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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Who cares about international law?

From the Palestine Monitor:

"Israeli planes dropped pamphlets on the Gaza Strip recently, warning residents that if home-made rocket attacks by Palestinian militants continue, the immeasurably more damaging and dangerous Israeli attacks by F-16 fighter jets against Palestinian civilian areas would also continue. Most of Israel’s bombings have targeted people and buildings that have nothing whatsoever to do with militant attacks."

Read the whole article and the exact wording of the barbaric pamphlet.


Blogger Oz said...


Your ignorance of the laws of war is only exceeded by your posturing sanctimony. By dropping those pamphlets the IDF was ABIDING by the strictures of the 1907 Hague Convention, which is the basic treaty that governs the conduct of military operations today.

Article 26 of the Convention declares:

"The officer in command
of an attacking force must,
before commencing a bombardment,
except in cases of assault, do
all in his power to warn the

So the Israeli army is actually ADHERING to international law by giving advance warning of its intention to respond to armed action by Palestinian terrorists.

So much for your "barbaric pamphlet."

And Article 27 of the Hague Convention continues:

"In sieges and bombardments all
necessary steps must be taken to
spare, as far as possible,
buildings dedicated to religion,
art, science, or charitable
purposes, historic monuments,
hospitals, and places where the
sick and wounded are collected,
PURPOSES. [my emphasis]

It is the duty of the besieged
to indicate the presence of such
buildings or places by distinctive
and visible signs, which shall be
notified to the enemy beforehand."

The Palestinian habit of using civilian dwellings, mosques and Red Crescent ambulances for military purposes has been documented beyond any reasonable dispute. Just because tbe "Palestinian Monitor" contends that Israel is targeting "people and buildings that have nothing whatsoever to do with militant attacks," doesn't make it so.

In fact, your previous post, "Men of War," proves my point. You stipulate that 15 out of 49 Palestinians killed during the past few weeks of fighting have been civilian. The Ha'aretz piece that you quote doesn't cite a source for these figures. But for the sake of argument let us accept these stats.

Even in this scenario that causes you such outrage, fully 70% of all Palestinian dead have come from the ranks of armed terrorist combatants. Or in other words, well over 2/3rds of all Palestinian fatalities inflicted by during this period of hostilities were legitimate military targets. And these stats are reflective of the Palestinian casualty figures since Arafat began this war in September 2000. Compare this with casualty stats on the Israeli side, where 80% of all fatalities are civilians.

Thus, Antony, your own figures demonstrate the fallaciousness of your argument that the IDF has a policy of deliberately killing non-combatants.

Do some Israeli soldiers violate the ROE? Sure, and when discovered, they are courtmartialled. But I must admit to being less than impressed by your "breaking the silence" website. It is all to reminiscent of the American "Winter Soldier" project during the Vietnam War in which all sorts of accusations were thrown about, only to be subsequently shown as fabrications. You had guys who never served a day in the 'Nam 'testifying' in public about all the American atrocities they purportedly witnessed. And this was easy enough to demonstrate because military service records are publicly available in the US.

But these 'breaking the silence' people present their stories while remaining anonymous. Why? They have all presumably completed their mandatory national service. And many of these anonymous 'witnesses' didn't personally do anything illegal, so presumably they have nothing to fear from the military justice system. I personally am acquainted with several IDF army lawyers, and I can tell you that they would love nothing more than to prosecute Israeli soldiers commit illegal acts. The IDF Judge Advocate General's office would be chomping at the bit to hear these stories so they could lay charges against the offenders. The remorselessness of the military prosecutor's office in cases like this is well known within the IDF.

So why are these guys insisting on anonymity? Sorry Tony, but their implausible unwillingness to name names undercuts the credibility of the entire 'breaking the silence' project. And your ingenuous willingness to buy any anti-Zionist calumny that comes down the pike, lock, stock and barrel, doesn't do your reputation for critical thought much good either.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 9:56:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 1:01:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Very interesting, Oz. Though I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a detailed response from Antony or his chums. Pseudo-intellectualism is the modus operandi around these parts. During my brief stints here, I've noticed a general tendency to shrink from stern argument - and I think your comprehensive demolition job will cause a widespread outbreak of acute headforthehillsitus. When you can't beat 'em, ignore 'em.

However, perhaps I'm being unfair. Care to comment, Antony?

Thursday, October 06, 2005 1:49:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Baiting is not the appropriate response. Isn't it enough that your declaration is unanswerable?

"Breaking the silence" people are hiding because, presumably, they are just as guilty of breaking those laws. If I had done something wrong and wanted it stopped, I, too, would hesitate to let anyone know I did it. To both victim and villian. I would fear both.

That is not to say that there is actual truth to the allegations.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 6:52:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Breaking the Silence is a fraud?
Oooook then. Israeli soldiers generally operate with true impunity, but those barbaric Arabs, better watch them.
James, pot kettle black. You say on your site, to people with whom you supposedly disagree, to "fuck off." Yeah, you're a true star...
Back to sledging school for you...

