Saturday, July 21, 2018

Book Review of Tareq Baconi's Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance - Preface Only

1. Introduction of the Issue

Hamas Decontexualized

At long last. A book which finally understands the Israeli/Palestinian conflict by fairly and objectively analyzing the central and key relationship between Terrorism and Security Measures. Baconi carefully details the strong relationship between the two, how each effects the other. More terrorism leads to more Security Measures and vice-versa. A refreshing, timely and necessary alternative analysis to the routine type of unilateral criticism which ignores one side of the relationship…just kidding.

Baconi’s preface is just standard Palestinian propaganda. Baconi simply suggests alternatives to Hamas being a terrorist organization even though they clearly are under International Law. They don’t think they are, other countries don’t think they are, it’s unclear what a terrorist organization is and maybe they are but because they are “resisting” maybe they are not. 

Once Baconi has exorcised Terrorism from Hamas he postures that all we are left with are Security Measures from Israel and now, magically, there is a clear definition of terrorism which can be applied to Israel. In order to accomplish this Baconi has to be in denial regarding the history of the Conflict and make significant accusations against Israel that would be much easier to make against Hamas.

2. Discussion



1. The Background of the Conflict:

“Sitting in the darkness of the theater, I thought of Palestine. Lacking the clarity of historical hindsight, the Palestinian struggle for self-determination seems frozen in time, in many ways an interminable anticolonial struggle unfolding in a postcolonial world. It is a world that has confronted the carnage of decolonization. But the battle is still raging in Palestine, with ever-present urgency. The simplistic binaries that frame conversations of Palestinian armed struggle evoke the condescension expressed by colonial overlords”

There was never a colonial background to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict against the Palestinians. The prior owner was Great Britain which took control after it defeated the Ottoman Empire. The War of Independence was part Civil War. The Jews already lived there, they were not fighting for the benefit of any home/native country. To the extent there was an attempted colonizing effort the Jews in fact were on the defensive having to defend themselves from all surrounding Arab countries, most of who did have colonizing ambitions. 

Even worse, the subsequent history of Israel was Israel having to continuously defend itself against the colonizing efforts of these same neighboring Arab countries. The Palestinian role in the conflict since the beginning has been, now what’s that word that Baconi threw out? Oh yeah, terrorism. 

2. Definitions:

“Hamas’s actions fit into the definition of terrorism used by the U.S. Department of State, which notes that “terrorism is premeditated politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.”4 While Hamas itself admits that it has used such tactics, it vehemently rejects being designated a terrorist organization. The logic underpinning this seeming contradiction is the absence of a single definition about what constitutes terrorism.5 The term is malleable and subjective, and more importantly, it has been used as a tool of war.6 The definition put forward by the U.S. State Department has consistently and cynically been manipulated to justify illegal and morally reprehensible military measures, in this case by Israel. Furthermore, while the label of “terrorism” under this definition can be applied to Hamas, it fails to account for the terror caused by Israel’s relentless military regime over the Palestinians.”

There is an International definition of Terrorism and it is not just the United States that considers Hamas a Terrorist organization but also the EU as well as several Arab countries. Regarding Israel’s Security Measures they are a direct response to Terrorism. 

3. Assumptions:

“Furthermore, this study has proceeded from the premise that Hamas is at its core a political, not a religious, party. Of course, through its own declaration, Hamas is an Islamic movement by charter and by the faith of its leadership and its member base. While this book has addressed how this belief system impacts Hamas’s political outlook, it has not explored the theological underpinnings of the movement’s ideology. In other words, this is not a book about Islam, but Islam has a key presence within the book.”

You need nothing other than what Baconi has said above to conclude that Hamas is primarily a religious organization. Hamas is secondarily a military dictatorship as it does not allow any opposition or even criticism. Hamas is not a political organization as the word is normally used as there are no other significant political parties, no freedom of the press and no elections. There are other political parties but only those approved by Hamas. 

“Using this material, Hamas Contained offers an overview of the three decades of Hamas’s existence, primarily as narrated from the movement’s perspective.”

Hamas clearly lacks credibility as a source based specifically on its history and in general as since it is a Terrorist organization willing/wanting to murder innocent women and children, lying would fall well within its own range of “resistance”. 

“During the summer of 2014, when global newsrooms were covering Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip, I watched Palestinian analysts being rudely silenced on the air for failing to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization outright.1”

Most of the countries in the world are publicly more sympathetic to the Palestinians than the Israelis as evidenced by the continuous lopsided UN votes. The US is more balanced with Conservative sources generally being more supportive of Israel and Liberal sources being more supportive of the Palestinians. Do a random search of the Internet and you will see a majority of hits (so to speak) being critical of Israel. Baconi’s footnote above refers to Sean Hannity which I have to confess was my biggest laugh of the day. 


1. Attitude

“Against the backdrop of flares and explosions lighting up Gaza’s night skies during Israeli military incursions, some Israelis trek up to raised viewing points, sit on couches, and eat popcorn while watching the “fireworks” over the beleaguered land.3”

Even if this was true, it’s generally the Israelis that regret all casualties in the conflict and the Palestinians that cheer not only Israeli casualties caused by terrorism, by compensating the terrorists and their families, but their own casualties caused by their own terrorism by passing out candy like it was Halloween and naming public areas after Terrorists. 

“The collective punishment of millions has become permissible, comprehensible, and legitimate. Destroying schools and targeting UN shelters, as Israel did in 2014, are military tactics that have been justified as essential for Israel to defend itself against terror. The killing of more than five hundred children during that same operation for many becomes little more than an unfortunate necessity.”

