guff.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

The relentless encroachment of the growing Jewish population into Gaza and the West Bank, the bulldozing of homes, IDF snipers picking off anyone who so much as approached the walls, caused burning resentment. That Israel allowed Palestinian children access to medical care and people to have food was the least they could do, given that people in those areas were living under the illegal military occupation of a far stronger, globally supported and better-armed power.
Terrorism is the last resort of the dispossessed. Hamas have become grotesque and twisted human beings, prepared to use random slaughter that has achieved nothing but bitter tears and more hate. Whatever their justification, that’s on them.
And so it goes on. Those of us trying to understand it all can try to look back at the history and the facts, as far back as records go, and yet all come to different conclusions. And no one side – neither Israelis not Palestinians seem capable of looking at themselves and saying – “We could do better”. They’re both fuelled with the fire of their own religious and national convictions.
So how can it ever come to a peaceful end?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

The Husseini Clan defeated the Nashashibis Clan in the 1920s to 1930s which meant the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem , Hal Amin Al- Husseini, a friend of Himmler and supporter of the Final Solution directed the actions of the Plaestinians. The arab nations threatened to exterminate Israel in 1948 and Hamas still does.
The Palestinians led by King Abdullah of Jordan may have produced a more peaful route but he was murdered by them in 1951.
By the way, some of the IDF snipers are Beduin.

james goater
james goater
8 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Another excellent comment, Mr Hedges, sadly read by just a few.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  james goater

Thank you. Part of the problem is that the Husseini Clan has led the Palestinians since the 1930s. His pro Nazi support is why Stalin supplied weapons to Israel. One aspect pf the violence against the Jewish settlers was that Order Wingate raised the Special Night Squads in which Moshe Dayan served. The SNS could be considered the first anti-insurgency military unit, similar to the SAS in Malaya of the 1950s.
CCC demonstrates the engineering competence of the Palestinians which combined with the more sensible approach of the Nashashibis Clan and King Abdullah of Jordan could have produced a less violent and more prosperous situation.
Consolidated Contractors Company – Wikipedia

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

There is no Jewish encroachment into Gaza, you silly person. Since you are obviously ignorant about what’s going on, perhaps you should refrain from offering your uneducated opinion.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

And there you have it. No more needs to be said. But hey, she’s “polite.”

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

We also know that tens of thousands died collaterally in every war of the 20th century. The difference is that Israelis don’t start it and they don’t dance and sing about rape-murder, child-mutilation and torture. 100s and thousands of Muslims literally celebrated in London, NY and Toronto. That’s the difference. And it’s not ‘punishment’ – any more than the people of Nagasaki were ‘punished’. That latter was just a cold calculation about the number of American lives it would take to invade Japan…combined with moral weighting that placed the lives of ‘ours’ above those of ‘theirs’. That’s very human – and perhaps forgivable, if not by ultimately human beings. But it wasn’t punishment. What Israel is doing is not punishment. It is fighting a war. All Hamas have to do is to stop killing Jews. And if millions of Palestinians wanted to, not to mention all the other Arab states, they could have deposed the militants and spent a billion dollars on turning Gaza into a paradise. They were too busy celebrating

David Yetter
David Yetter
8 months ago

Actually, Truman didn’t need to weight “our lives” more heavily than “theirs” to conclude that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified: the estimates of casualties among Japanese civilians in a full scale invasion of the Japanese home island greatly exceeded the entire populations of the two cities combined, as did estimates for the number of soliders who would die on each side.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
8 months ago
Reply to  David Yetter

good point

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago

You know there have been many wars in our time that have resulted in vast numbers of civilian casualties. Invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. War on Libya. Russian atrocities in Chechnya (50K+ civilians killed), Syrian civil war, etc etc etc. Somehow these emotional pleas on behalf of civilians only occur when it’s Israelis fighting a war. Have you ever heard another nation at war being called upon for “restraint” and to practice “proportionality”? Have any of these repeated heartfelt pleas about collective punishment and the plight of civilians ever been raised in any other conflict in our time? I can’t think of any in my lifetime (I’m 68). Why is that, I wonder?

Sadhbh Hegarty
Sadhbh Hegarty
8 months ago

To summarise, what you are saying is that Palestinians live in poverty because they have historically prioritised celebrating rape-murders, child mutilations and torture at the expense of their own basic human needs rather than using some billion dollars at their disposal to turn Gaza ‘into a paradise’? And you have received 93 likes for this? The blatant racism and dehumanisation of muslims in this comment’s section is abhorrent.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Of course it does.. it distorts and obfuscates far more than it throws light on the subject. It is a case, if left unwritten, would have been far better. I think he should apologise.

I hear you
I hear you
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

.

Mike Fraser
Mike Fraser
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

But suppose the facts show that the Palestinian people in Gaza are oppressed not by Israel but by Hamas.

Nardo Flopsey
Nardo Flopsey
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

I guess it would be a tactical and moral victory for Hamas if they only kidnapped or killed the militant right wing religious members of Netanyahu’s cabinet. So why didn’t they? Wouldn’t that have been a fair way to express their anger? I don’t hear this argument being made anywhere. But that is what you’re implying, correct?

P N
P N
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

“We know that far more Gazan children have died from Israel’s airstrikes than died in the Hamas’ initial attack.
“We also know that, in the 20 years leading up to the recent violence, far more children have been killed by the IDF than by Hamas rockets.”
Those are two disingenous and bad faith sentences.
Re the first sentence, you appear to be claiming that the slaughter of 1400 innocents, the beheading of babies, raping of girls and women, burning of families alive, is not as bad as the response to that atrocity simply because the response has actually killed more people. This is worse than a false equivalence because it completely ignores the intentions and limitations of the two parties. Hamas targeted civilians. Israel has responded by targeting combatants, that is to say the monsters who committed these crimes. Hamas uses the civilian population of Gaza, which elected it in the last election held in the Gaza, as a human shield and inevitably some of them are being killed as Israel targets the terrorists. But Hamas does not care. If it did it would be using its fuel reserves for hospitals rather than for keeping its terror tunnel network going.
Re the second sentence, again you appear to be claiming that because the fatalities from Israeli airstrikes are more than from Hamas rockets, then Israel is to blame. Again this completely ignores the intentions and limitations of both parties. Hamas indiscriminately fires rockets into Israel hoping to hit as many people as possible and cares not whether they are military or civilian targets. Israel uses targeted strikes to attempt to destroy Hama; it does not intentionally kill civilians. Israel also has a very effective anti-missile system. Is Israel to be condemned simply because it is more competent and capable.
Lastly, your assumption about an oppressed population fails to recognise that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, forcibly removing thousands of Israelis in the process. Did they get peace in return? No.

Tina Rigler
Tina Rigler
8 months ago
Reply to  P N

.

Last edited 8 months ago by Tina Rigler
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

This is exactly what the author was rebelling against. But everyone can play this nonsense game. Should Israel be held responsible for the deaths of Palestinians if Hamas refuses to build public bomb shelters – if it does nothing to protect civilians?

