Anti-war zealotry, Israel and Aaronovitch


11:36 pm - February 3rd 2010

by Claude Carpentieri    


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Do you remember when last year Iraq war zealot and Tony Blair fan David Aaronovitch wrote of the “pointlessness” of accusing Israel of disproportionate force in Gaza?

“Pointless outrage”, he called it, as he wrote in the Times that “Israel takes care with its targeting, [the Palestinians] don’t”.

Like he still does over Iraq, Aaronovitch was oozing confidence that yet another war was “morally just”.

Around that time, Amnesty International and other observers obtained evidence that Israel had used white phosphorous -reports also substantiated by Aaronovitch’s own paper, the Times. All “pointless” stuff, of course.

And yet the UN too, with the Goldstone report, accused the IDFS of using “disproportionate force”, a claim that was immediately rejected by the Israeli government as “flawed from A to Z”, “biased” and “ludicrous”, along with allegations that white phosphorous had been used.

One year later and the tune has changed. The Israeli government published its report to the UN, admitting -crucially- that “[S]everal artillery shells were fired in violation of the rules of engagement prohibiting use of such artillery near populated areas”. In particular, the report refers to a UN compound sheltering 700 civilians that was set ablaze by white phosphorus shells.

Which, I guess, goes to show the “pointlessness” of overpaid commentators a-la Aaronovitch.

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Claude is a regular contributor, and blogs more regularly at: Hagley Road to Ladywood
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Reader comments


Aaronovitch lost all credibility when he sided with Blair, so I pay little attention to him.

I liked the Times editorial on this the other day – everybody should salute the noble Israeli military, which is so honest and humane that it’ll occasionally slap itself on the wrists for the type of insane thing it pretends it doesn’t do, more than a year after the entire planet watched it happen on television.

That took balls of steel, I thought.

I’m shocked. Allow me to quote Professor Larry Summers in 2002, when he was President of Harvard:

“But where anti-Semitism and views that are profoundly anti-Israeli have traditionally been the primary preserve of poorly educated right-wing populists, profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities. Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent.”

http://www.jewishjournal.com/opinion/article/the_selfdenying_prophecy_20020927/

In other words, any criticism of Israel amounts to antisemitism.

There is a bizarre sense in which Aaronovitch is right that it is pointless to talk about disproportionate violence in Gaza.

The IDF have consistently and for years used disproportionate violence in both the West Bank and Gaza. While it’s true that there was more focused murdering going on this time last year in Gaza, a lot of the coverage of this leaves the impression that this is something new, rather than another one of a number of periodical escalations of the norm.

Has the article’s title been badly translated from another language or accidentally imported from an entirely different article at Harry’s Place?

What the hell is ‘anti-war zealotry’?

Shatterface:

I think the reference to ‘anti-war zealotry’ is intended to be ironic.

It is of course in this context mandatory to repeat the following quote from Aaronovich on the subject of WMDs.

These claims cannot be wished away in the light of a successful war. If nothing is eventually found, I – as a supporter of the war – will never believe another thing that I am told by our government, or that of the US ever again. And, more to the point, neither will anyone else.

On WMDs in Iraq, Aaronovitch declared in 2005 “We weren’t lied to”

this is part of the manoeuvre known as “The Aaronovitch Dodge”

http://decentpedia.blogspot.com/2008/01/aaronovitch-dodge.html

9. organic cheeseboard

the next time Israel launches a pointless onslaught on its neighbours those who support it no matter what – like Aaronovitch, Toube, Kamm etc – will use this as evidence that the IDF has ‘learned its lessons’ and ‘takes civilian casualties seriously’, I imagine.

nothing’s going to change. For the disingenuousness in argument of those who take a partisan line, supporting ALL Israeli military activies, see the comments on this post:

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2009/02/10/what-about-the-palestinian-right-to-self-defence/

I wonder if you would call Aaronovitch a ‘zealot’ if he wasn’t a Jew?

I know you don’t mean it literally, only metaphorically.