Israel is the side that takes extreme security measures targeting specific terrorist targets and it is Hamas that inflicts collective punishment on Israel with general random Terrorist attacks. It is also Hamas that makes schools and UN shelters targets by launching attacks and storing weapons in them and Israel that tries to avoid them as targets. The number of Gaza children killed is something to consider if only Baconi was considering the relationship of Terrorism to Security Measures. 

2. Definitions

“By eliding the movement’s political ideology, as was done to the PLO before it, Israel has maintained policies aimed at depoliticizing Palestinian nationalism, and sustained its approach of conflict management rather than resolution. Through a dual process of containment and pacification, Hamas has been forcefully transformed into little more than an administrative authority in the Gaza Strip, in many ways akin to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. At the time of its thirtieth anniversary, the movement appears temporarily—if not conclusively—pacified, and Israel seems to have succeeded in maintaining the permanence of an occupation long deemed unsustainable.”

It is Hamas that has prevented itself from being a political organization by instead being primarily a theocracy and preventing freedom of speech. This is clearly demonstrated in practice as the only negotiation Hamas ever participates in are cease-fires. 

3. Conclusion

If a resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict was based on conscience all of Israel would be Jewish. As shown above there is no context of colonizing. The original and continuing context is the Holocaust and subsequent real genocide of the significant Jewish populations in all surrounding Arab countries justifying a Jewish country that protects Jews. In the real world though conscience does not create resolution, usually because the different sides have different consciences. Resolution is based on negotiation. The only thing that has prevented the Palestinians from the start from having their own country is terrorism. 
If Baconi did try a radical new approach to the Conflict and try to consider the relationship of Terrorism to Security Measures it’s possible that he might observe that there is a direct relationship. Once aware of this he may further note the direction of the relationship. Maybe, just maybe, less terrorism creates less Security Measures. At an extreme maybe no terrorism would lead to…I’m not kidding. 

In the meantime, even though Baconi is understandably sympathetic to the Palestinians, who should have their own country, he is ironically working against that, unwittingly helping to maintain the status quo by unilaterally criticizing Israel and exorcising Palestinian Terrorism from the discussion. Terrorism can be effective against Terrorism. Israel proved that in The War of Reprisals. But Palestinian Terrorism has not been effective against Israel. Israel has gotten better defending against it than Palestinians have gotten committing it. The majority of casualties now in terrorist attacks are on the Palestinian side. The world to some extent, especially the world powers, see Israeli Security Measures JUSTIFIED by Palestinian Terrorism. The most important country here, Israel, sees it to a large extent. In the meantime Israel gets stronger exporting oranges grown in the desert, high tech start-ups and nobel prize winners. Palestinians just continue exporting terrorism, sowing/reaping and controversy with former Arab allies. All the Palestinians need to do is drop the Terrorism to be like Israel. Really, if an Israeli and Palestinian were dressed the same and standing next to each other, could you tell the difference (other than the Palestinian being the one holding a knife)? 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Combination of Extreme Criticism of Israel & Avoidance of Criticism of Palestinian Terrorism

1. Introduction of the Issue
Selective reporting

"Selective reporting involves devoting more resources, such as news articles or air time, to the coverage of one side of the story over another."

The basic issue of The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the relationship between claimed cause and claimed effect. Israel, its supporters and advocates, generally claim a relationship of Palestinian Terrorism is the cause of Israel's extreme security measures. Palestinians, their supporters and advocates, generally claim a relationship of Israel's extreme security measures are the cause of Palestinian Terrorism. 

The following are criteria to determine the existence and extent of selective reporting:

1) Reporting of one side of the relationship in absolute numbers. 

The relative reporting of one side of the relationship to the reporting of the other side.

The level of the description used. 

Possible consequence of under reporting the other side of the relationship.

2. Discussion

                         Why Israel Gets Away With Murder

Let's test drive the criteria above for Neil Godfrey's blog Vridar starting with a search of his site for "Israel" and summarize:

1) The number of articles involving Israel.

2) The tone of the article regarding Israel.

3) The extent of the article's tone towards Palestinians:

1. Postscript on Rome’s and Israel’s foundation stories   

Israel tone = The purpose of the article is to consider parallels between The Jewish Bible's Israel origination stories and Greek origination stories. In the comments you can see the author theorize that the Jewish stories were to some extent copied from the Greek and that a historical Jewish Palestine was significantly later than what The Jewish Bible indicates. 

Palestinian tone = No direct mention of Palestinians here. The article has an implication, which is explicit in prior related articles, that if "The Jews'" history in Israel is much later than is commonly thought/argued than someone else must have been there earlier/much earlier such as maybe, I don't know, Palestinians?

2. Comparing the Rome’s and Israel’s Foundation Stories, Aeneas and Abraham

Israel tone = Same as above.

Palestinian tone = Same as above. If the author wanted to objectively compare who's claim to Israel/Palestine is earlier a good comparison would be, which one, Israelis or Palestinians, use the other one's religious book as the start of their history? Hmmm. 

3. How Philo-Semitic British Israelism Morphed into Anti-Semitic White Supremacism / Christian Identity

Israel tone = The article is about antisemitic beliefs and not about Israel.

Palestinian tone = The article is about Christian antisemitism and not Muslim/Palestinian antisemitism. So based on this article Israel has reason to feel threatened, just not by Muslims/Palestinians.

4. Reality Behind Arab Threats to Destroy Israel

Israel tone = Israeli leadership knew from the beginning that Arabs were not a significant threat to Israel and by lying to the Israeli population about the level of the threat wrongly convinced Israelis that the Arabs were a significant threat. 

Palestinian tone = No mention of "Palestinians" in the article. Strangely, the Arabs are first described as easily having the ability to destroy Israel and than described as always realizing that they could not destroy Israel. Since there is no mention of Palestinians there is no mention that all Palestinian political organizations have always had a Charter calling for the destruction of Israel. Note that in the potential context of Palestinians as a threat to Israel, Godfrey's blog minimizes their numbers, in this case to -0-. In the context though of Palestinian refugees/supposed right of return they quickly multiple into greater numbers than Israelis and exponentially more than Jews with any religious/physical connection to Israel. 