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

I quibble with your use of quibble in this context.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

You ignore the fact that Hamas deliberately built their fortifications and tunnels underneath civilian dwellings. The dead children whose proximate cause of death was an Israeli rocket strike can ultimately be traced back to Hamas as well. In the civilized world, the rules of war basically state that military installations and targets be separated as much as possible from civilian populations to avoid exactly this scenario. Israel doesn’t want to be killing Palestinian children any more than they want their citizens to be abducted and murdered, but as a nation they must respond to a blatant and horrific act of war. War is often ugly, and one will doubtlessly find acts of questionable morality in every war from every side. Nevertheless, there are rules of warfare that we try to follow as best we can to minimize the ugliness of war. The Hamas offensive deliberately and flagrantly violated these rules. So too did they violate these rules by building tunnels underneath apartment buildings and hospitals in an attempt to use the people of Gaza as human shields. They have no regard for human life. They clearly and obviously hate the Jews, but they are almost equally callous and inhumane towards their own people. They are willing to use the Palestinian civilian population as fodder in the grinder of war for no purpose other than to generate sympathy for their cause. I find it truly disgusting that this tactic is working in even the smallest way. They are attempting to weaponize western sentimentality, and sadly, it’s working. I say don’t be duped by terrorists. Lay all the dead in this conflict at the feet of Hamas, for they have earned it by their hateful acts towards the Jewish people and their indifference to the suffering of their own. It is wise to recognize that situations of true good vs. evil are rare and to question the morality of all concerned, but it is also wisdom to recognize those few occasions when true evil reveals itself for all to see. The leaders and architects of Hamas must be found, caught, and either eliminated or imprisoned so securely that they can no longer spread their evil.

Josie Bowen
Josie Bowen
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Very well said.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

“Israel (Netanyahu) doesn’t want to be killing Palestinian children any more than they want their citizens to be abducted and murdered”
Seriously Steve, you believe that?? He hates Palestinians,

John Gleeson
John Gleeson
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Totally missed the point and assigned a motive to why he used the anology entirely of your own making so you could then insert the same type of thinking that was rightfully called out in his post.

You absolutely did not get what he meant and show you cannot seperate the two in the way that comes naturally to people who are able to totally seperate these events, and who understand oppression does not automatically lead to people acting like the most depraved serial killers as they did in this case.

Leonel SIlva Rocha
Leonel SIlva Rocha
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

I am truly dumbfounded that you have amassed 38 upvotes!

alan bennett
alan bennett
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

We know that far more Gazan children have died from Israel’s airstrikes than died in the Hamas’ initial attack.

Do you actually know, you cannot believe a word Hamas says, nor unfortunately can you believe the likes of the the UN and most other supranational bodies.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago
Reply to  alan bennett

After the last terrible 75 years I’m not sure I can believe a word either side says. They are both intractably wedded to their claims, both religious and national, and it looks as if neither will ever give them up. If it wasn’t so deadly, I’d compare them all to children fighting over the swings in the playground. It’s sickening.

alan bennett
alan bennett
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

There is no equivalence between Israel a nation fighting for its very existance and a vicious terrorist oganisation like Hamas.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

The reaon why there are more casualties in Gaza than there ought to be is simply because Hamas embeds itself amongst the people in residential areas and this inevitably leads to collateral civilian deaths. Hamas is committing a war crime by hiding behind civilians and are totally responsible for the excess deaths. Do you really expect Israel to not attack Hamas after what they have done, given their objective is the destruction of the Jewish people? Do you honestly believe Israel is targetting the civilian population? It is not…but Hamas is putting the Gazan population in jeapordy and sadly more die as a result.

Andrew Morgan
Andrew Morgan
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Isn’t the point of military action in a war that it’s disproportionate? That’s how you win – by doing more damage to them than they do to you.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Morgan

Hallelujah! And have you ever heard such calls for “proportionality” in any other conflict other than when Israel is involved?

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

Thanks for the irrelevant advice.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Morgan

Shouldn’t we be avoiding wars though? Too many on Unherd treat war like it is a ball game, choose your side and cheer them on. No one is in the right, that is not how human’s work, we are selfish, violent and ignorant, we kill everything and each other, nice…

Last edited 8 months ago by Carl Valentine
John Davis
John Davis
8 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Sure, we should be avoiding wars, but not at any cost. Sometimes force can only be met with force. In the absence of a World Police, countries need to be able to defend themselves – which in practice means being able to strike back at those who threaten them.

John Davis
John Davis
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Morgan

One of the tenets of civilized behaviour is that we behave proportionately. even in war. Not always followed, to be sure, but at least an ideal to strive for, like fairness or justice.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  John Davis

Utter rubbish. No country behaves proportionally in war. No country ever has, no country ever will.

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Yakkaty Yak, Yakkaty Yak on and on it goes….. I personally have come out of a deep muddle to some simple clarity which is shockingly hard to bear.
What Hamas did on 7th Oct, was an act of babarism beyond sickening.
Israel’s response, both from the cathartic need for revenge, and for its responsibility to now, belatedly, protect its citizens must be to attack Hamas to the extent of disabling it, if not idealy wiping it out. (They are not militants. They are terrorist with one aim, to wipe out Israel and therefore not available for talks).
This response from Israel which I have verbally condoned will be the death of many, many innocent Palestinians with which the evil Hamas has carefully and strategically entwined itself.
When poison Ivy warps itself around an innocent apple tree the whole lot has to come down.
When we bombed Dresden was that evil for the good? What was the ‘proportionality’ was it relevant?
Sadly, we humans have got ourselves into such a predicament, we can’t afford the luxuary of being good anymore.
[ Resident Dyslexic, oppologies in advance for spelling mistakes I can’t see them.]

Last edited 8 months ago by elaine chambers
Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago

‘Sadly, we humans have got ourselves into such a predicament, we can’t afford the luxury of being good anymore.’
We/they were never good!

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
8 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Carl, true, but we like to think we are capable of making moral choices, is what I meant. Sadly our lives have become so complicated, we don’t always have that kind of privilege and often have to make terrible choices.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago

‘Moral’ choices become impossible to identify when each side believes that they have the moral, and especially the religious, high ground.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Talking about Israeli oppression of Palestinians/Gazans is absurd unless you ignore the plain fact that the governments in both Gaza and the Palestinian Authority aren’t interested in peace. Hamas’ charter and actions since they took power in Gaza in 2005 make that quite clear. In addition to their plain-as-day charter, they’ve fired off rocket barrages almost since day 1, thereby provoking a blockade that then is referred to as “oppression.” Give me a break.
The Palestinian authority isn’t much better, refusing peace offer after peace offer and never even making a counter-offer.
The Secretary General said that Hamas’ actions haven’t occurred in a vacuum. Neither has so-called Israeli oppression. You have to have a partner for peace. You can’t have peace negotiations with an enemy that remains sworn to kill you. The settlements in the West Bank are a side issue. Arab rejection was and remains the core issue, and until that changes, Israel will have little choice but to keep “oppressing” Palestinians.

