Tuesday 31 October 2023

Ed West today


'Palestine could just as easily be a Right-wing cause, a cautionary tale about the perils of mass [immigration]. The root of the Palestinian tragedy was, after all, the influx of Jewish migrants, many of them desperate refugees, which altered the country’s demographic balance irrevocably, and of which the establishment of the Jewish state was the natural historical result. Such a reading would easily lend itself to conservative fears over unchecked immigration, and as demographic anxieties become the central driver of European political discontent, younger Rightists could well, like the Nouvelle Droite of the Seventies, find themselves making sympathetic analogies with the Palestinian predicament.

We do not know the truth about the Hamas attack

It should have been obvious that Hamas planned to attack Israel. 

There was a lot of evidence. 

But this was not an Israeli false flag operation. 

Netanyahu did not want the Hamas attack to happen. 

It destroys his career. 

He is under attack even from his own cabinet. Had he known and permitted the Hamas attack a whistleblower would have come forward.

Had Netanyahu's security services facilitated the Hamas attack he would find out and tell the world, to salvage his career. 

No Israeli or Arab commentator has said this was a false flag operation. 

Of course it was not.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz yesterday confirmed 1,087 dead, as opposed to 1400  claimed by the government. This number may be the total or may rise: it may be that bodies were so damaged that they cannot be identified.

We know, according to many sources, including Max Blumenthal in Grayzone, that many people killed were killed by Israeli 'friendly fire', perhaps even half the dead or more. 

Many, perhaps half according to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, were soldiers or police officers.

Mr Blumenthal says: 'Yasmin Porat, an attendee of the Nova music festival who fled into Kibbutz Be’eri, told Israeli Radio that when Israeli special forces arrived during a hostage standoff, “They eliminated everyone, including the hostages because there was very, very heavy crossfire.”

He argues that the pictures of charred corpses distributed by the Israeli government were almost certainly the result of “friendly fire”.

This incompetence is of a piece with the Israeli failure to know the attack was coming or to react swiftly.

Some people held by Hamas say they were treated respectfully. 

The numbers of dead Israeli women and children are already a small fraction of the women and children killed by the Israelis. 

This is not a simple, Manichean battle between good and evil, as the mainstream English language press tell us. Both sides murder.

Ulrich Speck, a German foreign policy journalist, tweeted that Al Jazeera should be banned in the EU. When I said it was better than pro-American propaganda on CNN he blocked me.

Journalists should favour free speech in my opinion.


"America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization." Georges Clemenceau

If anti-immigration types want to gain leftist support they should start calling migrants “settlers”

'Carthago delenda est.' The future looks very bad for the inhabitants of Gaza (and for Israel too)

"Carthago delenda est." Cato the Elder
“What they are doing in Gaza is absolutely sickening.” John Mearsheimer

Nine days ago Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said that “the emphasis is on damage and not on accuracy.” 

An unnamed Israeli official told local media that Gaza would be reduced to a “city of tents” by the end of the campaign. 

Israeli officials were quoted by the Associated Press as likening the fate of Gaza to the British bombing of Dresden. AP then took this down, without explanation.

I think about 10,000 civilians have been killed by Russia in Ukraine since February last year. 8,000 Gazans have been killed in Gazan in the last three weeks but nobody knows how many were Hamas activists or combatants.

Here is an interesting interview with John Mearsheimer who explains that Israel is in a lose-lose position. She cannot extirpate Hamas from Gaza without such large numbers of dead civilians as will make world opinion force them to stop - and if they do destroy Hamas other people would take Hamas's place. 

The only solution in Israel's and US interests is a two state solution but this is not possible because of the settlers in the West Bank.

The Arab states knew in 1948 that they could not defeat Israel but invaded because their public opinion required it. What a tragedy that the Arabs did not sit on their hands and keep Israel to the boundaries assigned by the UN.

I wish I had visited Gaza when I was in Israel. I thought of it. I don't buy the idea that before this month it was a concentration camp, except possibly in the British Boer War sense. I remember a big shiny mall opening there years ago. Distrust the pro and anti Israeli narratives.

But the word holocaust simply means a sacrifice in which the victim is burnt. That describes Gaza today.

I suppose it can be  described as a murderous concentration camp too as Egypt and Israel have sealed the borders.

