>>My point was that your analogy between Cuba and Gaza is just silly, because there are no nuclear warheads being launched from Gaza. In fact, if there were, they would harm nearly as many Palestinians as Israelis. When you concede that Iranian nukes would be launched from Tehran, you demonstrate how utterly silly this analogy is
If you took out 100 Israelis with a Qassam rocket, that is the equivalent of taking out 3000 Americans in an attack. Or roughly the amount that died in the WTC and Flight 93 attacks. Just because Hamas has not succeeded in doing this does not negate the fact that they are trying.
>>You seem satisfied to respond with "but what about Cuba?!" I'm not. I don't accept that kind of response from my 5-year-old either.
Ah.. but my "but" includes that I think our Cuba policy was the right policy for 30+ years. And Israel's policy is also the right policy now. Unfortunate, but completely justified.
>>But I thought you had such great faith in the humanitarian aid shipments and economic potential of smuggling through tunnels to satisfy the needs of this society.
I didn't say it would satisfy the needs of the society. I think it will help the people survive, but it is not an ideal situation. If there are aid trucks from the UN just sitting there that need to be let in, of course I say let them in. If it is from Syria... hmmm, we might have a problem, right?
>>As for your comparison of the mechanisms of the US drug trade to the needs of an entire civilian population... Not serious. Not in the least. Are you even trying? This is why I accuse you of bad faith.
You are arguing in bad faith. My point is that Gaza has multiple sources of aid right now - just as Cuba does. De facto, their situation is no worse, or only marginally so, than Cuba's has been for decades.
>>>>the majority have
Perhaps the leaders would do so as well... might help.
>>The difference between our positions is that mine actually takes into account information relating specifically to this situation and weighs the sources critically, while yours seems to be about free associative analogies that don't stand up when examined critically.
We can agree to disagree on that. I believe everything needs to be taken into a proper context.
>> I argue instead that HAMAS's position as part of the Palestinian political landscape, for which Israel bears significant responsibility, should not be allowed to impede progress with those who are actually supported by 70-80% of Palestinians and that HAMAS is not a reasonable justification for what Israel is doing to Gaza's citizens.
Hey, I agree with most of that, except "reasonable justification". Politics is not precise - where you get an eye for an eye - if one side attacks another, you may end up with a response that seems disproportionate. But... maybe you shouldn't have been firing rockets, or taken soldiers hostage, etc. etc. I am aware of the political reality that a country is going to take the actions it sees fit. If a single shot had been fired from Baghdad before Iraqi Freedom, or a single missile, the US would have never lost support for our operations there. I feel sorry for the little guys, but the little guys need to think before taking provocative actions against enemies that are better equipped - in this case Hamas clearly did so knowing that they would bring the scorn of the Arab world on Israel for its military response and the plight of the Gazan people. Hamas has made its own people pawns, not Israel.
>>As for the "most Americans" argument...
I don't think the women sufferagist movement went around with car bombs and taking soldiers hostage. As long as Hamas continues to do so, I think theirs is a lost cause. Unfortunately they are taking the people of Gaza down with them.
They do enough damage to terrorize southern portions of Israel. And, Hamas is working with and funded by Iran, which is attempting to get nuclear weapons - of course there will be no need to launch them from Gaza - Tehran will do just fine.
>>A blockade is not the same thing as an embargo
What I am arguing is that de facto, the impact of the US blockade of Cuba has had and is having as great an impact on the Cuban people as Israel's embargo of Gaza. Yet funny thing is... I don't see the UN going around yelling at the United States to stop it. I wonder why... could it be because they don't want to piss off the US? But pissing off Israel is fine?
>>Israel is and has been using restrictions on humanitarian aid and building materials as political bargaining chips that have nothing to do with security concerns. No one here is saying that Israel is wrong to block arms from entering Gaza. But this diary presents information that depicts a wider view of what is going on. Smuggling through tunnels and limited aid shipments are not "trade."
Israel is allowing in humanitarian aid and food. Smuggling through tunnels is still trade - just ask the US DEA about the drug business. Just because it is not condoned or legal does not negate the fact that goods are being transported. Likely a lot of weapons, I think...
>>Your pollyanna view of how this blockade is being run, its range of purposes and its effects, does not agree with what international observers and Israeli journalists are reporting. Are they all biased showboating grandstanding anti-Semites? If not, how do you justify willfully ignoring their reports and assessments?