An objective review of the history of actual quotes/writings of Arab leaders from the beginning shows that they were not just sincere about thinking they could destroy Israel but enthusiastically sincere.

5. Primitive Democracy in Ancient Israel

Israel tone = Same as 1. and 2. above but now the source for The Jewish Bible has been expanded from Greek sources to (non-Jewish) Middle Eastern sources.

Palestinian tone = Same as 1. and 2.

6. The Inspiration for Israel’s Law of the Ideal King

Israel tone = Same as 1. and 2.

Palestinian tone = Same as 1. and 2.  

7. Israel’s Best Friends to Her Rescue

Israel tone = Israel is described as being overly influenced by its "radical" element leading to a policy of illegal settlements in the West bank. These illegal settlements are said to prevent a peace agreement all by themselves and it's said that this policy will lead to an Apartheid State.

Palestinian tone = No mention of any radicals, illegal activity or plans to have an Apartheid Arab/Muslim State. In fact no mention of Palestinians at all except for the context of being victims.

8. How Israel Uses (not “Misuses”) The Bible

Israel tone = Israel is described as using The Jewish Bible to justify all of Israel being a Jewish State.

Palestinian tone = As in 7. no mention of "Palestinians" in the article except in the context of being victims. You wouldn't know from the article that it's actually the Palestinians who are primarily a religion oriented government and have a majority of their population who think all of Israel should be Arab/Muslim based on their Bible. In fact you wouldn't even know from the article that the Palestinians are Muslim.

9. The Tribes of Israel modeled on the Athenian and Ideal Greek Tribes?

Israel tone = The article is similar to most of the articles above, arguing that The Jewish Bible copied from Greek stories supporting that the Jewish history in Israel is much later than Jews would argue. The comments go beyond and all the way to The Jewish Bible dishonestly invented "history" of Jews returning to and reclaiming their homeland and demonizing the people (Canaanites/Palestinians) who were there first to justify genocide.

Palestinian tone = As always, Palestinians only referred to in the context of victims. No attempt to find similar copying/accusations in The Arab Bible. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Amazin Kristkin!

The Amazin Kristkin!

Story background: It's Herod's Palace, Saturday night. The warm up
ACTS have just finished and the place is hoppin. The Manager/MC goes
on stage to introduce the headliner. The crowd has been whipped up
into an eschatological frenzy. If they don't get their feature act
soon, someone is going to be crucified. Showtime!

Manager: Okay, okay. I know you're all dying for our featured act,
but first I have a few announcements to make. Next week at Herod's
Palace the always popular Balaam and his talking donkey, the world's
greatest ventriloquist act. I swear you will not be able to
see the donkey's lips moving. And the week after, back by popular
request, the number one burlesque show on the Gaza Strip, Eve West and
W.C. Snake. (Lowers voice) when she's bad she's very bad but when
she disobeys she's even better. (Wrinkles eyebrows) guys, you
might want to start working on your alibis early. (Some guys in
audience start nodding in agreement). We also have a VIP with us here
tonight. Sitting in the balcony next to our own beloved King Herod is
the Governor of this region for the mighty Roman Empire, the
honorable Pontias Pilate. Pilate stands up and waves to sparse

Voice from crowd : Caesar sucks! (Crowd laughs).

Pilate : Who said that?! (Directs Roman guards to find the source.
Entire crowd shuts up and puts on innocent faces as guards begin to
make their way through the crowd.)

Manager : Ahem. Okay, one more announcement before I introduce your
headliner tonight. Please remember to pick up your livestock
from the goat check room before you leave the Palace. We are not
responsible for any lost sheep or other animals that are left
here over night. Finally, Rebbe Yell will lead us in our pre-show,
non-sectarian prayer. (An old small Rebbe with a long white
beard comes onto the stage.)

Rebbe Yell : (All bow heads). Our gracious Father in heaven. We thank
you for the entertainment that we are about to receive and for
providing us with the gift of laughter.

All : Amen.

Manager : And now, it is my great pleasure to introduce to you,
(crowd starts to cheer) the man you've been waiting your whole lives
for. Direct from a sold out, extended stay, standing room only and
record setting performance in the Galilee. (Cheer builds) Guaranteed
to heal whatever ails you, able to get a rise out of anyone,
including the dead, a real son-of-a-god and your ticket to heaven, The
One, Only and Holy Guest, The Amazin Kristkin and Paul Saver and
The World's Most Disciplined Choir! (Thunderous applause). (Paul
leads the Disciples onto the stage on their hands and knees,
forming a large cross, with The Amazin Kristkin laying stretched
out on their backs with his hands and feet tied to their
backs). (Paul pulls out a small cross and starts leading the Disciples
in their opening number).

Disciples : (Singing) Your love, is lifting us higher, than we've
ever been lifted before.

Peter : (Solo with Disciples singing opening refrain in background)
So keep it up, quench our desire, and we'll be at your feet for ever
more. (The cross formation reaches the center of the stage and stops.
Then the top of the cross starts to elevate where Kristkin's head is.
Kristkin looks to the right and his right hand immediately becomes
untied. He looks to the left and his left hand becomes untied. He
looks down at his feet and his feet become untied. As the cross
continues to elevate he slowly and smoothly slides down to a standing
position. The Disciples remain in tiered formation, still singing the
opening number with their outside arms forward, presenting Kristkin.
The crowd goes crazy and the continuous drone of the Palace vendors
shouting "mutton on a stick" and "nice, cool wine, get your nice,
cool wine here" is temporarily drowned out.)

