Stop Saying ‘If X fired Rockets at U.S.’: It’s Racist, & assumes we’re Colonial

By Juan Cole

Is anyone else disgusted by the propaganda trick of trying to get Americans to sympathize with Israel’s massive attack on the civilian habitations of Gaza by saying “if the US was subjected to rocket fire by X [usually Mexicans], what would it do?”

This hope that Americans are racists and that their racism can be incited against the Palestinians is about the lowest rhetorical trick you could imagine.

I’m old enough to remember the race riots in American cities of the late 1960s and early 1970s. I can remember a prominent pro-Israel columnist for the Washington Post, way back then, explicitly comparing Palestinians protesting their occupation by Israel to African-Americans protesting their economic marginalization. The writer’s hope was that white Americans would identify with Israelis and come to see Palestinians as “Black.” Or, let’s face it, as the N-word.

Someone recently sent to my blog such a screed, saying, what if rockets from Quebec were slamming into Maine?

The comparison is not only repulsive because the author hopes that Americans are Anglo-Saxons who don’t like French Canadians (or French anything). Notice no one says “What if the white people of Windsor, Ontario, were sending rockets across the Detroit River onto Detroit?” That would get the race dynamics that the analogy is aiming at all wrong.

It is also insulting to the United States and its people. Because since the end of World War II, the United States gave up settler colonialism. Oh, it is frequently an imperial power, interfering in the fate of other countries and attempting to shape them in directions perceived to benefit Washington. But after the Philippines became independent, and despite the ambiguous status of Guam and Puerto Rico, the US is not a settler-colonial state.

The reason Israel is taking rocket fire from Gaza is that is is an Occupying Power over Gaza and won’t let the Palestinians of that territory have the rights that accrue to citizens of a state. The Israeli military decides the fate of 4.3 million Palestinians, who are denied basic popular sovereignty. Israel has Gaza non-combatant civilians under economic blockade, preventing people from exporting most of what they make. It has destroyed the airport and won’t let the Mediterranean port function. It has deliberately made 56% of the population food insecure, i.e. a couple of paychecks away from going hungry.

The United States isn’t behaving this way toward Quebec, or toward Mexico nowadays, whatever happened in the 19th century before we had the United Nations Charter and an attempt a crafting international law.

It is insulting to Americans for Israel chauvinists to imply that we are just like them, that we also gleefully have a jackboot on the necks of brown peoples beyond our borders, and that we would respond with the same disregard for non-combatant life as the Israeli air force if a few mostly harmless rockets fell on our side of the border. I don’t think we’d bomb the bejesus out of Montreal over some 8th grade chemistry experiments.

When you see that trope, know that you are not just being played. You are being assumed to be a racist and an international outlaw. It isn’t a nice comparison.

And as with all propaganda, what would be easier than turning it around? Imagine if the Chinese occupied Alabama and strode around Birmingham armed and in Chinese military uniforms. Imagine if they started importing millions of Chinese people into Alabama. What if they disarmed the Alabamans and pushed them off the land they’d lived on for centuries, stealing water and other resources? What if, when asked by now homeless families whose houses had been confiscated or blown up, what the reason was, the Chinese replied this way? That the Native Americans were East Asians & the ones who remained behind were ancestors of the Chinese and their eastern branch that crossed the Bering Straits became the original inhabitants of Alabama, and so China’s claim much preceded that of recent immigrants from Europe?

What do you think the people of Alabama would do to those Chinese occupiers and settlers?

(I apologize to my Chinese friends for the above. The whole thought experiment, being a form of racist propaganda, is inherently distasteful; I’m just showing what the other side of that argument might hypothetically look like).

So could we please stop doing politics by propaganda, false analogies, and appeal to the basest instincts of race-baiting? Could we please just analyze what is going on in Palestine?

The fact is that the Israelis could have peace if they’d stop being expansionists and accept 1967 borders. The Arab League made the offer. The Palestinians made the offer. The Israeli government is instead to determined to grab more and more Palestinian resources, including perhaps Gaza’s offshore natural gas.

Indeed, the Israeli Right has designs on other territory of its neighbors, having at one time or another tried to grab the Sinai Peninsula, southern Lebanon, parts of Syria, and its leaders keep talking about Israeli “interests” in Jordan’s Ghor Valley.