B Stern
B Stern
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

George, is your morality a weighing machine? The side with the more casualties is the more moral side? I assume you know that IL builds bomb shelters for its civilians and Hamas builds bomb shelters for its terrorists and then shoots missiles from next to schools and mosques. To your other remarks, I guess they should have negotiated an end to their predicament instead of continuing to attack a militarily superior force for years.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

I am not picking sides but I do not really think this is a valid parallel. There is no comparison between being on the wrong end of a bad divorce and what has happened to the Palestinians over the last 20 years.
How about the example where a woman returns hone and finds her husband has killed there four children and she brutally murders him. It is more apposite. Does it affect your analysis?

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
8 months ago

This entire exchange is wonderfully thoughtful, the quibbles especially. It points to the following question: Is it really true that human beings are fundamentally at war? Is peace a lie, or if not a lie, wishful thinking? Is the crime of Hamas the rejection of idealism in favor of realism? Is the answer to be Anton Chigurth, the antihero in No Country for Old Men. Is this what progress comes to?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago

Correct.. a far better analogy! ..except the father has killed not just the 4 children but nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grannies and neighbours.. 24 people in all. That’s a kill rate of 24 to 1 ..which is more accurate.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

That must be among the worst analogies I’ve ever heard in my 74 years! Israel’s heinous war crimes, crimes against humanity, collective punishment, murder of thousands of totally innocent people likened to a “deficient legal system”.
But I agree, being appalled at heinous crimes and outraged at evil vengeance and pity for all victims must be universally applied to be valid.

Last edited 8 months ago by Liam O'Mahony
Mark Turner
Mark Turner
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I am surprised you have time to sit here spouting drivel Liam, thought you would be out with the rest of the scum chanting “Jihad” and making the rest of us ashamed of our country…….

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Turner

You are the one who sounds like scum Mark!

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

so much blah blah, so little time.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

What a crock.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

That’s Leigh told.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

Really? Doesn’t sound much like a valid argument to me.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

Sarcasm, like much else, appears to be lost.

mike otter
mike otter
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

Trouble is the priveleged UN/Leftie types are a tiny minority of humanity BUT large majority of those holding access to media other forms of state power. The reason they want to destroy market economics or freedom is an extension of this – because these are areas immune to their juvenille ranting and closed minded idiologies.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

I would upvote this 100 times if I could. Captures my own sentiment perfectly.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

Yes you are either that or a politician.
Conflicts like the Israeli Palestinian situation highlight the impotence of the UN.
Evil men use it to their ends(sorry, and of course women).
Its a story as old as history. Good thing there are others stories also.

Oliver Butt
Oliver Butt
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

Personally if someone said to me ““I condemn that man for murdering his wife, but I also condemn the legal system for systematic bias against men.” I would not be at all upset about the comment. I suppose, depending on the details of the case, that I might think that the second part of the sentence was a non sequitur of the first part; but that is all.

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

People like this comment that teems with fallacies, so KS has some more explaining to do. The murder was “brutal”, the death was “terrible”, the lack of humanity was “total”, “nobody” would do X is presented as a fact … The gist of the mid-section was relatable, but then emotionality sets in again. I would just point out the man in the hypothetical scenario was sincere (unless the poster thinks that he believed the man was actually loved the legal system that was biased against men, or believed that it was not biased)

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

Ms Stock is very much of the left, she claims the left (particularly Guardian readers) listen to her because she is a lesbian and has retained her local accent, which would have previously indicated her working class background (she is not working class but it allows the deluded to believe they are championing the working class). The BBC prefers their presenters to have local accents and as a consequence the presenters are inclined to exaggerate their accents, Vernon Kay for example (I much preferred the mellifluous tones of Terry Wogan and Ken Bruce). Similarly, Meghan Markle uses fake tan and makeup to darken her skin colour to support her claims she is a victim of racism and signal her support of BLM. Kathleen Stock cannot maintain her relationship with the left and argue in favour of Israel. I suspect this is a pivotal moment in history: the tactics of the left are being exposed: using those society is expected to protect as a shield: the headquarters of Hamas appear to be below a hospital.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago

‘Left’ and ‘Right’ are illusory contemporary concepts. It’s no longer a zero sum game. Many people are now in the position of being what used to be called leftwing on some issues and rightwing on others. So using these terms to undermine or otherwise try to rubbish people like Kathleen Stock is a waste of time. I doubt that Ms Stock gives a toss about ‘maintaining her relationship with the left’.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

I disagree about Kathleen Stock and have stated some of the reasons why. I agree the terms left and right have lost their traditional meanings but people still cling to the terms: consider the terms part of their identity. Julie Bindel and Helen Joyce gave a talk: should TERFs unite with the right.

Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

‘Stating without qualifiers that Hamas has committed a terrible atrocity doesn’t undermine you when you say – later – that you’re concerned about the suffering of Palestinian civilians.”

“I condemn that man for murdering his wife, ” is the first statement. (No qualifier).

” I also condemn the legal system for systematic bias against men.” is the second.

“…that you’re concerned about the suffering of Palestinian civilians.” ……is so pathetically unappreciative of decades of murder and abuse, of the maintenance of the largest concentration camp in the world (according to an Israeli jew Prof at Henrew University in Israel) as to be disgusting.
This statement bears no relation to “I also condemn the systematic bias visited upon the Palestinians. “

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Corbett

True. but Leigh A blows a good dog whistle!

Catherine Berman
Catherine Berman
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

Who cares if Guterres managed to condemn Hamas while claiming its savagery didn’t occur in a vacuum? In making such a claim, that condemnation becomes equivocal and morally indefensible. Furthermore, he did not take the opportunity of condemning Hamas for their crimes against their own people, crimes such as using hospitals and schools to camouflage rocket-launching sites.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago

Of course Hamas’ savagery didn’t happen ‘in a vacuum’. Nothing does. Every act in history is attached to a long chain of events that could at any time make it possible for an atrocity to happen. Israel wants to maintain that it is permanently on the moral high ground. No one is. Especially when it comes to armed conflict.

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

I’m somewhat confused by your example, ‘man murders woman and excuses are made with which no one would agree.’ You criticise so called educated elites who insist on making excuses that no ‘moral’ person would make. Then you suggest that it would not be hypocritical of them to use these excuses to critices the relatives of these abused massacred Israelis! BUT IT WOULD! You offer such a compromise as a means by which we can support human justice and equality. This is an illusion, which surely we have come to understand from the mass horrors like the holocaust and Rwanda? Our morals are always a matter of compromise and we are forced to make horrible choces.
Who would you sell to slaughter to save your children? In short Leigh, to make a moral choice is a priviledge we rarely have when push comes to shove.

David Hirst
David Hirst
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh A

Applaudable. Thanks for posting, Leigh.

I hope your comment gives encouragement to those who need it, and provokes reflection in those others who ought to review their feelings and actions in the wake of the atrocity.

