The following is a selection of letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to recent articles on the Israeli bombing of Lebanon.
Regarding the television coverage in the US of the Israel/Hezbollah conflict you rightly make the point that “the fighting is invariably described as ‘fierce exchanges between Hezbollah guerrillas and the Israelis,’ as though there were some sort of equivalence between the Islamic movement’s Katyusha rockets and mortars, and the Zionist military’s F-16 bombers, Apache helicopter gunships, artillery, tanks and armored personnel carriers.”
I would add that if there was any equivalence between the strength of the Hezbollah and Israeli forces, then foreign nationals would be evacuating en masse from both countries. As I’ve heard of no plans for a massive evacuation of foreign nationals from Israel, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the damage being done is pretty one-sided.
21 July 2006* * *
The comments about the seemingly willful ignorance of the history of the countries in the region, all of which emerged as modern, independent nation-states after World War II, is an astonishing bit of Orwellian propaganda. No light is shed on events that occurred less than a lifetime ago; events that occurred last month, if they contradict the US-Zionist political line, are ignored.
A case in point: Lebanese police arrested an Israeli assassination squad operating illegally in Lebanon, known to have killed Palestinian militants (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3262657,00.html). Surely this would fall under the rubric of terrorism? In the US, however, nothing is heard of Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty, just more of the same Manichean divide between terrorists (Arabs) and civilized nations (white imperialists).
21 July 2006* * *
I read your article about the coverage of the aggression against Lebanon in the US media. It was profoundly relevant and thoughtful. I am touched by the tone and substance of your analysis. Even though I feel so frustrated and powerless for the moment I am nonetheless not falling into despair for I am sure and totally convinced that justice will some day prevail and that arbitrary imposition will not and cannot last for ever in the Middle East or anywhere else for that matter.
I am myself a journalist who write sometimes about the issues of the Middle East but I can hardly imagine that I can publish anything here regarding that region. I used to mainly write in French, my first language of training. Once again I thank you and thank the socialist web for their thoughtful articles.
Roanoke, Virginia, US
23 July 2006
Thanks for this great dissection of Friday’s editorial in the New York Times. I find it astonishing and very disheartening that this right-wing rag continues to be the ‘paper of record’ in the US. I’m forwarding your article widely in the hopes that the campaign of lies and hypocrisy being perpetrated by the mainstream media can be counteracted with the truth. I’m probably dreaming, but it’s at least worth a try!
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
22 July 2006* * *
You must realize that Israel has been defensive for the past ten years in trying to resolve some sort of peace accord with the Lebanese Government. In 2000 Israel withdrew troops from southern Lebanon, by taking baby steps towards this process. True, while civilians are dying at higher numbers in Lebanon than in Israel, it doesn’t compare to the damage Americans have done in Iraq. Furthermore, the Hezbollah is a known terrorist organization with past bad history. Don’t write a headliner until you have all sides of the story.
22 July 2006
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We’ve all been told through the mass media that Hezbollah entered Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers. However, the earlier stories had it very different. According to the Associated Press on July 12, “The militant group Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers during clashes Wednesday across the border in southern Lebanon, prompting a swift reaction from Israel, which sent ground forces into its neighbor to look for them.” See http://www.forbes.com/technology/feeds/ap/2006/07/12/ap2873051.html. Now, where did the idea they were captured in Israel come from? Maybe from the Israelis?
22 July 2006
Should it be of any surprise that 1984 is here? The neocon-dominated US government has taken its marching orders from Israel and the two fascist (so-called democratic) regimes are heedless of any evil they commit in our names. Where is the rest of the world in standing up to these two monstrous Satans? This seems certain to be the start of WWIII ... any doubters?
Ashland, Oregon, US
21 July 2006* * *
Really it is shameful on the part of the US, because the US claims that it is leading the world to democracy. However, what is happening in Lebanon and Palestine is backed by President Bush. Bush is watching the killing of innocent children in Lebanon and Palestine and is still supporting the actions done by Israel.