But would you dream of calling Mehdi Hasan a ‘whirling dervish’ in any context?

Doubt it.

the UN too, with the Goldstone report, accused the IDS of using “disproportionate force”, a claim that was immediately rejected by the Israeli government

I can easily see why an Israeli response to a series of missile attacks that only killed about 25 Israelis could be called ‘disproportionate’ when it killed >1000 Palestinians.

But if I lived in Sderot and had to run to the shelter three times a day, every day for years on end – then I guess I’d be calling for my government to put an end to it, proportionately or not.

Israel takes care with its targeting, [the Palestinians] don’t

DA makes a fair point. I can think of no other conflict in which an invading force telephoned innocent civilians at home, explained that their building was soon to be destroyed by missiles, and encouraged said innocent civilians to get out.

11. FlyingRodent

Shorter Flowerpower – What’s your problem with Jews, eh? Bet you racists wouldn’t kick off about the Muslims. Plus, the Israelis go to very great lengths to avoid killing or injuring civilians while it drops millions of dollars worth of cutting-edge high explosives on them.

Perhaps some kind of style letter is in order. Sections on “Why You Are All Horrible Racists” and “Why Bombing Civilians Is Acceptable Because Terrorism”, fill in the blank fields as appropriate.

On a related note, here’s Aaro explaining why the Qana attack was horrible because, you know, terrorists are bad, and let us respect human rights while recognising that we must cut states we like massive amounts of slack on war and human rights while they blast seventeen shades of shite out of those we don’t.

http://bit.ly/a3ubUO

I can think of no other conflict in which an invading force telephoned innocent civilians at home, explained that their building was soon to be destroyed by missiles, and encouraged said innocent civilians to get out.

It’s not quite an exact parallel, but as I recall, the IRA used to issue warnings. However, I don’t recall anyone arguing that that made it OK for them to blow shit up.

And yet the UN too, with the Goldstone report, accused the IDS of using “disproportionate force”……….

Since when did Ian Duncan-Smith use ‘disproportionate force?

14. organic cheeseboard

But if I lived in Sderot and had to run to the shelter three times a day, every day for years on end – then I guess I’d be calling for my government to put an end to it, proportionately or not.

and if my kid got killed by a paedo i imagine I’d call for my govt to introduce the death penalty.

this is bogus argument. entirely predictable, of course, but still.

I can think of no other conflict in which an invading force telephoned innocent civilians at home, explained that their building was soon to be destroyed by missiles, and encouraged said innocent civilians to get out.

you forgot about the bit where ther safe havens they went to were also bombed.

as to why the buildings where innocent civilians lived were destroyed, well that’s another matter entirely.

Organic Cheesboard,

War is war and people get killed.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to notice that in some conflicts one party often goads the other into action merely to capitalize on any mistakes they make. That’s how it goes. Entirely predictable, of course. The firing of milies into Sderot was intended to provoke an armed response.

Now, in my humble opinion, one of the pleasures of looking at LiberalConspiracy is that Sunny has steered topics away from the quagmire of debates about Israel and the Palestinian Territories as they can become as imotive as the conflict itself. Just look at how comments degenerate on CIF every other day.

So can we return to David Aaronovitch instead?

16. FlyingRodent

Indeed – let’s not get bogged down in arguments over who committed war crimes against who.

http://bit.ly/dpo99Q

17. organic cheeseboard

The firing of milies into Sderot was intended to provoke an armed response.

and the continuing Israeli refusal to relax any of the blocakades on Gaza was intended to…? this was an onslaught israel chose, they chose the ways in which is was waged – white phosphorous among them – and it was an onslaught which people who for some reason are incapable of seeing the issues in anything resembling a balanced way chose to support unreservedly – like… Mr Aaronovitch.

Ah, the wonderful smell of entrenched positions (the latrines are always built last).

Organic Cheesboard,

David Aaronovitch is entitled to have a different view to yours, and so am I for that matter, but please spare me your indignation and the talk about ‘onslaught’ and the imputation that a person with a different view to yours lacks balance.

