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WP Article Claims "Israel is a mistake"--Rebuked


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A good rebuttal to an awful article:

Richard Cohen's article in the Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/17/AR2006071701154.html?sub=AR

www.CAMERA.org

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

Please forward this alert to friends and family

who care about fair and factual reporting about Israel and the Middle East.

Washington Post's Richard Cohen: "Israel is a Mistake" - Is Mistaken

Washington Post syndicated columnist Richard Cohen asserts in his July 18 commentary "Hunker Down With History" that "Israel itself is a mistake." Historical ignorance and an appeasement mentality underlie such an assertion.

Cohen's lead paragraph reads:

"The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake . It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself."

Errors

Israel is not the embodiment of "the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians)." Rather, Israel embodies the return of the Jews, an indigenous people, to their ancestral homeland, in which some Jews always resided;

Approximately one-third of Israel's Jewish population are non-European Jews , including those who immigrated from throughout the Middle East, as well as from Ethiopia and India. Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews who led the Zionist movement and the late 19th, early 20th century resettlement of Eretz Yisrael - the land of Israel - envisioned a state for all Jews.

It was not "the idea of creating a nation of Jews" that produced anti-Israeli warfare and terrorism. It has been Arab-Islamic intolerance of equality and sovereignty for non-Arabs and/or for non-Muslims, and even for Muslims who do not share their particular interpretation of Islam, in the Middle East and beyond, that causes the Arab conflict with Israel. This supremacist attitude also causes periodic violence against and routine social suppression of Christian Arabs, Druze, Copts, Berbers and many other minorities. It fuels Shi'ite versus Sunni violence like that in Iraq, Persian Iranian manipulation and subversion of Arab affairs, hostility to the non-Muslim "Crusader" or Christian West, and - during times of fundamentalist Islamic fervor like the present - dreams of revenge against and conquest of non-Muslim people and lands.

Cohen does not understand that similar intolerance motivated the terrorists who attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, who assassinated Egypt's Anwar Sadat in 1981, who overthrew the Shah of Iran in 1979, who blow up hotels from Egypt to Indonesia, and trains from Madrid to London. Hezbollah's Iranian patrons refer to Israel as "the small Satan." The United States is "the great Satan." Does such hostility make the West, make America a "mistake"?

Failure to connect the dots

The columnist observes that Hezbollah "did not exist 30 years ago" and that Iran "was once a tacit ally of Israel's." A little understanding is a dangerous thing. Hezbollah didnt exist, but the Muslim Brotherhood, from which most Islamic terrorist groups spring, did. It began in Egypt in the 1920s, a reaction against Western influence in the Arab-Islamic world, including what it decried as America's lax moral and social standards. Will Cohen eventually agree to Islamic law here to erase the "mistake" of individual freedom?

Cohen warns Israel against "subjugating a restless, angry population" in south Lebanon or the West Bank and "having the world look on as it committed the inevitable sins of an occupying power." Israel's first responsibility is to survive and protect its citizens. The world will look on each state through the filter of its own perceived interest. To the extent "the world" focuses on Jews, this might discomfit Cohen, but it should not subvert Israeli policy. In any case, its own failures mean the Arab-Islamic world would have "restless, angry populations" had Jews and a Jewish state never existed.

The columnist advises Israel "to pull back to defensible - put hardly impervious - borders. That includes getting out of most of the West Bank - and waiting and hoping that history will get distracted and move on to something else. This will take some time, and in the meantime terrorism and rocket attacks will continue." Such fatuousness accords with neither Jewish nor military history. One cannot imagine Cohen giving such advice to Washington, D.C.-area police or the Pentagon if rockets were falling on his neighborhood.

Until fanatics like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stopping calling for Israel's destruction, Cohen recommends "it is best for Israel to hunker down." Hunker down and wait for Crusaders, the Inquisition, the Black Hundreds, the Gestapo, Nasser or Saddam? Cohen doesn't just stare history in the face and blink, he pulls the covers over his head.

