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Sunday, December 28, 2008

300 Dead? 300 Dead what???!

Last night as I watched the various international news outlets, I was dismayed to see them relating to the rising death toll in Gaza as if Israel had indiscriminately mowed down a huge swath of unsuspecting innocents. 

As the death toll went from 225 to nearly 275, Zahava and I watched with our mouths agape as a BBC interviewer (or maybe it was Sky News... I forget) asked an Israeli Government spokesperson "How do you respond to this enormous number of casualties... many of whom might be women and children?"

Did you get that?  "Enormous"... "Might be".  They might be women and children.  They might also be, oh I don't know, terrorists...or angels or flying pigs!  You don't have a friggin clue, do you?  But that doesn't stop you from speculating, does it???!!!  GAH!!!

Even Hamas itself, didn't say that "many" of the dead were women and children.  In fact, Hamas had been reporting that most of the dead were, in fact, Hamas officials and security forces!

But let's leave the bias aside for a moment and talk about the 'enormous' numbers that really count:

Two waves of 60 aircraft each flew bombing sorties from approximately noon on Saturday through to the early hours of Sunday... and then resumed bombing runs throughout Sunday.

Considering that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have deliberately placed their entire command and control structure, as well as their munitions factories and training facilities, in the midst of densely populated civilian areas, it is nothing short of miraculous that after a day and a half of nearly non-stop bombing the result is only 300 deaths! 

Think for a moment about how many people live in a typical apartment building.  Now double that since our Gaza neighbors aren't particularly careful about zoning and fire regulations...and it isn't hard to imagine that even one poorly aimed bomb could result in a higher death toll than 300!

Unlike Hamas, which has been perpetrating ongoing war crimes against Israel by deliberately targeting civilian population centers with kassams, ketyushas and mortars (even as recently as ten minutes ago!), Israel has made an Herculean effort to make sure that only military targets are hit.  Heck, we're even taking their wounded over the border and treating them in Israeli hospitals!  Try that in the other direction and see if anyone comes back alive!

And another talking point that the international press never seems to miss is that the Kassams and Ketyushas are 'primitive weapons that rarely injure or kill anyone'.  WTF?!  That's like having a mean drunk for a neighbor who comes home from the pub every night and takes a few wild shots at your house with his old service revolver before passing out amongst the shrubs.  What's the big deal?  He almost never hits anyone, right?  Why all the fuss??! 

It's enough to make me want to grab them by their Balliol College ties and throttle them until their arrogant public school accents begin to sound suspiciously like East End cockney!

Will there be 'collateral damage' in the form of civilians injured and killed (including women and children) as a result of Israel's current military campaign?  Without a doubt.  But what I can't help but ask these affected idiots on my TV screen is 'where was your concern for civilian casualties when it was Jewish civilians being targeted?!' 

[Update:  On a similar note here on the home-front, Labor MK, Science, Culture, and Sport Minister Raleb Majadele (who is an Israeli Arab) boycotted Sunday's Cabinet meeting over Israel's military attacks on Gaza.  Several MKs have asked aloud why he never bothered to use his cabinet post to raise so much as a public objection during all the time that Gazans have been bombarding Israel.  I think the term we're looking for here is 'Fifth Column'. ]

Posted by David Bogner on December 28, 2008 | Permalink

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Well-said Trep.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Dec 28, 2008 4:08:22 PM

I've often wondered why the folks running Israel always seem to take these TV twits so seriously.

They will never approve of any action Israel will ever take to defend herself. That makes them, in my book, irrelevant.

When I was a young child having a tantrum, my mom would tell me to knock it off, or she'd "give me something to cry about." I think it's about time we used that approach on the Christiane Amanpours of the world.

Posted by: psachya | Dec 28, 2008 4:09:16 PM

I had the same reaction when I saw our Sunday Boston Globe headline "Israeli Airstrikes Kill Hundreds in Gaza". Hundreds of what? To their credit (as much as I hate to give it), the Globe also ran a photo of rocket damage in Netivot. Aussie Dave reports the appointment of Dan Gillerman to head a PR campaign about the operation. Good; I hope we'll see the effect over here soon. It never ceases to amaze me that, despite the fact that Jews control everything (right?), the worldwide media bias is so strong that Israel cannot manage to get decent PR. And btw, can you explain the name of this latest operation, "cast lead"?

Posted by: Debbie | Dec 28, 2008 4:14:41 PM

Ilana-Davita ... Merci. :-)

psachya... Because we don't have the luxury of independent action. All of our large weapons, ordnance and planes come from abroad, as does all of our fuel and spare parts. So long as international policy is shaped, even in part, by the media, Israel (and Israelis) must take it very seriously.