Best regards

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
8 months ago

Kathleen, people claiming to support the Palestinians celebrated the atrocities committed by Hamas. They cheered.In public.
I have never seen a rally held by Jewish people cheering for the mass rapes or murders of Palestinian civilians.
One of these things is not like the other.
I’m sure you mean well, but I’m afraid you are dangerously naive on this issue.
The Palestinians, not just Hamas, despise the Jewish people. If given the chance, Hamas will do to every Jewish person in Israel what they did on October 7. And at least half of all Palestinians would cheer them on.
Palestinians do not just hate the Israeli government; they hate the Jews. This may offend your sensibilities, but it is true.
The goal of the Israeli government is not “interpretative accuracy”; the goal of the Israeli government is to prevent a second Holocaust within a hundred years from being committed against the Jewish people.
There are 16 million Jewish people in the world compared to 420 million Arabs.
There are 22 Arab nations filled with hundreds of millions of people
The Jewish people have one tiny country, surrounded by sworn enemies.
Israeli civilians just suffered the biggest act of genocidal violence since the Holocaust.
And the response to that, from hundreds of thousands of “Free Palestine” supporters, was “Hooray!”
You wrote: “In the realm of action, sometimes what initially looks like cold-blooded, indefensible murder is just what it seems to be. But sometimes it is really something else — and it’s important that we try to tell the difference. ”
I’m going to be generous with my interpretation and not accuse you of making this statement in reference to the horrors committed by Hamas: gang rapes, maiming, torturing, and burning alive of innocent civilians, including babies bound with wire to their mothers.
I’m going to assume you condemn these atrocities is the strongest way possible.
I won’t assume when you wrote “sometimes it is really something else” that you were claiming the sadistic slaughter committed by Hamas was anything other than an atrocity.
But your choice of words is unfortunate, and possibly even a little insensitive.
They cheered Kathleen. They tore down posters of missing Jewish babies and toddlers.
As far as Israel’s military response to this genocidal hatred, “sometimes what initially looks like cold-blooded, indefensible murder is just what it seems to be. But sometimes it is really something else — and it’s important that we try to tell the difference.”
Try to tell the difference, Kathleen. 
The Jewish Israelis are living next door to millions of people who elected a terrorist group to lead them, who explicitly put their intention to exterminate the Jews in their charter, and who loathe Jewish people every bit as much as the Nazis did.
If someone says “I want to kill you!” I may not believe they mean it.
But if someone says “I want to kill you” while shooting a gun at me, I’d be an idiot not to.
It was suicidal for the Jews not to take the Nazi’s at their word in the 1930’s and it would be suicidal for the Jews not to take the Palestinians and their allies at their word today.
Never Again.
Long Live Israel.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Brilliant comment!. Mahmoud Abbas has recently been found making anti-Semitic statements. The Palestinian Authority (not Hamas’) says one thing (most of the time) to western governments, while saying – and teaching Palestinian kids something very different.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Look, I am on your side here, but this kind of attack on a fairly neutral article is not doing your side any favours. “I’m going to assume you condemn these atrocities is the strongest way possible.” forsooth! Forcing people to choose between being your uncritical allies or your enemies may not be a net gain for you. For what little it is worth I doubt there is a peaceful ‘solution’ to be had and I shall hope you win – if nothing else because whatever you do to the Palestinians in the process will be much, much less than what the Palestinians would do to you if they won.

Still, you are better off allowing people some space for talking. Why not save your powder for the people who really do support the other side? Regrettably there is no shortage of them.

George Venning
George Venning
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

“Forcing people to choose between being your uncritical allies or your enemies may not be a net gain for you.”
Whatever else we may disagree about Rasmus, you’re right on this

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

When a woman is raped, I don’t ask what she did to deserve it or wonder whether or not she has a right to take action against the rapist. Sometimes people do have to choose a side, because not choosing is just a cowardly way of siding with the perpetrator.
Hamas gang raped women until their pelvises shattered. They tied mothers and children together and set them on fire.
There is nothing to discuss here.

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

“There is nothing to discuss here” — my view and only my view is legitimate — is exactly the mindset that perpetuates violence, and that justifies war over any attempt at peacemaking.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago

*(initially posted in the wrong spot)

Last edited 8 months ago by AJ Mac
harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago

Yeah yeah it’s all Penny’s fault for not thinking discussion about vile acts is warranted. I agree with her. And nothing about that “perpetuates violence.” That’s just mindless blather. Eliminationist mindsets perpetuate violence.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago

What perpetuates violence is people thinking thinking they can undertake it without being punished for it. People do not start fights thinking they will lose and suffer pain. People who start violence only stop and accept peace when they fear being defeated and being punished .
When people gain from violence why should they stop?

Geoff W
Geoff W
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Indeed. And to take the analogy which started this thread, and which GV responded to: When a woman is murdered by her husband, I don’t go looking for a flaw in the legal system to justify him.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Why pretend to engage in a discussion when “there is nothing to discuss here”? If making multiple heartfelt, impassioned announcements while condemning the perceived wrongthink of all who even slightly disagree with you consoles you in some way. fine. But it is not fairminded or fruitful exchange.
Incidentally, if you allowed for the existence of any middle ground or complexity of situation, I would stand closer to you than your diametrically opposed enemies.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

In this ISIS+ massacre there isn’t any middle ground. If there is, please indicate what it might be. I don’t recall anyone saying such things when ISIS atrocities were revealed. Is it different when it’s Jews? (rhetorical)

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

That’s untrue. Many quite correctly pointed out that, notwithstanding the ruthless wickedness of the Islamic State aspirants, the US and Allied forces should still take pains to avoid blasting civilian populations in ISIS strongholds. I’d say Iraq was devastated in ways that were inevitable and ways that were not.
Is it incontrovertibly 100-percent just to perform a medieval-type siege in which people die of thirst and even starvation for lack of open channels for humanitarian aid?
Again, I say this with major sympathy for the Israeli defensive and deterrent cause, but of course it’s your right to dismiss me as an enemy who, being insufficiently for what you believe to be right, is all the way against you. I wish you wouldn’t though.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I don’t recall daily mass demos across the globe over allied attacks on ISIS. And your description of current Israeli actions is inaccurate. As for this “if you aren’t with me 100%” business, that’s entirely in your mind.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

Most people don’t descend as far into the moral morass as Hamas, but that’s not to say that everyone else is up in the realms of moral purity. Or are you suggesting that all wrong exists only on the Palestinian side and no wrong of any kind on the Israeli side? No conflict in history has ever been completely one-sided, however tiny the wrongs of one.
In any case what Hamas did was utterly unspeakable in its monstrous and terrible depravity. It is impossible for any rational person to even imagine what kind of grotesque psychotic state anyone would have to be in to do such things.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

I fully agree concerning Hamas and its members themselves. But we’re allowed to recognize that that’s not the entire equation in some black-and-white way. Acknowledging complexities and considering proportionality needn’t count as an automatic act of disrespect toward one side’s innocent victims.
*(And I’m not suggesting you disagree with that).