The Americans are going to lose in Ukraine and, like the Israelis and Arabs, are in big trouble in Palestine.

Monday 30 October 2023

Left-wing Australian independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone is very right about the American empire - her thinking reminds me of John Mearsheimer's

I see people saying the US gets nothing out of its alliance with Israel and it's all one way, which is inaccurate. The interests of the US empire are massively advanced by having a nuclear-armed intelligence proxy in a strategically crucial resource-rich region constantly inflicting violence and chaos on non-US-aligned nations. Perhaps more importantly, Israel's existence serves as the ultimate argument against ever removing US troops from the middle east, which it doesn't want to do because of its interest in controlling the world's fossil fuel supply. As Joe Biden said, "If Israel didn't exist, we would have to invent it."

America is the big danger to world peace, obviously

The biggest danger to the world is certainly not Russia or even China but American hawks who want war with the world. 

China and Iran cannot let Russia be defeated. They are next on the neocons' menu and know it.

Andrew Michta is one of the worst warmongers. How can people as unimpressive as him be academics?

Fiona Hill is right to want an opening to China, though I lost my respect for her after she told a congressional committee that the word globalist was an antisemitic trope.

Quotations from Napoleon Bonaparte

You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.

History is a set of lies agreed upon.

In politics stupidity is not a handicap.

I know men, and I tell you Jesus Christ was not a man. There is between Christianity and other religions the distance of infinity.

In a few years, the Muslims conquered half of the world. They plucked more souls from false gods, knocked down more idols, razed more pagan temples in fifteen years than the followers of Moses and Jesus did in fifteen centuries. Mahomet was a great man. He would indeed have been a god, if the revolution that he had performed had not been prepared by the circumstances.


Only the dead have seen the end of war.

George Santayana. Well known but very topical, so worth repeating. General Douglas MacArthur misattributed it to Plato.

We Jews have a secret weapon in our struggle with the Arabs; we have no place to go.

Golda Meir

Sunday 29 October 2023

I came across these today

The view of Gaza from Moscow

The terrible events in Gaza and Israel have finally forced me to give up on the British papers, which are ill-informed pro-American propaganda. 

Until now I thought John Helmer, an Australian journalist in Moscow since 1989, very strange but at least he, like Pepe Escobar and Caitlin Johnstone, seems to have some insights, some understanding and interesting information.

From the last two posts on his blog:

Israeli and US-led media censorship and propaganda are concealing the breadth of impact of the Palestine warfighting plan, and the deepening military and economic weaknesses of the Israeli state.

The longer the war continues, the plainer the evidence is on the battlefield that the single-state scheme of Israel and the US is no longer possible. Whether Israel and the US can be compelled to withdraw to the 1967 borders and a new Palestinian state created with partition, demilitarisation, and international security guarantees – the basis of the Russian position announced again on Thursday in Moscow — remains to be fought over.

'The past is never dead. It's not even past.' (William Faulkner)

"This will be a long war. It is our second war of independence.” Benyamin Netanyahu on television last night. 
People sometimes forget that, at least to start withthe first Israeli War of Independence was a terrorist campaign fought against Britain. The Irgun began it in February 1944, while Britain was preparing to invade France. (Talk about a stab in the back.) It led the British to hand back their mandate to the UN in late 1947. Open war erupted on November 30, 1947, with the announcement of the United Nations approval of the partition of Palestine. It was followed the next year by Palestine's Arab neighbours invading the inchoate Jewish territory. Had they not done so and lost, Israel would be very much smaller now. They should have spoken to the British, who knew that the Jewish forces would defeat the Arabs. The Irgun stopped being terrorists after the Jews won (as Hamas would do if they won) and became the Likud, Benyamin Netanyahu's party.
                                       Lord Balfour by Laszlo

“Weizmann has never put forward a claim for the Jewish Government of Palestine. Such a claim, in my opinion, is clearly inadmissible and personally I do not think we should go further.” Arthur James, first Earl Balfour in 1919. He invented the Jewish homeland by his declaration of 1917.

In June 1921, replying to a question about the meaning of “a national home” in Palestine, Winston Churchill said: “We made an equal pledge that we would not turn the Arab off his land or invade his political and social rights.”

