Friday, August 27, 2010

Response to Lauren Booth

Lauren Booth is an anti-Zionist journalist based in London; people who follow such matters seem to think she's even worse than the rest of the pack. I mentioned her a while back, here.

This week she published a chirpy letter to the Israelis, in which, so she claims, she set aside her house chores in order to write us a personal letter. Oddly, she posted it on the website of an ex-Israeli who dislikes us intensely, the last place you'd expect if someone wishes to catch our attention and engage us in conversation; even curiouser, the website doesn't offer the possibility of leaving visible comments. So I'm sending them notice that I've responded, and perhaps they'll forward it to her; I encourage the rest of you to think where else Ms. Booth can be found and to leave her a message. She's made such an effort to reach out, it wouldn't be polite not to reciprocate.

Dear Ms. Booth,

I was touched by your concern for us as described in your "Mom to mom" letter of August 22 2010, in which you tried to inform us about all the bad things happening in our name. I'm a dad, not a mom, but I'll give a stab at reassuring you.

First thing, right up front: nothing's being done "in our name". Whatever it is, it's we who are doing it ourselves. I personally spent three years in the IDF as a young man, and another three over the following twenty-some as a reservist. About the time I was given a pen and retired from service, my first son was serving in the second Intifada, and last year my youngest fought in Gaza with his tank brigade. Ever since high-school I have been well informed about events, as is expected of a voter in a democracy. There's nothing particularly unusual about me, I'm a mainstream fellow with a standard story. For better or worse, what "Israel" does is done by the flesh and blood Israelis, not "in their names". Is this different in your country?

There is no need to carefully broach the matter of looting by IDF troops and nasty graffiti. We've been at war for a very long time, and bad things happen in war; we don't pretend otherwise. Innocent Palestinians have repeatedly died at our hands, which is far worse than looted credit cards, serious though that may be. So we can agree that innocent Palestinians have suffered at Israeli hands. They have. Some still do. Others will, as far into the future as the Palestinian nation refuses to accept the right of the Jewish nation to a homeland in part of the tiny little country they both call home.

The crux of our very substantial disagreement is when you write about your friends in the Free Gaza Movement:
They are to a man (and to a woman) kind, concerned citizens of the world. People, who simply cannot go about their normal daily lives whilst your state, your army, your settlers torment other human beings. Every minute of every day. Of every month. Of every year.
For sixty two years.
Where to begin?

First, you've got your chronology wrong. The first time Palestinian leaders incited a mob to murder Jews for the crime of Zionism was in 1920, then again in 1921. There have been ups and downs ever since, but the Jewish-Palestinian war has been raging for 90 years, not 62.

Second, since it's war we're discussing, I really think we should focus on the worst aspect, loss of life. The true numbers are fiendishly hard to estimate and frankly impossible to know with much accuracy, but the total number of Palestinians killed in their war with Israel is below 35,000, and that includes soldiers, children, suicide murderers and innocent women. In almost a century. Care to look at some other numbers about the 65 years since the end of WW2? Here are some of the big ones:

Late 1940s. Partition of India and Pakistan: At least 500,000 dead. Chinese civil war: Perhaps 2.5 million dead.

1950s. Korean war: Millions of dead. Chinese domination of Tibet: 600,000 dead Tibetans. After the 1950s the numbers continued to grow.

1960s. The various wars in Vietnam lasted decades, but let's list them here. Millions of people died in them. Also in the same decade, remember the time when Nigeria abolished Biafra, and for a while starving Biafran children were the top international metaphor of suffering? Something like a million people died in that conflict.

1970s. More than a million people died when the West Pakistanis massacred East Pakistanis. Millions were murdered in Cambodia. This was the decade when the wars in Ethiopia began; hundreds of thousands of people were killed, and there was a famine which was exacerbated by war in which about a million people died.

1980s. There was the Soviet war in Afghanistan in which more than a million people died. The Iranians and Iraqis fought a war in which about a million people died. The war in South Sudan (distinct from Darfur) began in the early 1980s and eventually killed about two million people.

The Lebanese civil war (1975-1990) is too minor to be mentioned in this list, but more than 100,000 people died in the parts of it that had nothing to do with Israel.

1990s. About 800,000 murdered in Rwanda. Hundreds of thousands killed in Europe, in the Balkans.

2000s. Darfur, hundreds of thousands murdered. The killings in the Congo go on, in the bloodiest conflict since WW2. More than 5,000,000 dead so far.

