Here’s a 1-2 punch for today:
- Okay, now for a brief change of pace. Boxing is considered by many to be a pretty cruel sport. This is because it is a pretty cruel sport. However, in boxing the fighters are normally at least of similar weight and there is a referee to stop things immediately if one fighter is too hurt to continue. Now here’s a link to a very brief fight – 19 seconds. A real ass-kicking.
- Okay, I can see you all going, hey Mantiq, this is really for the birds. “We come to your site to see pictures of pretty birds, see if you have any funny new links, and to see if you are still bitching and moaning about the Middle East.” O ye of little faith. Here is yet another tale about a very recent much more devastating ass kicking. And it is Middle East related. Very much so. Really, a lot.
In one corner is England-born, Australian raised, kibbutz inhabiting, Israeli advising (Yizthak Shamir no less) , AIPAC lobbyist, Washington Institute for Near East Policy co-founder (the place where Dennis Ross has recently been a “counselor” and a fellow), naturalized US citizen under circumstances which remain vague to this day, Bill Clinton administration National Security Council Middle East adviser, twice US ambassador to Israel (losing his security clearance in the process) and now Haim Saban Center for Middle East Studies Executive Director. (He was also Hillary Clinton’s Middle East advisor during her campaign.) As faithful Mantiq readers can no doubt guess, this is the guy who got his ass kicked, much to Mantiq’s delight.
In the other corner is well-known and out of a job academic, Jewish intellectual gadfly, holocaust industry critic, former DePaul University faculty member, Alan Dershowitz hater and victim (I don’t care what your stand is on anything regarding the Middle East, if you hate Alan Dershowitz, just how bad can you be?), and very smart guy, Norman Finkelstein.
The fight venue was Democracy Now! In a matter of minutes Indyk looked like he was a Gazan victim of an Israeli bombing raid of a residential neighborhood. Finkelstein was merciless as he just beat the hell out of Indyk exposing him for the lying Israeli-firster war mongering Zionist that he is. Here are some highlights of the fight, refereed by Amy Goodman. Areas in red are my emphasis. Additional Mantiq comments are also sometimes inserted. They are not in italics.
MARTIN INDYK: Good morning, Amy. Thanks very much for having me on the show. I feel a little bit sandbagged here.
Let me translate: this means he was unaware that he would be in a fair fight. He thought he was just coming on the show to bloat and gloat about his latest book. Goodman probably should have made it clear to him. Poor, poor baby.
I was not told that I was going to be in some kind of debate with Norman Finkelstein. I’m not interested in doing that. I’m also not here as a spokesman for Israel.
Yes you are. That is exactly what you are. Liar.
But I will try to answer your questions as best I can.
I think that what happened here was that there was a ceasefire, an informal ceasefire, between Hamas and Israel that had lasted for about five months. Hamas decided to break that ceasefire with a prolonged series of rocket attacks on Israeli civilians in southern Israel.
And the Israeli government responded with overwhelming force, designed, as they have said, to try to reestablish deterrence, to prevent Hamas from doing that again, and to try to get a ceasefire in place that would prevent Hamas from smuggling in offensive weapons into Gaza, the better to attack Israel.
His big fat lie to start right off left Finkelstein with an opening of sufficient size to fly an Apache helicopter through while firing at Palestinian children in the streets. Ready for the kill, Finkelstein responds with “overwhelming force.”
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, the record is fairly clear. You can find it on the Israeli website, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Mr. Indyk is correct that Hamas had adhered to the ceasefire from June 17th until November 4th. On November 4th, here Mr. Indyk, I think, goes awry. The record is clear: Israel broke the ceasefire by going into the Gaza and killing six or seven Palestinian militants. At that point—and now I’m quoting the official Israeli website—Hamas retaliated or, in retaliation for the Israeli attack, then launched the missiles.
Now, as to the reason why, the record is fairly clear as well. According to Ha’aretz, Defense Minister Barak began plans for this invasion before the ceasefire even began. In fact, according to yesterday’s Ha’aretz, the plans for the invasion began in March. . . .
Show co-host Juan Gonzalez asks if there has been a change in HAMAS position recently with respect to peace with Israel. Indyk, seemingly incapable of answering any questions without tossing in huge and unnecessary lies, answers in part:
MARTIN INDYK . . .
I think the change that’s taken place is a change on the ground. Hamas, having won the PA elections and then—we don’t need to go into the details of that, but essentially what happened was, as a result of a competition between Hamas and Fatah over who would rule, Hamas took control of Gaza by force in what was, in effect, a putsch against the Palestinian Authority. It therefore moved from being a terrorist organization to a terrorist government, responsible for controlling territory in Gaza and responsible for meeting the needs of one-and-a-half million Palestinians in Gaza. . . .
The area in red is standard Zionist propaganda about what happened in Gaza. Any official Israeli spokesman would have said the same thing. Finkelstein replies by dropping huge phosphorus bomb on Indyk’s ass.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, I think the problem of Mr. Indyk’s presentation is he constantly reverses cause and effect. Just as he said a moment ago that it was Hamas which broke the ceasefire, although he well knows it was Israel that broke the ceasefire on November 4th, he now reverses cause and effect as to how the present impasse came about. In January 2006, as he writes in his book, Hamas came to power in a free and fair election. I think those are his words. He then claims on your program and he claims in his book that Hamas committed a “putsch”—his word—in order to eliminate the Palestinian Authority. And as I’m sure Mr. Indyk well knows and as was documented in the April 2008 issue of Vanity Fair by the writer David Rose, basing himself on internal US documents, it was the United States in cahoots with the Palestinian Authority and Israel which were attempting a putsch on Hamas, and Hamas preempted the putsch. That, too, is no longer debatable or no longer a controversial claim.
