Thursday, September 16, 2021

My list of the top 11 obstacles for peace in the Middle East.

 From top to bottom, in descending order of severity.

1)     Different narratives that are sometimes conflicting.

2)     Lack of hope among the general public on both sides.

3)     Lack of trust on both sides.

4)     Continued Palestinian rejectionism of the negotiation process.

5)     An international, (and Israeli) peace movement that is more of a cult of Israel bashing, rather than any actual peace advocacy, or peace making.

6)     An array of “neutral” ngo’s that are in-fact an extreme expression of the former.

7)     Anti-Israel biases within the global media that makes it clear to everyday Israelis why peace should not be trusted. Also, an expression of 5.

8)     The UN.

9)     A hopelessly divided Palestinian leadership.

10)  Chronically unstable Israeli governments. This is due to Israel’s current system of government.

11)  The settlements.

 

What defines severity here is the ability to change/remove these obstacles.

Settlements had been removed before; and therefore, can be removed again. The question is what Israel gets in return.

Israel’s political system can change. It requires public support. The need to change it, is mainly due to internal reasons; unstable coalitions, and extortion power to smaller political parties. Changing it requires public support. When it comes to the peace process these weaknesses can be bypassed. But not always successfully.  

The Palestinian leadership can unite. If the leadership will it. Since their motivation for maintaining the division is that of personal gains that is less likely. And if they do unite, will that be behind an extremist message, a practical one, or a moderate one?

The UN will change if global politics change. Right now, it is another battlefield.

I don’t know what can change 5,6, and 7. But if they can, they can help alleviate, 3, 2, and 1. In that order. They will help the process; the process will do most of the work. The process will create trust in the process itself. This will serve at first as substitute to the lack of mutual trust. As the trust in the process increases, it will lead to some degree of mutual trust. As this is increased, hope will be rekindled. As hope, and trust increases, they will energize the dialogue. Opening the way for a dialogue of narratives, the hardest part of the process. Where it can all fall apart again.

For the process to restart, the Palestinian leadership must attend the process, change 4. The longer they procrastinating the less we have a motive to resume it from our side.

Monday, May 17, 2021

An honest conversation about dishonesty.

 So, Trevor Noah asks an honest question about the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Good for him. Honesty cannot ever be overrated. Now it’s time to have an honest conversation about his honest question. A question that wasn’t honest, and wasn’t a question.

His visual essay was not meant for me, Obviously. My allegiances are with Israel. It was meant for the general neutral public. Those of them that stand on the sideline. Wanting to help; but are unable to do so because it looks so protracted and too complex to resolve. He pointed out just how pointless it is, because we can indeed choose every point in time we like, and each time a different side will look guilty. Every standing on the sidelines neutral will a have lot of empathy for him over that. A “he is exactly where I am” kind of feeling; a strong one. But if this is how he sees it, then why did he choose a date for the beginning of the conflict in the first place? 73 years, he says. That is the how long Israel exists as a state. For those that do not know.

It is a strange pick. First, because he later spoke emphatically against doing that very thing, picking dates. Second, because most people place the beginning of the conflict at the end of WW1. It could be a case of ignorance on his part. After all, one of his technique to generate empathy was to state at the very beginning that he will probably miss a few important details. But he also adds another, supposedly, historic fact. “The British took the land from the Palestinians,” he says. So, he does know it begun in WW1. So why choose a later date, when you know it’s the wrong one? And why phrase it the same way the Palestinian narrative describes the Balfour declaration? 





Avoiding mentioning specific dates that are also controversial, helps focus on the main point someone wants to deliver. And Trevor’s main point? “Let’s look at who is dead and who is alive.” Alright. Let’s look at who is dead, and how they died. At the time of his piece, around 28 Palestinians were killed. Among them, 10 children. And around 150 wounded. With 2 deaths on the Israeli side. His numbers. Horrifying and sad, all the more a reason to look into that. So, let’s go back to these early Palestinian deaths. Were they all killed by Israeli fire? Or was it, in some cases, by Hamas’ missiles that fall short, and into Palestinian civilian areas? And those that were killed by Israeli fire. Were they human shields for Hamas’ weaponry and missiles? Were they warned by Israel to clear away before the attack? Were they all killed or hurt by Israeli fire? Or was it secondary explosions, or simple traffic accidents as many people fled? And what about accessible shelters to the general population? where there any nearby?

Like it or not, that is what looking at who is dead and who is alive means. It may not necessarily remove the main blame from Israel. But without mentioning it Hamas becomes blameless for those. Ignoring that possibility isn’t an accidental omission. It is an obvious expression of one sidedness. But Trevor is indeed not looking at that. He is looking away from that. And into technology. “Set aside motives and intentions and look at technology alone,” he says. He actually said that, set aside motives and intentions. How are people supposed to resolve a conflict if they don’t understand it? And how are they supposed to understand it if they are not looking at motives and intentions? If Trevor does not want to resolve the conflict, why bring it into focus in the first place?

Instead of motives and intentions he focuses on technology and the general strength of Hamas vs the bigger general strength of Israel. It’s the bigger picture, where individual suffering does not exist. To be clear it is an important subject that should be discussed. It is related to the other issues. But, like all of them, it is also separated. So, let’s go alone with it anyways. Trevor’s argument, Israel is so strong it doesn’t need to response. Iron Dom is so perfect it can take down anything in the sky. 2 people were already dead, more will die on the Israeli side later; so, it obviously has limits. And no that isn’t a surprise. Everybody knows that. This is why Hamas and Hizbullah have been stockpiling missiles. So, they can overwhelm this defense system. President Obama pointed to that fact in his Jerusalem speech. You do know who that is Trevor? You did interview him once, didn’t you?

He explains his argument with analogs. First, as a conflict among siblings. Him as Israel, his little brothers as Hamas.  Really? Sibling rivalry has its nastiness. However, when one of them is hurt, let’s say with a sickness, the other will feel the same fear and anxiety as the rest of the family. No matter how hard he/she will try to conceal it. Nasty sibling rivalry among states is a hockey match between Canada and the USA. And Trevor, has any of your siblings ever came at you with a knife? If that happened, and I hope it didn’t, I’m sure your mother would have reacted very differently.