Debbie... The explanation I've seen published in several places is: "Launched during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, the operation was codenamed after a Hanukkah poem by Haim Nachman Bialik referring to a “dreidel cast from solid lead”."

Posted by: David Bogner | Dec 28, 2008 4:22:41 PM

I've posted some tips on trying to cut through BBC doublespeak:
http://adderabbi.blogspot.com/2008/12/bbc-translators.html

Posted by: ADDeRabbi | Dec 28, 2008 4:58:07 PM

I hope Israel takes it all the way. Has Hamas ever been concerned about collateral damage? No. If you don't play by their rules, you can't win...if there is such a thing as winning. There is no honor in lobbing rockets into civilian populated areas...if there is any honor left. If Israel fired rockets using the same tactics as Hamas, the toll would be 100 times greater. Hiding amongst women and children is cowardly and despicable. This situation has not changed...it is a mess. I believe Israel must take whatever action is necessary regardless of the media.

Just my two cents.

Posted by: Sam | Dec 28, 2008 5:02:11 PM

B"H

What does it matter if women and children get killed?

Such a western concept...

In JUDAISM, the entire people is the enemy, not just the leadership.

See Ramba"m Hil. Melachim u'Milhamothehem

Posted by: Ben-Yehudah | Dec 28, 2008 5:29:03 PM

It's our concept too. The "kill everyone" policy is only if you're dealing with Amalek or the Seven Nations, and identification of our current enemies with either Amalek or the seven nations has issues. For anyone else, Rambam Hilchot Melachim 6.4 says:

ואם לא השלימו או שהשלימו ולא קבלו שבע מצות
עושין עמהן מלחמה והורגין כל הזכרים הגדולים
ובוזזין כל ממונם וטפם

ואין הורגין לא אשה ולא קטן

שנאמר הנשים והטף

Posted by: Mich | Dec 28, 2008 7:44:13 PM

Sorry, typed too fast. That should be:
ואין הורגין אשה ולא קטן

Preview is my friend...

Posted by: Mich | Dec 28, 2008 7:48:14 PM

I especially love comments from the media like "wildly inaccurate rockets" as if that makes it better. Let someone shoot those inaccurate rockets at their homes for a while and see what happens.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 28, 2008 8:14:39 PM

Finally, something!!

So frustrating watching the world react, but we know we are (did I mention the word, FINALLY!) doing the right thing. I just hope it is as well-planned as is being reported and that we don't stop until the goal has been reached.

Posted by: Baila | Dec 28, 2008 9:03:45 PM

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

Charles Darwin

Posted by: Mongrel | Dec 28, 2008 9:20:25 PM

"Nations do not survive by setting an example. Nations survive by making an example of others."

- Stuart Slade

Posted by: Karl Newman | Dec 28, 2008 9:59:04 PM

I hope Israeli leaders have the courage to finish the job. Good luck, stay safe to you all.

Posted by: dave | Dec 28, 2008 10:44:26 PM

Why doesn't Israel put the Fifth Column folks on trial for treason, for that is all it is when these supporters of Hamas et al go palaver with the Enemy and/or do treasonous actions like NOT support the State during a time of crisis.

Maybe those who want to move the Arabs out of Israel were correct; they never will be friendly to Israel, and maybe it's time to admit the sad and terrible truth. And yes, some might be either loyal or at least not willing to fight against Israel, and want to stay, but too damn bad. I have seen no evidence that Israel's Arabs want to help Israel, so maybe they should get that one-way ticket out and don't let the door hit 'em in the ass on the way out. Certainly, this treasonous MK Majadele should be permanently exited from Israel. What other country in the entire world would countenance treason in its midst?

Posted by: Maurice S | Dec 28, 2008 11:00:32 PM

Interesting concept; treason that is. I wonder how many Israeli leaders we would lose if we were to apply the test to each and every one. Hmmm... Olmert, Barak, Livni... Not such a loss IMHO. Maybe we could start a new government, like the one the Torah commands us to have set up! What a concept!

Thanks to David for 'reporting' on the news so I could just send my family to this blog instead of having to send a lengthy e-mail assuring them I'm safe and sound in the West Bank!

Posted by: Tehillah | Dec 28, 2008 11:42:56 PM

As you have noted, the PR problem for some people seems to be that not enough Jews are being killed by Palestinians. Too Bad...


One thing going for Hamas -- and the Arab world in general, they really know how to sucker punch the western media.