Last edited 8 months ago by AJ Mac
harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

Nobody has suggested that. Someone did suggest that the Hamas attack was morally indefensible and there was nothing to discuss about that, and I agree with her.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

I do think that has been suggested multiple times here. The scope of that commenter’s remarks went well beyond the obvious indefensibility of Hamas, into reflexive offense at any suggestion of restraint in the interest of civilian wellbeing. Perhaps you can point me to a comment, on this board, which defends the recent actions of Hamas, or their genocidal charter?
Now the claim that it is somehow morally off-limits or blood-complicit to argue that the overall and historical situation is not entirely one-sided goes further than unambiguous denunciation of the October 7th atrocities, which I don’t see much departure from on this thread.
Perhaps it seems too soon to advocate the humanity of Palestinian civilians–several thousand (8,500?) of whom have died in a few weeks–though some of them, a sickening percentage, undoubtedly support Hamas. But we don’t nuke whole cities or territories anymore, not since 1945, and I hope never again.
I appreciate that there is some real discussion on this board. But there are some finger-wagging efforts to forestall real discussion too. That’s allowed too, of course.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Get real. There have been civilian deaths in the thousands, tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands in many conflicts since WWII, some as recent as, well, this past year in Ukraine. Not to mention Mosul and the rest of the dismantling of ISIS, the Syrian civil war, bombing of Libya and Belgrade, the Iraq war, etc etc. I don’t recall hordes of marchers protesting the slaughter of civilians then, certainly not with the same intensity and emotion. I wonder why?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

If you want to get real instead of more self-certain and contentious: Why do you suppose that is?
*(Oh: In the totality of your posts you seem to claim that is some combination of Arab hostility and plain antisemitism alone that creates the singular negative reaction–as you put aside the waves of major support, including on this board–that you assert. I partly I agree with you, but not to the nth degree )
To the extent your characterization is accurate, that is.
Not permitting humanitarian aid to reach stranded civilians is a mistake with moral and, likely, later mortal consequences for both sides, due to increased enmity and misunderstanding heaped on top of a raging, age-old antagonism.
There were huge protests against the Iraq War, including the “collateral damage” there. How old are you man?
Some eggs get broken, some civilians die. Sure. That doesn’t mean you wantonly break or kill them by the dozen, gross, and thousand because “stuff happens” and it’s happened before.
I’m not denying Israel’s right to defend herself, nor to retaliate. But civilian death counts matter, and a humane treatment of uninvolved non-combatants should be honored, or at least attempted. Right?

Last edited 8 months ago by AJ Mac
harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

Since I never suggested that, I can’t answer your question. I would say that the root cause of the conflict is Arab rejectionism of a Jewish state in any way, shape or form. Everything else stems from that and is a sideshow.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

At times there is no middle ground. In WW2 by 1944- 1945, at times there was no middle ground. If one read’s Macintyre’s Rogue Heroes , there was no middle ground between the SAS and SS. After Hitler gave the Commando order in 1942, rules changed. Of the 100 SAS captured in France only 6, survived: some were shot, others burnt to death and others beaten to death. There was no middle ground between the forces of the British Empire and Japan in Burma in 1944-45 or when the USA dropped the atom bomb. When Chindits were to too wounded to march doctors killed them with morphine or they were left with a hand grenade. The Kempetei were like the Gestapo.
We bombed Dresden because were asked to do by the Soviets who lost 100,000 men in the month of April 1945 fighting into Berlin and probably 500,000 in 1945.
When it comes to water hamas have not developed the aquifer , so hence there is shortage.
Since 2005, using Palestinians engineers and Gulf money Hamas could have built, harbours, docks, hosdpitals, water treatment plants, sewage treatment plants, factories for advanced engineering, further developed nurseries left by Israelis, a computer industry for the arabic world, etc. Instead it has waged war on Israel and failed to build bomb shelters. In 1944 Britain built Mulberrry Harbours for D- Day why did not Hamas improve upon them ?
Mulberry harbour – Wikipedia

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Dresden lives in infamy, despite the German atrocities. The horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki cried out against dropping nukes ever again, even with the ruthless determination of Imperial Japan.
I’m not defending Hamas. I’m insisting on the human rights of the general population in Gaza. No obliteration by association please.
I’m not standing in or advocating any middle ground between Israel and the terrorist zealots–Hamas and others–who seek to destroy the whole nation. Beyond that, I think there is some complexity or middle ground, though shrinking or denied outright, and though we need not stand near the exact middle in the interest of some cheap equivalence.

Kolya Wolf
Kolya Wolf
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Indeed. No decent person would say of a rape that it did not occur in a vacuum.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago
Reply to  Kolya Wolf

That’s why the analogy doesn’t work. Analogies rarely do.

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Well all right then…

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

You go too far Penny

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

The analogy doesn’t work, because a woman being raped is a clear instance of a force being exerted on a less powerful person.
In the case of two nations engaged in armed conflict, there may well be one more and one less powerful side, but to claim that one is entirely blameless is disingenuous. There are too many individuals that make up a nation or a people. Some may be psychotic, some may be moderate, some may even be entirely sympathetic with the other side. The emergence of Hamas, with its murderous nihilism, comes after 75 years of conflict. IOt’s far too complex to be distilled into a simple analogy.There is a trajectory, and it cannot in any way be likened to the interaction of two individual humans, no matter how awful.

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

My allies? I’m neither Israeli nor Jewish. Also, I’m in no position to “force” anyone to do or say anything.
Whatever I choose to do to the Palestinians?
I’m an Irish Catholic American. The IDF has not consulted me in any way regarding their military response to Hamas’ genocidal attack on them. Although I do sincerely hope they are able to wipe Hamas off the face of the earth.
The “forsooth” was your interpretation, not mine. Which is ironic because the entire article was about not impugning your critics with bad motives.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Maybe my English is at fault. By ‘forsooth’ I meant that the quote I just gave was way over the top.

For the rest, you have chosen to speak the Israeli line – with a lot of vehemence. I thought you were speaking for them, so I answered to the plural ‘you’ of Israel and the people who have chosen to stand with it, you included. I did assume that anyone writing like that was somehow part of the Israeli/Jewish community, but it makes no real difference if you are not. For the purpose of discussion I cannot see the need for making a strong distinction between you and the people you have chosen to join in the debate. But you can replace each ‘you’ by ‘your friends’ or ‘the people you support’ if you prefer.

Last edited 8 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Was there also an anti-ISIS “line” that required debate?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

Yes, should throats be cut from left to right or right to left? What type of fuel should be used to burn people alive?

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Don’t apologise Rasmus, she is American, the nation behind most of our worlds’ woes…

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

So you prefer he Nazis to have won in WW2? Britain was bankrupt by 1942. Without aid from UK and USA in 1941 and 1942, the USSR would have collapsed: Japan was in India by 1944, aid was supplied to China.
Or would you prefer a World run by the USSR and Maoist China ?The USSR killed about 66M of it’s people between 1918 and 1956 and Maoist China about 70M.
Why do so many people want to emigrate to the USA if it causes so many woes?