Mind you, I am an advocate of peaceful social action, and I condemn Hamas’s and Islamic Jihad’s deployment of rockets. They lack guidance systems and so they are inevitably indiscriminate as weapons, endangering non-combatants, which is a war crime. But I also condemn reckless Israeli air raids on Gaza camps and cities, which a prudent person could foresee will cause non-combatant deaths. They are also war crimes.


Related video:

Philip Weiss: “Max Blumenthal on liberal Zionist efforts to whitewash Israeli racism”

55 Responses

  1. Excellent article and analysis of the cunning psych-ops nature of the hasbara agencies aided by the US media. The Israeli hasbara machine is well aware of the susceptibility of the average American to this sort of below the radar innuendo. It worked for Republicans since Nixon.

  2. Many Americans are racists. How else could the neocons have substituted Saddam Hussein for Osama bin Laden and convinced tens of millions we just had to invade Iraq? ? They were both Muslims and that was all the neocons needed—PAYBACK. Obama did much the same thing with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

    President Obama has defended Israel’s massive attack on Gaza by saying Hamas rockets put non-combatants in danger.

  3. We’ve had the same nonsense over here in the UK. What if the Irish fired rockets at us? To which the answer is simple. They did, but we didn’t invade Donegal or bomb Dublin.

    • We British of Irish parentage (you didn’t look closely at my handle, did you?) tend to know both histories quite well. And please don’t refer to us as “limeys” and “micks”. It’s not polite.

    • A Paddy, A Chara
      A bigot? A surprising number of people born and bred in Ireland (and I’m presuming from your use of language that you weren’t) are quite keen to stick to the 21st century and avoid disinterring centuries of idiocy on both sides. John O’D’s point is perfectly sound.
      Le meas, Val

    • I have often referred to the British and Ireland as an example of how NOT to go insane in response to terrorism. During the IRA bombing campaigns that frequently targeted England (even the Prime Minister) as well as in Ulster (and even assassinated a member of the royal family, Lord Mountbatten), the British government did NOT invade Eire in response, or bomb Dublin. The IRA was dealt with by police action, supported by military resources. A wider and needless war did not result from decades of Irish “troubles.”

  4. Robert Fisk also punctured that same propaganda meme.

    He pointed out that during the “troubles” there were towns in Northern Ireland – by definition. BRITISH towns – that were subjected to regular mortar attacks by the IRA and others.

    And not once – not ever – did the British respond by sending Tornado or Javelin fighter-bombers against anyone, let alone bomb the snot out of Dublin.

    Not. Once.
    Not. Ever.

  5. Juan: This is actually a valid question. We actually did have this happen: the US Embassy in Baghdad. We received fire almost daily, a fact noted many times in the MSM. (Yes, how quickly they forget.) So…did we send F16s in to bomb the neighborhoods the fire came out of? No. Did we send in tanks? No. I have mentioned this numerous times, but it never gets repeated in the media. I also recommend Spike Stephenson’s book “The Golden Hour” on the first year at the US Embassy. I booked him as a speaker once, plus he is a Vietnam Veteran like me.

    • ” In Israel, the Palpigs are firing rockets into civilian housing areas.” Does Juan accept this kind of language and lie?
      1. The rockets came after deliberate provocation of Hamas members, killings and arrests of alleged Hamas supporters.
      2. As always, very little damage was done, while huge amounts of damage, destruction and death are rained on Gaza, where no defence is allowed, while the “IDF” is abundantly armed.

  6. Ask just about any American what they would do if the USA was invaded by group X and they would tell you things like this:

    – Go to Walmart to get all the components for IEDs

    – Make sure thy had plenty of ammo

    – Ree arch how to make Qassam rockets.

    From that point on, the invaders would be resisted with every “dirty trick” the Americans could think up. Americans are very vocal about what they would do to invaders, but can’t understand why the Arabs treat the people that have invaded their land the SAME as Americans would treat invaders.

    In fact some of the “hit and run” techniques the Arabs use were invented by the American colonists in the 1700s.

  7. Excellent post. The media also should do a much better job of comparing the weapons used by the Israeli army (guided missiles, white phosphorus, DIME bombs dropped from fighter jets, etc.) with those used by individual Hamas fighters (unguided, short-range rockets that travel 9-14 miles).