I don't have a pollyanna view of this - I acknowledge that Palestinians and Gazans are being hurt now. But I also acknowledge that Israel has a legitimate reason to limit shipments to Palestine - for all they know any container could be military weapons. Perhaps if the Palestinians would renounce terror and acknowledge Israel's right to exist as Jewish state, we wouldn't be in this conundrum.
>>Israel engineered the conditions that produced the current very crappy (for both Palestinians and Israelis) political situation. It created a particular political reality we must now deal with in order to secure a resolution to the conflict. It's a political necessity. The only way to undermine HAMAS's violent elements and ideology is to work with the real partners who exist on the Palestinian side to engineer a better political situation. So if giving HAMAS a seat at the table helps get that done, then Israel has a responsibility to try this.
That would be your opinion - and politics is extremely subjective. My opinion is that Hamas is Hamas's own doing - and they are responsible for their actions - what you are saying is very similar to those that alleged that Saddam Hussein was the creation of the CIA / US. Great... where does that get us? He was still an "evil" despot, right? I don't care who supported the guy in the 1980's. In the case of Hamas, I believe the strategy of using terror is a grave error - and they are the only ones to be held responsible for that.
If anyone is using the civilians of Gaza as political pawns, it is Hamas. If you consider this a "bad faith" argument, fine - you are entitled to your opinion - and you know what Strummerson - you know more on this issue than I do - you served in the IDF, and I respect your opinion. But, as someone who is looking at this from the 30,000 or 50,000 foot level, I see working with Hamas as counter-productive. And for what it's worth, aside from the posse on MyDD who agrees with you or MainStreet, I think most Americans see things my way...
No, I think analogies are useful - and I think the US stranglehold of Cuba is a useful analogy when examining Israeli / Palestinian relations.
I don't think Castroism is the problem - look at China - they are doing fine under a crazy regime - because the US has opened up and trades with them. With Cuba, we decided that maintaining some BS political posture was more important than the Cuban people. But, as I've noted, the BS posture made sense at one point... which is where Israel is now.
Defending Israel on its own merits is easy - they are allowing food and aid, and not allowing weapons or open trade, because they are concerned about terrorists attacking them from the occupied territories. Q.E.D. Happy?
From Wikipedia, the description of Havana in 1959:
'Cuba recovered from the devastation of war to become a well-off country, with the third largest middle class in the hemisphere, and Havana, the Capital of the country, became know as the Paris of the Caribbean.'
'Havana achieved the title of being the Latin American city with the biggest middle class population per-capita simultaneously accompanied by gambling and corruption where gangsters and stars were known to mix socially. During this era, Havana was generally producing more revenue than Las Vegas, Nevada. A gallery of black and white portraits from the era still adorn the walls of the bar at the Hotel National, including pictures of Frank Sinatra with Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper. In 1958, about 300,000 American tourists visited the city. One of the most well-known visitors to the area was the American author Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), who quoted "in terms of beauty, only Venice and Paris surpassed Havana", Hemingway wrote several of his famous novels in Cuba and lived there the last 22 years of his life. Havana had 135 cinemas at that time -- more than Paris or New York City.'
'U.S. embargo, hit Havana especially hard. As a result, today much of Havana is in a dilapidated state.'
>>I oppose HAMAS as well. But Israel has to take some responsibility for its failed policies. HAMAS is in many ways the monster Israel created. Now they have political clout built on a network of social relief and educational institutions. They are a political fact.
Because we all know that if you helped someone out in the early 1980's, then everything they do from that point to eternity is now YOUR responsibility.
>>This point would be much stronger if the embargo had been in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis, rather than predating it.
Wow - you must be a lawyer. Did I say it was in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis? No - I merely made my point stronger by stating that it would have been ludicrous to question US policy at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, much as it is ludicrous to question Israel's self defense now.
>>"The Palestinians" are lobbing rockets into Israel, so therefore it is acceptable to deprive all Palestinians of coffee and concrete. Have I accurately characterized your argument?
No less acceptable than it is for the US to deprive Cubans of these things - probably much more acceptable because as I am arguing Israel is still in the midst of the threat to its existence, whereas the US policy is just plain dumb at this point. Yes, that is my point exactly.
>>I'll explain again. Israel asserts control over all trade coming into Gaza.
