Backtalk, August 7, 2006

Israel and ‘Moral Equivalence’

Justin Raimondo suggests that “Middle Eastern morality” justifies disproportionate force. What about our killing of 1.7 million innocent Iraqis? Iraq has never done anything at all to the USA. Even with our presumably superior “Western morality,” we managed to outdo all the nations in the Middle East in terms of disproportionate (0:1.7 million) violence!

~ Cheryl Hutchinson

I want proof that the “Yesha Rabbinical Council” is “fairly representative of Israeli opinion.” That is sloppy journalism. Where is the citation? Where did the “announcement” appear? Who are they?

This is the second site that has quoted this mysterious group. I believe that it is propaganda and that this group does not exist. Judaism does not condone murder of innocent civilians, only self-defense against attack.

If you spread the “doctrine” of the “Yesha Rabbinical Council” – perhaps another name for the Elders of Zion? – you are putting Jewish residents around the world at risk of attacks by vengeful racists.

Proof, please. Otherwise, the source is worthless and so is your column.

~ PD

Eric Garris replies:

The announcement appeared on three very pro-Israeli government Web sites, the Jerusalem Post (“Yesha Rabbis Call for ‘Extermination of the Enemy’“), Arutz Sheva (“Yesha Rabbis: ‘Fight the True Enemy’“), and Ynet News (“Yesha Rabbinical Council: During Time of War, Enemy has No Innocents“). I really doubt that these three Israeli news sites are promoting such disinformation. As a Jew, I am also shocked that a religious organization would make any such statement. But, to my dismay, I have seen similar statements on CNN in recent days by other Israel-based religious groups.

Five Myths That Sanction Israel’s War Crimes

Mr. Cook,

Do you have any evidence that anyone in the Mideast would like to accept Israel’s existence?

Apart from working hard to create a thriving livelihood for themselves, Israel from day one has attempted to form friendly alliances, exporting agricultural expertise to Third World countries, etc.

I have a hard time understanding why you or anyone looking at the history of the Middle East can’t see that the Arab countries truly are intractable. They despise Jews, and Western civilization. But mainly they focus on Israel. Why? Is it because Israel represents the success and prosperity of the West? Is it because Jews represent a combination of worldliness and otherworldliness that offends them for some reason? Is it because they have some kind of control-freak desire to rule the whole Middle East? Do they want to rule the whole world?

You can complain about Israel defending itself all day, but in the end, take a look at what’s brewing between Iran, Syria, and Russia. Think about the geopolitical situation. Take off the blinders. This is not about the “media” ignoring Israel’s wrongdoing.

I’m the last person who wants to pick up guns and go try to kill people and risk getting injured or killed myself.

In the end, though, you really have to think about your self-interest. Is it in your interest for the Arabs, Iranians, and Russians to increase their power? Do they stand for enlightened ideals like you do?

Who are you helping by carping about Israel?

~ Jim Clevenson

Jonathan Cook replies:

I‘m glad that Jim is so sure his ideals are better than those of Arabs, Iranians, and Russians. Are they better than those of black people too, or is that kind of racism too overt for him? We used to hear this language used against Jews; now we hear Israel’s apologists using it against Arabs. One of the few universals I can see in human nature is the desire to believe other people are inferior to “us.” In Jim’s case, that’s just because Arabs and the rest cannot be successful like we are in the West (and Israel). Centuries of exploitation and continuing colonial interference, of course, have nothing to do with it. For Jim, there is no need to correct the legacies of injustice and abuse. Party on, Jim, at other (Third World) people’s expense, but don’t come crying to me if the firecrackers blow up in your face.

Why Do They Hate Us? Listen to Qana (Again)

What kind of Army sets up camp in harm’s way of children and civilians? Israel’s targets are missile launchers. Israel told that area five days earlier to evacuate.

~ Peter Jafelice

Jonathan Cook replies:

This is a very typically racist view of the war, the arguments premised on the same set of double standards that inform most Western media coverage. Israel has placed most of its military bases in the Galilee close to inhabited areas. In Nazareth, for example, we are squeezed between two military installations. Does that make us human shields, and therefore legitimate targets for Hezbollah rockets? Furthermore, the leafleting of south Lebanon by the Israeli air force telling civilians to leave does not legitimize Israel’s targeting of civilian areas. If this were the case, Hezbollah could rightfully claim that it is not responsible for killing Israeli civilians in Haifa, for example, with its rockets because its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, warned them in several speeches that he would hit Haifa several days before he in fact did so. On this logic, Haifa’s residents should have left when warned, and are responsible for their own deaths.

The Moral Culpability for Qana

As a Korean War veteran who cast his first ballot for Adlai Stevenson and has rarely voted for any Republican for any office, I salute Pat Buchanan for his incisive analysis of our government’s grossly immoral and stupid warmongering in Lebanon and the rest of the “New Middle East.” I hope that more decent Americans will be encouraged to ignore accusations of “anti-Semitism” and to condemn mass murder (unjust war) whenever it occurs, regardless of who happens to be doing the killing. I also hope that our mass media will begin to do a better job of evenhandedly asking Israeli spokespersons some obvious questions, such as: “If the IDF never targets civilians, how did it happen that Israeli missiles recently punched holes precisely in the center of the red crosses painted on the tops of two Red Cross ambulances?” Or, “Kindly explain the IDF’s repeated bombing of Beirut International Airport?”

~ Richard Young, New Mexico


At the end of an article on Qana and at the end of Raimondo’s editorial in which funds are also requested for the next season, the curious remark (in red) “Digg this” appears. I haven’t typed on it of course. It seems odd.

~ Dianne Foster

Eric Garris replies:

Digg is a new, fast-growing site where users vote on best articles. Here is an explanation: “Digg”

I have seen various reports that suggest the numbers given of dead troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are not accurate because they do not count those who are air-vaced out and later die in hospital. The same articles suggest that we are given the number of only those who die on Iraqi soil. Is this in fact true?

~ Linda

Mike Ewens replies:


It is not true. There have been over a hundred such deaths reported. Just look through this site:

Filter by place of death.

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