Thursday, October 06, 2005 9:17:00 am  
Blogger Dave S. said...

Anthony, rather than a childish snit, why not rebut Oz's argument point-by-point?

Thursday, October 06, 2005 1:02:00 pm  
Blogger Merkava said...

Because he can't, Dave. Notice that Loewenstein completely ducks the issue of international law that was the focus of his original post. Tony employs the classic gambit of a lefty polemicist when caught out - CHANGE THE SUBJECT!!!
Isn't he pathetic?


You apparently missed where Oz noted that many of the Breaking the Silence 'testimonies' are from people who are not directly involved in illegal acts. So why do these paragons of moral rectitude continue to remain anonymous? It would be far preferable for them to make their charges public. There is no statute of limitations on murder in Israeli law, so even if some of these events transpired several years ago, prosecutions would still be possible.

Yet rather than take the high moral ground and provide the evidence to bring to justice these Israeli soldiers who are purported to have violated their orders, these guys insist on anonymity.

Sorry boys, but that dog just won't hunt.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 1:58:00 pm  
Blogger anthony said...

There's a lot of anonymity going around when 'academics' and jouno's criticise Israel. Unless, of course, they take the Benny Morris path and completely distort the facts.

Antony (not Anthony, Dave), can you tell us just how much your beloved book will be relying on anonymous sources?

And is MUP checking your citations? More to the point, will you be going to Israel to get into the archives?

Thursday, October 06, 2005 4:14:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I'll be relying little on anon. sources, but here and there it's essential. It's called journalism.
MUP is fact checking and a number of inviduals, academics and others, are checking facts etc.
The archives in Israel? No, but have spent much time there and in the occupied territories.
My book isn't an academic study.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 4:20:00 pm  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

'During my brief stints here, I've noticed a general tendency to shrink from stern argument'

You lying sack of shit. Ant, how about reproducing the spat I had with this joker a week or so ago - then invite people to vote on who shrunk 'from stern argument'. You self-aggrandising wanker.

'So why do these paragons of moral rectitude continue to remain anonymous?'

Why do you? Jesus, talk about pot, kettle.

'There's a lot of anonymity going around when 'academics' and jouno's criticise Israel'

Have you people never heard of hypocrisy? It's surreal... all you anonymous half-witted single-issue trolls are complaining about other people's use of... anonymity!! That sure does take hide... something you lot have by the metre.


Thursday, October 06, 2005 4:31:00 pm  
Blogger anthony said...

Glenn, James clearly isn’t remaining anon. His pic is right there, and if you right click on his name, you'll be able to get a look at his profile and go to his blog in a new window, pure magic- BTW James, nice entry on PETA- I’ll come by later- there you will find his email. Do you also want his home phone? Licence number? James- Give the man your mothers maiden name!

You seem to imply that I'm a troll- for a student blogs are pure gold for hearing valuable arguments (but more often weak ones). For someone in education, you seem rather opposed to learning or having your view challenged. Would you prefer that anyone who disagrees with you not comment?

Thursday, October 06, 2005 5:52:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Antony - for starters, unlike your good self I'm not posturing myself as a "true star", or *insert whatever sham pose you're choosing to strike at the moment*. And I do recall telling some troll to fuck off on my blog - IIRC it was directed at an anonymous troll who declined to engage in reasoned debate. The "fuck off" wasn't wasted on him/her, certainly. Also, that's the second time I've seen you respond to a challenge with "Ooook, then." Ant, gotta tell you mate - that doesn't cut the mustard. And please, reproduce the debate Glenn is keen to see. I could do with a laugh.

Glenn - not the brightest of sparks, are you? Did I say, "Every time I've come on to this blog I've never come across stern debate"? No. I said, there's a *general tendency* to shrink from stern debate. It may be hard for you to comprehend, but read carefully and - if needed - tap one of the smarter looking students on the shoulder as they leave the exam hall and ask them the difference. Someone's sure to help you out. Self-aggrandising wanker? Thanks, Glenn. Coming from you, that's quite the compliment.

Anthony - hehe, thanks. And yes, dropping the "h" makes for some difference, eh?

Merkava - of course he ducks the issue of international law - why are you surprised? I've detailed the Loewenstein Method of debate in other forums, but let me unveil it here for the first time. Behold! The Loewenstein Method:

1) Say something ridiculous

2) Weather the onslaught of logic that utterly refutes what you’ve said in silence

3) Break silence by expeditiously signing off with some meaningless ad hominem remark and then move right along to the next ridiculous statement

Thursday, October 06, 2005 9:02:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

And Glenn, you dolt, people like merkava aren't making accusations at others. Engaging in a reasoned debate whilst remaining anonymous is perfectly okay, and you have no grounds to attack people for doing so. There is ZERO hypocrisy from oz, Anthony, dave s. etc for calling out anonymous accusers. Why? Because they aren't accusing anyone of anything that isn't already evident - since you're a bit slow on the uptake, I'll explain - that is the "Breaking the Silence" people are evidently anonymous. An anonymous person pointing out that the "BS" (how appropriate) whistleblowers' anonymity places doubt over their testimonies is NOT hypocritical. Get a clue, you halfwit.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 9:18:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Personally, I believe the above proves my point. We live in a world where retribution is almost a given.