This board is a place for calmer conversations.

20. Flowerpower

Organic cheeseboard @ 14

and if my kid got killed by a paedo i imagine I’d call for my govt to introduce the death penalty.

Not a good analogy.

If your kid is already dead, then your action just looks like revenge.

Operation Cast Lead wasn’t about revenge. It was about stopping the rocket attacks.

A better analogy on your terms would be if every day for three years, whenever you turned up at the school gate, you found the same notorious paedo was there trying to lure your kid into his car with sweets. You’d reported it 900 times to the Police, but they’d done nothing.So, one day you take the law into your own hands…

That’s much more like it.

@10 Flowerpower
I wonder if you would call Aaronovitch a ‘zealot’ if he wasn’t a Jew?
I’m so sorry to inform you but I was actually unaware that the word ‘zealot’ may have any connection with the Jewish religion. You may be disappointed to hear, but to some people the ins and outs of the religious world are totally and utterly irrelevant.

In fact I didn’t even know Aaronovitch was a Jew, until I read what you said and looked the information up online.

The thing is that whoever criticises Israel, no matter what, are accused of some form or other of anti-semitism. You’d have probably said that the use of commas in my article is somehow offfensive to religious symbolism or similar.

DA makes a fair point. I can think of no other conflict in which an invading force telephoned innocent civilians at home, explained that their building was soon to be destroyed by missiles, and encouraged said innocent civilians to get out.

I guess they had run out of credit just before they bombed the UN compound to the smithereens.

Also, Dunc @12 is right. The IRA and ETA (used to) issue warnings and make phone calls. That was hardly mitigating circumstances to their crimes.

@20 Flowerpower
“Operation Cast Lead wasn’t about revenge. It was about stopping the rocket attacks”
And the use of white phosphorous was really that necessary, right? Interesting how you’ve actually glossed over the actual point of the whole thing on this thread.

Why has my post been changed?

Why has the term fake Jewish leftie been removed?

It smacks of the BBC and their fear of up- setting the Jewish lobby.

23. Flowerpower

Claude @ 21

If ‘the whole point’ of this thread was supposed to be about the use of white phosphorous, then you have made a proper chump of yourself. It turns out that the BBC etc got the story completely arse over tit.

The Israelis have not disciplined two officers for using white phosphorous at all.

Full clarification at link below.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/5749841/the-phosphorus-cloud-over-haaretz.thtml

I’m so sorry to inform you but I was actually unaware that the word ‘zealot’ may have any connection with the Jewish religion.

Astonishing. Do you normally use words whose meaning and etymology is unknown to you?

I didn’t even know Aaronovitch was a Jew

Did you know Moses was a Jew? Pull the other one.

The Israelis have not disciplined two officers for using white phosphorous at all… because it was artillery shells they were bombarding civilians with. This bullshit gets better and better, not to mention more impressively humane!

After all, I’ve seen the Israelis showering civilians with WP with my own eyes on TV. But hell, who am I to believe – truthy wingnut wankfest the Spectator, or my lying eyeballs?

Do you normally use words whose meaning and etymology is unknown to you?

Everybody does, all the time. Pretending otherwise is ridiculous.

25. Col. Richard Hindrance (Mrs), VC, DSO and Bar, Buffet, Dancing 'til late

Then that is entirely consistent. Flowerpower is ridiculous.

26. Col. Richard Hindrance (Mrs), VC, DSO and Bar, Buffet, Dancing 'til late

And attempting to refute factuality with the clockwork-spring-powered monkey brain of Melanie Phillips – truly the act of a (ridiculously) desperate person.

27. John Hyder-Wilson

Aaronovitch is a good journalist and saying that his views are void because ‘he sided with Blair’ casts far more judgement on the observer that on him. From some recent reaction you would think that Blair was no better than Pol Pot or Saddam himself. Some on the left need to get real and get a sense of proportion.

