The Fire Next Time

Something feels different about this Israeli war. Previous incursions have gone without much import, the IDF killing hundreds of Palestinians, Palestinians making the diplomatic rounds excoriating Israel, and then everything settling back down into a dull stalemate. Even with US media bias, it’s gotten through the media filter that Israel’s war against Gaza is both disproportionate and horrific. When you trap a population in a Mediterranean gulag, and then pummel it, even the most jaundiced see that it’s morally reprehensible. No, Hamas shouldn’t launch rockets at Israel. But Israel has a rather effective missile defense system. Gaza has AK-47s. It is not an equal contest.

Perhaps it’s the prevalence of social media. During Israel’s previous incursion into Gaza, Twitter was in its infancy. Now with over a billion users, real time pictures from the killing zone are scrolling across millions of Twitter feeds. News organizations won’t show photographs of the dead and maimed; Twitter users will. Smoke plumes, flattened buildings, and screaming children are just a few of the images completely and effectively circumventing the media filter.

Israel’s spokespeople have also been closely questioned by Western media outlets, as in this interaction between Mark Regev and the BBC’s Emily Maitlis:

The usually smooth Israeli PR machine is unable to cope with thousands of reports coming out of Gaza. Israel is no longer the plucky little state facing overwhelming odds; it’s the dominant military power in the Middle East, now oppressing a nearly defenseless population in the name of “security”.

As militarily the conflict is not an equal one, neither is it equal morally. With every dead child, Israel loses more of its moral position. Hamas, a “terrorist organization”, is seen as the victim in the conflict. Perhaps that’s a bit too far; Hamas certainly has enough black marks against it. But every dead child, every destroyed hospital costs Israel valuable standing, standing which is passed on to the Palestinians, leaving the international community less willing to listen to Israel’s prerequisites for an end to the conflict. As Amira Hass writes in Haaretz:

These victories add up to our moral implosion, the ethical defeat of a society that now engages in no self-inspection, that wallows in self pity over postponed airline flights and burnishes itself with the pride of the enlightened.This is a society that mourns, naturally, its more than 40 soldiers who were killed, but at the same time hardens its heart and mind in the face of all the suffering and moral courage and heroism of the people we are attacking. A society that does not understand the extent to which the balance of forces is against it.

Inured by decades struggling for its survival, Israel now doesn’t see that it has become that against which it claimed to be fighting. It is no longer fighting for its existence; that fight was won long ago. It is now fighting to maintain an iron grip on a people which can’t do it any existential harm, just because it’s been so ingrained by years of fighting that people living in squalor will drive it into the sea.

The fact is that with every dead Palestinian child, with every school bombed, Israel contributes to its insecurity, not security. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may think that this war will serve him politically in the short run. But to continue with Amira Hass:

“In all the suffering and death,” wrote a friend from Gaza, “there are so many expressions of tenderness and kindness. People are taking care of one another, comforting one another. Especially children who are searching for the best way to support their parents. I saw many children no older than 10 years old who are hugging, comforting their younger siblings, trying to distract them from the horror. So young and already the caretakers of someone else. I did not meet a single child who did not lose someone – a parent, grandmother, friend, aunt or neighbor. And I thought: If Hamas grew out of the generation of the first intifada, when the young people who threw stones were met with bullets, who will grow out of the generation that experienced the repeated massacres of the last seven years?”

Our moral defeat will haunt us for many years to come.

The “light unto the nations” is in its deepest moral darkness. Its own 2,000 years of oppression have blinded it to the oppression it now practices on others. This is the difference; the tipping point has been reached. In a world as connected as ours, the narrative cannot be controlled. It has spun out of the possibility of control by spin doctors like Mark Regev. Israel may think its back is against the sea; most of the world sees that it’s beating a man who is already prone, bleeding, near death.

Palestinians won’t murder Israeli civilization; they don’t have that power. But Israel is perfectly capable of committing suicide. What’s needed on all sides is a recognition of common humanity. Nothing else will suffice. Without it, the darkness will only grow deeper.



95 Responses to “The Fire Next Time”

    • 2 vcprezofan2
      July 28, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      Yes! Congrats J 4 O

    • July 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      Yes Jackie!!!!

      Thanks a trabillion LL, just finishing a post and will then settle down to read and enjoy.