"SIR – It was clear within days of Hamas’s terror strike that it would be impossible and undesirable for Israel to control Gaza and the West Bank in the future.
Israel has been an economic and innovation miracle, and Jewish people everywhere celebrate the 1917 Balfour Declaration and its conception of a home for the Jews. Yet a key part of that document said that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. Since 1948, this has not been adhered to, and the ever-widening gap between the creeds and living and working conditions of the two communities has become unbridgeable. Everyone asks what is to follow Israel’s purge of Gaza, but for now all diplomatic efforts are focused on humanitarian concerns.

Palestinians will not respect any involvement by non-Muslim nations; if neighbouring Muslim countries, bar Iran, want a long-lasting and peaceful solution for the region, then they need to work out a way to regenerate the Palestine economies with a contribution from Israel and Western states – and then police the areas.

The inhabitants of Gaza and the West Bank have been friendless for decades, and unless something along the lines of the above is initiated in short order by, say, Saudi Arabia and the signatories of the Abraham Accords, with the help of the United Nations, then the misery will continue. "

The present Earl Balfour in the Daily Telegraph, 24 October 2023

Saturday 28 October 2023

Decline of the West

“The real cause of the great upheavals which precede changes of civilizations, such as the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Arabian Empire, is a profound modification in the ideas of the peoples .... The memorable events of history are the visible effects of the invisible changes of human thought .... The present epoch is one of these critical moments in which the thought of mankind is undergoing a process of transformation.” Gustave Le Bon (1841 – 1931)

The sorely missed Pope Benedict XVI talks in English here about the future of Christianity (as small communities, a bit like Rod Dreher's 'Benedict Option' though he named that after St Benedict).

Few Gazan civilians support Hamas

 'The argument that the entire population of Gaza can be held responsible for Hamas’s actions is quickly discredited when one looks at the facts. Arab Barometer, a research network where we serve as co-principal investigators, conducted a survey in Gaza and the West Bank days before the Israel-Hamas war broke out. The findings, published here for the first time, reveal that rather than supporting Hamas, the vast majority of Gazans have been frustrated with the armed group’s ineffective governance as they endure extreme economic hardship. Most Gazans do not align themselves with Hamas’s ideology, either. Unlike Hamas, whose goal is to destroy the Israeli state, the majority of survey respondents favoured a two-state solution with an independent Palestine and Israel existing side by side.'
Article here. From what I have read, although Hamas in theory want the end of the Jewish state, in practice they hope for a two state solution too.

Homer is original this morning and nothing is as old as today's newspaper

'Homer is original this morning, and nothing is perhaps so old as today's newspaper.' (Charles Péguy)

Nothing is so old as the merciless massacre of thousands of men, women and children currently taking place in Gaza. The British newspapers spare us this by ignoring the Arab deaths and instead tell us about the survivors of the Hamas attack in Israel. The Romanian press is better.

Nothing is more Homeric than the behaviour of Hamas and the IDF. In Book 4 of the Iliad Agamemnon says of the Trojans, 

Six simultaneous crises for the USA, - but the biggest crisis is mass migration into the developed world

'If China won Taiwan, it would threaten South Korea and Japan and wrest control of the Pacific from a humiliated United States.' 

Charles Moore today. Will the USA control the Pacific forever and why should it even want to, 34 years after the Cold War ended?

"Former Defence Secretary Bob Gates tells us America is facing the most crises since World War II ended 78 years ago… Not one of the crises can be solved and checked off: All five could spiral into something much bigger … What scares officials is how all five threats could fuse into one”. (Spreading war in Gaza; the Putin-Xi “anti-American alliance”; North Korea; anti-American disinformation on social media).

Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, in Axios

'There will be no one to extract Israel and no one to help Israel pay the cost of caring for more than two million Gazans — not if Israel is run by a government that thinks, and acts, as if it can justifiably exact its revenge on Hamas while unjustifiably building an apartheidlike society run by Jewish supremacists in the West Bank. That is a completely incoherent policy.

Friday 27 October 2023

Sunrise makes the windows of Ceausescu's House of the People pink

'What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for beauty, and never see the dawn!' (Logan Pearsall Smith)

Anca Petrescu, who died in 2013 at the age of 64, was appointed the very young chief architect of Bucharest's Palace of the Parliament (always known here by its Communist name "House of the People") in 1978. It spans 3.77 million square feet and is the biggest building in the world measured by floor space after the Pentagon.