You're British, Ms. Booth, so you must be aware of the British participation in some of these conflicts. Still, allow me to point out the single worst Post-WW2 chapter, the Mau Mau war in Kenya, in the 1950s. Your soldiers killed more Kenyans, in those eight years, many of them civilians, than Israel has killed Palestinians in a century - and in defense of what, exactly? Need I mention the war against the Islamists, raging as we talk, in which the numbers of dead civilians at the hands of Coalition forces are larger than the numbers of dead Palestinians, probably significantly larger but no-one gives all the numbers?

Don't these numbers rather indicate that Israel is not anywhere near the list of large killers? In spite of its being continually at war for a century? And since it isn't, might this actually indicate that it restrains its use of power and makes an effort not to kill people at random? If you can read these numbers differently, I'm listening, but I warn that I've given the matter much serious thought all my life, and am comfortable saying that we do try to wage our wars morally. Actually, you might be interested in a description I once wrote of how this is done in practice. Ask yourself, while you do those house chores, if you can even imagine the moral challenge we face, and if you'd face it better.

In your letter you name 26 members of the Al Samouni family who were killed when our artillery mistakenly shelled their home. Indeed, the death of each innocent is tragic, but I'm wondering if you can name any of the Afghani children killed by your forces this year? Last year? The year before? Any Kenyans? Anyway, it is precisely because we do know the names of most of the dead, that the Israeli authorities are so sure that most of the casualties in Gaza last year were anything but innocent bystanders. The painstaking listing of names and checking of identities has demonstrated that most of the people we killed (not all) were people we intended to kill, because they were at war with us. No apologies.

One more point, and then a question. Had you stated that you object, say, to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, we could have discussed the merits of your case. You didn't. Instead, you explicitly said your problem is with Israel's existence (that's the 62-year code). In other words, your mom-to-mom letter is a demand that we Jews renounce our national claim even while the Brits, the Azeris and the Nicaraguans have theirs. This is puzzling, and raises the obvious question. If you're angrier at us for our limited wars than with anyone else for their mass slaughters, while demanding of us that we, alone among hundreds of nations forgo national expression, and this even as you agitate for Palestinian nationalism, and yet you insist you're not an antisemite: then what, pray tell, are you?

Dr. Yaacov Lozowick,
Jerusalem

PS. Since you wrote about names of innocent victims, you might be interested in these two links. The first is where we list all of our dead, this past century. The second is a list I spent about ten years working on, trying to collect names of our dead in another case. When I left the project we were still only about halfway through.

35 comments:

Fabián said...

Excellent post, Yaakov.
Revealing that Lauren Booth posts on Gilad Atzmon blog. He is without a doubt an explicit antisemite, writing about the cruel nature of Judaism, how Israel is worse than the Nazis and all that.

She is an antisemite then. Only another antisemite would choose to willingly and knowingly associate with Atzmon.

Anonymous said...

Yaacov
thanks for sharing that text of yours
I refrain from praising it because any praise could only belittle it

As to Lauren Booth - a mom who puts her children up on YouTube as partisans in a bloody war is not a mom but a child abuser.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq1OehB1fW4&feature=related

Silke

Anonymous said...

if one scrolls down to the right Atzmon's site offers an e-mail contact form

http://www.gilad.co.uk/

and his novels have been translated into 24 languages
Debut novelist Atzmon has penned a comic polemic against his fellow Israelis, set in the near future, soon after the collapse of the Jewish homeland.

the other one seems to be out of print and that despite being
'A fusion of anti-Israeli conspiracy theory and adolescent sexual farce

but maybe the second one being at 240 pages 80 pages longer than the first one exceeded the reading prowess of his admirers.

I looked them up as I am a sucker for bestsellers, translation into 24 languages suggests bestseller and I don't recognize the name?

Silke

AKUS said...

"For better or worse, what "Israel" does is done by the flesh and blood Israelis, not "in their names". Is this different in your country?"

Excellent riposte to someone whose troops are murdering thousands half a world away, in her name!!

This woman is, I believe, certifiably mad, and a danger to her own children, who should be removed from her "care":

http://cifwatch.com/2010/07/04/the-lies-of-lauren-booth/

AKUS said...

Coincidentally, this appears in today's WP. I hope Lauren Booth writes a letter to Mt. Kagame, but, since no Palestinians were involved, her sympathies for the dead probably do not extend to the millions murdered in the Congo.