He is defensive about this analog; fully aware it could be interpreted as infantilizing the Palestinians. But that does not infantilize them. It’s just a bad analog. Denying them any agency does that. He moves to another analog; police disarming a man with a knife. And I am so glad he did that because that is not an analog. The situation between Israel and Gaza is an extreme version of this supposed analog. With one major difference. It is not a cop vs a man with a knife walking in the street. It’s a cop vs a man with a knife that is right now stabbing someone else. So, what should the policeman do, Trevor? Go and grab him, risking injury that would prevent the officer from helping? Grab his own knife, and repeat the same risks? Use his gun but only shoot at the assailer’s leg? It would keep him safe but won’t necessarily stop the stabbing. Or shoot to kill? And to be frank, that bullet could also hurt the person he is trying to save. Complicated, isn’t it? A gun though, has one advantage. It is fast. While we are contemplating all these alternatives, the victim is been stabbed over and over again. He/she is bleeding more and more, accumulating injuries that are more difficult to fix. Assuming we can get him/her to a hospital on time. And this is the hypocrisy of Trevor’s fair fight argument. This argument, typical to the anti-Israel narrative, not only wants us to choose between fairness and the safety of our civilian population. It demands us to choose this fairness over the safety of our civilians. How fair is that to them?

But of course, he is not demanding anything. He is just asking an honest question. An extremely bent honest question. But let’s go alone with it anyways. His last question, what is the responsibility of the strongest party? Great question. Let’s explore that. What is that responsibility according to international law? What are the operational-challenges Israel faces in order to fulfill those requirements? How do the actions of the IDF meet or fail to meet those requirements; while taking into account the military situation on the battlefield? Like it or not that is what you analyze when you examine responsibility.

Complicated, isn’t it? But we cannot answer that question. It’s the end of the segment. The thing is, we don’t have to answer that question. Trevor had already suggested the answer to us by emphasizing every negative thing about Israel. It’s not a fair fight, Israel is the stronger party, force isn’t necessary because of Iron Dome is perfect. More casualties on the Palestinian side. Showing Israeli police storming the al Aqsa mosque, but not the violence they were responding to, a dramatic news bulletin that begins with Israel’s reaction. Whatever makes Israel look bad, correctly or incorrectly is front and center. Whatever makes the Palestinian side looks bad is largely dismissed or ignored.

In Trevor Noa’s 8.53 minutes piece about honesty in discussing the Israeli Palestinian conflict, dishonesty is the dominating subtext. He delivers an amazing performance convincing he is one of the anguishing neutrals. But everything in it is in support of one side, the Palestinian side. He slides inside the Palestinian narrative about the Belfour declaration, in a way only someone familiar with it can. He emphasizes only things that make Israel look bad; be it actual matters, or angles on complex situations. The entire direction of his video is against Israel. It is not the conclusion of it, because nothing has been analyzed, so no conclusion can be made. And it does end with an open question.

To be clear, he has every right to be on the Palestinian side. To support it, to believe in its narrative, and to publicize it. But to pretend to be neutral while doing so?

And it doesn’t end there. He argues against looking into past, (while inserting his view of the past), because it is too complex. As if the other aspects of the conflict are not complex. however, every direction he takes has its complexities. Looking at who is dead, fairness, the responsibility of the stronger party, land, economy, religion, governments, etc. All have their own complexities. Discussing anyone of them isn’t much different than discussing the past. And any person that can understand them can understand the past. But Trevor isn’t discussing any of them. He is moving from one theme to the next as if they are one and the same. And using them to paint Israel in a darker light.

One of the complexities of the conflict is that they are all connected. Including the past. The past is one of the main reasons why it is ongoing. The past is where we can find what the Palestinian side did when it was the stronger party. It started with classical pogroms, and moved to armed death squads, targeting and massacring civilian populations. And kept on doing it until these very days. Only this time relaying more on artillery.  And yes, I know, I just put forward a key part of the Israeli narrative. It is a war of narratives. That is what every decent person that did try to go beyond the complexities will tell you.

Trevor’s questions were nothing but a literary tool. Which he used brilliantly. It is too bad they were waisted on this unequivocal dishonesty.       

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Anti-Zionism, the case of Amjad Iraqi. When the apartheid blood libel is more than just anti-Semitism. Part 3

Previous 

Amjad Iraqi’s bad faith is a disturbing one. It is best demonstrated when he chooses, the 2003 order that halted family unification between Palestinians living in Israel, and Palestinian coming to Israel from the WB, Gaza, and elsewhere. As always, he avoids context. Instead he compares it to Israel law of return. A law he describes as giving citizenship to every Jew coming to Israel. The actual law is more of an asylum law than a naturalization law. And it is extended to non-Jews. I added a video that explains it in a good and brief way.

 


It is a good thing that he brought that law as an argument. To begin with, were does it say that immigration policies are an indicator of apartheid? But even if there is such a clause in international law, Israel doesn’t qualify. As Amjad Iraqi points out, Israel has an immigration law for non-Jews. It is the family unification act. Under this law 130,000 Palestinians immigrated into the state of Israel, from 1994 to 2002. This law still exists today. In 2003 it was blocked to Palestinians. The main reason it was blocked, terrorism.

On the 31st of March 2002, a Palestinian suicide bomber from Jenin blew himself up in the Matza restaurant in Haifa. He murdered 16 Israelis, and injured over 40. He was able to enter Israel because he had an Israeli id card; a blue card he inherited from his mother. She was an Israeli Arab citizen that married a Palestinian from the WB, and moved there to live with him. Their son was a second-generation Israeli citizen of this family unification law. And he was not the only one from these demographics involved in violent activities. He was just the deadliest. There was always some degree of involvement in violent activities against Israel, and Israelis, by Arab citizens of the state. The second-generation Arab Israeli citizens of the family unification law, are over represented in those activities. They are less than 5% of Israeli Arabs, but 15% of the perpetrators, (Hebrew link). These numbers are small, but the lesson of the Matza restaurant attack is that the threat should not be underestimated.

Ignoring this makes the critic dishonest, and hypocritical. As the late Israeli supreme court judge, Michel Chesin, pointed out at the time, Israel is asked to accept emigration from hostile territories that engage in violent activities against its civilians. And that is the whole point. No country in the world was ever held to such a high standard. No country in the world, had ever faced the demand, to accept immigrants from hostile nations. Especially when hostilities were taking place. When Israel was doing so it was going the extra mile on this civil-rights issue, ahead of any democracy on earth. The cost was deadly. In maintaining a secondary civil right for Palestinians, Israeli lives were lost. For Amjad Iraqi, this fact is not worth mentioning. I wonder why?

Israel’s record of not having a clear policy towards Arab civilians is an important argument against the lies and distortions of Amjad Iraqi. But it does not clear Israel from wrong doing towards them. Like most democracies Israel’s record towards its minorities is checkered. On one hand the state gave its Arab population voting rights. One the other hand, many of their communities were under military administration until 1967. Today there is a greater integration of Arab citizens into Israeli society, culturally, and economically. But the economic disparities continue. And, sadly, bigotry is also expressed in various social and official interactions.

