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Forum Post: chomsky, finkelstein on gaza and the warsaw ghetto

Posted 3 months ago on Aug. 9, 2014, 10:38 a.m. EST by flip (7590)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

AMY GOODMAN: Noam, Mohammed Suliman, a Palestinian human rights worker in Gaza, wrote in The Huffington Post during the Israeli assault, quote, "The reality is that if Palestinians stop resisting, Israel won’t stop occupying, as its leaders repeatedly affirm. The besieged Jews of the Warsaw ghetto had a motto 'to live and die in dignity.' As I sit in my own besieged ghetto," he writes, "I think how Palestinians have honored this universal value. We live in dignity and we die in dignity, refusing to accept subjugation. We’re tired of war. ... But I also can no longer tolerate the return to a deeply unjust status quo. I can no longer agree to live in this open-air prison." Your response to what Mohammed Suliman wrote?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, several points again. First, about the Warsaw Ghetto, there’s a very interesting debate going on right now in Israel in the Hebrew press as to whether the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was justified. It began with an article, I think by a survivor, who went through many details and argued that the uprising, which was sort of a rogue element, he said, actually seriously endangered the Jews of the—surviving Jews in the ghetto and harmed them. Then came responses, and there’s a debate about it. But that’s exactly the kind of question you want to ask all the time: What’s going to be the effect of the action on the victims? It’s not a trivial question in the case of the Warsaw Ghetto. Obviously, maybe the Nazis are the extreme in brutality in human history, and you have to surely sympathize and support the ghetto inhabitants and survivors and the victims, of course. But nevertheless, the tactical question arises. This is not open. And it arises here, too, all the time, if you’re serious about concern for the victims.

But his general point is accurate, and it’s essentially what I was trying to say before. Israel wants quiet, wants the Palestinians to be nice and quiet and nonviolent, the way Nicholas Kristof urges. And then what will Israel do? We don’t have to guess. It’s what they have been doing, and they’ll continue, as long as there’s no resistance to it. What they’re doing is, briefly, taking over whatever they want, whatever they see as of value in the West Bank, leaving Palestinians in essentially unviable cantons, pretty much imprisoned; separating the West Bank from Gaza in violation of the solemn commitments of the Oslo Accords; keeping Gaza under siege and on a diet; meanwhile, incidentally, taking over the Golan Heights, already annexed in violation of explicit Security Council orders; vastly expanding Jerusalem way beyond any historical size, annexing it in violation of Security Council orders; huge infrastructure projects, which make it possible for people living in the nice hills of the West Bank to get to Tel Aviv in a few minutes without seeing any Arabs. That’s what they’ll continue doing, just as they have been, as long as the United States supports it. That’s the decisive point, and that’s what we should be focusing on. We’re here. We can do things here. And that happens to be of critical significance in this case. That’s going to be—it’s not the only factor, but it’s the determinative factor in what the outcome will be.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Norm, the ceasefire has been announced. It’s holding, well, just hours into it. And there is, if it holds, going to be negotiations taking place. Talk about what has happened.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, the first thing is to have clarity about why there is a ceasefire. The last time I was on the program, I mentioned that Prime Minister Netanyahu, he basically operates under two constraints: the international constraint—namely, there are limits to the kinds of death and destruction he can inflict on Gaza—and then there’s the domestic constraint, which is Israeli society doesn’t tolerate a large number of combatant deaths.

He launched the ground invasion for reasons which—no point in going into now—and inflicted massive death and destruction on Gaza, where the main enabler was, of course, President Obama. Each day he came out, he or one of his spokespersons, and said, "Israel has the right to defend itself." Each time he said that, it was the green light to Israel that it can continue with its terror bombing of Gaza. That went on for day after day after day, schools, mosques, hospitals targeted. But then you reached a limit. The limit was when Israel started to target the U.N. shelters—targeted one shelter, there was outrage; targeted a second shelter, there was outrage. And now the pressure began to build up in the United Nations. This is a United Nations—these are U.N. shelters. And the pressure began to build up. It reached a boiling point with the third shelter. And then Ban Ki-moon, the comatose secretary-general of the United Nations and a U.S. puppet, even he was finally forced to say something, saying these are criminal acts. Obama was now cornered. He was looking ridiculous in the world. It was a scandal. Even the U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, was now calling it a criminal act. So finally Obama, the State Department said "unacceptable," "deplorable." And frankly, it’s exactly what happened in 1999 in Timor: The limits had been reached, Clinton said to the Indonesian army, "Time to end the massacre." And exactly happened now: Obama signaled to Netanyahu the terror bombing has to stop. So, Obama—excuse me, Netanyahu had reached the limit of international tolerance, which basically means the United States.