    Here is a link to a 2009 Alternet article which describes the DIME blasts:
    link to

    If a lone nut built a crude rocket from a bunch of Fourth of July fireworks and then fired it from your neighborhood toward a local police station so that it hit on the ground outside, shattering the precinct windows, would it make sense for the police to respond by requesting that the US Military go in and drop GBU-28 bombs (5000 pound bombs with laser and GPS guidance systems) throughout your neighborhood in the belief that this will terrify you into locating the lone nut and convincing him not to fire more homemade rockets?

    The majority of people in Gaza have no control over Hamas operatives. They have no more control than you and I have over crazed gunmen or criminals of all sorts who kill within our communities. It makes no sense for Israel to attack the general Gaza populace whenever a few Hamas fighters shoot off crude DIY missiles that travel about 9 to 14 miles. Israel has a missile shield that intercepts many of these simple rockets. It has the ability to move settlers near the border regions into more protected areas away from the range where these rockets fall. Israel has many, many choices.

    Given that most Gaza rockets do nothing more than land in fields, Israel could scoot people out of range and sit back and laugh at the pathetic “firecrackers” that fall harmlessly without effect. Full military attacks by the IDF serve as recruiting tools for Hamas and encourage Palestinians to be militants. If the IDF focused instead on shielding Israelis without retaliation, it would make it clear to Hamas that their use of violence is a completely impotent way to try and improve their situation.

    • I’m not unsympathetic to everything you say, but I’d try to avoid exaggerating the disparity and disproportionality. Most of those Israel bombs and missiles will only have 100-500 pounds of explosives; artillery shells and rockets I dunno. Similarly, those homemade rockets ARE getting better, and the larger ones can go over a hundred miles and carry enough explosives for a direct hit to punch a hole through the wall of a house. I saw a picture where one had knocked over a man’s bookcase and caused a horrible mess. Another landed near a moving a car, causing the driver to panic and run into a lamp-post. As an instrument of terror they have, without question, positively RUINED many, many, Israeli dinner parties.

      In fairness, these things may well become more accurate and dangerous. So, we should sympathize with Israeli concerns. But Israel’s underlying problem is its racism, and unless they can get past that things really can only get worse.

      EXHIBIT A: Mowing the lawn. How mainstream Israel refers to the periodic process we now see. First point is that they do not even credit the Palestinians as being animals. The second is that the metaphor is deceptive, in that lawns are considerately cultivated and managed. What they really mean is to go after an overgrown lot periodically with a weed-wacker.

  8. I think that these rationalizations can be compared to a piece of actual American history; we need not construct unlikely scenarios. Some of us are old enough to have heard the language of oppression: “If we don’t keep them down they will rape our white women.” “They don’t mind riding at the back of the bus.” “Separate but equal.” “They are not smart enough to vote.”

    During the era of segregation whites would hear of an actual (or imagined) crime where a black person had attacked a white person and then use that as a justification for an orgy of lynchings. What we are seeing in Palestine is a lynching. The Israelis know American history well; they are feeding it back to us!

  9. What if LA was daily taking rocket fire from Tijuana? A Tijuana separated off from Mexico by US occupied territory. A Tijuana where any resident could be picked up at any time and taken away and put in prison without trial indefinitely at the whim of US authorities. A Tijuana, where US colonists have been settling on land confiscated from native Tijuanans, colonists living with the protection of the US military, not subject to Tijuanan law. A Tijuana, where leaving or arriving by boat is prevented by US authorities. A Tijuana, surrounded by barbed wire, where only subsistence supplies are allowed across by the US authorities, except for those brought in via secret tunnels to Mexico. A Tijuana where US air strikes are used to kill leaders, and suspected militants. And finally, a US where politicians/media pontificate about how deserving Tijuanans are of further depredations because of their rocket attacks.

    • Ok, I’ll bite. Devil’s advocate here.