Kristkin : (Wearing a long, flowing, white cape and a matching white
robe with very large sleeves and an extra large, red K emblazoned on
the back of the cape with smaller red K's on his sleeves waves to
the crowd). Thank you. Thank you very much. (Blows kisses). I love you
all. (Extends and raises his right arm and a large loaf of white bread
suddenly appears by his right sleeve). (Heavy applause). (Hands loaf
of bread to a man sitting in front row). Here, pass this around.

Man : Thanks. Say, do you have any butter?

Kristkin : (Pats his vest). Um, no. Sorry. (Looks back at crowd).
Hey, it's great to be back at the Palace. I just flew in from the
Galilee today. (Lifts arms). Boy, are my arms tired! (Fuh-boom-Paul
does rim shot). (Crowd roars). I tell you the truth. Show business,
show business, it' in my blood show business. I just wish it was in
my act! (Crowd howls). (Looks and points to a small group of Roman
woman and their babies a few rows back). This must be the Caesarian
Section! (Crowd is dying). Okay, now for my first trick. (Raises left
hand and a large deck of cards appears next to his sleeve. Applause.)
I hold here in my hands all six hundred and thirteen
commandments. I will now shuffle the cards and let a member of
the crowd select one without my seeing which one it is. I will
then tell you exactly what that commandment means without knowing
which card has been taken. (Moves to a man in the front row and holds
all the cards out, written side facing away and turns his face away.
The man picks one card.) The commandment you selected means love the
Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all
your mind.(To the man) Now, read to the crowd the commandment you

Man : Thou shalt not boil a calf in its mother's milk.

Kristkin : See? (Raises arms triumphantly as crowd applauds). Thank
you. Thank you. (Waves to crowd) I love you all. (Extends and raises
both arms and loaves of white bread at one sleeve and dark bread at
the other sleeve appear. Crowd oohs and then applauds. Throws bread
into the crowd). For my next trick I was going to pull a Rabbi out of
a hat but the Rabbi died. (fuh-boom.) Okay, I am now ready to perform
a feat of magic never before seen here at Herod's Palace. I will
attempt to transform a jar of ordinary water into wine. (Raises arms
and looks upward). Paul, I'm ready. (Paul carries over a jar of rather
brown looking water and a large shroud).

Paul : (Holds up jar for audience to see). Hmmm. Looks like the
Romans put the bath lines a little too close to the sanitation lines.
(Laughter) (Places jar at Kristkin's feet and covers Kristkin with
the shroud.) (The Disciples come slowly strolling onto the stage,
wearing big, white, comfortable sweaters with the first letter of
their name stitched in red on the front, singing and snapping their
fingers to the beat).

Disciples : Kristkin just left for Chicago, turning muddy water into

Simon : (Solo with Disciples singing opening refrain in background).
He's been from Jerusalem to Egypt and all points in between. (As
Disciples continue their song there is a small amount of movement at
the bottom of the shroud and a barely audible squishing sound.)

Manager : (Peering out from the side of the stage and saying to
himself) I hate it when he does this one. I'll be up all night trying
to get the stains out of the floor.

Kristkin : (Dramatically removes shroud and raises jar up to reveal
what appears to now be wine. Heavy applause. Brings jar over to front
row to drink and then stops, raises both arms out and head upwards
and three loaves of bread simultaneously appear, one at each sleeve
and one at his collar). (Huge applause. As they are clapping half of
audience is asking "how does he do that?" and the other half are
shaking their heads saying "I don't know.") Thank you. Thank you.
(Blows kisses) I love you. I love you all. Now be sure to pass over
my bread and wine to King Herod. Eating and drinking is his second
favorite activity next to taxing the peasants. (People are doubling
over with laughter. Herod gets annoyed look on face). Actually, I
shouldn't make fun of King Herod, we go way back together. I remember
when he first opened up this Palace ten years ago and since then,
there's nothing I wouldn't do for King Herod and nothing King Herod
wouldn't do for me. And that's the way its been for ten years, we've
done nothing for each other. (People are rolling on the floor. The
look on Herod's face changes from annoyed to really annoyed.) And
now, it's time for my grand finale. Never before successfully
performed on stage. I will be placed inside a coffin with the lid
nailed shut. There will then be spears thrust through the coffin,
piercing my body and killing me. The coffin will be opened and I will
have disappeared. Then the coffin will be nailed shut again and after
three minutes I will reappear, unharmed. Paul, is everything ready?

Paul : Yes, Kristkin. (Wheels small wooden coffin onto the stage with
several round holes on each side and what appear to be blood stains
next to the holes. Crowd becomes quiet.)

Kristkin : I have here the "widowmaker" taken directly from Elijah
the Great's final performance. (Looks down) may G-d have mercy on his
soul. (Crowd starts to worry). (Climbs into coffin and as he's
closing the lid says) I'll see you in the next life. (Crowd is
becoming anxious).

Paul : (Hammers lid shut. Goes over to Roman guards and says) May I
borrow your spears? I think Kristkin has something caught between his
teeth. (Nervous laughter from crowd). (Meanwhile, the Disciples are
forming a human pyramid next to the coffin with Judas on top).

Judas : (Singing with the rest of the Disciples humming background)
Mistakes, he's made a few, cause he's not G-d, he's just a Jew.

Paul : (Placing spears into coffin but having trouble pushing them
completely through. Occasional "ow" or "ouch" can be heard from
inside the coffin.) Say, can a couple of you guards come over and
help me place these spears, I'm having some problems? (Two Roman
guards come over. The first grabs a spear that's halfway in and gives
it a forceful shove to put it all the way through. A loud "Ahhhh!" is
heard and the crowd shudders. The second guard pulls a stuck spear
back out of the coffin.)