    • July 28, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks LL. Just watched the interview. Mark Regev is good at his job, but I agree he is definitely having difficulty explaining this bombing.

    • July 28, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      Congrats on 1st Jackie!!!

      Well done, as always, LL!!

      “Palestinians won’t murder Israeli civilization; they don’t have that power. But Israel is perfectly capable of committing suicide.”

      Actually, Israel has ‘attempted suicide’ in the past 2+ weeks, and the only Nation in the world keeping it on life support in the intensive care unit is the United States of America.

      • 6 vcprezofan2
        July 28, 2014 at 5:43 pm

        I fully agree.
        It’s a measure of Israel’s leaders’ blindness that they have chosen to hit out at their life support system.

  1. 8 donna dem 4 obama
    July 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    • 9 Vicki
      July 28, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Truth!!!! Denying healthcare paid for the Federal Government is one disgrace too many—jumping the shark—for the GOP/MSM hatemobile. Bye-bye

    • 10 jackiegrumbacher
      July 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      Donna, I’m glad some dimwit on the Republican side finally recognizes that. This is not some bullshit issue that the GOP can lie about, this is real people’s lives at stake. Republican governors and their R dominated legislatures decided it was politically expedient to sacrifice people’s lives to ‘get back’ at the president. Frankly, there’s no hell hot enough for them.

  2. July 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Congrats, Jackie …….LL, bravo as usual!

  3. July 28, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    What FOX is to GOP = what Wolf Blitzer is to Israeli Govt. media network

    A post I did last year:

  4. July 28, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    • 25 jackiegrumbacher
      July 28, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      Chips, that dress is a work of art. I have never seen something that unusual in any store, so it must be custom designed. Only she a maybe a handful of other women could pull it off, though.

  5. July 28, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Well… Misdirected anger.

    • 27 Jeff
      July 28, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      not completely unwarranted. Your right though it should be directed to AIPAC and their disgusting anti-American lobby. I looked more into AIPAC and found out that they’ve faced allegations of spying for Israel.

  6. 28 Vicki
    July 28, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    LL- thank you for a thoughtful and truthful essay.
    Also, thanks to Jeff and lovelyplains for the HuffPost piece.

    Some people are waking up.
    No thanks to AJA which acknowledged that there were Pro-Palestine and Pro-Israel rallies in several cities and then proceeded to air the Pro-Israel rallies only. Including dumb clueless comments from their participants. Propaganda will not be overcome easily.

  7. 29 donna dem 4 obama
    July 28, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    The full force of “Social Media” has broken through the mainstream media’s BS. We make them somewhat accountable so they can no longer lie to us with impunity.

    If it weren’t for the ability of the average person no matter where they are in the world to spread the truth the media would still be spewing the same nonsense . Thank goodness for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and any other social medium. Because now the MSM has been made to understand that “We See You”.

    • 30 jackiegrumbacher
      July 28, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Well said, Donna. We are more powerful than we think we are when we expose the truth.

  8. July 28, 2014 at 5:07 pm

  9. 32 Dudette
    July 28, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    • July 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      I’ll tell you something – there’s no way a fresh apple, celery, lettuce, cheese, meat, bread, peanut butter and milk could be purchased on that amount of money where I live.

    • 34 No Child Left Behind
      July 28, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      I could use this meal for dinner and not worry about what to prepare this evening!

  10. July 28, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Just awesome LL. Reposted on FB

  11. July 28, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    LL, I’m so moved by this. Today I’ve seen unspeakable horrors on twitter. People tweeting children with their skulls blown to bits, mothers lying motionless in the morgue, fathers sobbing. I can’t take it. I can no longer even try to make sense of what is going on. Just too sickened by the wreckage of a people.

    I hope Netanyahu is unveiled for what he has done. It sickens me that he thinks this is the way to “win.”

    • 37 jackiegrumbacher
      July 28, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Meta, I can’t even imagine what he thinks he’s winning except revulsion against everything he does. He’s either a madman or a sadist. Nothing else explains the cruelty he creates and tolerates.

      • July 28, 2014 at 5:50 pm

        Why can’t the citizens of Israel retract their support of this mad man? This is really insane.

        • 39 0388jojothecat
          July 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm

          Meta I am sure the world thought the same thing about Americans when GWB was causing the deaths of millions of Iraqi people. Sometimes the warmongers are given more say than those who want peace.