Nor has she had anything to say about the disaster in Pakistan (http://cifwatch.com/2010/08/21/the-indecency-of-the-flotillas/)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/28/AR2010082801026.html

U.N.: Rwandan troops may have committed war crimes in efforts to end '94 genocide

By Colum Lynch
Saturday, August 28, 2010; 10:51 PM

An exhaustive U.N. investigation into the history of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo has concluded that the Rwandan military and its allies carried out hundreds of large-scale killings of ethnic Hutu refugees during the 1990s that amounted to war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide, according to a confidential copy of the report.

The report - which runs 545 pages long and details crimes committed in Congo from March 1993 to June 2003 -- represents the harshest U.N. account to date of the conduct of the ethnic Tutsi-dominated Rwandan government, which has largely been credited with liberating the country from the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Its release represents a political blow to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who was re-elected president of his country this month in a landslide election victory that was marred by allegations of political repression against political opponents. His government denounced the U.N. findings as "immoral and unacceptable," and Rwanda has sought to block the report's release, according to U.N. sources.

peterthehungarian said...

Yaacov

Your list of atrocities not registered at Ms. Booth is the proof, the lady wouldn't give a rusty broken nail for the Palestinians' wellbeing, she is interested in Jew-bashing and nothing else. Posting her letter on Gilad Atzmon's blog speaks volumes about her ideology and intentions.
Even two well known British Israel-haters - Tony Greenstein and Sue Blackwell distanced themselves from Atzmon's vile anti-semitism.

Anonymous said...

Yaacov, unreserved enjoyment in your response.

In no way can I take seriously Lauren Booth's selective outrage of denying our right to self determination and expressing these profound thoughts on Gilad Atzmon's website.

You have more patience than I do for anti-semites.

Asaf

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Yaakov, you should stress that the British officials governing Israel in 1920, 1921, 1929, etc. instigated and acquiesced in murderous Arab attacks on Jews.

Anonymous said...

Recently I have come across a cause (see below) that, would she pick it up, would finally turn Lauren Booth into the celebrity she so ardently aspires to become, after all don't they tell us it is all about unique selling points?

right now Madam Booth has to compete with whole crowds of other mudslingers on whose mud stinks the most infernally - however if she had a cause she were the only expert on, imagine all these invitations to TV-interviews (oops when has Mia Farrow had her last big splash of media attention because of Darfur?)

But IF REPORTERS COULD GET INTO the Gilgit-Baltistan region and Azad Kashmir, they would find widespread, brutally-suppressed local movements for democratic rights and regional autonomy.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/27/opinion/27iht-edharrison.html?ref=kashmir

Silke

Anonymous said...

Great response but I doubt any of the 'visitors' to her site will ever see it.

Still, it is very nicely set out and any unbiased person reading it would be alerted to Laura Booth's insanities.

I'm sure that Tony Blair must be very embarrassed by her actions. Not sure about Cheri though.

NormanF said...

Any one who calls for the abolition of Israel and who is against Zionism is an anti-Semite.

There is no way to effect such an outcome than by slaughtering every last Jew in Israel - including Dr. Ya'acov Lozowick.

I had to really make it personal to illustrate what ant-Zionism means in practice, when one goes beyond the theoretical farrago of hoping that Israel disappears.

What is sad is that a few decades after the Holocaust, such a lunatic proposition is in intellectual vogue in the West.

So let us drop the cant and let us all be really clear what those who hate Israel want: the destruction of the Jewish people, the mass murder of human beings.

That my friends, is the essence of anti-Zionism.

4infidels said...

Yaacov,

Beautifully written response to Lauren Booth.

Like most anti-Israel activists, she can't be bothered by facts. Her game was given away by that photo that that appeared on many pro-Israel website, including Elder of Ziyon, showing her smiling in a Gaza store overflowing with food items while on a supposed humanitarian trip to bring attention to the starving people and lack of food in Gaza.

How about all the Jews who died because the British closed the doors of immigration to Palestine during WW2? What about all the Jews who died because the British homeland refused to provide refuge for those trying to escape the Nazis? What about the British refusal to do anything to interfere with the Final Solution for fear of being forced to take in all those Jews if they weren't killed? What about the British arming and training the Jordanian forces who deliberately targeted Jewish civilians and property?

Pierre van Paassen's "The Forgotten Ally" details all the contributions Jews (especially the Jews of Palestine) made to the British war efforts in WW1 and WW2, and all the ways in which the Jews of Palestine were betrayed by Britain's colonial schemes and its anti-Semites serving the British empire around the world.

Anonymous said...