Guard : That's not how you move a spear. This is how you move a
spear. (Backswings spear in air and then launches it forward towards
the coffin.)

Paul : (Tries to stop guard but it's too late). No, wait! Don't!
(Spear goes into coffin and becomes stuck inside. A very
loud "Aaaaaargh" is heard.)

Judas : (Finishing song). What have we learned, during our stay? Did
our good deeds, keep sin away? We kept the law, as best we may. We
did it Hisss Way.

Paul : (Starts tearing open coffin lid). Oh no. Please, no. (Manager
comes over to help. They finally get the lid open. The coffin is
empty and there is a trail of blood leading to a trap door underneath
the coffin.)

Manager : This is terrible.

Paul : You mean because Kristkin could be seriously or even fatally

Manager : No, because the act's not finished and I paid Kristkin in
advance.(Notices small, blood spattered note at bottom of coffin).
What's this? (Reads note) "I shall reappear on the exact one
hundredth anniversary of Harry Houdini's death". Who the hell is Harry

Paul : I have no idea. Damn, it took me twenty years to put this act
together. What am I supposed to do now?

Manager : (Shrugs) I don't know. Why don't you write a book about it?

Paul : Yea, right. A book, sure. (Scratches chin) Hey, wait a minute,

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Genocide In The Israeli/Arab Conflict

1. Introduction of the Issue

Over at Neal Godfrey's blog Godfrey continues to try and support his conclusion that there was/is/will be genocide in the Israeli Arab conflict Expulsion of the Palestinians: Insights into Yishuv’s Transfer Ideas in World War 2. His problem so far is that he continues to look for it in the wrong place. He keeps looking for it on the Israeli side but there are now more Palestinians in Israel than there were at the start of the conflict and while Israel had no reaction whatsoever to The Palestinian Museum the Museum has no exhibits because of internal Palestinian fighting.

Genocide is defined as follows:


"Genocide is intentional action to destroy a people (usually defined as an ethnicnationalracial, or religious group) in whole or in part. The hybrid word "genocide" is a combination of the Greek word gĂ©nos ("race, people") and the Latin suffix -cide ("act of killing").[1] The United Nations Genocide Convention, which was established in 1948, defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group".[2][3]
The term genocide was coined in a 1944 book;[4][5] it has been applied to the Holocaust," 
Note that included in the definition of "Genocide" is a religious group and that the term was created because of the genocide of Jews in the Holocaust of which the Palestinians and Arabs participated. Strangely Godfrey prohibits the combination of "Holocaust" and the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict because he thinks it creates unfair sympathy for Israel. On the other hand he is quick to combine "Genocide" and Palestinians (as supposed victims) even though the word was originally created to describe the genocide of the Jews (which was largely successful because of the effort of Palestinians/Arabs to prevent a Jewish State at the time).

Everyone, including Godfrey, would agree that there was Genocide against the Jews in all of the surrounding Arab countries:

Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries

Here we have the expected qualities of genocide, murder, persecution, intimidation, forcible eviction, theft of all property, desecration and removal of history. Contrast this to what Godfrey tries to manufacture as Genocide on the Israeli side, while Israel is attempting to defend itself against a repetition of genocide against Jews, one (not "the") Jewish leader, in preparation for war, writes that assuming the Jews survive genocide one option is to try and make agreements with surrounding Arab countries to transfer some Palestinians out of strategically vulnerable areas so as to make the next genocidal attempt against Israel less likely to be successful. Under such a plan the Palestinians and Arab countries would be compensated per any agreement. The proposed plan would remove Palestinians by force if necessary (see how easy that was Neil). Note that this was one idea by one Israeli leader and never official Israeli policy unlike every Palestinian political organization that has an explicit genocidal policy towards Israel. 

So we do have clear evidence of Genocide just outside of Israel, perpetrated by all of Israel's Arab neighbors. But do we have evidence of Genocide inside Israel itself?

2. Discussion

During the Israeli/Arab conflict it's generally agreed that Jordan was the least malicious of Israel's neighbors. During The War of Independence Jordan illegally captured East Jerusalem which under the UN Mandate was supposed to be an International City. Let's see how that worked out for Jews not just in East Jerusalem but everywhere:

Jordanian annexation of the West Bank:

1) The Jordanians immediately expelled all the Jewish residents of East Jerusalem.[14]

2) All but one of the 35 synagogues in the Old City were destroyed over the course of the next 19 years, either razed or used as stables and chicken coops.

3) Many other historic and religiously significant buildings were replaced by modern structures.[15][16] The ancient Jewish cemetery on Mount of Olives was desecrated, and the tombstones were used for construction, paving roads and lining latrines; the highway to the Intercontinental Hotel was built on top of the site.[17]

4) Tensions continued between Jordan and Israel through the early 1950s, with Palestinian guerrillas and Israeli commandos crossing the Green Line.

5) Tourists entering East Jerusalem had to present baptismal certificates or other proof they were not Jewish.[38] [39][40]

1) - 5) = The destruction of Judaism in East Jerusalem, East 
Jerusalem being the most important geographical area for 
Judaism at the time as well as the symbol of Judaism.

For those sitting on the Wall as to whether this is sufficient to
justify a label of Genocide, add in that Jordan then allowed
Palestinian terrorists to operate from East Jerusalem.

