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ANDREW SULLIVAN: Anti-semitism sneaks into the anti-war camp
The Sunday Times ^ | October 20, 2002 | Andrew Sullivan

Posted on 10/20/2002 1:46:17 AM PDT by MadIvan

An article by a first-year student criticising what he regards as the anti-semitism tolerated at the United Nations appeared in last week’s Yale Daily News, the paper for the elite American university. If the article was typical fare the response to it was not. The author had touched a nerve and a torrent of anger was unleashed.

“I recently attended a forum focusing on the Israeli/Palestinian issue,” wrote one respondent. “Both sides made valid points but there was a heated exchange when the pro-Israel side initiated the ‘anti-semite’ slur. I am sick and tired of Jewish people always smearing those that merely disagree with their views as ‘evil’.

“I never thought I’d say this but a lot of what the so-called ‘white supremacists’ are saying (is) proving more accurate than I feel comfortable admitting.”

Then there was the recent Not In Our Name rally in Central Park, demonstrating against a potential war against Iraq. Around the edges of the rally copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the classic forged document of 19th-century anti-semitism, were being sold. According to the New York Sun, this peddling of anti-semitic tripe was not entirely accidental.

One protester said: “There are interest groups that want Israel to dominate Palestine. If Bush goes with them and is too critical, he might lose their support . . . the international financiers have their hooks in everything.” Ah, those international financiers. Remember them? America’s anti-war movement, still puny and struggling, is showing signs of being hijacked by one of the oldest and darkest prejudices there is. Perhaps it was inevitable. The conflict against Islamo-fascism obviously circles back to the question of Israel. Fanatical anti-semitism, as bad or even worse than Hitler’s, is now a cultural norm across much of the Middle East. It’s the acrid glue that unites Saddam, Arafat, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Iran and the Saudis.

And if you campaign against a war against that axis, you’re bound to attract people who share these prejudices. That’s not to say the large majority of anti-war campaigners are anti-semitic. But this strain of anti-semitism is worrying and dangerous.

Earlier this year there were calls for America’s universities to withdraw any investments in Israel. A petition at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard attracted hundreds of signatures, prompting Larry Summers, the president of Harvard, to say that “serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-semitic in their effect if not their intent”. He said views that were once the preserve of poorly educated right-wing populists were now supported in “progressive intellectual communities”.

Summers’s argument was simple: why has Israel alone been singled out as worthy of divestment? Critics cite its continued occupation of the West Bank. There’s no question that Israel’s policies there are ripe for criticism and that to equate such criticism with anti-semitism is absurd. Similarly, it’s perfectly possible to argue against Israel’s domestic policies without any hint of anti-semitism. But to argue that Israel is more deserving of sanction than any other regime right now is surely bizarre.

Israel is a multiracial democracy. Arab citizens of Israel proper can vote and freely enter society; there is freedom of religion and a free press. An openly gay man just won election to the Knesset. Compared with China, a ruthless dictatorship brutally occupying Tibet, Israel is a model of democratic governance. And unlike China’s occupation of Tibet, Israel’s annexation was a defensive action against an Arab military attack.

Compare Israel to any other Middle Eastern country — Syria’s satrapy in Lebanon, Mubarak’s police state, Iraq’s barbaric autocracy or Iran’s theocracy — and it’s a beacon of light. To single it out for attack is so self-evidently bizarre that it prompts an obvious question: what are these anti-Israel fanatics really obsessed about?

The answer, I think, lies in the nature of part of today’s left. It is fuelled above all by resentment of the success western countries, and their citizens, have achieved through freedom and hard work. Just look at Israel’s amazing achievements in comparison with its neighbours: a vibrant civil society, economic growth, technological skills, an agricultural miracle.

It is no surprise that the resentful left despises it. So, for obvious reasons, do Israel’s neighbours. The Arab states could have made peace decades ago and enriched themselves through trade and interaction. Instead, rather than emulate the Jewish state, they spent decades trying to destroy it. When they didn’t succeed, Arab dictators resorted to the easy distractions of envy, hatred and obsession.