21 July 2006* * *
Like millions of Americans, I am deeply troubled by the subterfuge and propaganda flowing from the media pipeline. What can we earthlings do to combat ignorance and apathy? For my part, I have begun buying products such as razor blades, auto door mats and tool racks bearing the brazen label, “Made in Israel.” After I have purchased three or four items, I wait a day or two and then return them saying to the clerk: “These items are from a terrorist state and I refuse to purchase anything whose aim it is to destroy property and kill humans.” I think a world wide boycott similar to this may serve as a warning to Israel to withdraw its war machine from Lebanon and Gaza.
Sheridan, Oregon, US
21 July 2006
So, this was the situation as it stood. The Bush administration was (and is) whole-heartedly (politically, economically, and militarily) supporting Israel and its ruthless attacks on Lebanon. American citizens in Lebanon were (and are) seeking safety by way of leaving Lebanon as soon as possible. However, the US policy was to charge its own citizens for safe passage from this war zone. These citizens had already, by way of taxation, been paying for the military and other resources that could provide such passage for them. Correct me if I am wrong, but was this policy not little more than extortion?
How far will this government go? More importantly, how much more will its citizens take?
Athens, Georgia, US
21 July 2006
I greatly enjoyed your article and certainly hope that the peace movement will gain traction in Israel. I’m afraid the neocons in both governments, unelected and isolated intelligentsia with no real world experience, are driving this process and the whole area is teetering on the brink of major conflict. In addition you have a strange combination of end-time Jews and Christians who see this whole process as playing out in a Book of Daniel/Revelation stage play. It is both saddening and maddening. Keep up the good work. I enjoy reading the WSWS.
19 July 2006
Dear Mr. Van Auken,
If I lived in New York you would get my vote. What is happening to our Nation? Why are not there more people like you opposing the majority of our leaders today who have been caught up in the belief that America under the leadership of George Bush and the Israeli Lobby can do what whatever they want to force their will on the world.
People like Ms. Clinton (supposedly a member of an opposition party) cheer them on. Even our Senator Russ Feingold, who I have supported since the day he announced being a US Senate Candidate, has disappointed me in this notice on his Web page today: “I stand firmly with the people of Israel and their government as they defend themselves against these outrageous attacks. The kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and missile attacks against Israeli citizens are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. The first steps toward establishing peace must begin with the unconditional and immediate return of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Lebanon, Syria, Iran and countries throughout the region must also condemn the actions of Hezbollah, Hamas, and other groups committed to blocking the peace process and must take strong actions to return stability to the region immediately.”
There is no condemnation of Israel for their actions by Senator Feingold. There is no suggestion of a ceasefire and negotiations. It is as if this is a Bush War Party press release and not from a Senator that has opposed the Iraq war, but is now suddenly a victim of the Israeli Lobby—American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
I wish you were running for President and that this was a Presidential year and the voting was today. You would have my vote.
Wilton, Wisconsin, US
19 July 2006* * *
Bill, usually I agree with what the WSWS writes, but I have to ask you what you would do if you were in charge of the welfare of the Israeli people?
Woonsocket, Rhode Island, US
19 July 2006
Your article titled was very timely, and I salute you for your frank and honest reporting. Wish more people like you were able to see the world as it is.
17 July 2006* * *
Fine article, but I would dispute one point, or at least question the basis for it. You state in regard to the Sharon march with 1,000 troops that it was tacitly supported by the Clinton administration as well as Barak. No doubt about Barak. His providing 1,000 protectors demonstrated that he anticipated trouble. As for Clinton, why would he be supportive when he continued to try to advance the peace process and we were in the middle of a presidential campaign? After all, any success at all in the process would help Al Gore. Any failure would hurt Gore. So a violent end to the process would certainly seem inconsistent with Clinton’s interests.
It should also be recalled that in the summer of 2000 the GOP sent emissaries to Barak urging him not to reach any agreement with Arafat. One peculiar aspect, so far as I know never investigated, was Sharon’s visit to the US just prior to the infamous march. It was reported by William Safire. Was he dealing with the GOP? The march did not benefit the Democrats, it did benefit the GOP in the election. It also benefited the neo-con agenda and the extremists on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Orange Park, Florida, US
17 July 2006