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Absurd

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

What ever happened to your God’s “turn the other cheek”…?I

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago

God again huh? It’s everyone claiming their god’s preference that is the cause of all this awfulness.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Whilst i broadly support your sensibilities on the conflict, i think you may have fallen into the trap that KS warns against. She’s a professional philosopher, and whilst that may seem a rather cold perspective to be writing from, i’d argue that it’s much-needed when so much hot-headedness is flying around.

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

There are far too many cold perspectives when it comes to the cruelty of the world. Philosophers did nothing to prevent the first Holocaust & they will do nothing to prevent the second one that Hamas is determined to commit if given half a chance.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Marx is regarded as a philosopher. Those with an agenda use such writers to prop up their inhumanity. I’ve no doubt that KS has her own views on the conflict between Arab and Jew but in this article her perspective is one which moves away from propping up those who inflict inhumanity.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Actually it is worse. As Professor S Hicks , philosopher has pointed out ideology has created mass murder. Both the Nazis and Communists are inspired by ideology, in fact are the creations of intelligent philosophical people. Being spiritual, intelligent or moral does not mean one is kind hearted. Many mass murdering Nazis and Communists loved their children. Some humans have the capacity to love some and torture and murder others.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Too true. Well said.
*And sometimes a kind heart gets swallowed by runaway ambition or an overactive brain.

Last edited 8 months ago by AJ Mac
Cris P
Cris P
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Indeed, if we – who are mostly in a position to “distance” ourselves from the situation (by which I don’t mean look at it cold heartedly) – are not able to do that, how can we expect that those in the midst of the conflict find any middle ground?

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

One problem is that Islamists have somehow managed to indoctrinate the liberals among us that any support for Israel and Jewish people is tantamount to Islamophobia. That dreadful word has been thrown around so much these days that most public figures are now afraid of being labeled as one, for the fear of violence that may follow.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Penny,
There is nothing in Kathleen’s article that can possibly be inferred in the way you fear it could be. I took that part of her comment to be pointing to things like the propaganda foolishly advanced by the BBC about the hospital rocket being Israeli. When you look at things like that I am sure you will agree with Kathleen that it is important to really look at what is being presented to make sure it really is what it appears at first sight to be.

David McKee
David McKee
8 months ago

A philosopher’s take on the current war of words… Prof. Stock has a point. For example, “Where are you really from?” might mean to a black person, “You don’t belong here.” Or it might mean, “I’m bored. Tell me a story of somewhere exotic and far away.” As such a remark usually comes from a complete stranger, it’s wise to probe a little first to find out the underlying intent, before reacting.

On the other hand, antisemites are good at camouflage. A nod, a wink… the point is made to another antisemite. Silence too: is someone who was beside himself with rage over the murder of George Floyd and bitterly critical of Tory transphobia, yet silent about Hamas’s massacre of Jews, is that person giving us a deliberate message?

T Bone
T Bone
8 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Where was this kind of contextualization with Ukraine/Russian War? It didn’t exist. One side was considered to be protecting its territorial sovereignty and the other was invading it. Fine, sensible position. Now, the direct conflict initiator is placed on a moral equivalence to the side that was invaded. What? How does that happen.

So what most on the Post-colonial Left are saying is that only one of the two conflicts happened in a vacuum. That’s just objectively false. Post-colonial leftists haven’t been about Peace and aren’t about Peace. They’re about performance theatre and propagating conflict theory. They think that with their refined, hyper-educated Gnosis that they can identify Oppressors and the Oppressed and it will prove to their peers how enlightened they are. But these abstract conflicts are now real conflicts not Avant-garde reenactments so we’re seeing performance theatre run directly into the consequences of it’s unseriousness.

Last edited 8 months ago by T Bone
William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
8 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

But in the case of the Israel/Hama/Gaza conflict currently unfolding, who has actually invaded whose territory?

Hazel Gazit
Hazel Gazit
8 months ago

William, Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. Hamas took over the leadership after violently ejecting the Palestinian Authority. Since then, they have continuously stolen the billions of dollars in aid and used it to build a strong terrorist infrastructure (the network of tunnels under Gaza) and weapons and rockets which are used against the civilian population of Israel. They are currently bleating that they have no fuel and no electricity. But they still have plenty of rockets which they are STILL firing at Israeli civilians.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  Hazel Gazit

‘Hamas violently expelled the PA’
And you think the unarmed civilians can overthrow them?
They (Hamas) are violent fanatics, perhaps you could have given them (the civilians) a hand? I would suggest the Palestinian civilians have been caught between a rock and a hard place for some time…
Do you really believe it would be easy for the civilian population to overthrow them, not to mention the Israeli stranglehold on their economy.

Last edited 8 months ago by Carl Valentine
Andrew M
Andrew M
8 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

We don’t see any of their fellow Muslims and Arabs rushing or even sauntering to help them on this front. Perhaps this is their chance to exploit the power of the only definitely anti-Hamas country in the region, which is reportedly set to invade any day now?

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago
Reply to  Hazel Gazit

The original damage was done decades ago and terrorists have long memories for wrongs, whether real or perceived. They will always fire rockets into Israel because they have no other way of thinking. The creation of Israel has stuck in their craw since 1948. They are murderously determined and no amount of suffering of their own people will stop them. There will always be more of them.
Religious fervour is the worst kind.

Paul T
Paul T
8 months ago

Hamas invaded Israel since Israel pulled out of Gaza completely in 2005. Didn’t you know that?

Last edited 8 months ago by Paul T
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

As you very well know Israel is still illegally occupying territory which it seized in 1967

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
8 months ago

Nice to take this tribal again after a little respite when reading the article 😉 You are aware that Israel won the territory in a war that they didn’t start, which to me changes the narrative a whole lot! If your neighbour used their land to attack you and in you repelling the attack decided you no longer trusted their intentions and therefore decided to camp on the land to protect yourself from future attacks has another ring to it and I am not justifying all the settlement building. I just hate the crap spoken about colonialism and ethnic cleansing and occupation…

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Dyke

I am afraid you are wrong.
This is an extract from Wikipedia “On 5 June 1967, as the UNEF was in the process of leaving the zone, Israel launched a series of preemptive airstrikes against Egyptian airfields and other facilities, launching its war effort.[24] Egyptian forces were caught by surprise, and nearly all of Egypt’s military aerial assets were destroyed, giving Israel air supremacy. Simultaneously, the Israeli military launched a ground offensive into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula as well as the Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip. After some initial resistance, Nasser ordered an evacuation of the Sinai Peninsula; by the sixth day of the conflict, Israel had occupied the entire Sinai Peninsula.”
Still never let the truth get in the way of blind prejudice.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
8 months ago

Egypt had already attacked. What is described is a brilliant and rapid fight back, which totally wrong footed .the attackers. Israel gave back the Sinai Peninsula in the late 70s as part of a land for peace deal with Egypt which saw Egypt recognise Israel’s legitimacy as a state and normalised relations between the 2 countries, which in turn has kept the peace between the 2 countries since.
This proves that when the violence stops and the threat of genocide is removed, Israel will act fairly and rationally to do what is best for everyone, but never let the truth get in the way of blind prejudice.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