Al-Qaeda is the most dangerous manifestation of this response; Hezbollah comes a close second. But milder versions are everywhere. And what do people who want to avoid examining their own failures do? They look for scapegoats. Jews are the perennial scapegoat.

This attitude isn’t restricted to the Middle East. In the West the left has seized on Israel as another emblem of what they hate. They’re happy to see Saddam re-elected with 100% of a terrified vote, happy to see him develop nerve gas and nuclear weapons to use against his own population and others. But over Israel’s occasional crimes in self-defence? They march in the streets.

Ask the average leftist what he is for, and you will not get a particularly eloquent response. Ask what he is against and the floodgates open. Similarly, ask the average anti-war activist what she thinks we should do about Iraq and the stammering begins. Do we leave Saddam alone? Send Jimmy Carter to sign the kind of deal he made with North Korea eight years ago?

Will pressurising Israel remove the nerve gas and potential nukes Saddam has? Will ceding the West Bank to people who cheered on September 11 help defang Al-Qaeda? They don’t say and don’t know. But they do know what they are against: American power, Israeli human rights abuses, British neo-imperialism, the “racist” war on Afghanistan and so on. Get them started on their hatreds, and the words pour out. No wonder they are selling the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Central Park.

Such negativism matters. When a movement is based on resentment, when your political style is as bitter as it is angry and your rhetoric focuses not on those murdering party-goers in Bali or workers in Manhattan but on the democratic powers trying to protect them, your fate is cast. A politics of resentment is a poisonous creature that slowly embitters itself. You should not be surprised if the most poisonous form of resentment that the world has ever known springs up, unbidden, in your midst.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Connecticut; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: alqaeda; andrewsullivanlist; antisemitism; blair; bush; iraq; osama; saddam; uk; us; war
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To: Nix 2
And I'm not the one who's defending killing American sailors. Just which of us is the ugly-minded one?
101 posted on 10/20/2002 3:23:15 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: Pokey78
Interesting article. Thanks for the ping.
102 posted on 10/20/2002 3:25:42 PM PDT by summer
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To: MadIvan
Jew baiting didn't creep into the anti-war movement.

It's integral to the left ideology.
103 posted on 10/20/2002 3:26:24 PM PDT by Man of the Right
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To: Cachelot; aristeides
Cachelot wrote: The Liberty was piping battle-control data to the Arabs. It was, in effect, a combattant on the Arab side. More, when the US was asked rather urgently to stop that activity, the reply was for all intents and purposes "scr*w you".

At the time, the US was leaning more toward the Arabs than towards Israel, and Tel Aviv suspected that Liberty was passing intercepted communications to the Arabs.

Whatever the case, the incident is now water long under the bridge and has NO RELEVANCE to the present situation in the Middle East.

The only reason someone would bring it up at all in this day and age is to smear some stink on Israel.

104 posted on 10/20/2002 3:31:16 PM PDT by quidnunc
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To: aristeides
*Could you please point out to me one place where I have lied?

Try this for starters.

"And I'm not the one who's defending killing American sailors."

Then please find a post, any post, ever, where I have ever defended the killing of any American, let alone American Sailors or any other American Military.
You should be so ashamed of yourself, but people like you don't feel shame as a rule. How utterly sad you must be.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
105 posted on 10/20/2002 3:34:33 PM PDT by Nix 2
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To: quidnunc
Whatever the case, the incident is now water long under the bridge and has NO RELEVANCE to the present situation in the Middle East.

Exactly right.

Which makes the frantic re-posting on the subject all the more pathological.