Moral failure

If seemingly unrelenting Arab-Islamic hostility convinces Cohen that "Israel is a mistake," then would Cohen's response to pervasive European antisemitism in the 1930s have been that it was a force of nature to be submitted to? Given that many people in early America thought blacks inferior, should the slaves not have been freed? Since kings and aristocrats insisted for centuries that they ruled by divine right, and society organized itself accordingly, would Cohen have counseled acquiescence?

No mistake, but great success

Cohen, who in the past has taken on antisemites like those in the Nation of Islam, seems not to understand Israel at all. Not a "mistake," Israel is perhaps the most successful of the scores of post-colonial, post-World War II states. It is, among other things:

* A true democracy , with independent courts, free press, independent political parties and equal rights for all citizens, including women and non-Jewish minorities - unlike any of the 21 Arab states;

* A world leader, despite its population of just over six million, in scientific research and development, home to breakthroughs in areas from agriculture to medicine, high technology innovations including cell phone development and cancer detection and treatment, and military innovations such as the precision targeting system that helped the United States hit Al Qaeda's Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq;

* A model of a successful multi-cultural society, not only with Jews from scores of countries, speaking dozens of languages, but also of various ethnic and racial backgrounds, and non-Jewish citizens and resident aliens from around the world.

With Tony Judt & Ahmadinejad, Dreaming of a World Without Israel

The columnist cites the "gifted British historian Tony Judt ...." Judt is a vocal post- or anti-Zionist advocate of a "one-state solution" in which Israel abandons its Jewish character in favor of a "bi-national" Palestine of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip - the Palestine Liberation Organization's old propaganda slogan of a "democratic, secular Palestine," Except that when the Arabs outnumber the Jews in such a state, it would be unlikely to remain either democratic or secular. And if the Jews aren't expelled or worse, they would likely become second-class citizens walking on eggshells, as they have been in every Arab or Muslim country they have resided in.

Cohen simply cannot comprehend that Israel was not to be just a refuge for Jews fleeing oppression, but the center of a Jewish people reborn and flourishing. And, despite the war waged against it, so it has become. Without this "mistake," the Jewish people, in demographic decline elsewhere, would face a tenuous future. Last October, Ahmadinejad asked the world to consider "A Future Without the United States and Israel." Such a future is the logical conclusion of a column whose premise is that "Israel is a mistake."

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Are you kidding me? The so-called "rebuttal" does not even address the theme or point of Cohen's article, which has little to do with the "Israel is a mistake" headline. It seemed to me like Cohen just used that line as a jumping-off point - Cohen's article doesn't seem to me a condemnation of Israel or its actions, but rather an effort to describe Israel's current state of affairs and to suggest a course of action. Thus, I don't know why the "rebuttal" author felt it was necessary to write a "rebuttal" column that primarily sings Israel's praises rather than arguing the case for why Israel should not "hunker down." Did the author of the "rebuttal" even bother to read Cohen's article?

(Edited for clarity)

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Yeah - I don't see the asskicking either.

I think that an argument can be made fomr a stance of geopolotical stability that creating Israel was more trouble than it was worth and the whole world would have been better off if the refugee Jewish population had relocated to the US or elsewhere. I seriously doubt that Richard Cohen (whom I presume is Jewish himself) does not understand what he is saying or has bad intentions toward the Jewish people, as the rebuttal claims.

However, let's face it. What is done is done, and Israel now exists, and it deserves to exist, and the Arab world needs to get over it and deal with it.

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again I guess its just how you see things. I read that guys article and thought what fantasy land is this guy living in. Especially when he talks about terror groups and how Israel should just "hunker down" and take the terror attacks till the terrorists get "distracted". Please tell me you dont agree with any of that. His one point of if Israel didnt exist there wouldnt be any Arab violence about Israel is correct, nobody can argue that.

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again I guess its just how you see things. I read that guys article and thought what fantasy land is this guy living in. Especially when he talks about terror groups and how Israel should just "hunker down" and take the terror attacks till the terrorists get "distracted". Please tell me you dont agree with any of that. His one point of if Israel didnt exist there wouldnt be any Arab violence about Israel is correct, nobody can argue that.