To play devil's advocate, sorely Booth and her ilk would respond that most of the conflicts you list (with the exception of the Congo) have been solved, so there is no reason to continue focusing on them.

Yaacov said...

Devil -

Think so? Here's a partial list of conflicts raging as we talk, all of which are far bloodier than the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts:
Afghanistan
Pakistan
Kashmir
Darfur
Iraq
Phillipines (Islamist insurgents)
Somalia
Yemen
Burma-Myanmar and its insurgents

I'm sure the list goes on.

Bryan said...

You could also point out that almost 24,000 people have died in Mexico's Drug War in the past 4 years alone, and casualties have been rising every year. In 2 years the casualties will have surpassed those of the century-long I-P conflict.

Anonymous said...

I have always been a bit interested in Kaschmir and am amazed that you list it as only one conflict, the poor people there have 4 neighbours Afghanistan/NATO, Pakistan, China and India and each one is after its own goal. If any of the four should be not meddling currently I apologize. And by meddling I mean that lives will be lost.

but on a lighter note, somebody else has written a letter to Lauren Booth - enjoy!

Dear Mummy Booth,
If you didn’t embarrass us so much we would be telling you this to your face and not hiding down a hole and putting this in a letter.

Why do you make us rap the Jihad Jive and post it on YouTube so that all our friends bullied us in school and called us the Jihad sisters? It’s hard enough with them knowing that you are our mum let alone making us look like a pair of twits for the purpose of your crackpot agenda.

I thought mummy that you would stop when you got awarded your terrorist passport and when you screamed like a banshee that you don’t care about Israel’s’ security. But no, you just can’t get enough of making a fool out of us.

Why don’t we see Uncle Tony anymore? Is he ashamed of us?

Anyway mum, me and sis have decided that we are going to convert to Judaism and marry and occupy a Jewish man when we grow up. We might even go and occupy some of Israel and live there for good measure.

You can go and occupy yourself now with your weird pointless letters and raving like a lunatic.

How do you like that mummy?

Love from your red faced daughters.
xxxxx

http://cifwatch.com/2010/08/29/response-to-lauren-booth/#comment-31681

Silke

Metternich said...

I believe your estimate of the deaths in the "Partition of India and Pakistan" is low.

While the estimate of 500,000 deaths is common, there are many larger estimates.

James said...

What about Sri Lanka? The civilian death estimates for the conflict that ended last year are pretty high and last I heard the UN was opening an investigation, and that one Sri Lankan minister threatened to take UN workers hostage if they didn't stop the investigation.

http://www.innercitypress.com/sri5panel070610.html

There are other news links if you google it.

rlandes said...

excellent post.
two points:
1) there are some 5+ million deaths in Congo in the last 20 years while there were less than 10,000 in the Israeli-Arab conflict.
2) how do the people in the "Free Gaza Movement" (as if any society run by Muslim fundamentalists is "free") go about their daily lives while that kind of slaughter goes on?
i'd venture to say that behind their moral narcissism lies a peculiar kind of moral Schadenfreude - it's not very interesting to point the finger at who kill savagely, not even at one's own troops, but at Jews who kill - how thrilling. what moral satisfaction.

what hypocrisy! one that will kill Europe.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Yaacov, Bravo.

Here are a few more conflicts to add to the list:

Columbia
Angola
Algeria
Tibet
East Timor
Burma
Kurds in Turkey and Iraq

Nycerbarb

Anonymous said...

yeah, while we're in Asia Pacific region how's about attacks on Christians in Indonesia, the Aceh conflict and the occupation and human rights abuses in West New Guinea (so called Irianjaya)...

AKUS said...

I doubt that Lauren Booth is doing anything for the children in the Pakistan crisis:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2010/08/27/VI2010082702039.html?sid=ST2010081503196

peterthehungarian said...

The Hungarian revolution in 1956 - 4000 dead and 200.000 refugees in during a three months period.

Anonymous said...

Great response, which obviously a lot of people enjoyed reading. But why waste your time? Once an anti-semite, always an anti-semite.

No one, not Mummy Booth (I wonder if she's related to John Wilkes Booth), nor "their own," gives a rat's behind about ANYONE but themselves and what those evil Joooos do. This is evidenced by 1) never truly "debating" their side/argument (not that there's anything to debate) or listing FACTS (shocker) 2) never listening to the other side or to FACTS 3) incessantly repeating the same drivel 4) "visiting" once or twice and going home to write as an expert.

Given what's happening in Englandistan, Popper was right when he said, "We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal."

Yury

NormanF said...