106 posted on 10/20/2002 3:35:24 PM PDT by Cachelot
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To: quidnunc
At the time, the US was leaning more toward the Arabs than towards Israel

As far as I know, that's untrue. We might not have become full-fledged allies of Israel at that point, but American public opinion was very much in favor of Israel, and I find it very hard to believe that LBJ's administration did not reflect that bias. Think of the extent to which LBJ was beholden to Abe Fortas throughout his political career, for God's sake. Before I accept this claim, I want to see some evidence.

The only reason someone would bring it up at all in this day and age is to smear some stink on Israel.

I know that's untrue, because I know what prompted me to bring the matter up. It was germane to the discussion. Why don't you look at the reply to which I was replying?

I was making the point that people make charges of anti-Semitism for awfully flimsy reasons, just to stop discussions. And I think the further course of this thread has proved my point.

107 posted on 10/20/2002 3:37:57 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
Naval Security Group

Naval Security Group? Why, they look like a consulting firm. "Advising on crypto solutions", hehe - glorified office supply consultant?

108 posted on 10/20/2002 3:40:43 PM PDT by Cachelot
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To: Nix 2
What about this:

Nope. The Israelis fired the shots, but the NSA made an unknowing crew sitting ducks by disobeying orders to move 20 miles out to sea. Who do you think you are playing with, aristdeides? Your 2 year old kid brother?

That's not defending killing the sailors?

109 posted on 10/20/2002 3:41:42 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: Cachelot
You can look up the function and organizational ties of the Naval Security Group by reading Bamford. But you're not going to bother to do research, are you? It might point out to you how wrong you are.
110 posted on 10/20/2002 3:43:02 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
The Joint Chiefs of Staff wanted accurate information on what the h*** was going on in the Middle East.

Wasn't that a job for the State Department instead of hte Department of Defense?

They knew the Israelis were lying to them.

About what?

So they ordered the Liberty in, a highly unusual action for any ship, but an unparalleled one for what was really an NSA asset.

Hello! Now it's getting really confusing.

111 posted on 10/20/2002 3:44:50 PM PDT by rdb3
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To: Nix 2
And what about this:

I don't know, dude. Ask their officers in command. As for being in international waters, you aren't paying attention. They were ordered into international waters but never went. They were smack in the middle of a war zone.

That's not defending killing the sailors?

By the way, I may get carried away by an argument, but, if I say what turns out to be incorrect, in general it's because I allowed myself to believe it at the time. I won't say I never lie -- given a strong enough motive, I do occasionally, like most people. But I am reasonably honest. And I am unaware of having committed any lies on this thread.

Can you say the same?

112 posted on 10/20/2002 3:46:11 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: rdb3
The Joint Chiefs wanted their own sources of information. They didn't trust the State Department (rightly so, in my opinion.) Remember, a few years later, in the Nixon administration, the Joint Chiefs had that yeoman in the White House spy on the administration for them.

Sure, there was murky bureaucratic politics going on. But that doesn't excuse killing the sailors.

113 posted on 10/20/2002 3:48:11 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: rdb3
They knew the Israelis were lying to them. About what?

About just about everything having to do with the Middle East war in '67. Read the chapter in Bamford.

114 posted on 10/20/2002 3:49:22 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
You are certifiable, aristeides. It was a condemnation of the commanding NSA officers who put that ship deliberately in harm's way, and then tried to lie out of it. Don't you even make such a gross mistatement and assign your own twisted meaning to it unless you can prove to me with certainty that you read minds. As of now, your Naval Security group has little but cryptology in common with NSA. And since you were reserve, I can't see where you have so much experience either. If Bamford is your only source, you are screwed.
115 posted on 10/20/2002 3:52:11 PM PDT by Nix 2
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To: aristeides
Aristeides wrote in reply to me: (Quidnunc Wrote: At the time, the US was leaning more toward the Arabs than towards Israel.) As far as I know, that's untrue. We might not have become full-fledged allies of Israel at that point, but American public opinion was very much in favor of Israel, and I find it very hard to believe that LBJ's administration did not reflect that bias. Think of the extent to which LBJ was beholden to Abe Fortas throughout his political career, for God's sake. Before I accept this claim, I want to see some evidence.