3. Conclusion

In summary Neil Godfrey could end his desperate attempt to find evidence of Genocide in The Israeli/Arab conflict by simply looking everywhere except on the Israeli side. Seriously, Godfrey thinks he is helping the Palestinians by trying to demonize Israel and ignoring Palestinian/Arab evils. By doing this though he makes the Palestinians think that either he sees nothing evil in what they do or at least will tolerate it. Palestinian Terrorism though is the only reason Palestinians do not have their own State. They need constructive criticism and not just propaganda against Israel. By solely criticizing Israel you are hurting the Palestinians, not helping them, and your efforts will just blow up (so to speak) in your and their's face.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Figures Don't Lie But Liars Figure. A Proportionate Response to the Disproportionate Response Claim (Gaza)

1. Introduction of the Issue

Common Claim
It's often claimed that during The Gaza War (2014) Israel used "disproportionate force".  Bernie Sanders made this claim during an interview with Jake Tapper

The Numbers
Sanders mistakenly claimed in an interview a few weeks earlier that about 10,000 people were killed. The two main sources commonly used for casualties during the conflict are Israel and Hamas. Since everyone would agree that Hamas is a Terrorist Organization and therefore intentionally murders innocent women and children, the odds that they would also be willing to lie about the related casualties are proportionately greater than 2,125 to 73. Per Israel, 2,125 Palestinians died during the War and 72 Israelis and one foreigner died. 

What is the Right Question to Ask?
Supporters of the Palestinians tend to try and emphasize the disproportionate casualty statistics and avoid or at least minimize the overall context. This starts and ends with an answer, "Israel used disproportionate force," and misses something more important, the related starting question:

Was Israel justified in its response based on Israeli standards of justice?

Of course you could ask the question using other standards of justice but, as most people would first ask the question using their standard of justice, this article will only ask the question using Israel's standard.

2. Discussion

                      You're Making Things Up Again Bernie

What caused the Israeli response?
In order to answer the basic question of this article, the first question to ask is what caused the Israeli response. Per Wikipedia:
Between 4 and 6 July, a total of 62 rockets were fired from Gaza and the IAF attacked several targets in Gaza.[190][191][192] The following day, Hamas assumed formal responsibility for launching rocket attacks on Israel.[32] Hamas increased rocket attacks on Israel,[109] and by 7 July had fired 100 rockets from Gaza at Israeli territory;
Was Israel justified in making any response of force?
Per UN Resolution 3314 and therefore International Law:

Article 3
Any of the following acts, regardless of a declaration of war, shall, subject to and in accordance with the provisions of article 2, qualify as an act of aggression:
          (b) Bombardment by the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State or the use of any weapons by a State against the territory of another State; 
 Clearly Hamas would meet the definition of "aggression" here. Beyond that, as Hamas was additionally targeting and murdering/injuring/terrifying civilians with this bombardment their actions would be considered by most, and especially Israel, to go beyond mere aggression, all the way to Terrorist Attacks. From Israel's standpoint then, a forceful response was justified.

In comparing the deaths on both sides what is a fair number to use for the Palestinians?

Per Israel 2,125 Palestinians died. Israel estimates 953 Palestinian civilians were killed. Since the 1,172 Palestinian soldiers who were killed were killed while supporting Terrorist Attacks against Israel, Israel would not include them in considering the extent of Israel's military response. Everyone would agree that some of the Palestinian civilians killed were killed by Hamas, either intentionally or accidentally. Fatah estimates that about 10% of the Palestinian deaths were intentionally killed by Hamas and let's guess that another 10% were unintentionally killed by Hamas. That would bring the Palestinian civilian deaths directly caused by Israel to about 762. Per Israel there were 73 Israeli deaths. Most were soldiers but since the soldiers were defending Israel against Terrorist Attacks Israel, by its standards, would be justified in including them in a comparison of fatalities. So the ratio here is about 10 to 1. 

How many casualties did the response PREVENT?
Before measuring how proportionate Israel's response was we need to consider how many Israeli deaths it may have prevented. In total the Israeli response stopped the Terrorist Attacks. Once the Terrorist Attacks stopped the Israeli response stopped. Most countries, including Israel, would accept a far higher ratio than 10 to 1 in order to stop ongoing Terrorist Attacks from a hostile State. 

We also need to consider the risk to Israel, even if relatively small, of the possibility of significantly more casualties. Hamas confessed/boasted that during the War it attempted to strike Israel's nuclear facility at Dimona HAMAS: WE ATTEMPTED TO HIT THE NUCLEAR REACTOR IN DIMONA .

Was Hamas indirectly responsible for some Palestinian casualties directly caused by Israel?
It's generally agreed that Hamas was by:

1. Deliberately launching some rockets from/near civilian buildings.

2. Ordering the general Gazan population not to move to safer areas.

                     The Hamasgous still rules the wasteland

3. Conclusion

In summary a fair consideration of the fatalities to include on each side indicates about a 10 to 1 ratio. From Israel's standpoint this ratio would be within the bounds of a proportionate response due to the following key considerations:

1. The Israeli response was caused by Terrorist attacks.

2. The Israeli response was limited to what was necessary to stop the Terrorist attacks. 

3. The possibility existed of significantly greater Israeli casualties if the Terrorist attacks were not stopped.

4. Hamas was also responsible for some Palestinian fatalities. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

You Might Be An Antisemite

1. You Might Be A Redneck

2. You hate all Israeli Jews and all Jews who support Israel but you love all other Jews (the ones who hate Israeli Jews and Jews who support Israel).

3. You think the Holocaust should never be remembered for the purpose of supporting Israel but should always be remembered for the purpose of making comparisons between Israel and Nazis.

4. You are interested/fascinated with what there is/might be about Jews that has traditionally made them victims yet you have no interest in what there is/might be about Muslims/Christians that made Jews victims.

5. You think that Judaism has negatively influenced Israel but Islam has not necessarily negatively influenced the surrounding Muslim countries. 

6. You have an endless fascination with the argument that Israel is guilty of genocide even though there are now more Arabs in Israel than there were 70 years ago and the only reason the launch of the Palestinian museum of history was unsuccessful was because of internal Palestinian disagreements and no interest in the actual genocide of all Jewish communities in the surrounding Arab countries during the same time period.