After reading her letter, there is something else missing: the context. Booth makes NO mention of the Arab war against Israel that has been raging without let up for a century. And while we're on the subject, while we might stipulate looting is a bad thing in war, as an offense, its a morally trifling one next to mass killing. And the total number of Arab dead at Israel hands is less than the number of Iraqi Arabs killed in all that country's wars to date.

The reason why I'm bringing this up is not that Israel is a saint but to make the point that Israel is a decent country in a very rough neighborhood. And if people can't see that, then whatever they say to Jews falls far short of the mark. Again, its the context, stupid.

But its too much to ask anti-Zionists to look at all sides of the picture.

Anonymous said...

another angle just occurred to forever class-conscious me:

Lauren Booth is Labour - right?

Labour is concerned about the "little" guy - right?

she wants the "little" guys of Gaza to live under Haniyeh's thumb - right?

is that in sync with current UK-labour-doctrine???

Silke

PS:and congratulations to AKUS - finally your first class video on Booth is about to become the classic it deserves to be

Sérgio said...

This "lady", dear goodness, what a crass hater! Europe is going through a massive moral debasement and sheer idiocy. Those "progressives" are so desperate to find a meaning in their pathetic lifes that, instead of facing the complexities of reality honestly, they go straight to their oldest hatred. And perfidious Albion is in the lead. F*** them.

Anonymous said...

Sergio
just to gladden your day, last picture I saw her food-intake is out of control - let's hope that gives her a lot to grieve about and come to think of it, maybe the quantity she seems to consider adequate shouldn't be inflicted on the Gazans or else there will be an obesity epidemic too.

Silke

Sérgio said...

Silke,

Food intake is out of control everywhere, it seems. Even here in Brazil.

BTW, I saw a BBC documentary about how children in the UK are suffering from totally preventable diseases (serious dental problems, smoked-caused ear problems, morbid obesity, etc). The reason: parent negligence tout court (though, of course, they "love" their children). Some specialists think that for the first time since the mid XIX-century, people from the new generations will die earlier than their parents.

If this is not decadence, what is?

Thermblog said...

I'm interested in your number of < 35,000 Palestinians killed in almost a century. Does it include the Arab dead in the 1948 & 1967 wars? Is there anything to back it up?

I make a parallel argument where I use 100,000 total (both sides) dead in 80 years. I read this somewhere and it seems unexaggerated if you start with a rough count from the major wars. Your 35,000 number makes for a cleaner argument but I would only use it with some measure of substantiation.

Anonymous said...

Sergio
a lot is being said about obesity etc and it is hard to separate what is for real and what is about creating a market. We have a German chemist who does food sound bites on radio and sometimes reports on the actual studies that underly the the latest hypes - there is lots and lots of fiddling going on, sometimes I think the food industry must be currently the best at lobbying i.e. there is more food than people need and so one has to find ways to cram it in.

but there is another interesting aspect to it, to let yourself go, as it was termed once upon a time, is supposed to be a speciality of the lower classes (Lauren Booth and lower class - how horrible!!!)
while the uppers conform to the latest chic, look how even perfectly normal people have slimmed down, how now almost haggard is the new look and compare how it was of old, there the pauper was haggard and the rich one had the belly (come to think of it, might it be that the rich ones on average got older than the slim paupers?)

Silke

Anonymous said...

Someone might also want to educate her in using the search function in google. Her 69000 qutoe shows how many pages contain both IDF and looting. Nothing more. If she wanted to refine her search she would have tried "idf looting" (with the inverted commas) to show pages containing that exact phrase. This gives us 208 hits. 10% of this is 21. Her point now??
Either she knew this and was being deceptive or she was just plain dumb. Ill go for the latter.

Barry Meislin said...

And of course, lest one forget....

http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2010/08/video-palestinian-authority-tv-to-kids-i/index.shtml

Leon Kushner said...

Beautiful letter. I loved every word. I write many letters to those that need it, myself, but none come close to the eloquent, satirical bite that yours has.
On behalf of Jewish and Israeli defenders world wide, I thank you.

Leon Kushner
Toronto, Canada

Anonymous said...

I feel there are parallels between Israel and India.Both have the oldest 2 religions.Both countries r the only homeland of the respective religions.Both countries r victims of islamic terrorism for a long time and yet the western media(bbc,guardian) like to potray us as aggressors.India is expected to be kind and donate Kashmir to Pakistan ,never minding the fact that India had lost 1000s to 50 and more terrorists attacks,and Pakistan waged 4 wars for Kashmir.