The impulse to reply "prove it" to an assertion which counters a point under discussion is one of the trappings of childhood that true adults outgrow.

Public opinion and governmental policy did not swing solidly behind Israel until the 1967 war and a reasonable amount of objective reaearch by you will establish the fact beyond question.

And isn't it funny how the USS LIBERTY incident just happens to be germaine to every thread having to do with Israel or Jews?

116 posted on 10/20/2002 3:53:37 PM PDT by quidnunc
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To: Nix 2
If you think that the primary blame for the attack on the Liberty rests on the NSA, you are the one that is certifiable.
117 posted on 10/20/2002 3:54:05 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: quidnunc
Name me one thing that LBJ did that hurt Israel.
118 posted on 10/20/2002 3:55:29 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: quidnunc
Quidnunc wrote: Public opinion and governmental policy did not swing solidly behind Israel until the 1967 war and a reasonable amount of objective reaearch by you will establish the fact beyond question.

Quidnunc should have wrote: Public opinion and governmental policy did not swing solidly behind Israel until after the 1967 war and a reasonable amount of objective reaearch by you will establish the fact beyond question.

119 posted on 10/20/2002 3:57:35 PM PDT by quidnunc
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To: quidnunc
Public opinion and governmental policy did not swing solidly behind Israel until the 1967 war and a reasonable amount of objective reaearch by you will establish the fact beyond question.

I was 20 years old at the time. I remember the state of U.S. opinion.

120 posted on 10/20/2002 4:00:31 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides; Nix 2; Cachelot
I brought up my being called a Jew-hater for discussing the Liberty because it seemed germane to the discussion. Since then, I have been replying to postings.

You have, with your own words here, admitted that you purposely hi-jacked the thread. The U.S.S. Liberty was and is in no way germane to the real subject of Sullivan's article.

Point of fact, YOU were the first one to bring up the subject of the Liberty in post #7. It had not been mentioned until then. Therefore, the only thing that made it remotely "germane" is due to what you brought into this thread.

121 posted on 10/20/2002 4:06:13 PM PDT by rdb3
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To: aristeides
About just about everything having to do with the Middle East war in '67. Read the chapter in Bamford.

Why read it? You apparently know, so save us the time and tell us.

Israeli lying. Hmmm...

122 posted on 10/20/2002 4:07:28 PM PDT by rdb3
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To: rdb3
Does post #4, to which I was replying, refer to using charges of anti-Semitism to stop discussions, or does it not?
123 posted on 10/20/2002 4:07:41 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
Sure, there was murky bureaucratic politics going on. But that doesn't excuse killing the sailors.

No, but I guess it does excuse us for entering one of our ships into a war zone. Right?

124 posted on 10/20/2002 4:08:54 PM PDT by rdb3
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To: rdb3
If I report my recollection of the chapter from several weeks ago, I will not be entirely accurate, and anyway the people on this thread will not believe me.

On the other hand, if you read it and report, maybe they will believe you. And you will also have an answer to your original question, from a source that you may believe more than me.

125 posted on 10/20/2002 4:09:44 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides; fporretto
Does post #4, to which I was replying, refer to using charges of anti-Semitism to stop discussions, or does it not?

That's correct. However, you knew the mentioning of the Liberty was a hot-button issue, and invited the hi-jacking.

Thought you thought.

126 posted on 10/20/2002 4:10:39 PM PDT by rdb3
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To: rdb3
What do you mean, war zone? Why don't we have a right to station a ship 17 1/2 miles off shore?

Remember how Ronald Reagan had the Navy shoot down Libyan planes to make the point that we had a right to fly in international space?

127 posted on 10/20/2002 4:11:10 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: rdb3
The replies to me need not have come. When they did, they proved my point.
128 posted on 10/20/2002 4:12:01 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: quidnunc
And isn't it funny how the USS LIBERTY incident just happens to be germaine to every thread having to do with Israel or Jews?