The most acute situation exists in East Jerusalem. Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967 when it reunified the city, after the victory in the Six Days war. The unification was done for two simple reasons. A divided capital city that is shared with an enemy is under a serious security threat. And East Jerusalem includes the most important places for Judaism, religiously, and nationally. The top of the list includes the Temple Mount, The Western Wall, and the Jewish quarter. However, Israel did not sort out the issue of the Arab residents of the places been annexed. An issue that remains open today. With losers on both sides. The Palestinian Arabs living there found themselves residents of a state they were not its citizens. And Israel found itself with large communities of non-citizens. A fact that undermines its sovereignty there. The most obvious solution, granting citizenship, has its drawbacks for both sides. For Israel there is the risk of incorporating a large hostile population. For the Palestinians the concern is that this will be seen as legitimating Israel’s existence; especially the annexation of East Jerusalem.

This vacuum was filled with substitutes. The Arab residents were allowed to keep their Jordanian citizenship. But this was revoked in 1988, by king Hussain of Jordan. In 1993, following the implementation of the Oslo Accords, they were given the right to vote for the institutions of the PA. But this right became meaningless when these elections ceased to take place.

While other factors contribute to this situation; Israel as the ruler of East Jerusalem, has the responsibility to resolve it. That means finding a solution that won’t be booby-trapped by the political standoff. Think of a left-wing, Israeli politician trying to resolve this. On one hand civil rights values will suggests giving Israeli citizenship to all the Arab residents of East Jerusalem. But that will collide with the ideological position of considering re-dividing the city as a part of a peace deal. Right wing politicians will have to confront something they keep avoiding. What role do they give minorities in a state that define itself as Jewish? In emphasizing their collective identity, they run the risk of othering and alienating local minorities, living alongside them. This is one of the problems with the nation state law. This law, like the city of Jerusalem, creates a focus on this issue, and enhances the problems involved.

Jerusalem brings a great emphasis to a lot of issues on both side. The Palestinians have to come to terms not only with the technical existence of a Jewish state. But also, with the connection Jews and Judaism has with this land; especially Jerusalem. This political deadlock traps everybody. But no one is more affected by it than the Arabs of East Jerusalem. The current position of the Arab residents of East Jerusalem under Israeli law, is that of permanent residents. This is an improvised solution that solved that tried to use a law meant for people from other countries and do not wish to become citizens. Under this law they can vote for the municipality of Jerusalem but not in the general elections. They get welfare services from the Israeli state. And they can travel to any part of the state. But if they stay too long outside of Israel, they can lose this legal status. And since today many of them have no other citizenship, they could become stateless. This legal status also contains a path to Israeli citizenship, with its share of bureaucratic hurdles, enhanced by security concerns and mutual suspicions. Since 1967, around 20,000 residents became Israeli citizens. And around 15,000 lost their residency status, mostly during the 90’s. (This was criticized at the time as been a deliberate policy of expulsion). While the overall population had quadrupled.

This is not the complete picture. The Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem are intertwined with this. And the human dimension is missing from this review. But it is a vital perspective. One that has to be be given in order to understand the complexities and dilemmas involved. Especially when facing the fallacies behind Amjad Iraqi’s argument.  [East Jerusalem has been the subjects of research and study for quite some time; as do other aspects of Israeli society. Some of it politicized, some of it less so. Therefore, there is no shortness of information on this issue. The purpose of this article is to critic Amjed Iraqi’s accusations against Israel and Zionism.]

To those tempted to call it apartheid here are some challenging facts. The population of Israeli citizens includes Israeli Arabs that are of the same ethnicity and religions as they are.  Residency laws exists in many countries on earth. Calling it apartheid is therefore another wide common denominator. This law does not create a fixed condition. While apartheid laws were meant to be perpetual. The apartheid regime in SA created a crisis. This complex situation is caused by a crisis.

Calling it apartheid is like trying to fix a medical condition with a magic potion. Rather than heal, it will make things worse. Just look at Amjad Iraqi’s argument. From all the aspects of the ongoing crisis in East Jerusalem, he chose the 1980 law. This law annexed East Jerusalem to the state of Israel. It was largely a symbolic act, motivated by the connections Israeli Jews have to that part of the city. The actual annexation took place 13 years earlier. All the problem described above begun then. This symbolic law had no effect on the Arab residents of East Jerusalem. It did not made things worse. And it did not made things better. If anything it obligated the Israeli government to take care of all the inhabitants of the city, (item 4a).  It expresses the Jewish national identity. Identity that has many of its leading symbols in that part of the city. If this is apartheid, one the most immoral systems of government in modern times, then the very existence of Judaism is equally immoral, and has no right to exist. How does criminalizing an identity, be it Jewish or Palestinian, help resolve the conflict? The conflict can only be resolved through mutual acceptance. Amjad Iraqi does the opposite, he criminalizes one of the identities involved.

In his defense one may argue that it was a random pick. And he could have easily picked other dates in the history of East Jerusalem since 1967. The problem is that it is a part of a pattern. One that is consistent and uniform. Every example he brought is something he and his magazine chose. He is an editor, not just a columnist. What does he find apartheid in the behavior of the settlers? Based on the two examples he brought, it is not how they treat the Arab population around them. He chose two pictures where the settlers are harming no one. And all the service they get from the IDF is the defense of their lives. If there is apartheid, and the settlers are the driving force behind it, then the begging settler would not have begged. He would have ordered the armed soldier next to him to expel the crowd that came to support the elderly Palestinian confronting him. Instead, he is begging. This means that the armed soldier is there not to resolve the dispute, just to keep the settler safe. In choosing these two pictures Amjad Iraqi demonstrates that for him, living, breathing, settlers are apartheid. It is one thing to have a political and ideological opposition to the settlers and the settlements. It is something completely different, wanting them dead.

And it is not just settlers that he wants to see dead. It is every Israeli Jew that he wants to see dead. Each of the examples he brought has its differences. But most of them have one thing in common, they kept Jews alive. The 1950 absentee’s property law did so by solidifying the end of a brutal war. And by helping in absorbing Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Military operations in the WB do it every minute of every day, by preventing terrorist activities. The 2003 act, is the direct result of murderous terrorism. For Amjad Iraqi everything that keeps Jewish Israelis alive, is apartheid. One of the most immoral systems of government in recent history. An evil that must be abolished wherever and whenever it does exist. But that evil is a system of government, not the very existence of human beings. But for Amjad Iraqi that what apartheid is, the very existence of Israeli Jews. For him the very connection Jews have to their holly sites in Jerusalem is also apartheid. This choice not only fit the pattern; it expands its genocidal intention to every Jew on Earth. This is why, we, the Zionist Jews, cannot afford to tire from disproving the apartheid libel. Our lives depend on it. Amjed Iraqi demonstrates that this blood libel isn't just antisemitic, it is genocidal.