What is it with you people. Do you just make things up and what does that say about your judgement?
Egypt did not attack first. Even Israel subsequently admitted that it was a war of conquest. After the war, they admitted that Israel wasn’t expecting to be attacked when it initiated hostilities against Egypt. Mordechai Bentov, an Israeli cabinet at the time, admitted “This whole story about the threat of extermination was totally contrived, and then elaborated upon, a posteriori, to justify the annexation of new Arab territories,”
Subsequently  Israeli Prime, Minister Menachem Begin and former terrorist, conceded in a speech in August 1982 that “in June 1967 we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” In fact, Israel received reports from the United States to the effect that Egyptian deployments were defensive and anticipatory of a possible Israeli attack (how right they were), and the US assessed that if anything, it was Israel that was pressing to begin hostilities.
I could also throw in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the Israeli instigated massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refuge camps.
The corollary of your comment is that if the surrounding Arab nations were now to overwhelm Israel and drive the population into a small encircled enclave (say the Gaza strip) that would be fine and dandy.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

What is it with you people. Egypt did not attack Israel first and, as far as I know, no one has ever made this claim
After the war, Israeli is admitted that Israel wasn’t expecting to be attacked when it initiated hostilities against Egypt. Mordechai Bentov, an Israeli cabinet at the time admitted “This whole story about the threat of extermination was totally contrived, and then elaborated upon, a posteriori, to justify the annexation of new Arab territories,”
Subsequently  Israeli Prime and former terrorist, Minister Menachem Begin, conceded in a speech in August 1982 that “in June 1967 we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” In fact, Israel received reports from the United States to the effect that Egyptian deployments were defensive and anticipatory of a possible Israeli attack (how right they were), and the US assessed that if anything, it was Israel that was pressing to begin hostilities.
I could also throw in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the Israeli instigated massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.
The corollary of your argument is that if the surrounding Arab countries overwhelmed Israel and drove the population into a small encircled enclave (say the Gaza strip) that would be fine and dandy. And if you are right what on earth are we doing getting involved in Ukraine.

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
8 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Is that why they are slowly but surely kicking Palestinians out of the West Bank? Out of fairness and rationality?

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago

The Palestinian population of the West Bank has increased 5-fold since 1967. Some big “kicking out.” And of course, if the PA would negotiate a sincere peace, that would be the end of what you purport to care about.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

1

Last edited 8 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

1

Last edited 8 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

What is it with you people. Egypt did not attack Israel first and, as far as I know, no one has ever made this claim
After the war, Israeli is admitted that Israel wasn’t expecting to be attacked when it initiated hostilities against Egypt. Mordechai Bentov, an Israeli cabinet at the time admitted “This whole story about the threat of extermination was totally contrived, and then elaborated upon, a posteriori, to justify the annexation of new Arab territories,”
Subsequently Israeli Prime and former terrorist, Minister Menachem Begin, conceded in a speech in August 1982 that “in June 1967 we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” In fact, Israel received reports from the United States to the effect that Egyptian deployments were defensive and anticipatory of a possible Israeli attack (how right they were), and the US assessed that if anything, it was Israel that was pressing to begin hostilities.
I could also throw in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the Israeli instigated massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.
The corollary of your argument is that if the surrounding Arab countries overwhelmed Israel and drove the population into a small encircled enclave (say the Gaza strip) that would be fine and dandy. And if you are right what on earth are we doing getting involved in Ukraine.XXXXXX

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago

As usual, only part of the story. The rest of it is as follows: Nasser ordered the UNEF out of Sinai so he could invade israel. Egypt blockaded the straights of Tiran, putting a stranglehold on Israel’s economy. It was clear to all that Egypt planned to attack; the Israelis took pre-emptive measures, and good on them for doing so. It’s also worth mentioning that Israel offered to give all the occupied territories back in 1967 in exchange for peace. What it got instead were the three No’s of the Khartoum conference: No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel.
Funny how you left all that stuff out of your wee little screed.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

I do not think you read my little screed.
If you had you would have noticed that the US advised Israel that Nasser’s moves were purely defensive. In fact they were a response to  a message from the Soviet Union informing him that Israel had massed troops on the Syrian border, Nassar having pledged to assist Syria in the event of a future Israeli attack.
Also when even the Israeli politician who made the decision to launch the attack was a war of conquest you still chose to deny it.
I am not aware of any offer made by Israel to give back the 1967 territories in exchange for peace, and I have checked. If you can provide evidence of this I would be very interested to see it. After all I have provided evidence to back my assertion that the 1967 war was a war of conquest.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago

If you are unaware of the three noes from The Khartoum conference, it’s pretty clear you’re getting your info from extremely biased sources that cherry pick facts to fit a preconceived narrative. You’ve also obviously never heard of google. Your so called evidence, therefore, is of little value and frankly, you don’t know enough about this conflict to comment intelligently.

Arthur G
Arthur G
8 months ago

Who says it’s illegal? Virtually every country in the world is currently sitting on at least some land it conquered in a war.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

1

Last edited 8 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

1

Last edited 8 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Israel happy to cite on UN Resolution 181 that divided Great Britain’s former Palestinian mandate into Jewish and Arab states as legal justification for its existence.
But then you have Security Council Resolution 242 that calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the occupied territories and Security Council Resolution 2334 which state that Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfils its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
I am glad I was able to help your understanding on this issue

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

1

Last edited 8 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

1

Last edited 8 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

a

Last edited 8 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago

There is nothing illegal about an occupation when the people being occupied refuse to negotiate an end to their occupation, which they could do any time they got over their lose-take-all obsession of destroying Israel. Occupying a country after a war is not against “international law,” whatever that is.
Someone recently noted that “everyone becomes a historian when they see a dead jew.” It also seems that everyone becomes an expert on international law when the jewish state is involved.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

I think it has been accepted since 1945 that waging a war of conquest is a breach of international law and the 1967 war which gave Israel its current boarders was a war of conquest launched by Israel. So ipso facto continuing to occupy conquered land is unlawful.
If we invaded and occupied half France would you agree that we would be fine to go on occupying France until the French agreed to negotiate to allow us to keep the half the country we had occupied.
On your logic once Germany has completed the conquest of France, Belgium, Norway etc. we had no moral right to continue the war and should have acknowledged the Germans had won by conquest fair and square and left well alone.
As to loser takes all obsession, the Jews were evicted from Palestine by the Romans in the first century AD and yet 1,800 years later they insisted on taking back the land from the then occupiers. Also not content with the state granted to them by UN Resolution 101 the launched a war of conquest in 1967 to extend the boundaries of the state to approximate to what they would have been before Hadrian

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago

So stupid. Israel didn’t insist on taking it back, they took it back in a war they didn’t start that cost them 1% of their population. How this qualifies as loser-take-all is something only an anti Israel obsessive could put forward with a straight face.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

Israel did start the war. That much is undeniable

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
8 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Well said. As Logan Roy might of said looking at these ignorant virtue signalling young students, they are not serious people. They are all captured by PD – Progressive Disorder – a powerful quasi religious mind virus and cult which has – incredibly – re-booted the crass racial hierarchical pyramids of the Nazis to put non whites at the top and Jews – still – to be stamped on at the bottom. They have the cold eyed deranged looks we can find in images of the fanatic Red Guards in China in 1968. They are dangerous people too. This is no passing fad.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
8 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Well said.