28. Shatterface

I wonder if you would call Aaronovitch a ‘zealot’ if he wasn’t a Jew?”
I’m so sorry to inform you but I was actually unaware that the word ‘zealot’ may have any connection with the Jewish religion. You may be disappointed to hear, but to some people the ins and outs of the religious world are totally and utterly irrelevant.

In fact I didn’t even know Aaronovitch was a Jew, until I read what you said and looked the information up online.’

Now I can accept that there was no anti-semitic intent or even that you had no idea about the etymology of the word ‘zealot’ but I find it hard to believe anyone doesn’t know Aaronovitch is Jewish. I’m nowhere as obssessed with him as you lot here – but *duh*. Did you not wonder why he constantly crops up in programmes about anti-semitism or why he writes on the subject so often?

Just to avoid you making similar mistakes in future I should point out Terry Wogan’s Irish.

@23 Pull the other one my arse, flowerpower.
Unlike you I don’t walk around eager to find out about the “religious background” of people. Simply cos I don’t care. I find it irrelevant unless people base their entire public image/work on religion i.e. Choudary.
You can approve of or criticise Israel’s foreign policy without necessarily having to involve the religious background of commentators etc.

@28 Shatterface
“Did you not wonder why he constantly crops up in programmes about anti-semitism or why he writes on the subject so often

So I guess that makes George Galloway a Muslim because most of his political work is associated with the pro-Palestinians and the Middle East.

@23 flowerpower
“Astonishing. Do you normally use words whose meaning and etymology is unknown to you?

Do you walk around with an etimology dictionary and consult it religiously each single time you open your gob? Get off it.

Congratulations, Shatterface. That’s some of the best crotch-sniffing, inkblot anti-semitism detection I’ve seen in some time, and I’ve seen a fair bit. Kudos.

I guess we can all agree now that bombarding civilians is great, or at least agree that it hasn’t actually happened unless the faction we like publicly admits to it.

Idiot troll..

“Aaronovitch is a good journalist ” Says who? No one with any sense.

“Some on the left need to get real and get a sense of proportion.” Says a troll who hangs around on a site just to cause trouble.

Blair showed at the inquiry that he is nuts. I don’t think he gave one true answer. He is either insane or very stupid. Either way he should never have been prime Minister. He has had his come to Jesus moment, and is now a laughing stock.

‘So I guess that makes George Galloway a Muslim because most of his political work is associated with the pro-Palestinians and the Middle East.’

I can’t believe anyone would write an article attacking someone without even the slightest research on the subject.

The first three items listed under Works in Wikipedia are ‘Padding to Jerusalem’, ‘No Excuses for Terror’ (a documentary on anti-semitism) and ‘Blaming the Jews’. Any recurring theme there?

‘Congratulations, Shatterface. That’s some of the best crotch-sniffing, inkblot anti-semitism detection I’ve seen in some time, and I’ve seen a fair bit. Kudos.’

I never acused Claude of being anti-Semitic, you fuckwit. Can’t you fucking read? See this bit: ‘Now I can accept that there was no anti-semitic intent or even that you had no idea about the etymology of the word ‘zealot’…’? Is that too fucking complicated for you? I wasn’t accusing Claude of anti-semitism, I was accusing him of shoddy journalism.

Ang great to see the idiotic sally, famed for labelling anyone she disagrees with as a ‘brownshirt’ spilling bile about ‘fake Jews’ because apparently she now gets to decide who’s Jewish enough.

@33

What’s this obsession with religion??? What the hell is this now?
I was criticising some of Aaronovitch’s views, for god’s sake!
For all I know he could be a greek orthodox, a roman catholic, an atheist, an agnostic, a jew, a hindu, a mormon, a jeova’s witness…it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference!

Do you, Shatterface, “research” into people’s sexuality and ethnic background before you decide whether you agree or not with their political views? Unless I’m mistaken, I take it all those things – along with religion- influence your opinion of people.

35. FlyingRodent

I never acused Claude of being anti-Semitic, you fuckwit… I was accusing him of shoddy journalism.