From the point of view of the history of blood libels against Jews, this is not unusual. Most of them, if not all, ended in the mass slaughter of Jews. And it happened in the Muslim world just as it happened in the Christian world. What is new is the use of the language of civil right to justify it, and aid it. By twisting facts, and history, he twists the language itself so murder and genocide will become acceptable to those that cherish civil rights and human rights. In doing so he makes the genocide acceptable to those that read uncritically any left-wing literature on human rights. The wide common denominators create the false association between Israel and apartheid SA. The lies and the selective examples extend that association to the very existence of living, breathing Jews in the land of Israel, and beyond.  The idea is to make them accept atrocities against Israeli Jews, should they recommence on a massive scale. It happened before. 20 years ago Israelis were subjected to an horrific wave of suicide bombing knows as the second intifada. Nearly every day there was some kind of an attack that murdered several Israeli civilians. It was made possible by pressure from European governments on the Israeli government. That pressure kept Israel from using effectively its armed forces to end the atrocities. The reason Europe helped this mass murder campaign is because its media, along with major sections of its public, bought the language of the Palestinian propaganda. Then it rationalized the war crime as caused by the “occupation.” Now the far nastier charge of apartheid is there to facilitate greater atrocities. The Palestinian armed groups don’t have the means to deliver it. But Hizzbulah, and Iran, with the backing of Russia and China might.

 Why did the PA support the Chinese crackdown in Turkestan? 

What do they expect in return?



Related links in Hebrew about Jerusalem from the Jerusalem Institute.

 1 & 2 

Anti-Zionism, the case of Amjad Iraqi. When the apartheid blood libel is more than just anti-Semitism. Part 2.


In order to prove that Israel is an apartheid state Amjad Iraqi uses extremely wide common denominators. They are so wide not only Israel and apartheid SA are included in it, but every society on earth, and every human activity. He also uses lies about SA and about Israel. But what is more dire is what he brings as examples of apartheid policies in the history of Israel.

He brings four examples, Israel’s absentees property law, from 1950. The annexation law of East Jerusalem in 1980. Banning family unification for WB Palestinians in 2003. And the military administration of civilian lives in the WB. (He also brings Israel’s nation state law, but that example had already been discussed). What these examples have in common is the lack of context. And that context is war, a violent conflict. This conflict is not just context. It is the cause of each of these examples. Avoiding mentioning that fact makes the deception possible. It helps create the false impression that these are the causes of the conflicts, and not the byproducts. Disputing them does more than rebuking the apartheid allegations. It demonstrates the actual complexities this conflict is trapped in.

The military administration of civilian lives is definitely a heavy burden on the civilians been administrated. But, this is another wide common denominator. This is a part of every occupation. Be it the genocidal imperialistic occupation of Europe by Nazi Germany. Or the occupation of Nazi Germany by allied forces that ended Nazi aggression.

There is no question that any military occupation should be and must be scrutinized by the standards of law and morality. But the critique itself must answer to moral and ethical guidelines. Those guidelines suggest that no decent critique of the IDF can ignore the threat to Israeli civilians on both sides of the green line. The historic and current record show that armed Palestinian groups are a threat to the very lives of Israeli civilians. As a result, both the IDF and its critics are on the same razor-sharp dilemma. The dilemma of finding a balance between the right of Israeli civilians to live, and the elementary human rights of Palestinian civilians. A critic that ignores that is not a critic. It is political propaganda of the worse kind.

An unavoidable follow up to this discussion are the settlements and the settlers. Aren’t they apartheid? Well…look at the images Amjad Iraqi choose to present. The first one (here on the right) shows a group of settlers walking through a market in Hebron, secured by armed IDF soldiers. Where is the apartheid here? Shopping? Walking? Are these activities constitute apartheid? Receiving military escort for everyday activity is very disturbing. But if those lives are under threat, they must be protected; regardless of your views on the issue of the settlements. These images are supposed to be examples of apartheid. They are supposed to be as clear as ‘whites only, blacks only’ signs. But the only thing these two images show, is the existence of tension between the two populations.


Source: 972 magazine


The second picture shows a confrontation between a settler and an Arab resident, near Hebron. The caption given to this describes the general situation, but not the two main participants in this scene. It is like a picture of a traffic accident with the caption, "Rush hour traffic." It is related, maybe, but it doesn't explain what happened and how the caption and the picture are related. Was this accident the result of rush hour traffic, or just happened to take place during the rush hour? The explanation may come in the body of the article. If it doesn't, all it creates is an impression. And accusations are not made based on impression. They are made based on information. Be it allegations over bad road safety maintenance, or apartheid. 

The irony is that this picture does not deliver the expected impression. The settler in this picture is begging for something. The Arab man is steadfast in his position. Whatever the debate is; no matter who is right and who is wrong; apartheid does not look like this. The oppressor never begs the oppressed. And remember, there is an armed soldier next to the settler. Under apartheid, and under oppressive regimes, a scene like this cannot take place, not even once. This does not mean that everyday life for Palestinians in the WB is a garden of roses. Far from it. This does tell us a lot about Amjad Iraqi. From the complex situation that exists in the WB, there are probably other pictures that are better suited for Amjad Iraqi’s purpose. Other scenes that can be taken out of context in order to make this nefarious accusation. Yet, he chose the most useless ones. Why did he chose them? The answer will reveal itself. It is not stupidity. 

There is no dispute that actions taken by Israeli governments had an impact on the lives of Palestinians. There is a conflict going on. And actions taken by either side had an impact on the population of the other side. Israel’s 1950 absentee’s property law contributed to the problem of Palestinian refugees. It prevented them from returning. But it did not cause it, and did not perpetuated it. The cause was a brutal civil war that devastated both societies, Jewish and Arab. The cause of that war was the Arab opposition to the two states solution, and to the existence of the Jewish state of Israel. It was fueled by the mutual hostility both populations had towards each other. This law effectively ended that brutal war. The most likely outcome of allowing the return of these refugees would have been the resumption of hostilities. And the continued devastation of both societies. This is why other, similar conflicts, ended the same way. Therefore, those accusing this law of apartheid are knowingly or unknowingly making a moral case for the continuation of bloodshed. Apartheid is one of the most immoral systems of government in human history. If one thing is apartheid, then its opposite is highly moral. In this case the opposite to Israel’s absentee’s property law it is the resumption of bloodshed. One the worst this conflict has known. This is the razor-sharp dilemma “critics” keeps avoiding. And in this case, it is sharp enough to slice an eyelash from one end to the other.