7. You think there is never a context for Israeli security measures but always a context for Palestinian terrorism.

8. You think that plotting by The Grand Mufti with Adolf Hitler against the Jews is irrelevant to the current Israeli/Arab conflict but any mention that the current Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas wrote his Thesis on Holocaust Denial  The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism is verboten.

9. Your favorite sources for criticism of Israel are Israelis/Jews but you would never ever use a Palestinian/Muslim source such as the son of the founder of Hamas  Mosab Hassan Yousef to criticize Palestinians.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Son Control - Mark's 2nd Amendment. Was "son of God" Added Later to Mark 1:1? The Greek Patristic Evidence.


1. Introduction of the Issue

Bible Reading
Mark 1:1 either reads as follows or uses alternative words with about the same meaning in all English Bibles that I am aware of:

BibleGateway Mark 1:1 NRSV 
"The beginning of the good news[a] of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.[b]"

There is Textual Criticism evidence for an alternative reading: 
"The beginning of the good news[a] of Jesus Christ"
with the difference being the omission of "the Son of God".

Greek Patristic Evidence
A key area of evidence for the Alternative is the early Greek Patristic evidence. Patristic evidence is normally an important category of External evidence except when there is relatively little of it. For the issue at hand though, we have early Patristic evidence in quantity. Patristic evidence is also relatively weightier for the Gospel of Mark than for other Gospels as Mark is relatively poorly attested by early Manuscript evidence compared to the other Gospels.

2. Discussion

Tatian c. 170

Considering Tatian as witness here:

"Tatian the Assyrian[1][2][3][4] (c. 120–180 AD) was an Assyrian early Christian writer and theologian of the 2nd century.

Tatian's most influential work is the Diatessaron, a Biblical paraphrase, or "harmony", of the four gospels that became the standard text of the four gospels in the Syriac-speaking churches until the 5th-century, when it gave way to the four separate gospels in the Peshitta version.[5]"

his related witness is the Diatessaron

"The Diatessaron (c 160–175) is the most prominent Gospel harmony created by Tatian, an early Christian apologist and ascetic.[1] Tatian combined the four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—into a single narrative.

Tatian's harmony follows the gospels closely in terms of text but puts the text in a new, different sequence. The four gospels differ from one another; like other harmonies, the Diatessaron resolves contradictions. It also omits both the contradictory genealogies in Matthew and Luke. In order to fit all the canonical material in, Tatian created his own narrative sequence, which is different from both the synoptic sequence and John's sequence. Tatian omitted duplicated text, especially among the synoptics. The harmony does not include Jesus' encounter with the adulteress (John 7:53–8:11), a passage that is generally considered to be a late addition to the Gospel of John,[2] with the Diatessaron itself often used as an early textual witness to support this. No significant text was added.[3]

Only 56 verses in the canonical Gospels do not have a counterpart in the Diatessaron, mostly the genealogies and the Pericope Adulterae. The final work is about 72% the length of the four gospels put together (McFall, 1994).

In the early Church, the gospels at first circulated independently, with Matthew the most popular.[4] The Diatessaron is notable evidence for the authority already enjoyed by the four gospels by the mid-2nd century.[5] Twenty years after Tatian's harmony, Irenaeus expressly proclaimed the authoritative character of the four gospels. The Diatessaron became a standard text of the gospels in some Syriac-speaking churches down to the 5th century, when it gave way to the four separate Gospels,[5] in the Peshitta version.[6]"

The text of the Diatessaron

and regarding the offending verse here:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."

It is nowhere to be found in the Diatessaron. We have the following reasons to think this is evidence that Mark 1:1 either outright did not exist at this time or was recognized by Tatian as likely not original:

  1. Tatian used almost all of "Mark".
  2. There is no clear reason for Tatian to exorcise 1:1.
  3. It would be natural for Tatian to start his Gospel with it as his theology is that Jesus started as son of God.
  4. The Diatessaron likewise does not have the start of "Matthew" or "Luke" again suggesting that either they outright did not exist at this time or were recognized by Tatian as likely not original. If "Matthew" and "Luke" had beginnings added (which their primary source "Mark" did not have) than that is evidence that "Mark" did too.
  5. Elliott argues (well) that all of 1:1-3 is unoriginal J.K. Elliott "Mark 1:1-3–A later addition to the Gospel?" NTS 46 (2000) 584-8


Now, getting all the way back to the specific question of this article, if there is evidence that Mark 1:1 is not original, is that evidence that the "son of god" in 1:1 is an addition?

As Kenneth Mars said in the classic ''Young Frankenstein'' "of gorse" in an absolute sense. In a relative sense though if all of 1:1 is an addition is that evidence that "son of God" is a even later addition to the prior addition of 1:1?

I think so as general evidence of editing in the neighborhood is evidence of specific editing there and specifically general addition evidence is specifically evidence of specific addition editing.

Thus I will add Tatian as evidence for addition and note the coordination with the other evidence as there is no quality evidence that "son of God" even existed in Tatian's time.  


Irenaeus c. 190

Against Heresies (Book III, Chapter 11)

"8. The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is written in Esaias the prophet,"

Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet,"

The only significant difference being "the son of God". Irenaeus explicitly says "son of God" twice in his related discussion and a major theme is the generation of Jesus. It seems reMarkable to me that he would invoke the offending phrase in his discussion but not in his quote.

Irenaeus' context here is a general one. He is claiming support from the individual Gospels for his conclusion that there should be exactly four Gospels. Strangely, his mystical, indirect argument is exactly the type he accuses his opponents of. 


Origen c. 240

Origen Commentary on John Book I.14

"The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

followed by:

"The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way.
The voice of one crying m the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight."

Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ye ready the way of the Lord, Make his paths straight;"

The only difference is "the son of God" and this is for 3 verses.