      I suppose this means Tijuana -> Gaza, Egypt -> Mexico, US -> Israel. That’s the only way “secret tunnels to Mexico” makes sense. Then: there is no occupied land between Gaza and Egypt. That border is completely controlled by Hamas/Egypt and not Israel or the US. Of course Israel / US exerts pressure on Egypt to do what they want, but suggesting that the land between is occupied is simply false. That ended in 2005. Also, native Gazans do not experience settlement of any confiscated land of theirs from any Israeli colonists, as there are no settlers in Gaza presently (again, ended in 2005). There are settlers in the West Bank, along with occupation troops (and the land they settle on is in some cases the land of refugees in Gaza, although they would by definition not be native Gazans if they are from the West Bank). There are also no rockets being shot presently from the West Bank, perhaps not coincidentally. As there are no Israeli troops in Gaza, they would have to invade to pick up anyone from Gaza and send such a person to prison. Since 2005, such activity by the Israelis has been limited to the West Bank (except for the relatively brief operation cast lead).
      So, this analogy seems about halfway correct.

      • That ended in 2005. Also, native Gazans do not experience settlement of any confiscated land of theirs from any Israeli colonists, as there are no settlers in Gaza presently (again, ended in 2005).

        That’s wonderful. So other than the stranglehold (low calorie allowances, restricted movement, etc.) Israel exerts what do the Gazans have to complain about?

  10. “The fact is that the Israelis could have peace if they’d stop being expansionists and accept 1967 borders.”

    Not really. Many in Israel, at least in the ruling parties, define their nation as a democratic theocracy – Israel is a Jewish state. Population pressure will force them to either change or continue to deal with the internal Palestinian population in a less than democratic way. That will inevitably create dissension and result in continued violence. This would, perhaps, be somewhat similar to Jim Crow in the US though with a strong external component.

    It would be interesting to apply the ideas from Dan Kahan’s climate communications study to this problem as it seems, in the US, to be more about self-identified tribal affiliation than logic or fact.

    • A democratic theocracy?

      Not possible. A theocracy is supposedly governed by “divine guidance” that is not given to considering the wishes of the people – as is supposed to be the case in a democracy. A theocracy is much less tolerant of the people than even our ruling oligarchy.

  11. Excellent article, although I would have to disagree that the US is not a settler-colonial state. We may not think of ourselves as such, but ask any Native American ! I have often wondered if the willingness to support the Israeli’s aggressive occupation of Palestine, which is clearly intended to encompass it all someday, flows from our unconsicious understanding that it’s just another form of Manifest Destiny.

    • I think you will find that Juan Cole was making the point that the USA made a decision to *stop* colonial-expansionism very early in the 20th century.

      Manifest Destiny fizzled out a long time ago in the USA.

      It’s still alive and well and “manifesting” itself in Palestine, curtsey of a colonial-expansionist ideology that calls itself “Zionism”.

      That’s a decision that Israel has made, whereas it could always decide to leave the 19th century behind and abandon colonialism. It just doesn’t want to, and is outraged that anyone is resisting.

      • actually, cole says, “the United States gave up settler colonialism… after the Philippines became independent… the US is not a settler-colonial state.”

        he does not make the distinction that “expansion” has stopped. he says settler colonialism IN GENERAL has stopped. i agree with helen. this is a profoundly incorrect assessment, and the main fault with this otherwise well-intentioned essay.

  12. Well Yea, maybe we wouldn’t go after canada, but we would do out best to trash mexico.
    Is it much different from how we treated Panama? only the alleged offense wasn’t rocket fire but going after a drug dealer. Or going into Afghanistan for allegedly harboring OBL.
    Or decimating Iraq, after we were told that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s, was in league with OBl, and that “The Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons.”
    — George Bush, Oct. 7, 2002, in a speech in Cincinnati.

    Words alone are enough for the US to go after expedient enemies. We don’t need no stinking ‘bottle Rockets’ to inflame our racism.


  13. All good points except for the claim that the US ceased to be a settler colony nation after WWII. How can that possibly be? Did the entire history of European colonization of the Americas suddenly cease to exist or matter after 1945 because the US granted Philippine “independence” on that very traditional Filipino holiday of July 4, 1946? US history up until the present cannot be understood apart of the settler colonial origins of the US up through the 18th century and the settler colonial expansion of US territory throughout the 19th century. The process did not suddenly stop in 1900, and it continues to proceed and reverberate to this day. Sarah Palin’s appeal is not just to the descendants (literal and figurative) of the Confederacy, but to the settler colonial heritage more broadly. And it is not just her, and not just Republicans.