And then there was the domestic issue. Israel had launched a ground invasion ostensibly to stop the so-called rocket attacks, but then it turned into something different: the tunnels. Now, the tunnels had nothing to do with Israel. That’s totally ridiculous. Israel claims there were 12 tunnels that had passed through its border. There were many more tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. The first thing Sisi did when he came into power in Egypt was seal the tunnels. Did he have to destroy all of Gaza to seal the tunnels? Israel couldn’t have done the same thing—seal the tunnels on its side of the border, exactly what Sisi did in Egypt? What did the Hamas have? It had spoons. It had shovels. You’re telling me that Israel didn’t have the earth-moving equipment to build a wall that went deeper than the tunnels? It had nothing to do with the tunnels entering Israel.

The problem was, the tunnels in Gaza, it turned out, they had created a fairly sophisticated network of tunnels, incidentally—I know we’re not allowed to make these comparisons—not unlike the bunkers that were built in the Warsaw Ghetto—primitive, but effective—and the Hamas fighters were able to come out of the tunnels, and they inflicted a significant number of casualties on Israel. During Operation Cast Lead in 2008, '09, 10 Israeli combatants were killed, of which four were from friendly fire. This time it was about 65. Now, during the Lebanon War in 2006, about 120 Israeli combatants were killed, but that was against the Hezbollah, which is a formidable guerrilla army. So, half and more were killed in Gaza this time. So, Israel's aim was not to destroy the tunnels going into Israel. That’s ridiculous. What they wanted to do was destroy the tunnel system inside Gaza, because now an effective—not very effective, but effective—guerrilla force had been created. And Israel, every few years, has to—or less than few years, has to mow the lawn in Gaza. And so, they wanted to make sure the next time they mow the lawn—

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30 Comments


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[-] 6 points by ShadzSixtySix (1760) 3 months ago

Didn't the Jewish people under siege in Warsaw by the Nazi Germans dig a network of tunnels ? Wasn't the brave and noble attempts of those Jewish peoples' Popular Resistance and survival a source of pride to Jews everywhere ?

Aren't there books like ''Mila 18'' in the US - praising Jewish ingenuity and courage in building the tunnels and defying the Gestapo, Shutzstaffel & the Wehrmacht's attempts at controlling them ?

How can the - Uber Right Wing Nationalist Israeli Alliance Government now lead by Likud and Naftali Bennet, Avigdore Lieberman and Bendyamind Nutty-Yahoo .. now justify such death and destruction because Palestinians have similarly dug such tunnels after being besieged for the last seven years ?

The Seven Year Blockade of Gaza is an Act Of War under any reading of International Law but alas memories are short or manipulated and hypocrisies are long and propagandist. Also fyi, consider ...

respice, adspice, prospice ...

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (22254) 3 months ago

I read "Mila 18" in high school. Thanks for reminding me about that. Great points about a double standard that is truly unfair.

[-] 7 points by ShadzSixtySix (1760) 3 months ago

When memories shorten or are lost or intentionally forgotten, then the abused go on to become abusers and if the victimised people simply lay down in front of bullies - then the bullies never stop their violence and bullying. I finally made the above comment on the 7th attempt to do so !!! I was getting more than a li'l annoyed, lol !! I'll go eat something now and stop being hangry ! Also fyi, re. the apparently forgotten history of The Warsaw Ghetto :

fiat lux et fiat pax ..

[-] 5 points by beautifulworld (22254) 3 months ago

"Thousands protest in London against Israeli offensive in Gaza"

I'm sure you know about this, but here is a link from BBC. I think the amount of protesting around the world on behalf of the Palestinian people would surprise most Americans.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-28724473

So, Free Palestine! Get with the program, America, and do what you speak. If you're for freedom, than be for the freedom of all people.

[-] 5 points by ShadzSixtySix (1760) 3 months ago

The BBC has shown itself to be just another Western MSM, co-opted PR front, with their faux and forced neutrality .. in the face of overwhelming evidence of the atrocities associated with the latest Likudnik-Israeli, Collective Punishment War of Choice against the Gazans.

But as per your link ... even the BBC can not just totally ignore the strength of popular feeling re. the latest wanton destruction of Gaza & note the photo of the London 'Day of Rage' demonstration in the first following link was initially assembled at the central London BBC HQ :

Apartheid South Africa is the clear parallel to Israel/Palestine & just like that regime could not ultimately withstand the international disgust so shall it be again in the future & I will very strongly recommend the following video of a very recent talk given by Miko Peled in LA :

As a final aside, I'll add that at the time of writing this (11th Aug 0730 EST), The ICH has been hacked.

fiat lux ; fiat justitia ; fiat pax ...