Too bad for the Palestinian people that these so-called "liberals" are frequently victims of their own authority issues, blindly root for the suffering underdogs, and do not demand better leadership from the Palestinian Authority in bringing a peaceful solution to this conflict.

Posted by: R. C. | Dec 29, 2008 1:39:46 AM

"Kassams and Ketyushas are 'primitive weapons that rarely injure or kill anyone'."
Yeah, let's wait 'till they get some nukes from Mr. AhMADinejad... What would these same journalists say if these 'primitive weapons' were aimed at their houses, their kids' schools, their offices? Would they be so supportive of Hamas and the like? Go for it Israel! G-d bless you, J'lem! I pray for your victory!!

Posted by: Renato | Dec 29, 2008 2:26:19 AM

The so-called "left-wing" idiots always blame Israel,always fabricate the truth to make their f**king propoganda--the main idea is anti-US.Some of them are apparently hypocritite ,they blame everything in the free world to show off their anti-US courage,and tolerant any shits like jihad,especially anti-Israel&US's shits.

I am tired of these f**king idiots,if you guys still do not take it seriously and let their f**king propoganda shits more and more "innocent" young man,your freedom and democracy will be destroyed by those jihad shits finally.

I am from China.I admire Israel's courage and spirit.I support any military operation aimed to destroy shits like HAMAS.If they do not follow the rule of war,you guys do not have to follow those rules--this is the only way to make those shits back to table,trust me.

Posted by: Kirby | Dec 29, 2008 5:48:18 AM

there had not been a single Israeli death from rocket fire since June of this year (the last truce that was declared). Now, after one death, you have this response which, we know from Haaretz reporting, was planned as the negotiations for that truce were going on.

not to mention that gaza has been in a virtual siege for 18 months now since hamas came to power after our encouraging parliamentary ELECTIONS.

the worst kind of nationalist is the one that can't criticize themselves. not every action that israel takes needs to be supported so fervently.

Posted by: are you serious? | Dec 29, 2008 9:02:46 AM

are you serious? ... I have a deal for you. What if I decided to sit in my car across the street from your house and get good and drunk every day. When your kids get off the school bus I get to shoot in their general direction. My state of inebriation and lack of aiming will almost guarantee that I'll miss your kids every time. I may mess up the paint job on your house, but who cares... you have to repaint at some point anyway, right. What's that? You don't want to take that chance with your kids? So why is it you are OK with Israeli kids living under fire every day? What you REALLY need is to be dragged from your comfortable Brooklyn apartment and flown to Sderot where you will be chained to a sign post in the center of town for just one day. When the sirens start going off (as they do every 20 - 30 minutes) you can take comfort in the fact that "there had not been a single Israeli death from rocket fire since June". The odds are with you, right? RIGHT?! Idiot.

Posted by: David Bogner | Dec 29, 2008 9:20:24 AM

Hey--these are the same fine people who assure us that Gaza is a concentration camp.

Here it is (with photos)

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/tony-blairs-sister-in-laws-gaza-media-show/

Regards,

Inna

Posted by: Inna | Dec 29, 2008 9:29:44 AM

Hi,
Do not be so pesymistic. Here in Poland most of people are with Israel now. Even many catholic media supports you.

Take care

&

Posted by: Andrzej | Dec 29, 2008 9:55:48 AM

It is interesting to see how easy it is to manipulate the news. Take the ARD Tagesschau website, Germany's public TV news network, which most Germans trust to be "objective":

Today's headline is: Israel bombs islamic university.
The sub-line then reads: At least 300 dead...

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the average reader is supposed to connect the two headlines: Israel bombs a university = school and kills at least 300 students.

Oh yeah, much farther down the article they will actually say that nobody was inside the university when it was bombed and that the number of 300 casualties is an estimated total. This is pretty smart, because now nobody can accuse them of writing something that is not true, but they know very well that most people nowadays just skim the headlines and don't bother to read the small print.

And voila, you have those crazy Israeli monsters displayed in a mainstream European newscast.

Posted by: John | Dec 29, 2008 10:43:56 AM

All of y'all have really bought in to this idea of the legitimacy of state violence, huh.
Any individual murdered by the state is unacceptable.
The authority on both sides are despicable and all of these poor people in Israel-Palestine are locked into the unfortunate result of imperialism. I think that we should be examining why we find top-down, state violence acceptable, but bottom-up, anti-state violence, impoverished violence as evil and sickening.

Posted by: caboj | Dec 29, 2008 11:42:20 AM

Mitch,

1. You're making the assumption that this is a Milhelmeth Reshuth. There are many who rule that since the Yishma'elim lay claim to the Land, they have the din of the 7 Amim. Certainly, you can beg to differ.