    • The point is that the US isn’t settler-occupying its neighbors as of 1945 borders. The reason to say this is that Likud apologists often say they’re not doing anything different from current US policies. That is silly.

  14. Great piece, Mr. Cole. Its fascinating also the media’s reaction to the events, especially Fox. This morning they had a segment where the interviewed person was astounded that people could treat Israel’s reaction as inhumane. She started to arouse enormous sympathy for the poor Israelis( none of whom have been killed in rocket strikes) while completely ignoring the plight of the people in Gaza (90+ casualties during airstrikes).

  15. So could we please stop doing politics by propaganda, false analogies, and appeal to the basest instincts of race-baiting? Could we please just analyze what is going on in Palestine?

    Why not? Because this sort of thing is the best Israel can do in attempting to rationalize its actions. In terms of legitimate arguments, Israel has nothing.

  16. I can’t even listen to these Israeli spokespeople… But this issue begs the question… by this logic, don’t PALESTINIANS have the right to react when they’re being attacked?

  17. Consider that Iraq under Saddam Hussein didn’t attack the US but Iraq was nevertheless viciously attacked only on the basis of lies generated by our neocon community who are now advising us on what to do about the Middle East and Ukraine. As for attacks coming from south of the border it is surprising in a way this hasn’t occurred other than through the drug cartels if we consider how horribly and for how long the people of Central and South America have been abused by the United States – possibly much more than the United States has done to people in the Middle East.

  18. “So, we set out helping the world. We will send Marines to any nation that can get ten people to ask us. We’re in the humanity business. Look folks, if we had any morals we’d use them ourselves… What would we say if the Chinese sent a gunboat up the Mississippi, you know, with their Marines on it? What if they said they were just protecting their laundries in Memphis?”- attributed to Will Rogers

  19. I remember canned food being provided to the Newark rioters by New York activist group with the provision that if they don’t eat it they should (much like Palestinians have been reduced to, with rocks) at LEAST throw the canned food at the police.

    Americans ARE Racist… A large number are at least the CLOSETED or RATIONALIZING variety… albeit to distinguish between that fault, arrogant narcissism, and exceptionalism, is beyond me. I think Racism is a nice summation of those and a number of emotional and psychological flaws combined.

  20. Whatever arguments can be made for Hamas rocket attacks ,pale in importance to the human and infrastructure damage it brings…period

  21. You are completely wrong. It is not intended as a racist argument, and the comparisons to the non-violent struggle for civil rights in this country is entirely unfounded. As for the riots, they were met with an appropriate, proportional police response. The point is that firing rockets is a provocation that requires a severe response. The problem is that Hamas does not care that it is provoking this response. It does not care that Arab civilians are being killed by the predictable response it is provoking, and the truth is that if Hamas stopped firing rockets (however small) into Israel, Israel would never fire rockets into Gaza. That is why Mexico and Canada would never fire rockets at Texas or Maine. They know that their neighbor with superior weaponry would use that superior weaponry to root out the source of the rockets no matter what casualties resulted from the provoked response, and that is why the analogy drawn in media reports is entirely appropriate and apt.

    • It seems the rocket fire was originally in response to the house-by-house searches and the first ones were not fired by Hamas. The the chicken/egg started: who escalated first, Israel or Hamas. The killings of four teenagers should have been dealt with as cold-blooded murders. Instead both Hamas and Netanyahu considered them acts of war by the other side.

      • check it out- the rockets started well after the extreme reactions of the IDF against Hamas (as in previous “conflicts”, it is the Israelis who attack first).
        As all the settlements in the WB are illegal, the three “boys” were putting themselves in harm’s way by their presence and actions. Hamas was accused at once with no evidence, but a vicious propaganda campaign of hate against any “Arab”.

    • The point is that firing rockets is a provocation that requires a severe response.

      If the Israeli responses over the years had been proportional, Israelis would not have been so vehemently criticized. It is because their response is so often in the order of you-kill-one-of-us-we’ll-kill-a-hundred-of-yours that the international community – at least it’s civilized members – are so hostile to Israel. The 100-to-1 formula was considered a war crime at Nuremberg.

      As for the “provocation” part is it not reasonable to see the oppressive occupation of Gaza as a provocation?