George Venning
George Venning
8 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

The confusion surely arises from acting as though there are goodies and baddies in war. If you see war itself as the ultimate crime and recognise tha violence invites reprisal then the moral imperative is to stop any war as quickly as possible. No?
In that light, we can be clear that the Russians should not have invaded Ukraine and yet we can acknowledge that the behaviour of the Ukrainians (and NATO/the US) had certainly been provocative. Therefore, the West’s position should have been to call for an immediate ceasefire followed by a lot of diplomacy – rather than egging the Ukrainians on in a war that has already cost a horrible number of lives and which they will almost certainly lose eventually.
In Palestine, again, the attacks by Hamas were an atrocity – an acute spasm of horrific and indefensible violence but, again, that violence had been provoked by the chronic actions of the Israelis and, again, there wasn’t much of a peace process for the Palestinians to address their grievances in a non-violent manner. It was therefore predictable (though still indefensible) that violence would break out.
The proper question is not who is the most dispicable (there’s plenty of blame for everyone) but how to prevent a further round of bloodshed.
It was inevitable that Israel would respond to Hamas’ actions. But the role of the West shouldn’t be to cheer on the IDF, it should be to work towards a ceasefire and then a lasting peace.
No?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

You get peace when both sides want the same thing – or when both sides acknowledge that they have no hope of getting more from fighting on than they could get from peace. As long as one side believes that it can attack, improve its position, wait for the West to impose a ceasefire, and then prepare for the next push, there will be no peace.

Last edited 8 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
George Venning
George Venning
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Which side is that?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Iran.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

In the cases we have discussed it is the Palestinians and their organisations, and it is Russia. The first half would also hold for the Israeli settler movement: they believe they can get more land if they persevere, and they have nothing to lose since Israel will not get a peace even if they desist. Only in their case they do not rely on international pressure to prevent their opponents from retaliating.

George Venning
George Venning
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You’re suggesting that the Palestinians are improving their position. Are they? Not since 1948, not since 1967, not since 2006. The blockade on Gaza gets tighter and, as you concede, the settlers take more Palestinian land and bulldoze more houses. It is at least arguable, that Israel is the one that pushes as far as it can before it is compelled to stop and then consolidates. I’m not saying that’s the right framing. I’m saying that you can apply it to either depending on your taste.
And the Russians would, of course, say that their encirclement by NATO was a similar game of grandmother’s footsteps. Again, that’s not a Platonic truth, it’s a point of view
Which is why I say that it isn’t a helpful framing. But, if we agree that War itself is the moral catastrophe then we can stop arguing about who’s a goodie and who’s a baddie and figure out how to achieve peace.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Mine is actually a morally neutral argument. I’d happily agree that war is a moral catastrophe, but that only helps if we have practical way to avoid war. And the only simple way I know to avoid war is for one side to surrender.

The point is not that the Palestinians are improving their position. The point is that they think it is worth while to continue fighting. They believe that Palestine is theirs by right and they want it back – all of it. Quite understandable, actually. And they are not willing to settle for the status quo, or for some kind of land-for-peace deal because 1) they think that if they keep fighting ultimately they can do better, 2) because what they have now is so awful that even a long shot at winning is better than accepting what they have.

Israel also thinks it is worth while to continue fighting. Letting Hamas attack them and keep attacking them without fighting back means ever more rockets and more murders. And giving the Palestinians a state where they can move freely would be suicidal as long as the most likely outcome is that the Palestinians would simply keep fighting from a better starting position. Israelis would probably prefer getting all of Palestine without the Palestinians in it – if they could. Unlike the Palestinians, many Israelis would give up land for peace, but if a permanent peace is not on offer, fighting is better.

Regardless of who is the goodie and who is the baddie you are not going to get a peace until both sides accept that fighting for more is not worth it and they are better off resigning themselves to what they can get in peace. Stopping the fighting will not help if the causes remain and it just means that the whole thing will restart in a few years. And here nice and well-meaning people have to accept that pushing for a ceasefire will always help one side over the other, generally whichever side is currently ahead and in need of a pause to rearm. If you can rely on getting a ceasefire, the advantage will be to whoever attacks first, banks their gains before the opponent can hit back, and uses the inevitable ceasefire to rearm and prepare for their next attack. However much you dislike war, you cannot avoid the fact that at the moment a ceasefire in Ukraine would would be a gift to Russia, and a ceasefire in Palestine would be a gift to Hamas.

Last edited 8 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

An excellent strategic, amoral, assessment of the present reality. War is a tactic of last resort, when other methods fail. Terrorism is in fact an even more desperate tactic than warfare, being employed almost exclusively by people and groups that have decisively lost conflicts.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

War is not a tactic of last resort, it is always man made, deliberate and usually unnecessary.

Last edited 8 months ago by Carl Valentine
harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

doesn’t even bother to question WHY the blockade on Gaza gets tighter. What a fair interlocutor.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Or you get peace when one side is annihilated

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

I appreciate the wisdom and moral coherence of your comments in this thread, sir. Violence — chronic or acute — does invite reprisal, and stopping any war as quickly as possible should be the moral imperative (though I doubt outsiders can do it in this instance, as hatred of the other seems part of Israeli and Palestinian identities).

Supposed “rules of engagement” that attempt to impose a patina of civility over the fundamental barbarity of war and rank-order atrocities are nonsensical. War is appalling by definition.

Last edited 8 months ago by Colorado UnHerd
George Venning
George Venning
8 months ago

Right, but you can accept that the Israelis aren’t going to take this lying down and still think that the role of Western capitals should be to try to minimise the scale of the reprisal – for practical as well as moral reasons.
The moral choices faced by, for example, Benjamin Netanyahu and Keir Starmer are different.

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

I do agree that Western capitals should encourage restraint from Israel, as Biden is doing.
But historically, I don’t see that Western efforts to end the larger conflict have borne any lasting fruit. .

Last edited 8 months ago by Colorado UnHerd
Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago

Wow, who down voted that? Is Ghenghis walking amongst us?

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

No.

harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

You know how it happens, unfortunately.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
8 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

The conflict between Palestine and Israel was ‘initiated’ over half a century ago. Hamas’s atrocity is the latest in a long long series of skirmishes, wars, disputes and ongoing conflict since 1948.
Their recent grotesque and unspeakable attack is part of a long drawn out battle of religious and national differences between Israel and the Palestinians. And it was always going to bring on the next terrible phase of this interminable and dreadful conflict.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

No one then said that the Russian people are not interchangeable with Putin and Kremlin or Wagner Group leadership? They advocated total, indiscriminate annihilation? Point me toward such views please.