Bitch, please. You got a bridge to sell?*

The first three items listed under Works in Wikipedia are ‘Padding to Jerusalem’, ‘No Excuses for Terror’ (a documentary on anti-semitism)…

“Paddling to Jerusalem” is about the ancient Hebrew land of, er, England and “No Excuses” was about that most urgent of Decent obsessions, i.e. how left wingers love terrorism and Saddam Hussein.

In fairness, there was a short section about anti-semitism, but that was a tiny turd amongst the great handfuls of gigantically bullshit argument Aaro was flinging about how horrible lefties were for opposing the invasion of Iraq.

Claude @ 29

Unlike you I don’t walk around eager to find out about the “religious background” of people.

What’s religion got to do with it?

‘Jewish’ is an ethnic description as well as a religious one. Have you never heard of a ‘secular Jew’ either?

@36
Yes, but it’s irrelevant to this topic.

Stop judging people according to their ethnicity or religious belief. That is unacceptable.

38. Flowerpower

Claude @ 37

Stop judging people according to their ethnicity or religious belief. That is unacceptable.

What are you wittering about? No-one is judging anyone by their religious or ethnic backgrounds.

All this began because I merely asked whether you would write in the same sloppy, stereotype-peddling way about someone who was not Jewish. I suppose what underlay my question was a suspicion that you might be the sort of hypocrite who was ever-ready to screech ‘racist’, ‘homophobe’ or ‘islamophobe’ at anyone committing even the slightest transgression of politically correct punctilio, but was quite happy at the same time to indulge in a bit of Jew-baiting on the side.

I think I’ve got my answer.

“I merely asked whether you would write in the same sloppy, stereotype-peddling way about someone who was not Jewish.”

Yawn. You really are gagging to spot anti-semitism, aren’t you?

I see you’re quite bad at grasping even the most basic concepts. I said that I would write exactly in the same way, because my views on people are not (NOT, right? do you get it? N O T— n-o-t) based on their religion, the same way it’s totally irrelevant what their sexuality or ethnic background is.

Conversely, it obviously bothers you.

“Punctilio”? Who the f*** says that? If I shared your warped views I’d probably say you’re having a pop at my Latin roots…!

Claude @39

I said that I would write exactly in the same way, because my views on people are not (NOT, right? do you get it? N O T— n-o-t) based on their religion, the same way it’s totally irrelevant what their sexuality or ethnic background is.

So, what you’re saying is that you wouldn’t think twice about using imagery relating to, say, jungles, apes etc. when writing about Africans – at least there’s be no more pause for thought than when writing about whites?

I don’t believe you.

Or, more precisely, I don’t believe you wouldn’t be lining up to squawk ‘raaaacist’ at anyone else who was similarly careless about their Ps and Qs.

@40
Well, believe what you want. I’ve gotta clean the kitchen. This is getting boring.

The terms of reference in this debate are so narrow as to make it worthless and tedious.

stereotypes? look at this cartoon of a israeli jew in the arab press. remind you of anything?

http://www.pmw.org.il/images/Anti-SemiticFigure-AlHayat-3-11-2006.JPG

And watch this wholesome children’s programme – why is this backward culture in the arab /muslim world little criticised? Islam in many parts of the world has become a death cult tolerated and even sponsored by the west’s liberal elite.

http://palwatch.org/SITE/MODULES/videos/pal/videos.aspx?fld_id=latest&doc_id=1604

Don’t send missles into Israel and you wont have to worry about any retallition. If I was in Israel I would wipe Gaza of the face of the earth. Enough with Islam and it’s terror campaign against the non-Muslim world.


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  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Anti-war zealotry, Israel and Aaronovitch http://bit.ly/dCmVEH

  2. Matthew

    RT @libcon: Anti-war zealotry, Israel and Aaronovitch http://bit.ly/dCmVEH << Well said.

  3. Colin Hall

    RT @libcon: Anti-war zealotry, Israel and Aaronovitch http://bit.ly/dCmVEH





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