It's knee-slappingly hillarious.

129 posted on 10/20/2002 4:13:35 PM PDT by rdb3
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To: aristeides
The replies to me need not have come. When they did, they proved my point.

The only empirically proven point is that you succeeded in hi-jacking the thread. That's a fact.

130 posted on 10/20/2002 4:15:46 PM PDT by rdb3
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To: aristeides
LBJ began the process of alinging US policy behind Israel, but that is beside the point and doesn't amount to a pinch of sCENSOREDt when it comes to the present.

The point of the article by Sullivan is that in many respects the contemporary left is anti-Semitic.

To introduce the Liberty incident is to throw a stinking red herring into the thread to deflect and disrupt the discussion.

131 posted on 10/20/2002 4:15:47 PM PDT by quidnunc
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To: aristeides
The only person who has accused you of anti-semitism is YOU, doll. We've been trying to give you facts. Expand your mind and all that kind of good stuff. 'Twas you, muh friend, who has done ALL of the accusing on this thread, including trying to make it seem as though I condoned the killing of servicemembers. Anyone here who knows me even a little knows that such an accusation is as worthless as the person who made it.
Bye now.
132 posted on 10/20/2002 4:17:53 PM PDT by Nix 2
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To: aristeides; Nix 2
Remember how Ronald Reagan had the Navy shoot down Libyan planes to make the point that we had a right to fly in international space?

I was too young to pay attention at the time.

Now, let's say you and Nix 2 are having a fistfight. I run up to see what's going on. In my run, I get too close and get a left hook from Nix 2 right across my grill.

Who is to blame?

133 posted on 10/20/2002 4:18:31 PM PDT by rdb3
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To: quidnunc
If nobody had replied to me, I would have let the matter drop. I really had no intention of hijacking a thread.

Why don't you blame the person who called me a Jew-hater when I participated in the discussion on a Liberty thread a few weeks ago? That's what made the issue a sore point for me, and caused me to bring it up here, once the discussion turned to frivolous charges of anti-Semitism.

Is there some reason why a charge like that should not be mentioned on a thread like this as a classic example of the misuse of the charge?

134 posted on 10/20/2002 4:20:10 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: rdb3; Nix 2
I think your hypothetical assumes that Nix 2 did not intend to hit you. If he did intend to hit you, he is to blame.
135 posted on 10/20/2002 4:21:18 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: Nix 2
What facts? Where's the evidence?
136 posted on 10/20/2002 4:22:16 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
Aristeides wrote: If nobody had replied to me, I would have let the matter drop. I really had no intention of hijacking a thread.

So let it drop already!

137 posted on 10/20/2002 4:23:21 PM PDT by quidnunc
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To: quidnunc
The point of the article by Sullivan is that in many respects the contemporary left is anti-Semitic.

To introduce the Liberty incident is to throw a stinking red herring into the thread to deflect and disrupt the discussion.

Thank you, Q. That's my point.

But it's nothing new. There have been many threads concerning American blacks on these boards that always get hi-jacked by someone. For example, it can be about blacks and a story of successes in business. Government handouts are mentioned and the thread is hi-jacked. It can be about taking the conservative message to American blacks, then the subject of affirmative action hi-jacks the thread. I could go on and on.

To be sure, I think that the subject of the Liberty is important. I'm a vet, and I don't like the needless deaths of our soldiers. But what I find offensive is the fact that we have some here who use their deaths to serve nefarious intentions.

That's the true insult.

138 posted on 10/20/2002 4:25:38 PM PDT by rdb3
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To: quidnunc
I'm willing to let the matter drop if others do too. I hope this is a lesson to those who make frivolous charges of anti-Semitism that there are costs to making those charges.
139 posted on 10/20/2002 4:25:55 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: rdb3
I think you're implying I have nefarious intentions. Why don't you believe I'm motivated by my time in the Naval Security Group?
140 posted on 10/20/2002 4:27:18 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides; Nix 2
I think your hypothetical assumes that Nix 2 did not intend to hit you. If he did intend to hit you, he is to blame.