This continuation of bloodshed would have denied Israel the legitimate right of national self-determination. This fact raises a question as to Amjad Iraqi views on the matter. Is he for or against the principle of national self-determination? His harsh accusations against the 1950 law suggests he is against it when it favors Israel. He does call it apartheid. He makes the same accusation against Israel’s nation state law. He calls that apartheid by falsely claiming it denies self-determination for the Palestinians. It seems that for Amjad Iraqi the principal of national self-determination is not a universal one. To him, denying it from the Palestinians is apartheid. But giving it to Jews is also apartheid.    

This law gave Israel not only the ability to have effective national self-determination, but also the ability to absorb hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab lands. These refugees fled countries they were not a threat to, and societies they did not declare war on. But those societies were hostile to them, violently so.  Israel’s absorbed them, and ended their refugee status. While the Arab world, with the help of UNRWA, perpetuated the stateless conditions of the Palestinian refugees. Instead of absorbing them, they treated them as a threat. And they continue to do so today, with the exception of the Kingdom of Jordan. It is the only Arab state that gave them citizenship.

Israel’s absentee’s property law was brutal, there is no denying that. But it was the lease possible evil, from all the evils that were available. And only evils were available. This evil gave both sides the time and ability to recover. Israel took that chance, the Arab side scorned it. If Amjad Iraqi thinks that the creation of the refugees’ problem makes this law an apartheid law; then he must include in it the other, more dominate factors that contributed to the refugee problem. The segregation and ghettoization imposed by Arab governments on Palestinian refugees. And the war initiated by the Palestinian leadership. But if both sides are responsible, and both sides are responsible, this is not apartheid. It is an important part of a greater conflict that has to be resolved. The refugees’ problem is one of several open wounds that need to be closed. But it won’t be solved by destroying Israel. Each side has its grievances and concerns. Ignoring the other side concerns is not an act done in good faith.

It is important to be reminded that in traditional Palestinian polemics the accusation is not apartheid. It is ethnic cleansing. This accusation is challenged in a similar way. If it was ethnic cleansing, where is the responsibility of the Arab side, and the Palestinian side? As mentioned before, this conflict was their idea. And how come this is ethnic cleansing if many Palestinian Arabs remained in Israeli controlled territory? Today their descendants are a fifth of the Israeli population. If this is an ethnic cleansing what would you call the fact the Arab world had been emptied from its Jewish population?  There are slightly more than 3,000 Jews in the Arab World; mostly in Morocco and Tunisia. It is just 3 eighths of a percent from the 800,000 that used to live there. It is one of the best examples in history for the expression, a faint shadow of its former self. And one of the saddest. The one-sided nature of both accusations shows that the criterion is not the nature of the did. But the identity of the accused. And that is more than just bad faith. It is the very nature of bigotry.

Part 3

Anti-Zionism, the case of Amjad Iraqi. When the apartheid blood libel is more than just Antisemitism. Part 1

 A short prelude:
in this article I use repeatedly 3 initials:
WB - West Bank,
SA - South Africa
PA - Palestinian Authority.

Pro-Israel advocates always argue that accusing Israel of apartheid is false and antisemitic. A column by Amjad Iraqi, a writer and editor at +972 magazine, proves these accusations to be an understatement.

Amjad Iraqi titled his arguments under the headline, “Palestinians are tired of proving Israeli apartheid exist.” This is a clear acknowledgment of a failure; obviously. There could be many reasons for such a failure. It could simply be not true. Israel is not an apartheid state. After all, Amjad Iraqi himself is a Palestinian citizen of Israel. This means that he can vote, speak, and work like all other Israeli citizens, Jews and non-Jews. Like them, he can try and get elected to a public office, such as the Israeli parliament, or the council of a major city. And there is nothing in the Israeli legal system that prevents him, or any other non-Jewish citizen from becoming the Prime Minister, or the President of Israel.

There are other possibilities. They could be doing it wrong. Or maybe it’s a trust issue. It is possible that some people have a hard time believing the intentions behind such accusations. They see the corruption and internal divisions of Palestinian politics, and begin to suspect that Israel is being scapegoated to cover up these failures. There are probably more possibilities. But Amjad Iraqi does not need to explore any possibilities, these or others. He already has an answer. It is the target audience that is the problem. The world public opinion is the problem. Not the Palestinians, not even Israel. The world itself is the problem. According to Amjad Iraqi, the world does not understand what apartheid is. The world expects Israel to become an apartheid state in a specific moment in time, while in fact it is a process. That moments in time was supposed to be the annexation of parts of the WB on July 1st 2020. As of the time of the writing of these words, this hasn’t happened. Whether it will take place or not, I do not know. After the declaration of open relationships between Israel and the UAE, doubt is the dominate assessment. I do think that attempting to predict the outcome of such a move is a fool’s game. And it does not matter who is doing the predictions.

    As for Amjad Iraqi, he tries to prove his thesis by outlining the main points in the development of the Apartheid regime of South Africa. According to him, apartheid, tyranny, and Zionism, are all processes. And he is right about that. Apartheid in SA was a process, and tyrannies across the world and across history are processes. And so are those that oppose them. Democracy and anti-apartheid are also social and political processes. Industrialization is a process. Environmentalism is a process. Education is a process. Fashion is a process. The changes a spoken language goes through is also a process. Amjed Iraqi had found a common denominator between apartheid SA and Zionism that is so wide, it includes apartheid and anti-apartheid forces.

Another wide common denominator that he points to is that both movements were founded by people that found home in a new land; “made this new land their home,” he quotes from the history of SA. Putting aside the fact that the land of Israel is not new, not for Jews, and not to western civilization. The statement, “made this new land their home,” can be said on every immigration movement. This includes the Indians of SA. They also suffered under the apartheid regime. Not as much as black South Africans, but they too were systematically, legally, and socially discriminated. And like the discrimination of black South Africans, it has a history that goes back to earlier years of Afrikaners politics and ideology in South Africa. This common denominator, binds the apartheid regime not only with Zionism, but also with the Mahatma Gandhi.  After all, he lived in SA for 21 years. Those years are known to contribute to the formation of his world view and the nature of his political activism.

These wide common denominators are a good explanation why the Palestinians have been failing to prove that Israeli apartheid exists. These are bad arguments. They are truly horrendous.  Lies are worse. And Amjad Iraqi does use lies. As the old rational from terrorist organizations goes, the aim justifies the means. He states: “Like South Africa, Israel’s complex regime was not created by a single dramatic moment: it was meticulously designed over decades, fueled by an ideology that rejected equality between the natives and the settlers…”. The first lie is about SA. Equality was not simply rejected in Apartheid SA. It was not some vague statement against equality, with a policy of jobs discrimination. In Apartheid SA inequality was glorified and imposed rigidly, and brutally. In all walks of life. That regime not only actively, and forcefully discriminated against people in every aspect of life. It also went after their thoughts on the matter. And punished them for those thoughts. Especially when they were not white. No one in Israel is going after Amjad Iraqi’s thoughts. He diminishes the horrors of that regime, in order to narrow down the differences between Israel and the apartheid regime of SA. Thus, creating the illusion that the two are similar. The aim justifies the means. He doesn’t say it, but he practices it.