Miss Petrescu worked at the still-unfinished palace until the year she died. She said in an interview in 2012 that Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Versailles were her inspirations for the building, and not North Korean architecture. 

It reminds me slightly of a palace in a painting by Claude Lorrain.

Miss Petrescu said in the interview that Ceausescu, were he alive to see what had become of the palace, "would make the sign of the cross", meaning that he would have been horrified. A charming thought - a communist making the sign of the cross.

9,000 homes were demolished, many churches were razed, 15 were moved on wheels and two mountains of marble were hacked down to build it.

Ceausescu never addressed the crowd from the huge balcony in the front of the building. Only two men did: Ion Iliescu who had him shot and Michael Jackson.

'My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

Translations are like mistresses: the faithful ones are apt to be ugly and the beautiful ones false

Robert Adams: "Translations are like mistresses: the faithful ones are apt to be ugly and the beautiful ones false."

C.S. Lewis: “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

Marcel Proust: "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

Thursday 26 October 2023

Americans are the new Germans

Spike Milligan, I just discovered, said in his book 'Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall' that the Americans are the new Germans.

I have come over the last few months to see that he was right.

From Doug Bandow in American Conservative today:

'Biden also treated sanctimony as justification for the hyper-proxy war with Russia. “History has taught us,” said the new-found friend of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who offered to turn American military personnel into royal bodyguards, that “when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction.”

'One may be reminded of when Washington backed Riyadh’s bloody aggression against Yemen and Iraqi Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran. Of course, America has also launched its own unprovoked and unjustified wars, most recently against Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya. Tragically, over the last two decades, the U.S. has caused far “more chaos and death and more destruction” than Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea combined.

September 11 repeated

I asked an Oxford educated English friend the other night what his reaction to September 11 had been. He said that he thought that this was the understandable consequence of America ignoring world opinion on the Arab-Israeli question.

'But this was blasphemy in Britain!' 

My reaction was the same as his. I didn't know it was blasphemy, though. We both deplored the deaths then and the Hamas attacks in Israel now but they are episodes of a long, tragic story.

The 3,000 murders on September 11 were nothing compared to the deaths and the damage done to 'Western interests' and humanity in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As for 7 October, I am sure that Hamas was as amazed as the whole world that their men got into Israel so easily and stayed so long. 

They therefore killed and took hostage far more people than they expected, humiliated Israel more than they had hoped and invited greater retribution on their heads.

Monday 23 October 2023

More British people under the age of 50 sympathise with the Arabs in the Arab-Israeli conflict than with Israel


Eyeless in Gaza - I posted this in 2018


I was originally angry with the Israeli army for killing fifty civilians trying to storm the border with the Gaza Strip, but reading about it - in particular what was written by Colonel Kemp, a retired 
British officer, in the Telegraph - it seems the Israelis did what they could to avoid fatalities and are not to blame for the civilian deaths. 

The army did not shoot indiscriminately and it has now been revealed by the Palestinians themselves that 50 of the 62 dead were Hamas members.

Hamas wanted to breach the wall and
 to flatten the fence at numerous points to allow hundreds or even thousands of Gazans to enter Israeli towns, overwhelming the Israeli security forces ability to protect the townspeople from the infiltrators, thus requiring the Israeli security forces to use lethal force against all those who infiltrated.

Similar demonstrations have taken place each week since March. The reason that this demonstration was a very big one was that it marked the 70th anniversary of the creation of Israel, rather than the Americans moving their embassy to Jerusalem, but it was moved a day to take advantage of the publicity around the opening of the embassy. 

Behind the women and children who died were, in some cases, armed men intent on killing Israelis. So the Israelis claim, at least. Israeli soldiers would rather kill 100 of the other side's people than have one Israeli soldier killed, which I think is reasonable.

I am reminded of 
Frauke Petry, the AfD leader in Germany, who got into trouble for saying in the last resort border guards have to shoot. She, of course, was right.

Sunday 22 October 2023

Quotations about the Gazan crisis

Daily Telegraph article about an Israeli opinion poll, 16 October. Netanyahu’s policy undoubtedly led to where we are now. He should have made a settlement with the PLO. 