I'm honestly not sure what I think Israel should do. I can see the case for them hunkering down and I can see the case for their recent offensive. When I saw the thread title, I thought I'd get to read a good retort to Cohen that would explain why Israel needed to go on the offensive at this time and into the future. I think the "rebuttal" failed to make any real argument along those lines and thus failed to rebuke Cohen's article. The "rebuttal" is directed at the line "Israel is a mistake," but that line is not the primary theme of the article. One could agree with Cohen's article (and the notion that Israel needs to "hunker down") without agreeing with the "Israel is a mistake" line.

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I'm honestly not sure what I think Israel should do. I can see the case for them hunkering down and I can see the case for their recent offensive. When I saw the thread title, I thought I'd get to read a good retort to Cohen that would explain why Israel needed to go on the offensive at this time. I think the "rebuttal" failed to make any real argument along those lines and thus failed to rebuke Cohen's article. The "rebuttal" is directed at the line "Israel is a mistake," but that line is not the primary theme of the article. One could agree with Cohen's article (and the notion that Israel needs to "hunker down") without agreeing with the "Israel is a mistake" line

I dont think its all about Israel is a mistake, its mostly about his conception of what the terror groups are and what Israel is.

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lets take the rebutals one by one then.

Lets start with him claiming that Israel has secure borders. Do you believe this?

I'm not interested in critiquing selected lines of Cohen's article as the "rebuttal" author has done. My point is simply that the "rebuttal" did not really address Cohen's suggestion that Israel "hunker down" - it proposed no alternative nor did it provide any justification for such an alternative. I don't see how that constitutes a "rebuttal." It is certainly possible to write a rebuttal to Cohen but I don't think this author did so.

I dont think its all about Israel is a mistake, its mostly about his conception of what the terror groups are and what Israel is.

In my reading, I did not think Cohen's article was a condemnation of Israel, but rather an effort to consider the history and state of affairs and to predict what Israel can expect in the future. I felt that the "rebuttal" column was an impassioned praising of Israel, and I don't understand why the author felt compelled to praise Israel when Cohen did not condemn it.

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Yeah - I don't see the asskicking either.

I think that an argument can be made fomr a stance of geopolotical stability that creating Israel was more trouble than it was worth and the whole world would have been better off if the refugee Jewish population had relocated to the US or elsewhere. I seriously doubt that Richard Cohen (whom I presume is Jewish himself) does not understand what he is saying or has bad intentions toward the Jewish people, as the rebuttal claims.

However, let's face it. What is done is done, and Israel now exists, and it deserves to exist, and the Arab world needs to get over it and deal with it.

Great idea but did we or any European nations WANT the Jews after WWII? Nope, in fact, during the war we turned away shiploads of jewish refugees and turned their ships back to Europe to die. Where else were they going to go? All the alternatives sound nice and all, but when you really look at it, they all end up with the Jewish people MUCH worse off. I think that's one of the main points this rebuttal is trying to make. It wasn't a mistake because it's about a people fighting for their place in the world where they can thrive and not deal with the type of persecution they always end up seeing in other countries.

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"It is best for Israel to hunker down". Wow! Isnt that what Israel has pretty much had to do to exist? They have hunkered down long enough. They need to hit these ****ers. Hard.
Is he really arguing against that?

It seems to me that Cohen is all for hitting Hezbollah now, but he's worried more about what Israel should do after the fighting is done.

That's when the real choice will have to be made: Occupy Southern Lebanon or retreat back to the border? Cohen advocates giving that land to Lebanon. I don't think it's that crazy, and that's probably what's going to happen.

...as for Israel being a mistake, it's hard to tell what Cohen means exactly, because he doesn't advocate placing the Jews elsewhere. "It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable." I think anyone would have to admit that it's not the best situation, but the reality is that there simply was no better alternative.

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Great idea but did we or any European nations WANT the Jews after WWII? Nope, in fact, during the war we turned away shiploads of jewish refugees and turned their ships back to Europe to die. Where else were they going to go? All the alternatives sound nice and all, but when you really look at it, they all end up with the Jewish people MUCH worse off. I think that's one of the main points this rebuttal is trying to make. It wasn't a mistake because it's about a people fighting for their place in the world where they can thrive and not deal with the type of persecution they always end up seeing in other countries.