Israel does not have a policy of rejecting equality towards the Palestinian Arabs. To begin with Israel and the Zionist movement never had a policy towards the local Arab population. Most of this “policy” was reaction to murderess violence coming from the Palestinian side. Occasionally, dotted with attempts of rapprochement. The most famous example, is the WeitzmanFeisal agreement of 1919. It was a mutually agreed framework to prevent the conflict from taking place in the first place. And it was signed by the leaders of both sides. But the Palestinian leadership chose not to enter into this framework. They made that decision on May 4th 1920 in a classical pogrom, known as the Nebi Musa riots. The first in a serious of pogroms that got worse and worse. Another Zionists attempt in rapprochements was during the 1920’s. The Histadrut, tried to help Arab workers unionized. The Histadrut is the biggest labor union in Israel. It is an umbrella for trade unions from many fields. Before the creation of Israel, it was the de facto government of the Jewish Zionist community in the land of Israel. They were also Socialists that believed in the international mission of Socialism; unionizing and unifying workers around the word. Therefore, they tried to help Arab workers unionized and improve their working conditions.  This early rapprochement is a struck contrast to the history of apartheid SA. During the first decades of the 20th century, trade unions of white Europeans in SA, turned against sharing joint cause and equal pay with black trade unions (see the 1919 mark on the timeline).

And the contrasts continue. When SA became separated from the British Empire, it imposed the Apartheid system, where black Africans had no political representation. When Israel became independent, it had Arab parliamentarians in its first legislative assembly. And in each and every elected legislative assembly since. This is why apartheid was more than just inequality. It denied political representation from entire ethnicities, especially the majority black population. In Israel all major minorities have political representations. They include Arab Muslims, Arab Christians, Jewish ethnicities, and various branches of Judaism. Israel is, a one person, one vote political system.

 A luck of political representation is another form of oppression. And another key contrast between Zionist Israel and apartheid SA. Historically, and continuously, Zionism and Israel acknowledged the equality of the Palestinian Arabs. This was done on two levels, on the individual level, with equal rights to all the citizens of Israel. And on the collective level, by accepting the principle of the two states solution. A Palestinian nation state, alongside a Jewish nation state.

Even the much maligned, Israel’s “National State Law” does not denies it. It says that the state of Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people. It does not forbid the establishment of another nation state on the same land. This Basic (constitutional) law has its problems. But saying that this law forbids national self-determination for Palestinians is false. Thewording of this law is very clear.(b) The state of Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, in which it realizes its natural, cultural, religious, and historical right to self-determination. (c) The exercise of the right to national self-determination in the state of Israel, is unique to the Jewish people.” While Amjed Iraqi declare in a question, “what about the Jewish Nation-State law, passed two years ago, which decrees that self-determination in this land belongs solely to the Jews?” With the change of just one word, land instead of state, he created a gross lie. And the article his “decree” links to, is nothing but a failed attempt to make a duck look like a pig.

Part 2:

Thursday, January 23, 2020

James J. Zogby, lies and fauxtography


James J. Zogby is a respected public figure in the USA, and a known critic of Israel. Recently the blog Elder of Zion caught him tweeting a lie. He published four photos depicting encounters between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians, all suggesting aggression and abuse by the Israeli side. One of them was a badly edited photo that I had the honor of busting years ago.  Exposing that hoax was easy since the original picture was available.  But even without it, the final result had its own credibility problem.  Namely, a supposedly threatening Israeli soldier, standing in an unnatural position, with knees folded, while carrying a backpack and a heavy gun. The best way to describe his position is that of sitting on air. Only circus acrobats can do that while carrying heavy cargo. And even they would not be able to threaten anyone at the same time.






Two other photos have similar credibility problems. One of them claims to show two armed Israeli soldiers abusing four Palestinian women and a toddler.  The problem is that the image of the soldier aiming his gun at them does not make sense. This soldier is holding an assault weapon with just one hand. He is holding it at the middle of the weapon, were the trigger is. Holding the weapon like that will harm his wrist. And if he was to fire it, he would not have been able to control the recoil; risking injuries to himself and to the soldier next to him. Another problem is the shadow the rear side of the gun leaves on his upper arm. While the rear of the rifle is a complete cylinder like structure, its shadow is more cone-like, with many gaps in it. The weapon itself is carried sideways, an odd position during patrol.



It is also worth noting that the two soldiers appear dressed for different seasons. The big smiling soldier on the right is dressed more warmly than the gun carrying soldier on the left. He wears a heavy coat that covers all the way to the neck and a pair of fury gloves; while the other soldier has uniforms, fitting lighter weather conditions.

The third picture shows a soldier aiming his weapon at a small child. We can say that with a sense of confidence, because he is aiming his weapon in a downwards position. What other reason he could possibly has to do that to a women and child that are just walking by?

Fake

Based on the information in that picture it is a clear case of a soldier abusing his power against a small child. One problem though, the picture is fake, edited. Look at the ditch the woman is over-passing. This ditch is coming downward from the hill, were the terraces are located. Terraces, agriculture on the hillsides, are the main form of Palestinian agriculture in the West Bank. What is this ditch supposed to do? Deliver water from the hill, were they are needed, downwards? Or maybe the water in that ditch goes upwards by itself? Maybe there is an explanation that the picture did not catch, some kind of structure, or a field. There isn't! I can say that with the utmost confidence because I have found a picture depicting the original scene. It took some time, but I have found it. And the ditch is nowhere to be seen.

Real


Comparing the two photos, shows that the one tweeted by Zogby was definitely edited. It also shows that the main scene in both pictures is the same. For Israel this pretty damming, but if this is the case why edit the photograph?

The answer is in what was edited out. According to the caption above the real photo, found at Getty images, this picture was taken on January 2004 at the Hawara checkpoint by AFP photographer Jaaffar Ashtiye. This information is valuable, and you won't find it in the fake image.  The photographer says in the caption that the soldier is aiming his weapon at a mother and a child.  However, at this close distance he can only aim it at one of them. Since the photographer is a Palestinian, he obviously has his biases, which affects his explanations of what he sees and photographs; (as do I have as an Israeli). We can see his biases in his description of the background situation. However, this does not affect the objectivity of this photo. He describes the soldier as aiming a weapon at two persons because he cannot tell who it is aimed at. The angle of the camera keeps him from doing that. It is clear that even the person that took the real photograph, the unedited one, cannot tell if the weapon is aimed against the child or not.

It is not aimed against the child!

