Israeli army

The Lost Art

By the standards of contemporary atrocity, Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner’s striking Andreas Ias in the face with the butt of his M-16 was a trifle. Eisner was the deputy commander of the Jordan Valley Brigade of the Israeli army, and Ias was a Dane on a bicycle who supported the Palestinians. The video of the incident depicts Eisner screaming in Hebrew to a group that does not understand Hebrew to go home, and holding his rifle horizontally, like an instrument of crowd control.

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The Patagonian Hare: A Memoir By Claude Lanzmann Translated by Frank Wynne (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 528 pp., $35)  I. The film called Shoah runs for more than nine and a half hours. Its subject is the extermination of Europe’s Jews by the Nazis. It features Jewish survivors of the death camps, Poles who lived near the camps, and Germans who organized and ran them—and also its director, Claude Lanzmann, in the background, with his various interpreters. The languages in which these people speak include Yiddish, Hebrew, English, German, Polish, and French: a sound file of Europe.

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Back in 2006, the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah was riding high. Having fought the Israeli army to a standstill, the organization’s leader Hassan Nasrallah declared “divine victory.” The war was a public relations coup for the militia, which emerged from the campaign as the most favorable personification of Shiism in the largely Sunni Muslim world. So impressive was the alleged victory that the campaign sparked a widely reported trend of conversion to Shiite Islam in the region.

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If You Build It...

Dear Imam Feisal, Ramadan Kareem. I pray that you are bearing up under the strain of recent months. I write as a well-wisher and friend. Though we met only briefly, our encounter turned out to be at a fateful moment, and, for me at least, was of lasting significance. We met, you will recall, on September 5, 2001, at a symposium on a book I was about to publish recounting my journey into Islam and Christianity in the Holy Land. (The book was actually released six days later, on September 11.) You appeared on the panel offering a Muslim response to my journey.

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I'm a little late to the latest turn in the Park 51 controversy, but let me point out the flaw in the argument that Howard Dean has made explicitly, and President Obama implicitly. The argument is that Faisal Rauf has every right to build a Muslim cultural center near Ground Zero, and his intentions are probably good ones. But his goals, admirable though they may be, have failed. Rather than bringing people together, he is driving them apart. So he should build the center elsewhere. I don't think this argument is wrong per se.

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 …until my friend Noah Pollak e-mailed me a note he wrote on April 8 about an appearance of the senior fellow of this and that made at the supposedly honest New America Foundation. Read it all. But all you have to believe are Rosenberg’s own words. Why Are Americans Pro-Israel? They Hate Muslims NOAH POLLAK - 04.08.2010 - 4:04 PM M.J. Rosenberg is a leading light in the “progressive” scene. He was formerly at the Israel Policy Forum and today posts embarrassing rants at the Talking Points Memo blog and is a “Senior Foreign Policy Fellow” at Media Matters.

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Israel does not need enemies: it has itself. Or more precisely: it has its government. The Netanyahu-Barak government has somehow found a way to lose the moral high ground, the all-important war for symbols and meanings, to Hamas. That is quite an accomplishment. Operation Make the World Hate Us, it might have been called. I leave it to others to make the operational criticisms of the Israeli action, and will say only that even my amateurish understanding of the tactical challenge posed by the interdiction of the boats suffices to suggest that there were other ways to do this.

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M.J. Rosenberg, speaking at the New America Foundation, says that conservatives only like Israel because the Israeli Army kills Muslims: They are anti-Muslim. They do not like Muslims. They are on the side of Israel because Israel is — they don’t like Jews that much to start out with, either — but compared to Muslims, they like Jews fine. They’re infatuated with the Israeli army. Why? Because the Israeli army kills Muslims. I mean, this is what it’s all about... Of course!

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Juan Cole's Mania

One of the odd things about people with very left-wing views on the Middle East is that they're obsessed with the political influence of American Jews yet almost completely unfamiliar with the actual beliefs of the subject of their obsession.

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I. In 2000, I was asked by the Israel Defense Forces to join a group of philosophers, lawyers, and generals for the purpose of drafting the army’s ethics code. Since then, I have been deeply involved in the analysis of the moral issues that Israel faces in its war on terrorism. I have spent many hours in discussions with soldiers and officers in order to better grasp the dilemmas that they tackle in the field, and in an attempt to help facilitate the internalization of the code of ethics in war.

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