2. The Ramba"m tells us that in a MR, we are not to go out and actively kill the women and children {The Ramba"m cites Deut. 20:14, 2:34}. "Colateral damage" happens. Go back and look at my original post...no stirah here.

3. On another topic, interesting that no one cares to mention the necessity of requiring taxes and labor from those we're fighting in a so called MR, let alone the plundering of their possessions {The IDF allows the taking of food...Bully for them.} Nope. That would be politically incorrect. And we Jews are "civilized" {Translation: "Western"} - {eyes rolling}

4. We're only fighting now due to an election ploy and/or because rich, white Jews may start getting killed. That loses votes, doesn't it?

5. How do I subscribe to comments? Please, no California airhead jokes.

6. Thank you for reminding me about the preview feature.

Posted by: Ben-Yehudah | Dec 29, 2008 12:26:16 PM

What is wrong with you guys? These people are trying to defend themselves with whatever weapons they have. Un"smart" rockets may be indiscriminate, but what the hell is Israel doing destroying Universities and hospitals and fish markets and fishing boats with their "pin-point" accurate smart-bombs???
This is deliberate destruction of infrastructure - not terrorist hideouts. And you people are actually cheerleading this crap.
Shame on you.

Posted by: Unbelievable | Dec 29, 2008 5:04:36 PM

Unbelievable... Even if you weren't banned for your use of insulting profanity in your fake email address (which you are, BTW), I wouldn't take you that seriously. You are clearly light on facts and heavy on Jew hatred. No hospitals have been hit. In fact Israel has been taking wounded from Gaza into Israeli hospitals as a humanitarian gesture! The area of the university that was destroyed was a chemical lab that was being used to make explosives. Nobody was there at the time. I have seen no indication that any fishing boats or markets have been deliberately targeted... but if Hamas puts their military infrastructure in civilian areas (a war crime, BTW) you put your civilians in danger. all in all, I think 300 dead (with less than 50 confirmed by human rights organizations as non-combatants) is pretty damned good. Show me one modern nation that has done as well in a shooting war. Certainly the US killed far more in their 'shock and awe' at the outset of the Iraqi war. I have no problem with you carrying water for the Jihadists. After all, you are entitled to your loyalties. Just don't f@ck with the facts (i.e.lie) to support your case. Buh bye!

Posted by: David Bogner | Dec 29, 2008 5:33:29 PM

Does the MSM not understand that in order for Hamas to be effective, their rockets don't actually have to kill anyone? The goal of terrorism is not necessarily to kill (that is a benefit if it can be achieved) but to merely scare or terrorize a population. Even if there was not a single kill from a rocket every, the fact that they are launched at Israel and cause psychological and mental trauma is their main aim, to which they are extremely effective.

Posted by: Jason | Dec 30, 2008 6:18:04 PM

Mitch, Today Rav Yigal Kaminetzky {previous Chief Rabbi of Azza/Newe Deqalim} was supporting the opinion that we are indeed fighting a Milhelemeth Misswah,...allowing soldiers to eat pork and treifoth even, if need be, to drag away a hathan from the huppah, and to engage children if necessary, and all else that goes with it.

Unfortunately, I did not hear the first part which I gather included his reasoning as to why.

You and others may or may not agree with this one rabbi's opinion. But it is certainly a valid one which he expressed.

Posted by: Ben-Yehudah | Dec 30, 2008 11:54:40 PM

Aaarrgghhhh. I was listening to Jeremy Bowen the other night. (I dunno. A masochistic moment, I guess. Dear Jeremy -- may I call you "Mister Bowen"?)

He was helping us to visualize the Israeli soldiers at the Erez Checkpoint as jackbooted Nazis in some horrible antiseptically steel-barred prison. "I can tell which side of the barrier I'm on," he said, in public school-affected English, dripping with sarcasm, "by the garbage. The soda cans have Arabic writing instead of Hebrew, because the Israelis won't allow food and drink past the checkpoint." Geez, I wanna apply my kubata to that boy's nethers. (Shorin Ryu talk. Don't be alarmed.) Could it perhaps be that the Arabs prefer the taste of Cola bottled in Egyptian plants??? Who knows? Jeremy doesn't ever bother to ask. Oh, yeah... and he seems to be always busy when reports on the horrors of living in Sderot are being covered... where no Arabic writing can be found on the soda cans. Hmmmmmmmm....

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Jan 2, 2009 12:50:06 AM

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