I know that for a fact not because I am bias; and not because I know for a fact that the IDF is the most moral army on Earth. Even if we accept as a fact James Zogby's view of the IDF, as the most oppressive evil armed force on Earth, there is no way this soldier was aiming his weapon at the child. If he had done that, that would be not only an abuse of power against the weak, helpless, and undefended. It would also be a gross dereliction of duty.

There are four things we need to remember about the real picture. It is January 2004, not long after a wave of suicide bombing and other types of terrorist attacks that murdered hundreds of Israelis. These are attacks that occurred nearly every day. This is the Hawara checkpoint, southwest of Nablus, along the security barrier. The security barrier is a major factor in reducing the success rate of such monstrous attacks into near zero. The checkpoints monitor the entry of Palestinians into Israel, and are a key part of that security. IDF soldiers are not mind readers. And there are, and there have been women terrorists. The main job of this soldier, and the others at the checkpoints, is to prevent terrorists from entering Israel and attacking civilians in major population centers. If he was aiming his weapon at the child, he wouldn't have been aiming it at the mother.
Was she a terrorist?

Probably not.

Most likely not.

But until it is verified there is a slim chance that she is. Given the horrific nature of such attacks a slim chance is a risk not worth taking. Not professionally, and not personally, since the victims could be people close to this soldier. They could be family, they could be friends, and they could be friends of friends. It does not matter. He will still have to look at the survivors, and relatives in the eyes, when he goes back home.  Until it is verified, she could be hiding a bomb or a weapon in her bag or beneath her coat. So until it is verified that she is not a terrorist, the soldier must aim his weapon at her, and not the child, who is definitely not a terrorist. If she is a terrorist, and he aims his weapon at the child, he could create an opportunity for her to attack the soldiers at the checkpoint, or smuggle a bomb into Israel. If we had even a handful of such bad soldiers, the frequency of successful terrorist attacks inside Israel, would have been far greater.

So, why is he aiming his weapon downwards?

This is the razor-sharp dilemma he is going through, him, and the entire IDF. What if she is a terrorist? What if is she is not?

The only way to stop a terrorist about to attack is by firing at him immediately. And the best way to do that is by aiming at the upper body, where the injuries are more lethal. This guarantees to stop the terrorist's attack. As the white dirt on the soldier's elbow indicates, this was how he was aiming before she came close.
But what if she is not a terrorist? Why risking accidentally killing an innocent person?
This is why he employs two measures to defend her. He aims his weapon to the lower body, where the injuries are less lethal, and he keeps his trigger finger, away from the trigger. This way he is been both moral, keeping her safe as a civilian, and provides an effective defense to Israeli civilians, should it turn out that she is a terrorist. This is not an ideal solution; it has its pluses and minuses for both sides.

This explains the "odd" behavior of the second soldier, the unarmed one. We see more of him in the edited footage because the real picture, the one from Getty images, is not the source material for the forgery. Photojournalists take many pictures in quick succession, in a short amount of time. Therefore, there had to be more pictures depicting this original scene. One of them, taken almost immediately after the published one, is the source material for the forgery. Both of them show this soldier walking close to the arched wall. They show him keeping a large distance between himself and the woman with the child. Why is he doing that? Is he afraid of them? Are we to assume that when one soldier is abusing them, the other is afraid of them? Does that make sense? The only way this makes sense is that they're both doing their job, one is providing security, the other is checking papers, and looking for hidden weapons. He is keeping to the wall in order not to get into the firing line. He also keeps a safe distance from her in order to have enough time to response should she attack him. When the soldier handling security is been lenient for humanitarian reasons, the soldier handling the verification process must be extra cautious.   

Israel's "critics" may dismiss this explanation, but there is one person that agrees with this; the forger; the one that created the fake photograph used by Joseph Zogby. Why else, edit the photograph? What reason is there to edit out the checkpoint? The Israeli checkpoints along the West Bank are the target of a lot of outrage by opponents of Israel, with claims of abuse, ordeal, and worse. There is not supposed to be any reason for a critic or a hater to remove the checkpoint from the image. But much like those fake pictures, first impression is misleading. First, who said this outrage is based on accurate information? Second, anyone familiar with the issues that make up the Israeli Palestinian conflict knows that any true discussion of the checkpoints will bring up the Israeli side of the issue: The right of all Israeli civilians, men, women, and children for security; and the duty of the Israeli government, any government; and its armed forces; to provide it! And Israel's haters wish to erase that. They are really not that different from the terrorists that physically erase those lives. 

They have another thing in common with them; Palestinians lives do not mater to them. Look at that ditch. It had been added to create the illusion that the mother and the child are just walking by. And therefore the soldier aiming his weapon at them is doing so in an arbitrary, and  abusive way. To make the ditch look authentic, the forger extended it towards the hill. But for anyone who knows a little bit of the Palestinian way of life in the West Bank this is a major red alert regarding the authenticity and credibility of the picture. As said above, the hills are where the terraces are. This an agricultural way of life that grows crops along the hillsides, in order to gather the rain water as they fall downhill. This is a method that won't be sending water downhill in a ditch. They are heading there anyway. This is something the author of the fake photo should know. This person, either does not care to know, or knows and does not care. Once ordinary Palestinians have no more use as propaganda pawns they are tossed aside into oblivion. This is the same disregard for human lives that Hamas and Islamic Jihad practice when they use Palestinian civilians as human shields.




And now we come to the last photograph, the only real one in this quartet.


Real but partial


The fact that it is real, unedited and not fake, does not means it does not have its own problems of credibility. First, one real photo does not redeem three fake ones. Second, context. Context is always important. In this case it is the impression created by three fake images. Since the images are fakes, so is the context they create. Third, the picture is indeed an upsetting sight. No one likes to see a child been arrested by a lot of men, each bigger than him. Rest assured that the soldiers doing this arrest do not like doing it. At the same time remember that arresting children is not illegal or abusive under international law. It all depends on circumstances and treatment. And what do we know about them? Based on that picture alone, Nothing! And this is the forth reason why the credibility of this picture is problematic. An old Jewish proverb says half a truth is worse than a lie. This picture, on its own, is much less than half the story. It does not tell us what happened before, and what happened after. Was the child throwing stones? Was he actually arrested or released shortly after? And if he was arrested, were his rights kept by the Israeli authorities, or not? You may agree politically with the act of Palestinian children throwing stones. That is your right, whoever you might be. But that does not change the fact that it is illegal, criminal, and violent. Your political convictions, just like mine, are not above the law. And what kind of politics sends children to do its bidding? …Violently?! 

In response to all the partiality of this picture I combined it with other picture to create a different context. I created two of them, one complex, one challenging. They may be biased, but all the pictures in them are real, and they come from Palestinian and international sources. 

 
.