I think Cohen would agree that it would be nice for the Jews to have "a place in the world where they can thrive," and the comment he made about Israel being a "mistake" has to do with the fact that it's been somewhat difficult for them to "thrive" in Israel because of the environment Israel is in.

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Is he really arguing against that?

It seems to me that Cohen is all for hitting Hezbollah now, but he's worried more about what Israel should do after the fighting is done.

That's when the real choice will have to be made: Occupy Southern Lebanon or retreat back to the border? Cohen advocates giving that land to Lebanon. I don't think it's that crazy, and that's probably what's going to happen.

...as for Israel being a mistake, it's hard to tell what Cohen means exactly, because he doesn't advocate placing the Jews elsewhere. "It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable." I think anyone would have to admit that it's not the best situation, but the reality is that there simply was no better alternative.

Well put. I think you have correctly interpreted the theme(s) of Cohen's article and have expressed yourself better than I have done in this thread.

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Great idea but did we or any European nations WANT the Jews after WWII? Nope, in fact, during the war we turned away shiploads of jewish refugees and turned their ships back to Europe to die. Where else were they going to go? All the alternatives sound nice and all, but when you really look at it, they all end up with the Jewish people MUCH worse off. I think that's one of the main points this rebuttal is trying to make. It wasn't a mistake because it's about a people fighting for their place in the world where they can thrive and not deal with the type of persecution they always end up seeing in other countries.

Well, I would suggest that the West's attitudes changed greatly after the war compared to before the war, due to the understanding of the true nature of the Holocaust. Plus, I do not think that Jewish people in the US in the past 50 years have been much worse off than those living in Israel. Who knows what might have happened had the UN and the British approached this diffierently right after the War ended. :whoknows:

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Is he really arguing against that?

It seems to me that Cohen is all for hitting Hezbollah now, but he's worried more about what Israel should do after the fighting is done.

That's when the real choice will have to be made: Occupy Southern Lebanon or retreat back to the border? Cohen advocates giving that land to Lebanon. I don't think it's that crazy, and that's probably what's going to happen.

...as for Israel being a mistake, it's hard to tell what Cohen means exactly, because he doesn't advocate placing the Jews elsewhere. "It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable." I think anyone would have to admit that it's not the best situation, but the reality is that there simply was no better alternative.

I think the real choice after hezbollah is taken out is, who is next? Who knows how it will work out. His final statement, " I think it is best for Israel to hunker down" sounds to me like his Idea or temporary solution. Maybe I'm reading it wrong. Sure, he starts off not opposed to defeating hezbollah but his final word on the situation is to "hunker down". Israel is tired of Hunkering down and I'm sure this skirmish with hezbollah is just the tip of the Iceburg for things to come.

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Is he really arguing against that?

It seems to me that Cohen is all for hitting Hezbollah now, but he's worried more about what Israel should do after the fighting is done.

That's when the real choice will have to be made: Occupy Southern Lebanon or retreat back to the border? Cohen advocates giving that land to Lebanon. I don't think it's that crazy, and that's probably what's going to happen.

...as for Israel being a mistake, it's hard to tell what Cohen means exactly, because he doesn't advocate placing the Jews elsewhere. "It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable." I think anyone would have to admit that it's not the best situation, but the reality is that there simply was no better alternative.

I thought Israel has already publicly announced that they have no intention of occupying any territory, and that once they have rooted out the terror caches they will leave. I mean I can understand people not liking what they are doing, but if a country was sending rockets and missles into my country I would send my troops in to clean out their ability.

Also, me and you have totally different takes on what cohen was suggesting. Like most double talkers he did say he understands whats going, but to me it sounded like he was suggesting Israel should just take the attacks and hope the terrorists get bored or distracted by another attack.

