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1 Buck  Thu, May 17, 2012 11:09:52am

Mr Miller is wrong wrong wrong.
It takes almost the entire article until he finally gets to the criticism of Israel's policies.

First he mentions actions that he characterizes as legitimate and "for which Israel is roundly and unfairly criticized". (the 1981 attack on the Iraqi reactor; the 2007 preemptive strike on the fledging Syrian one). What is his point? It is Israel's fault that they are unfairly criticized for legitimate defensive actions? Miller makes no sense with this point at all.

Second "Settlements". No explanation, not understanding of the history, no details. Just that settlements undercut peace with the neighbors.

News flash, there was a lack of peace with Israel's neighbors BEFORE the issue of settlements. The neighbors have been trying to kill all the Jews for more than 70 years. Settlements have had nothing to do with it.

"the conclusion that the settlements violate international law depends entirely on an acceptance of the Palestinian narrative that the West Bank is “Arab” land. Followed to its logical conclusion — as some have done — this narrative precludes the legitimacy of Israel itself." - The myth of Israel´s illegal settlements (NATIONAL POST COMMENT) 12/29/09) [Link:]

Third, "dumb, arbitrary, or disproportionate in terms of loss of life" As an example of that he points out the actions in Lebanon in 2006.

Essentially Mr. Miller criminalizes Israel's defensive operation in Lebanon while whitewashing the casus belli -- the preceding and unprovoked kidnapping and rocket war -- effectively de-legitimized any active Israeli defense against its self-declared terror enemies.

How can he apply any measure of logic or international law to the terrorists in Hezbollah, whose every action constitutes war crimes and calls to genocide - which are a crime against humanity.

As to "disproportionate in terms of loss of life", the misconception is that in any war culpability is to be determined by simply comparing the amount of deaths and casualties on each side, and then reaching a verdict.
Israel must be the guilty party, goes his perverted logic, because the numbers are so much higher on the Hezbollah side.

Yet where does one find in international law, in state practice, or in common sense, a rule, precedent or rationale to support this proposition?

The answer: Nowhere.

The proportionality obligation under international law is completely different. It requires that a military operation be directed at a legitimate military objective, and that expected collateral damage not be excessive in relation to the anticipated military objective.

Mr. Miller is wrong on all three points.

2 researchok  Thu, May 17, 2012 12:16:57pm

Israel gets a bad rap indeed, but not for any of the reasons articulated by the author.

Israel is by no means a perfect society, but after 60 plus years of promises of annihilation, genocide and the like, she has been remarkably restrained.

3 Bob Levin  Thu, May 17, 2012 2:59:37pm

Dig this second paragraph--

Big and Small

The erosion of Israel's image is also inextricably linked to its emergence as a regional power with a vibrant economy, a dynamic high-tech sector, and a powerful military. The images in Leon Uris's classic book Exodus and the Hollywood movie version with Paul Newman leading a ragtag Israeli militia against a sea of hostile Arabs have now been reversed. David has become Goliath. [my emphais]

In the eyes of the world, Israel has shed its image of a small state struggling against impossible odds. Israel now has "security needs" and "requirements" rather than existential fears; its power obligates it to be more magnanimous and forthcoming on peace issues; its strength should produce restraint, not excess.

Indeed much of the erosion of Israel's image is driven by the realities and perceptions of an asymmetry of power that now pits the nation with a per capita GDP of $31,000, 100 companies on the NYSE, and nukes in triple digits against a weak Palestinian quasi-state and an Arab world that's dysfunctional and imploding.

There's much truth in this image of Israeli might, and anyone who denies that capacity trivializes what the Israelis have accomplished and does them a grave disservice by portraying them as victims.

But there's also truth in Israel's vulnerabilities, too. But the asymmetry of power doesn't work in Israel's favor here, either. Remember the summer of 2006, when 5,000 Hezbollah fighters equipped with rudimentary rockets shut down the northern half of the region's strongest military power for 33 days? The day before the war ended, Hezbollah fired more rockets than on any previous day. Nuclear weapons and overwhelming force don't add up to much if they can't be used and don't deter. [my emphasis again]

How do you write a paragraph in which the first point is contradicted the concluding point?

A better explanation for this would be written by someone expert in marketing and persuasion through mass media, and by analyzing the persuasive weight of the BBC as it extends throughout the world.

4 Bob Levin  Thu, May 17, 2012 3:03:18pm

re: #2 researchok

Did the author actually articulate any reasons? For every 'reason' he gives, he goes on to state that Israel's position has great validity.

He really doesn't know the reasons. Or if he does, he sure as heck didn't state them when he wrote this.

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