Every aspect of Palestinian stones throwing has always been a spectacle.

 It had never been a resistance.







All these pictures together, 3 fakes, and 1 selective, combine into a false accusation against Israel and the IDF. It is a falsehood that wishes to erase Israelis, the way Palestinian terrorists have been doing. And it regards Palestinian civilians as nothing more than pawns. The way Palestinian terror organizations have been doing. The question is how much different James Joseph Zogby is from these terrorists, and forgers? He could have just fallen into the trap of confirmation bias. It is a trap we are all likely to fall into, and many of us did fall into. With the high and mighty, one sided moral judgment; he passed on Israel, it is difficult to disassociate him from the desire to erase Israelis; and from the willingness to reduce Palestinians to mere pawns, in the process. May be there are redeeming  factors. On the other hand, this is and has always been the essence of Palestinian and Anti Zionist politics. And he has always been a part of that system. But even if there are genuine, objective, redeeming facts, from his life and personal history, this cloud is gonna stick even if he deletes that tweet.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Fabrications, and half-truths in Climate Change denialists' bear party

Global warming deniers had a bear party, a polar bears party. Early this century concerns were raised that the observed decrease in the surface of arctic sea ice in the summer, will lead to their extinction due to loss of habitat. Apparently that did not happen. And now there is a debate as to the exact numbers of polar bears population today, especially in North America. The mainstream scientific community is convinced some impact had taken place. While one Canadian zoologist by the name of Dr. Susan J Crokford introduced data that doubt it. Her data is backed by claims of the Inuit community in Canada, saying that the numbers had increased in a way that threatens the lives of the Inuit population.

For the community of global warming deniers this was enough to turn them both into heroes and a cause for celebration. Their logic, if polar bears are not facing extinction, global warming is not taking place. As one critic of this party pointed out: "If they can push over the polar bears domino, all other examples of climate change are dismissed by association." Ironically Dr. Susan Crokford and the Inuit council are not exactly global warming deniers. While Dr. Corkford had some past association with global warming minimalists, in an interview she gave Glenn Beck, she acknowledged that the surface of the arctic sea ice is decreasing (minute 1:58). And the Inuit council agrees that climate change is taking place, it's just that the Polar bears are not affected by it, not yet. Here is their statement quoted in several news outlets: "Although there is growing scientific evidence linking the impacts of climate change to reduced body condition of bears and projections of population declines, no declines have currently been attributed to climate change," ….. "(Inuit knowledge) acknowledges that polar bears are exposed to the effects of climate change, but suggests that they are adaptable."

To the Inuit council, climate change is a fact, why wouldn't it be? After all they see the changes all around them, changes that their ancestors and their oral traditions do not recall. They also agree with the science that raised the original concerns. In their opinion it did not materialized not because climate change is wrong, but because the bears adapted. Naturally these facts are absent from the denialists bears party.

As the provided link show, the denialists also rely on other dubious arguments. One of them is the failure of worst case scenarios that warned of an ice free Arctic Ocean within a few years. If a concerned and inquisitive mind is honest and authentic than more questions should be asked. Are these the only scenarios? Are there best case scenarios? What is the likelihood of each scenario, or each type of scenario, best, medium, or worst? These questions are not asked by the denialists because propagandists and ideological fanatics do not need to ask questions. Once an argument is formed in-favor of the ideas and causes they promote, they do not need to ask any questions about it. Facts checking and self-criticism are redundant. Without these questions we all allow a deception to occur, as if there were only worst case scenarios to consider. It is important to emphasize here that this deception was helped by the global media giving attention only to the worst case scenarios.

Another denialist's argument is an outright lie, (even if they believe it to be true). "No other icon of 'Global Warming' epitomizes its very own false narrative like the polar bear does for 'Climate Change'." The idea that the size of the polar bears population is an argument that can debunk climate change is ludicrous not just because of the fact that Dr. Crokford and the Inuit council do not make that claim, (on the contrary, they acknowledge that sea ice is decreasing, see above); But for other reasons as well. First, bears are indeed adaptable. As these two videos show, you do not need to be an Inuit or to live near the North Pole in order to know that. Bears are curious creatures that like to explore new territories, and new things. And they are curious enough to test them and benefit from them if they work. It also helps when you are big and strong. Second, we also have to take into account the impact of past preservation efforts. Forth, there is no doubt that there are other factors to look at, factors that experts and local people know better than a Mediterranean person like myself.

The actual size of the polar bears population is therefore no argument against climate change, unless you find a way to exclude all the other factors, and their combined effect. Just think of this lopsided logic. The sun keeps us warm, therefore if we are warm than the sun is shining. If we are cold it isn't shining. Therefore, if its night time and we are warm, the sun is shining. And if it is day time, and we are cold, the sun is not shinning. Giving critical dominance to one factor, without examining other factors, is therefore not the responsible way to handle the data. Unfortunately, the worst case scenarios suffer from a similar problem. But at least they do not manipulate the data.

The biggest lie in the quote is the impression it create, as if other "icons" of climate change had also been debunked. They haven't. To start with these "icons", indicators, are too numerous to debunk. They come from the fields of biology, ecology, climate sciences, oceanography, and demography, and various inter disciplinary fields of research. There are not enough scientifically trained denialists to debunk all of them.

The icons they have targeted have missed the mark by a mile or more. For example, the Great Barrier Reef in Eastern Australia has been a point of concern for a long time. Here, denialists have on their side Dr. Peter Reed, a marine physicist from James Cook University in Northern Queensland. His "debunking" of those concerns is based on faults he found in 9 old studies he reviewed and dozens of others that he ignored. This gross selectivity a major short coming and I am been diplomatic here.

When it comes to the most immediate concern, the rise of sea level, denialists rely on another gross selectivity. They pick trends of decrees in the sea level that do not change the total trend, and use that as an argument against the existence of the total trend. This manipulation of data had been dubbed cherry picking by main stream science. And as this video shows, it has a simple explanation.







This video also shows that there is more than one type of scenarios as to the progress of climate change.

This cherry picking practice is used in the related debate regarding the amount of Arctic sea ice, and it is easily debunked, as I show in the image I have provided below, a child can do that.





While the population of polar bears may or may not have been affected by the decrease in Arctic sea ice, one species had defiantly been affected, human beings, us. As the ice decreases new economic opportunities opened up, in the form of new trade routes, and access to undersea row materials. These opportunities are so hot that leading powers on this planet are now engaged in a new competition, often described as 'the New Cold War'. Armed forces alongside science research crews and representatives of commercial interests, private and governmental, are racing across the new ice-free portions of the Arctic Ocean. The title of this new race may suffer from sensationalism; if so it is only drawback it has as 'icon' of global warming. It will be interesting to see how denialists "debunk" this icon/indicator.