I am not so moralistic to not give way to pragmatism a time or two.

Friday, October 07, 2005 1:24:00 am  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...


I wasn't talking to James about anonymity; he is I agree refreshingly up front about who it is that holds his reactionary beliefs. Sorry, but this means your rather foam flecked first paragraph is pointless. Or more pointless.

'Would you prefer that anyone who disagrees with you not comment?'

Of course not; my pique was driven by the craven dishonety of James's statement. Make as many silly statements as you like, but expect to be called on them.

'an anonymous troll who declined to engage in reasoned debate.'

Yeah they're a real problem aren't they? This place suffers more than most. I promise to identify myself clearly when I come over to have a pop at your blog James.

'Engaging in a reasoned debate whilst remaining anonymous is perfectly okay,'

and so is making a comment about their choice of anonymity

'and you have no grounds to attack people for doing so'

see above. I have an opinion on the use of anonymity and you have no grounds to attack me for it.

Like falling off a log isn't it, this faux outrage?

Of course there are grounds for remaining anon in some circumstances - whistleblowers etc. But I don't think commenting on this blog is all that dangerous and I like the idea of standing behind my opinions.

Call me old-fashioned.

Friday, October 07, 2005 2:48:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Glenn - are you always this obtuse or do you sometimes take a day off? Your perception of this thread is as skewed as your worldview. Okay, for starters it's quite clear that I wasn't being "craven[ly] dishonest". I believe there is a general tendency to shrink from stern discussion on this blog. And the blogger himself is the greatest shrinker of them all. I've never seen someone so unable to confront his critics. And if you think that my part in our recent stoush is me shrinking from debate, well more fool you. I shot two lengthy posts at you, then decided it wasn't worth the effort trying to reason with someone of your intellectual calibre. And as I later said, if you confused my unwillingness to engage as acquiescence, then you're even more muddle-headed than I thought. If anyone's interested, here's a link to the debate in question. They can see my "shrinking" in action. So Glenn, please explain how this is so dishonest. I should also mention that you "call[ing me] on" something is about as terrifying as being savaged by a sheep.

I promise to identify myself clearly when I come over to have a pop at your blog James.

As well you should, Glenn, as well you should. And you're welcome any time. In fact, I'm currently giving you some free publicity. Incidentally, it wouldn't surprise me if you were one of the anonymous ranters who has graced my humble corner of the blogosphere in recent times. None of them had anything remotely intelligent to say.

I have an opinion on the use of anonymity and you have no grounds to attack me for it.

Glenn, I'm not attacking you for your views on anonymous posters. I'm attacking you for your dim-wittedness - you wrongly tagged some anonymous posters here as hypocrites, even though they clearly aren't - for the reasons I mentioned in my previous post.

But I don't think commenting on this blog is all that dangerous and I like the idea of standing behind my opinions.

Sorry Glenn, which straw man are you attacking this time? I lose track - you go at so many.

Friday, October 07, 2005 3:59:00 pm  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

'And as I later said, if you confused my unwillingness to engage as acquiescence'

No, no, no. I didn't confuse it with anything. I agree with you, it was an 'unwillingness to engage'. That's my point.

And leave those sheep alone.

No, I've not been to your blog (yet) and I have never posted anything anonymously - ever.

As for the straw men, I go at so many because you guys use so many. Enough already! Anyway the whole straw man business has got out of hand... you guys chunter on about them so much they'll start spontaneously generating soon. In fact I think some of you are using the straw man trope as a, wait for it... straw man!

Sorry, it's Friday plus I find arguing with you so dreadfully circular.. what was the middle bit again?

Have a nice weekend. Hope you don't have to deal with people of my intellectual calibre and if you do, go easy on them, eh?

Friday, October 07, 2005 4:41:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

And leave those sheep alone.

Having trouble with the English language, Glenn? If I'm being savaged by a sheep, well that's in the passive voice so therefore the problem isn't me bothering sheep. Understand now?

As for the straw men, I go at so many because you guys use so many.

Point out where I've used one in this thread, Glenn, I challenge you. Then you just might be halfway towards rebutting my accusation, rather than merely attempting a lame dodge.

That's my point.

Well, again - that doesn't make any sense, Glenn. Clearly it's obvious that I wasn't being dishonest. Anyone who clicks the above link will realise that I certainly didn't show an unwillingness to debate you. However, it - like all debates - has to end somewhere. Explain how a discussion ending is shrinking from debate. Although...

I find arguing with you so dreadfully circular

that is an illuminating remark. The feeling's quite mutual, I assure you. It's precisely why I signed off. There's only so much ground I'm willing to cover more than once.

Friday, October 07, 2005 7:15:00 pm  

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