David Goldman: Israel was founded in a 1948 national liberation war against the UK.

Pope Pius IX said "If a Future Pope Teaches Anything Contrary to the Catholic Faith, Do Not Follow Him!”

“Pope Francis’ pontificate is like a standard lifted up before Catholic integralists and those who equate material continuity and tradition: Catholic doctrine does not just develop. Sometimes it really changes: for example on death penalty, war." Professor Massimo Faggioli, joint editor of the Oxford Handbook of Vatican II

"The tradition of the church is always in movement." Pope Francis

“Rigidity [in the church] is a sin against the patience of God.” Pope Francis

“Let nothing new be introduced, but only what has been handed down.” Pope Benedict XV

“Nothing new is allowed, for nothing can be added to the old. Look for the faith of the elders, and do not let our faith be disturbed by a mixture of new doctrines.“ Pope St. Sixtus III

Lord Sumption, retired Supreme court judge and mediaeval historian, in Unherd today

'War is crucial. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the two principal collective activities of mankind were religion and war. The purpose of the state was to serve the second of those things, but usually the first as well. War is at the heart of the experience of societies. It is what created the state, in that war made it necessary for the state to find a way of organising the resources of a country.' 

'Medieval societies had a completely different attitude towards conflict. We regard war today as an unwanted catastrophe that periodically breaks in on us against our wishes. They regarded war as the norm, the normal way of settling international disputes, and quite a few internal disputes.'

'In the 14th century, the English adopted what I can only describe as terrorist tactics to try and batter the French government into submitting to their demands. They conducted huge raids in which they indiscriminately killed large numbers of people and burned whole villages. This is what we would call terrorism. It really wasn’t until the 18th century that war became a battle between organised armed forces. We’re now reverting to an earlier pattern in which at least one side in any war is a disorganised group of people. Hamas is a good example. They’re semi-organised, and their object is indiscriminate violence because they do not have the resources to confront whoever their enemy is with the same sort of weapons. If you are a semi-state, and the underdog, this is how you wage war. England was 100% of a state in the 14th century, and they still waged war that way.'

The interview is here.

Saturday 21 October 2023

Reagan stopped Israel bombing Lebanon with one telephone call


How very much smaller men are Biden and Sunak.

'The righteous bloodlust of the sensible centrists has been awoken once again'

It is not true that what became Palestine, then Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, has always been at war. For centuries it was a pretty quiet backwater. 

Nor is it true that Jews and Muslims have always fought. Far from it, they mostly cooperated reasonably well, often happily, until 1917.

An American Episcopalian priest with whom I stayed in Nazareth told me that the Israeli police kept out of crimes committed by Muslims against Muslims. 

'It's never a good idea if outsiders get involved in Muslim affairs. For example, if a Muslim murders another Muslim the police leave it to Muslims to sort out.' 

I protested, but he was right.

This, he said, applies to Middle Eastern affairs generally. We should not, for example, have invaded Iraq.

I strongly agreed with him on that. 

It seems to me today that all the problems in the Middle East are caused by British and, later on, American interference, from 1917 to their recent interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria. 

Friday 20 October 2023

52,250 Nigerian Christians have been brutally murdered

The Vatican website says that "according to the report “Martyred Christians in Nigeria” issued by Intersociety, over the past 14 years at least 52,250 Nigerian Christians have been brutally murdered at the hands of Islamist militants." British, European and American public opinion is indiferent. Public opinion is mainstream media opinion to a large extent.

“To Jaw-Jaw is better than to War-War", an uncharacteristically pacific remark by Winston Churchill

Things seen today.
'Putin and Netanyahu are the two biggest threats to world peace.' 

I saw this somewhere on Twitter. Add 'discuss' and it would make a good history exam question. I tend to agree with it, but I'd add that George W Bush is responsible for more killing so far than either and his decision to say Ukraine and Georgia could one day join Nato lit the fuse that led to the war in Ukraine. None of the three had much compunction about breaking international law. Neo-con Victoria Nuland involved America with the protesters who seized power in Kiev in 2014 - an event that Peter Hitchens aptly likened to the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo. She and Joe Biden, whose Ukrainian policy has been such a failure, are close behind. The only good thing I remember him doing is cold shouldering Netanyahu.