    • Israel in fact does shoot at Gazan fishermen and it does shoot at Gazans who wander into the buffer zone inside Gaza. So they might or might not bomb Gaza if there were no rockets, but they do enforce the inhumane blockade and they shoot at Gazan civilians from time to time.

      You seem completely oblivious to the larger background.

    • We could go through all the chicken & egg arguments about who started what, but there are a few things that are certain: one is that Israeli policy has, at least since 1967, explicitly been one of the DIS-proportionate use of force. Certainly, there has been a tit for tat, but if anyone has been restrained (albeit by incapacity), its been the Pals.

      As for what we now see. This whole episode’s timing can be directly traced to right-wing Israeli political needs and the crude, short-sighted belligerence of its leadership. Its worth noting the low, tactical cunning, in waiting for Ramadan before kicking things off, a fact rarely mentioned by the MSM. The kidnapping of those teenagers was only a convenient pretext for the current “lawn mowing.” You’ll also notice how Israeli attacks are focused at the time of the first call to prayer (VERY early, when people wake up for breakfast before their day-long fast), and again at Iftar (around 2030 local) when they break their fast. It’s simply sound tactics to focus on the weaknesses that can be exploited in an enemies religion, but there is NOTHING about this that has to do with Israeli self-defense. Unless, of course, you credit Israel with enough self-awareness to understand how desperate their actions really are. The hasbara of World Class Liars and the manipulation of a rich, enabling power, can string things along for a long time, but it’s an approach that cannot hope to endure.

      At this point, Israel is clinging to a policy and mind-set that is fundamentally corrupt and counterproductive. On their present course they are doomed, ironically enough, to the very failure Israel was created to avoid.

  22. I agree with Juan. But I have some more fundamental questions about Israeli actions since the three kids were killed. I haven’t seen any evidence presented showing that Hamas people are guilty of the murders. Have I just overlooked it?And if the murderers were Hamas people perhaps they were some crazies acting on there own behalf just like, it has been assumed, the Israeli killers of the Palestinian boy. All the killers should be brought to justice. It apperas to me that Israel immeditely assumed that the Hamas/PLA sanctioned the killing of the three boys and then began bombing the crap out of Gaza. No “due process” whatsoever! How does the “civilized world” (UN, US, EU, etc.) allow Israel to get away with this?

    • How does the “civilized world” (UN, US, EU, etc.) allow Israel to get away with this?

      The UN, US and EU are part of the civilized world?

  23. Just a reminder that there are some Israelis who are still civilized.

    Why I’m on the brink of burning my Israeli passport: I can no longer stand by while Israeli politicians like Ayelet Shaked condone the deaths of innocent Palestinian women and children by Mira Bar Hillel – link to

    Unfortunately, none appear to be in the leadership.

  24. The Israeli narrative doesn’t really stand up to any scrutiny.

    On the tactical level: the IDF is admitting that it is blowing up the houses that belong to Hamas officials, even though it accepts that those officials went into hiding days ago.

    But that’s a war crime i.e. a house is a house is a house, and you can’t blow up a house just to send a message to the owner.

    So Israel claims legitimacy for blowing up those houses by insisting that they serve as “command and control” centres i.e. as places from which Hamas directs its military activities.


    Why doesn’t any journalist ask the obvious question: how can they be Hamas “Command and Control Centres” if the owner abandons that house before the first shot is even fired?

    After all, for it to be a Command and Control Centre there has to be someone “commanding” things from it, and Israel admits that the “commanders” fled days ago. Axiomatically, where they fled **to** is the real Command and Control Centre, not the house they fled **from**.

    And on a broader view, what’s this about Netanyahu insisting that he isn’t interested in a ceasefire?

    Helloooooooo…… the excuse is that Israel is dropping bombs to stop Hamas from firing rockets, but BY DEFINITION the “stopping of fire” is called….. a ceasefire.

    So wtf is Netanyahu on about saying he isn’t interested in a ceasefire??

    Because if he wants the rockets to stop (and he says that he does) then he should ALWAYS be receptive to a ceasefire (though he says he isn’t).

    Just two examples, but it just shows how the Israeli narrative doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny. Indeed, it is so internally-inconsistent (at all levels) that it’s a wonder Bibi’s head doesn’t explode from all the cognitive dissonance.