Sorry, just had to highlight the whole paragraph. The rest of his response is just as good. A bit later on he adds:
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: . . . . We have the Arab League, all twenty-two members of the Arab League, favoring a two-state settlement on the June 1967 border. We have the Palestinian Authority favoring that two-state settlement on the June 1967 border. We now have Hamas favoring that two-state settlement on the June 1967 border. The one and only obstacle is Israel, backed by the United States. That’s the problem.
Now it gets even better:
AMY GOODMAN: So, Ambassador Indyk, why doesn’t Israel accept this ceasefire?
MARTIN INDYK: Look, Amy, I was invited on to talk about my book and the Gaza situation. I was not invited on to debate with Norman Finkelstein, and I’m not prepared to do that. So if you want to talk about the situation, I’m happy to do that, but I’m not here to be the representative of the government of Israel. You can easily invite somebody on to—
His ass is still on fire and it’s there for everyone to see.
AMY GOODMAN: No, of course not. No, we’re asking your opinion. I don’t see you as the representative of Israel. But let me get your—
MARTIN INDYK: Well, why don’t we focus on some other issues, like the American role in this or something that—
AMY GOODMAN: Very good point.
Amy wimps out.
MARTIN INDYK: —can get us out of this ridiculous debate, in which he’s just a propaganda spokesman for Hamas, you know.
The ridiculous part of this debate is Indyk’s sheer cowardice when confronted with his lies. Like Joe Lous going after Max Schmeling in their second fight, Finkelstein never lets up.
Then the show is basically handed over to Indyk to continue talking about his book lying for a good couple of minutes or more. No need to quote him here, as Finkelstein is allowed to respond to the lies.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, the record shows that Hamas wanted to continue the ceasefire, but only on condition that Israel eases the blockade. As your viewers surely know, long before Hamas began the retaliatory rocket attacks on Israel, Palestinians were facing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza because of the blockade. The former High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, described what was going on in Gaza as a destruction of a civilization. This was during the ceasefire period.
Now, I think it’s important to keep in mind Mr. Indyk wants to talk about the book. Well, I think we should talk about the book. In fact, I stayed up ’til 1:30 a.m. to complete the book, made sure I read up to page 415, read every word of the book. The problem is, with his book, as with his presentation here, is he systematically misrepresents the record of the peace process. He’s lying not only to his readers, but to the American people. He keeps putting the burden of responsibility for the impasse in the peace process on the Palestinians.
A moment ago, he referred to the “rejectionists” who are trying to block a settlement of the conflict. What does the record show? The record shows, I said a moment ago, for the past twenty or more years, the entire international community has sought to settle the conflict in the June 1967 border with a just resolution of the refugee question. Are all 164 nations of the United Nations the rejectionists? And are the only people in favor of peace the United States, Israel, Nauru, Palau, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Australia? Who are the rejectionists? Who’s opposing a peace?
According to Mr. Indyk’s account of the negotiations that culminated in the Camp David and Taba meetings, he says it was the Palestinians that were blocking a settlement. What does the record show? The record shows that in every crucial issue raised at Camp David, then under the Clinton parameters, and then in Taba, at every single point, all the concessions came from the Palestinians. Israel didn’t make any concessions. Every concession came from the Palestinians. The Palestinians have repeatedly expressed a willingness to settle the conflict in accordance with international law.
The law is very clear. July 2004, the highest judicial body in the world, the International Court of Justice, ruled Israel has no title to any of the West Bank and any of Gaza. They have no title to Jerusalem. Arab East Jerusalem, according to the highest judicial body in the world, is occupied Palestinian territory. The International Court of Justice ruled all the settlements, all the settlements in the West Bank, are illegal under international law.
Now, the important point is, on all those questions, the Palestinians were willing to make concessions. They were willing to allow Israel to keep 60 percent of the settlements, 80 percent of the settlers. They were willing to compromise on Jerusalem. They were willing to give up basically on the right of return. They made all the concessions. Israel didn’t make any concessions. How is this rendered in Martin Indyk’s book? It’s rendered as, quote, “Barak’s bold and courageous initiatives for peace” and “Arafat and the PLO rejecting the bold and courageous initiatives of Barak.” Constantly, he turns reality on its head.
AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Indyk, your response to that?
MARTIN INDYK: I told you, Amy, I’m not here to debate Norman Finkelstein. That was not the ground rules that you set—
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I’m talking about your book.
And showing what a piece of crap it is.
Finkelstein gets in the last word. A coup de grace.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN . . . And the main challenge for all of us as Americans is to see through the lies. And regrettably, those lies are again being propagated by Martin Indyk in his book with his pretense that it’s the Palestinians, and not Israel and the United States, which are the main obstacles to peace.
Now I want Any Goodman to invite Finkelstein to face off with Dennis Ross.