Oh, really? So in the fight, Nix 2 is going to cease his aggression agaist you momentarily to ensure that I'm not hit, even though I was the one who got too close Also, wouldn't you use that stoppage of his aggression to your advantage and pounce on him while he's distracted?

The point is, if I had not run up and put myself into that position, my jaw wouldn't be hurting. It's my fault, therefore. Also, in this scenario, I could have cost Nix 2 the fight.

Cause. Effect.

141 posted on 10/20/2002 4:29:04 PM PDT by rdb3
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To: rdb3
Events have many causes. Those who helped to bring them about may bear secondary responsibility, under certain circumstances. But those who deliberately are the ones who actually commit the wrong bear primary responsibility.

You might as well blame Churchill and FDR for Auschwitz, because, if they had not resisted Hitler, there might never have been an Auschwitz. That's an extreme example, but it makes the point.

142 posted on 10/20/2002 4:31:57 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
I think you're implying I have nefarious intentions.

That's the problem. You're paranoid.

I speak and write extremely well. I have no problems with formulating the message I need to properly express myself and to aim it with precision so it hits its intended target and is understood in no uncertain terms. In other words, if I didn't explicitly state that you had/have nefarious intentions, I was not implying that you do or did.

Is that clear?

143 posted on 10/20/2002 4:34:36 PM PDT by rdb3
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To: aristeides
I think it had to do with concealing Israel's military plans, perhaps the attack on the Golan Heights that was about to occur. Bamford thinks it was to conceal war crimes, atrocities committed by the Israelis against captured Egyptian POW's

Very far fetched. Doesn't ring as anything plausible.

How a plan to attack the enemy at Golan (something in future) would be covered by a deliberate attack on an ally's battleship?

How the committed atrocities (something in the past) would be concealed by the same senseless action?

Sorry, but I see only two possible conclusions from what you said:

a) In your opinion, Israelis a stump stupid.

b) In your opinion, Israelis are plain evil.

You choose for yourself. I disagree with both.

144 posted on 10/20/2002 6:15:22 PM PDT by Neophyte
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To: Nix 2
Evil must be defeated wherever it shows itself

How?! Here, Evil has shown itself 'en masse' in San Francisco... what to do? If it's Medina, I would suggest a glowing glass parking lot recipe, but for American campus...

145 posted on 10/20/2002 6:41:15 PM PDT by Neophyte
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To: Neophyte
but for American campus...

Whips?

146 posted on 10/20/2002 6:46:51 PM PDT by Cachelot
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To: Neophyte
Well, yes, I think the decision to attack the Liberty was borderline insane. But the evidence that Israel made that decision seems incontrovertible.
147 posted on 10/20/2002 6:50:59 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
If that's a dig at me for being an Oxford graduate

Another polite question to you:

Haven't you have a fellow countrymen pal called Bubba during your Oxford years?

Are you still hearing from each other quite frequently?

148 posted on 10/20/2002 6:51:54 PM PDT by Neophyte
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To: Neophyte
Bubba is not an Oxford graduate. He was asked, firmly, by the university authorities not to return to Oxford for his second year under the Rhodes Scholarship because of his rape of Eileen Wellstone. That meant he did not get the degree. Years later, Oxford gave him an honorary degree, because of the power of money.

And, if you are going to hold the Clinton-Oxford association against me, are you also going to hold it against Andrew Sullivan?

149 posted on 10/20/2002 6:55:11 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: Nix 2
What are you, a clinton clone?

It looks they wre buddies when in Oxford... (it's a Liberty-fanatic style statement) :-)

150 posted on 10/20/2002 6:57:27 PM PDT by Neophyte
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