And I'll explain again - the Palestinians, including those in the Gaza strip, are still trading with the outside world. And the de facto stranglehold of the US over Cuba is as strong as the Israeli's is over Palestinian territory. Havana would be the Miami or Las Vegas of the Caribbean if not for us. Instead they are basically a third world nation right now.
>>But simply because some people think something is a good policy does not mean it is.
Nor does it mean that if you think it is a bad policy, it is.
When a country believes it is facing an existential threat, as the US did after the Cuban Revolution and in the Cuban Missile crisis and as Israel always has, then they make some policy decisions that may not make sense if you do not remember to put things in the context of this existential threat. Iran and Hamas want to wipe Israel off the map - similar to what Cuba and the USSR wanted to do to us at one point. These provocative actions shape policy for a long long time, and unfortunately innocent people get hurt by this along the way.
>>We don't trade with Cuba but we don't block other countries trade. Neither do we launch regular military incursions into Cuba and assassinate Cuban government officials.
Nor did Cuba launch missiles at Florida, capture our soldiers and hold them hostage, etc. etc. And not being able to trade with the US is a pretty big disadvantage for Cuba - we are the world's largest economy - 90 miles from their shore, and we are and have been arguably strangling them every bit as much as Israel is strangling the Palestinians.
>>How could anyone think that colonizing the West bank and incorporating a massive hostile Palestinian population into Israel will preserve Israel as a Jewish state and be good for Israeli security?
This assumes the "Israel's leadership are complete morons" tenet, which I don't buy. The Palestinians will ultimately get a sizable chunk of the West Bank back as part of any peace deal. But the settlers will also retain a sizable chunk of the West Bank. Netanyahu may be many things - but an idiot is not one of them.
There are a lot of Hamas defenders out there - the people who said it was OK for them to be launching rockets into Israel - the people who said that they are the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people. Hamas is bad news for the Palestinian people - it is that simple.
I never said you are either with me or you are with the terrorists. And Bush / Cheney were morons - they were going so far as to say that we were enemies with the French, etc.
But, do I think Iran / North Korea have interests that are not aligned with the US right now? Yes. Would I call them the "axis of evil"? No. The world may not be black and white like Bush / Cheney saw it, but that doesn't mean we don't have enemies or conflicts with other nations or groups like Hamas.
>>So bad US policy justifies horrible Israeli policy
Well, after the Cuban Missile Crisis I don't think too many people thought that the embargo of Cuba was bad policy. Similarly, now in Israel - when the Palestinians have elected a terrorist leadership in Hamas and are lobbing rockets into Israel, I don't think an embargo is bad policy. And I don't think it is Israel's moral responsibility to do anything - the onus was on Cuba and is presently on the Palestinians to come clean. The moral concern I have towards Palestinians or Cubans in the 1960's is secondary to my belief that the US or Israel can and should defend themselves.
To call on Israel to "morally lead the way" because they are hurting Palestinian civilians is as ridiculous as calling on Kennedy to end the embargo on Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis because of the "poor Cubans".
As Lakrosse has noted, our Cuba policy is NOW crappy policy thanks to the fall of communism and relatively minor threat that Cuba now poses to us, but it was thought to be necessary policy for a long long time.
>>Also, refusing to trade with a country is not the same thing as controlling all its trade with force, so the analogy is weak in that respect as well.
Hmm, I think the Palestinians trade with Egypt and other Arab nations, just as Cuba still trades with Mexico and Venezuela. We've had a military blockade / embargo of Cuba since 1960.
>>If Israel wants to build trust and good will with Palestinians and prove to the world that it is truly a liberal democracy concerned with its moral standing and principles of human rights, it cannot simply use such accusations as a shield from all critics.
I don't know man - the US has had a crappy Cuba policy for the past 50 years which has undoubtedly done great harm to the people of Cuba, all because of some missile crisis? I think the concern of smuggling weapons into Palestinian territory is an even better excuse for generally crappy policy - and completely justified if Israel should choose to pursue it. They will be no less moral than the United States for doing so.
From Israel's perspective, the worst thing they could do is give the Palestinians a state that is then aligned with Syria / Iran / and terrorist groups who use it as another country from which to stage attacks against it. They want what you want - to exchange land for peace. Otherwise, yes, they are just giving away land.
We are in agreement:
"they just dislike some of its leaders like George W. Bush - and some of its policy positions"
You've outlined a good number of foreign policy reasons to dislike the US, also having nothing to do with Israel, plus Iran - a case where Israeli interests and US interests are probably more aligned than they are divergent.