  25. None of these arguments will ever be presented on the MSM. The ‘Holocaust’ overshadows/justifies everything that takes place in/from Israel. WWII is still the only war that Americans and possibly every other nation on earth can relate to, thanks to Hollywood and the international movie industry. The war that never goes away, or fades from memory. Vietnam is a distant memory but WWII is like yesterday. The power of that fixation is what keeps the ‘Holocaust’ foremost in our minds and hearts and as a shield for Israeli ‘actions’ (war crimes).

    • The Zionists planned to take over the Palestine Territories long before the Holocaust. The Holocaust became an event Israelis used to bolster their agenda of transfer of Palestinians out of their homeland.

    • Netanyahu is making the rounds on the Sunday talk shows. No one will appear for the PA, of course.

  26. Hi Juan:

    I argued this at Slate years ago when they had a BOTF then and we were free to write and post essays of sorts and not limited to comments.

    Firing rockets and artillery into the Gaza is a sure thing to cause death and destruction as the ~1.7 million in population occupies an ~140 square miles of land. It is akin to going to fish at a fish farm knowing you will always get at least one. Think 12,000 people per square mile if all of Gaza was inhabited.

    I agree with you take on this.

  27. I would like to see an analysis of the cost-benefits ratio of the exchange of missile fire. How much do the crude rockets fired by Palestinians cost to make, how much are Israeli interceptor missiles costing? Is it possible for Israel to exhaust its supply of Iron Dome missiles before the Palestinians run out of their cheaper ones? Or can Hamas swamp the defensive systems with more launches than can be defended against? Then what? Also, despite American subsidies, can the Israelis indefinitely afford to spend more on their military than it costs Hamas (in terms of dollars, not lives) to wage these low-level wars?

    • The Raptor interceptor missiles used in Iron Dome cost at least $62,000.00 each – but one estimate I have seen is $100,000.00 to fire each Raptor. This does not include the expense of the Iron Dome system itself – which the U.S. government has paid $206,000,000 of its cost.

      The “home-made” Qassam rockets fired by Hamas cost less than $1,000.00 to manufacture in Gaza underground factories. I have seen one estimate as low as $100.00 per rocket.

      The Syrian-manufactured missiles produced under license of the Chinese government are likely several thousand dollars in value. These are the ones that have reached Hadera and Tel Aviv and caused the Knesset to shut down.

      • I said it at Tumblr (using your quote Mark) and I’ll say it here:

        The Vietnamese whipped American *ss with punji sticks, tiger traps, WWII vintage weapons (incl the agricultural dike protection ack-ack ‘Hanoi’ Jane Fonda posed on to the dismay of the US government), and sandals made from the tires of stolen jeeps.

        They distracted our early Automated Battlefield systems consisting of a vial full of bedbugs with a tiny mic and transmitter that would transmit the noise of the active bugs when humans were near, by pee-ing on the foliage causing multi-zillion dollar airstrikes to be called in on… Nothing. An occasional unfortunate Water Buffalo.

        The Iraqis did a pretty good job of forcing a US ‘planned withdrawal’ using propane bombs and IEDs twith common automotive freeze plugs for armor penetrators.

        Israel doesn’t have the economic ‘depth’ to continue for long. Iran is waiting in the economic shadows and when the US can no longer afford to, politically or economically, continue to support it’s client state in the Middle East, Israel will simply collapse under it’s own untenability, by it’s own dependence on a war economy that was simple to attack by the use of primitive inexpensive weapons by the opposition.

  28. Thanks. I figured there was a disproportional cost involved. Not that this seems to make any strategic difference, as long as Israel and the US are prepared to spend whatever it takes to maintain a technological edge. Hamas’ funding can’t match what the US gives Israel and no doubt it is harder than ever for Hamas to receive imported/smuggled weapons or weapon parts.

  29. Dear Prof Cole, do you have any references for this (would love to use it, research it further, for my dissertation)?:

    “I’m old enough to remember the race riots in American cities of the late 1960s and early 1970s. I can remember a prominent pro-Israel columnist for the Washington Post, way back then, explicitly comparing Palestinians protesting their occupation by Israel to African-Americans protesting their economic marginalization. The writer’s hope was that white Americans would identify with Israelis and come to see Palestinians as “Black.” Or, let’s face it, as the N-word.”

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