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I think the real choice after hezbollah is taken out is, who is next? Who knows how it will work out. His final statement, " I think it is best for Israel to hunker down" sounds to me like his Idea or temporary solution. Maybe I'm reading it wrong. Sure, he starts off not opposed to defeating hezbollah but his final word on the situation is to "hunker down". Israel is tired of Hunkering down and I'm sure this skirmish with hezbollah is just the tip of the Iceburg for things to come.
Unless someone else jumps into the fight on the side of Hezbollah, I don't really see this as the beginning of a broad Israeli offensive ... not that Hamas doesn't deserve a serious butt-whipping ...
Also, me and you have totally different takes on what cohen was suggesting. Like most double talkers he did say he understands whats going, but to me it sounded like he was suggesting Israel should just take the attacks and hope the terrorists get bored or distracted by another attack.
I'll agree with you that it's really hard to figure out what Cohen is saying. That in itself makes it a crappy editorial. He pretty much refuses to make any concrete proposals, but that's what journalists get to do - it's a luxury that politicians and generals do not have.

I don't think he's advocating Israel being completely passive though ... I guess it depends on what "hunker down" means. I'll admit that "hunker" isn't really in my regular vocabulary, but I picture digging in the trenches and keeping invaders at bay while training your machine gun across no-man's land ... :whoknows:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hunker

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Israel must not use its military might to win back what it has already chosen to lose: the buffer zone in southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip itself.

I dont know why the author says this, since from the begining the Israelis were very clear that they werent taking land. My guess is he was appealing to sensibilities and he was successfull.

The smart choice is to pull back to defensible -- but hardly impervious -- borders. That includes getting out of most of the West Bank -- and waiting (and hoping) that history will get distracted and move on to something else.

if this guy said this to me after 9/11 I would punch him in the mouth. To the lefts credit he doesnt completely spell it out so you have wiggle room, but what he is describing is well I have no idea I read it over and over again and all I see is retreat and then hope. Thats retarded.

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Well, I would suggest that the West's attitudes changed greatly after the war compared to before the war, due to the understanding of the true nature of the Holocaust. Plus, I do not think that Jewish people in the US in the past 50 years have been much worse off than those living in Israel. Who knows what might have happened had the UN and the British approached this diffierently right after the War ended. :whoknows:

In the US, you're right. Europe, however, is still entirely too anti-semitic and were after the war. Sure, they felt a little sorry for what happened during the Holocaust, just not enough to open their doors or actually lend a hand. They still all took the "well we don't want them, put them somewhere else" approach once the war was over.

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Israel should be relocated to Cuba in a trade. It makes perfect sense. In Cuba they will be in nice democratic region of the world with no neighbors to worry about. Their economy can flourish in peace. Castro would benefit be being further from his enemy and feel more at home surrounded by other dictators.

The world would be better if we had a good GM. :)

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I dunno, but since the Jews were there first (about 5000 years before islam was created) and even though they left shouldn't they be allowed to return to their ancestral lands? They sure as heck didn't try to make their country as big as it was back when the Kings were in place.

Yeah the muslims are upset, so?! sometimes you don't get what you want.

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I dunno, but since the Jews were there first (about 5000 years before islam was created) and even though they left shouldn't they be allowed to return to their ancestral lands? They sure as heck didn't try to make their country as big as it was back when the Kings were in place.

Yeah the muslims are upset, so?! sometimes you don't get what you want.

I don't think what happened thousands of years ago has anything to do with anything. What you are saying is really no different at all then native americans demanding their own nation because they were here before the US was even a day dream.

Israel deserves to exist because it does. Not every nation was born gloriously and there is nothing written saying they have to be. It does however exist now and because of that they have a right to continue.

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I dunno, but since the Jews were there first (about 5000 years before islam was created) and even though they left shouldn't they be allowed to return to their ancestral lands? They sure as heck didn't try to make their country as big as it was back when the Kings were in place.

Yeah the muslims are upset, so?! sometimes you don't get what you want.

Doesn't matter who was there first and who left and which tiny group remained. Israel is there now and it isn't going anywhere and the majority of Muslims understand that. How is it going to solve its problems? That's the question. Is it going to conquer all of its neighbors? It can't do that. The more it destroys its neighbors the more terrorism they will face. Israel will have to make its concessions and then it WILL have to hunker down, because the Islamists aren't going to do it first. Once there is a relative peace for a generation then perhaps the terrorists will lose broad public support. Israel should probably continue its assisinations or whatever it does but it ought to limit more broad ranged attacks that will give more support to their enemies. It will take some losses but in the long run it will be better for and the losses are relatively low so it won't be so bad.

What alternative is there? Kill everyone?

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