Origen's context is that the Christian Bible is a continuation of the Jewish Bible.

Origen Commentary on John Book 6.14

"The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight."

Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ye ready the way of the Lord, Make his paths straight;"

The only difference is "the son of God" and this is for 3 verses.

Origen's context is that he is trying to harmonize the Gospels.

Origen Contra Celsus BOOK II. CHAP. IV

"The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
as it is written in the prophet Isaiah, Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee"

Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way."

The only difference is "the son of God" for 2 verses.

Origen's context is that the Christian Bible states that it is connected to the Jewish Bible. 


Serapion c. 350

Per the two main authors here on opposite sides, Head, contra "son of God", and Wasserman, pro "son of God", there is agreement that Serapion is a Contra. Per Michael Kok, Serapion, with evidence similar to Origen, quotes Mark 1:1-2 twice without "the son of God" in Against the Manichees (which exists only in the Greek) 25 & 37. 


Basil c. 363

Against Eunomius (Book II) 15 (Page 150)

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as is written in Isaiah the prophet: a voice of one crying out [Mk 1.1]"

Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way. The voice of one crying in the wilderness"
Wasserman points out that the omission of the second half of verse 2 is support for the omission of "the son of God" in verse 1. But again, the cumulative absence of Patristic quotation of "son of God" here suggests the more likely explanation that it did not exist/was not accepted as original at this time. Also note here that Basil's context is the timing of "the son of God" so it would be reMarkable for him to exorcise it from his related quote. 

Cyril Jerusalem c. 370

"The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, &c.: John came baptising in the wilderness"
Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way. The voice of one crying in the wilderness"
Cyril gives part of the missing text early on (1):
"For the voice is heard of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord" 

He adds (2): 

"Make straight the way of the Lord" 

So the only part of the start of "Mark" he is missing besides "son of God" is the prophetic prediction. 

Part of his argument (11): 

"If the Son of God was baptized" 

Why not quote that if it's in the text. He's making a treatise out of a few verses. 

And, as the Brits says, the cruncher (14): 

"Jesus Christ was the Son of God, yet He preached not the Gospel before His Baptism. If the Master Himself followed the right time in due order, ought we, His servants, to venture out of order? From that time Jesus began to preach[5], when the Holy Spirit had descended upon Him in a bodily shape, like a dove[6]; not that Jesus might see Him first, for He knew Him even before He came in a bodily shape, but that John, who was baptizing Him, might behold Him. For I, saith he, knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, He said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending and abiding on Him,that is He[7]. If thou too hast unfeigned piety, the Holy Ghost cometh down on thee also, and a Father's voice sounds over thee from on high--not, "This is My Son," but, "This has now been made My son;" for the "is" belongs to Him alone, because In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God[8]. To Him belongs the "is," since He is always the Son of God: but to thee "has now been made:" since thou hast not the sonship by nature, but receivest it by adoption. He eternally "is;" but thou receivest the grace by advancement." 

Cyril's point/apology here is that the Synoptics appear to show Jesus as becoming son of God at baptism. Cyril's spin is that it is only from the standpoint of the witness that Jesus became son of God at the baptism. Jesus was "son of God" before the baptism (ala "John") and he (Jesus) knew/knows/will know it. Being able to quote "Mark" as saying "son of God" before the baptism is exactly what he would have wanted and done had it been there, same as his fellow Patristics.

Epiphanius c. 378

Panarion Section 51 (Page 26)
"The beginning of the Gospel, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, A voice of one crying in the wilderness."
Compare to the Text:
"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way. The voice of one crying in the wilderness"
So Epiphanius has exorcised "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way" and "Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Epiphanius says the northodox are using "Mark" to support their position (page 31):
""Look" they said here is a second Gospel too with an account of Christ, and nowhere does it say that his generation is heavenly. Instead they said, "the spirit descended upon him in the Jordan and a voice, "this is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.""
If the text had said "son of God" at 1:1 than Epiphanius likely would have used it since he would consider it evidence from "Mark" that Jesus was the son of God before the baptism. He discusses the related text of the Gospels in detail looking for any support so the context indicates it was not there. Professor Ehrman briefly mentions the issue in TOCoS but doesn't going into the timing. Consider that at the time Epiphanius writes about the issue the only known extant Greek support is Vaticanus (coordination).
Epiphanius has provided us with the motive to add "son of God" and contemporary to him is when the extant Greek evidence for it starts. 

Asterius c. 385

Per Wasserman:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as is written in the prophets:
Compare to the Text:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet"
Here Wasserman confesses that this is simply a quote of the Short. While he is in a confessional mood, Wasserman further confesses that Asterius is commenting on the heading of Psalm 9 and specifically the "son" in it and making/creating a connection to Mark 1:2 with Jesus supposedly the end of the Law in the Jewish bible and the start of a new era as witnessed by "Mark". Therefore, the context of Asterius indicates it was not there to use. 

Severian c. 390

Per Wasserman:
Cites a compiler of the relevant manuscripts that says 12 are Short and 2 are Long. Based on quantity, Severian is than Short and this is then direct evidence of change from Short to Long.

3. Conclusion

Critical (good) Textual Criticism usually decides textual criticism issues based on The Difficult Reading Principle combined with a minimum of other textual criticism evidence. Here the Difficult Reading Principle clearly favors "Son of God" as addition as that is what orthodox Christianity would strongly prefer. The Patristic External evidence category is always important and here it is even more important than usual as there is only one papyri witness (which supports omission). Prior to the fifth century we have nine Greek Patristic witnesses above who support addition and no Greek witnesses who support original until Cyril of Alexandria early 5th century. Thus the Difficult Reading Principle combined with the dominant Patristic witness for addition, which easily meets the minimum additional evidence requirement, clearly supports "Son of God" as addition.