[-] 3 points by MattHolck0 (1789) 3 months ago

Briton funded the colonization of the displaced jews from europe

[-] 7 points by ShadzSixtySix (1760) 3 months ago

''The shocking ability for anyone and everyone to witness much of the merciless carnage as it happens has also made crystal clear its logic. No matter what Israel or its defenders say, this is not about self defence, or tunnels, or rockets, or Hamas. It is, rather, a brutal colonial war waged on an imprisoned, blockaded, and besieged people who do not care to live on their knees.'' from :

I Very Strongly recommend the excellent article above. You are partially right in what you say because The British Imperialists were absolutely the key enablers - but the funding mainly came from elsewhere.

respice, adspice, prospice ...

[-] -1 points by cometotheparty (-66) from New York, NY 3 months ago

America is for the freedom of its own people, not for the freedom of others.

And, even that is debatable.

[-] 4 points by ShadzSixtySix (1760) 3 months ago

''The Root Cause of the Never-Ending Conflict in Palestine and How to Fix It'' :

by Peter Cohen, a Dutch Jewish WWII Survivor & also consider this video, by Uri Avnery :

multum in parvo ...

[-] 1 points by flip (7590) 3 months ago

what has been removed here - do you know? annoying and obscene comments from the old zentroll or some of the usual nonsense from a fool like trashy. i would hate to think it was a serious comment on the content of the subject at hand

[-] 4 points by ShadzSixtySix (1760) 3 months ago

The four removed comments at the very bottom of this thread, were all from me and 'auto-removed' by a program possibly in the site-code and not by a 'mod' I don't think. I will explain to any interested posters (that I trust) in PM how I figured that out and how I circumvented the the 'auto-removal' at the 9th attempt but in the meantime I Very Strongly Recommend this excellent and clear sighted article, per your OP :

fiat lux ; fiat justitia ; fiat pax ...

[+] -4 points by shortNbaldNfatBUTSexy (-79) from New York, NY 3 months ago

There is a forum bug. I told you about it a few days ago. That's why I use two usernames right now.

If you know how to circumvent just tell everyone. I would like using one username only.

[-] 5 points by ShadzSixtySix (1760) 3 months ago

Shoooo(z) !!! I don't like a squealing Trashy-Troll !! You got a LOT more than two user names ... even IF, you are using only Two right now - lolol !

temet nosce ...

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[-] 4 points by flip (7590) 3 months ago

we are the king of double standards - can't imagine anyone was better at it in all of history than the u.s. - land of the free and home of the brave

[-] 6 points by beautifulworld (22254) 3 months ago

"Live Free or Die."

I can't help but think of the New Hampshire license plate, "Live Free or Die." Does this mean much with regard to the Palestinian people? Or does that sentiment only apply to certain people? Can only certain people hold such a sentiment?

Any American who claims to be for freedom, should be for the freedom of Palestine and all people around the globe, otherwise, hypocrisy rules.

[-] 4 points by flip (7590) 3 months ago

it does seem to rule doesn't it. all of my life i have watched the "respectable men" who rule this country do this same shit - i am sick of it

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (22254) 3 months ago

Me too. But, I do think that more and more people are waking up to the truth as more and more are getting their news from independent places on the internet and not from biased, propagandist MSM.

Hence, the trolls running around this forum. They are here because the internet is powerful and TPTB would like to shut us up.

[-] 4 points by flip (7590) 3 months ago

you are right - we have come a long way from the dark days of the 50's and 60's - sadly we have along way to go!

[-] -3 points by cometotheparty (-66) from New York, NY 3 months ago

I follow the "Live Free or Cry" postulate. I just don't believe in suicide.

Or does that sentiment only apply to certain people?

It only applies to people in New Hampshire.

[-] 1 points by MattHolck0 (1789) 3 months ago

Nordic vikings

[-] 2 points by flip (7590) 3 months ago

not sure but i imagine they knew they were murdering bastards - i doubt they tried to hide it behind lofty rhetoric - like mr obama and his type

[-] 4 points by trashyharry (3121) from Waterville, NY 3 months ago

The one person on earth who I most respect is Norm Finkelstein.Norm Finkelstein is intelligent,independent,incorruptible,unimpeachable,intrepid,indomitable,and inimitable.Norm Finkelstein has massive street cred as well on account of his family background.Of course Norm Finkelstein did not choose his parents,but the fact is,Norm Finkelstein would never have been born if not for the nefarious attempt by German Fascists to destroy every single one of the European Jews.Norm Finkelstein's parents were European Jews who survived WW2,and met in a DP camp.Norm Finkelstein was born in the US after his parents were resettled after leaving the camp.Norm Finkelstein's mother was one of very few people who survived the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto.So Norm Finkelstein is really nothing less than a Miracle in human form.Having come into this world against all odds,he has by all measures made the most of his life,and has dedicated himself to promoting the one thing his mother cared the most about-standing up for confined,trapped,marginalized people who suffer constantly and live in fear every single day.Lots of people don't like to hear what Norm Finkelstein has to say,and those people have done everything they could to silence him.They are still trying,but Norm Finkelstein is not ever going to stop speaking out against the terrifying injustice of confining human beings to ghettos so as to do them to death-you can take that to The Bank.Thank goodness he has such a Loud Voice.