          • 40 Vicki
            July 28, 2014 at 6:48 pm

            Good answer, o388
            The citizens of Israel have the voices of opposition smothered and vilified. They get only the RW propaganda. Everything and everyone is a terrorist .

            As Cersie Lannister said “everyone who is not us is an enemy.”

            • 41 0388jojothecat
              July 28, 2014 at 7:19 pm

              GWB gave Putin & BeBe the play book to attack another country or people they don’t like.

  12. July 28, 2014 at 5:12 pm

  13. July 28, 2014 at 5:15 pm

  14. July 28, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    So much going on in the world with no easy answers……I sleep better knowing who is at the helm, but I keep harking back to the ‘Onion’ headline the day President Obama was elected…. http://www.theonion.com/articles/black-man-given-nations-worst-job,6439/

    Meta, you were asking about Dan Vega this weekend…..I still don’t know who is going to replace him, but here is a nice profile:

  15. July 28, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    This made me laugh.

  16. 53 Dudette
    July 28, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Brilliant, insightful piece, LL.

  17. July 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm

  18. July 28, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Your move, Rusty.

    • 56 No Child Left Behind
      July 28, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      Ll, Unfortunately, 90% of GOP will still vote the crazies or wackos they keep on electing over and over again.

      Thanks for your thoughtful essay.

    • 57 Dudette
      July 28, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Oh, c’mon now. Wasn’t there something like over 90% bi-partisan polling for gun background checks? GOP couldn’t give two flying roach flips about some freakin polls, even accurate ones. They don’t answer to everyday citizens. We know this. Let’s just concentrate on getting these bastards out of office.

  19. 59 donna dem 4 obama
    July 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Pope Francis has a habit of saying things that are not necessarily in line with the established teaching of the Catholic Church, but his most recent appeal for peace in the Middle East may put him at odds with a centuries-old Catholic theology concerning the proper use of military force.
    Speaking during his weekly Angelus address in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday, the first Argentinean pope marked the 100th anniversary of World War I by breaking from his scripted remarks to make an impassioned plea for peace.

    “Please stop!” he said, referring to war as his voice cracked with emotion. “I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please!”

  20. 60 donna dem 4 obama
    July 28, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    REMINDER to any TOD’ers in the DMV area that can make it tomorrow morning.

  21. July 28, 2014 at 6:10 pm

  22. 62 donna dem 4 obama
    July 28, 2014 at 6:14 pm

  23. 63 donna dem 4 obama
    July 28, 2014 at 6:17 pm

  24. July 28, 2014 at 6:19 pm

  25. July 28, 2014 at 6:28 pm

  26. July 28, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    I think judges are just as important as Infrastructure.

  27. 67 Dakota
    July 28, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Good Afternoon TOD Family

    I’m so proud of my sister! Here’s part of an article about her and her other team members. Her name is Judy Rodrigues.

    Political Action Works:

    Teamsters 856 plays vital role Board of Supervisors approval of $15 million for St. Rose Hospital

    On July 8, Union Representative Matthew Mullany thanked the Alameda County Board of Supervisors for their support of St. Rose Hospital when they voted to grant the struggling facility $15 million. The vote comes after a yearlong push by Teamsters 856 to secure much-needed funding for the fiscally ailing hospital.

    Principal Officer Peter Finn, Political Director Trish Suzuki, Shop Stewards Judy Rodrigues (Trustee) and Justin Kmetz, along with Mullany carried out a comprehensive political strategy to make certain that the Board would approve the expenditure.

    The team attended public meetings to speak on behalf of the Teamster workers at St. Rose Hospital, had numerous strategy meetings with individual County Supervisors to discuss how the money would help keep St. Rose Hospital’s doors open, worked in coordination with St. Rose Hospital and the County Health Department, and helped get Measure AA passed this past June.

    It was not only political persistence, but it was also about actively campaigning to elect Teamster-friendly officials, such as Supervisor Richard Valle, who is a driving force in securing funding for the hospital.

    The money will be distributed throughout the fiscal year from the County, State, and Federal Government, along with Measure AA funding that is already allocated for St. Rose Hospital.