[-] 4 points by flip (7590) 3 months ago

all very true and i would add that he suffers for his courage and truth telling every day. he should have a good job in a good university - instead he is hounded out of any possibility of making a living by the likes of alan dershowitz - that cowardly little shit. i give you another courageous jew howard zinn - ''I start from the supposition that the world is topsy-turvy, that things are all wrong, that the wrong people are in jail and the wrong people are out of jail, that the wrong people are in power and the wrong people are out of power, that the wealth is distributed in this country and the world in such a way as not simply to require small reform but to require a drastic reallocation of wealth.

I start from the supposition that we don't have to say too much about this because all we have to do is think about the state of the world today and realize that things are all upside down.'''

[-] 2 points by trashyharry (3121) from Waterville, NY 3 months ago

Norm F is a Mensch..If you look the word in the dictionary,his picture is there.

[-] 3 points by flip (7590) 3 months ago

right on!

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (1789) 3 months ago

AMY GOODMAN: Noam, Mohammed Suliman, a Palestinian human rights worker in Gaza, wrote in The Huffington Post during the Israeli assault, quote,

"if Palestinians don't resist, Israel won’t stop occupying, as its leaders repeatedly affirm. The besieged Warsaw ghetto Warsaw ghetto Jews motto was 'to live and die in dignity.' sitting in a sieged ghetto," he writes, "I think how Palestinians have honored this universal value. We live in dignity and we die in dignity, refusing to accept subjugation. We’re tired of war. ... But I also can no longer tolerate the return to a deeply unjust status quo. I can no longer agree to live in this open-air prison."

Your response to what Mohammed Suliman wrote?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Currently in Israel, the Hebrew press debates if the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was justified. A warsaw survivor argued the uprising was rogue and harmed the surviving Jews in the ghetto. so What’s the effect of the action on the victims? Not trivial for the Warsaw Ghetto case. Nazis were extremely brutal in human history People sympathize and support the ghetto inhabitants and survivor. The tactical question arises.

MATT HOLCK: you can't shot yourself out of a hostage situation.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Israel wants quiet, wants Palestinian to be nonviolent, as Nicholas Kristof urges. Without resistance, Israel takes what it wants in the West Bank, segregating previous residences to wastes.

Separating the West Bank from Gaza in violation of the solemn commitments of the Oslo Accords; keeping Gaza under siege and on a diet; meanwhile, incidentally, taking over the Golan Heights, already annexed in violation of explicit Security Council orders; vastly expanding Jerusalem way beyond any historical size, annexing it in violation of Security Council orders; huge infrastructure projects, which make it possible for people living in the nice hills of the West Bank to get to Tel Aviv in a few minutes without seeing any Arabs. That’s what they’ll continue doing, just as they have been, as long as the United States supports it.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the current cease fire and pending negotiations.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: International constraint and Israeli intolerance of combatant deaths limit the kinds of death and destruction Netanyahu can inflict on Gaza.

He launched the ground invasion inflicting massive death and destruction on Gaza, enabled with US military. Each day he claimed "Israel's right to defend itself." and dropped more bombs on Gaza. That Schools, mosques, hospitals destroyed. Not until U.N. shelters were struck was this opposed. Ban Ki-moon, comatose secretary-general of the United Nations and U.S. puppet, recognized these criminal acts. Obama was now cornered. He was looking ridiculous in the world. It was a scandal. Even the U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, was now calling it a criminal act.

As to Israels claim to invasion over tunnels, they could just deal them on there side if they want to. That's what egypt did. Invading gaza over tunnels is a false claim.

Control of the tunnels beneath gaza are therefor only useful for controlling gaza.

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (1789) 3 months ago

as to soldiers dying

I don't want any one killed

and when the media claims the public doesn't like US troops killed

they're implying that I shouldn't care about non US humans

[-] 4 points by flip (7590) 3 months ago

you are correct. and it has been true all of my life - most people in this country know how many u.s. soldiers died in vietnam but ask them how many vietnamese we killed - or iraqis or panamanians or.......

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