    “This is a prime example of why it is essential for Teamsters 856 members to remain politically active,” said Finn. “Because of the efforts of the political action team, St. Rose Hospital will be able to continue its important mission of serving the health needs of the community,” he said.

    • 68 Dudette
      July 28, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Congrats to your sister and her team on their success! Every community in this country deserves outstanding, affordable and accesible healthcare. Their hard work will save lives and improve the quality of life for all in the surrounding area. Bravo!

      • 69 Dakota
        July 28, 2014 at 7:46 pm

        Thank you my little D.J. I’m taking a little credit for her success. LOL! I told her for years she should become a steward because she was up on everything and complaining. She finally took my advice and is making a difference.

  28. 71 donna dem 4 obama
    July 28, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Candidate for US Congress in TX-31 District. Combat Veteran, Latino-American, First Generation College Graduate and Proud Texan. A voice for Central Texas.

  29. 73 donna dem 4 obama
    July 28, 2014 at 6:41 pm

  30. 74 donna dem 4 obama
    July 28, 2014 at 6:44 pm

  31. July 28, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    This has me somewhat concerned.

  32. July 28, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks everyone for the compliments on the piece. I’m still just trying to understand how Bibi can persist in such self-destructive behavior. It’s unfathomable.

    • 79 Vicki
      July 28, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      Here is my answer to your question, LL:

      The best answer to the slaughter is an end to the absurd “Two-State Solution”
      Accompanied with true democracy—One person, One Vote in Israel. One state—liberty and justice for all.

      Bibi finds murder of children more acceptable than a truly Democratic Israel.

  33. July 28, 2014 at 6:58 pm

  34. July 28, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    And Burning Man has officially jumped the shark.

  35. 83 Vicki
    July 28, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Time to stop calling what is going on in Israel a war.

    Massacre, slaughter,

  36. July 28, 2014 at 7:04 pm

  37. July 28, 2014 at 7:05 pm

  38. July 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    These frauds just got exposed: No Labels? No results? No problem. How a bipartisan group that hoped to make Washington more functional became yet another cog in the D.C. moneymaking machine — and infuriated Democrats

  39. 88 JER
    July 28, 2014 at 7:21 pm

  40. 90 GGail
    July 28, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    What Are “Inversions,” and Why Should You Care?

    Right now, our tax code allows any American company to merge with a foreign company (so long as that company’s shareholders own 20% of the combined firm) — and then “relocate” or “invert” to another country for tax purposes. This maneuver — which changes nothing about the actual operations that continue in the U.S. — allows companies to dramatically reduce the taxes they owe in the U.S. by taking advantage of loopholes in our tax system.

    I’m sold. What can I do about it?

    You can start by passing this on to people you think need to see it. And then, you can learn more about exactly how this money would be put to good use rebuilding our infrastructure.

  41. 91 Nena20409
    July 28, 2014 at 7:31 pm

  42. July 28, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Greetings everyone….
    Israel has occupied the Palestinian people for many many years…I do not think that many in America understand what it means to live under occupation….blk folks in the JIM CROW south did…as did the blk folks who lived in apartheid SA…

    the yearning to be free…to yearning to determine one’s own destiny…to grow and prosper…when an occupied people rise up and fight back….how are they looked upon…In SA…the ANC…as well as Nelson Mandela were called terrorists..

    In Palestine…those that fight back against the occupation are called terrorists as well…

    there has been some incredible images that have come across social media….neighborhoods destroyed….including hospitals…schools….civilians killed including a large number of children…all of them Palestinian..

    there have been many statements made about Israel should do….that they should stop their offensive…then what….the buildings will still be crumbled…the children are still dead….and the Palestinians are still an occupied people….

    a Ceasefire is not enough….what will bring Justice to the Palestinian people…..

  43. 94 Nena20409
    July 28, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Now, a tip of the hat to this Lady from TX. I will never be able to do what she had dared to do.

Comments are currently closed.







Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.



RSS Obama White House.gov

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS WH Tumblr

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Steve Benen

  • Congress votes for short-term government funding
  • 'To Live and Die in Alabama' looks at the controversial execution of Nathaniel Woods
  • White House: We're not shutting down the economy
  • Germany locks down unvaccinated people
  • Actor Alec Baldwin says he didn't pull trigger in movie set shooting



Blog Stats

  • 43,150,541 hits

%d bloggers like this: