Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Omar Baddar and His Lies (Part 1)

Professional Palestinian propagandist Omar Baddar is back yet again on the Huffington Post to join the volley of attacks on Israel, secure in the knowledge that they will never publish an article countering his opinions. So we are forced to do it here. This time he declares to have five "lies" the media tells about the latest battles in Gaza. Unfortunately he can neither prove that they are lies or that the media actually tells them like they are true. So let's get into it, because this article is just begging for a fisking.

His first "lie" is that Israel was forced to fight back to stop the rockets fired onto civilians. He thinks this isn't true. Why?
"CNN, like many other American outlets, chose to begin the story of the latest round of violence in Gaza on November 10th, when 4 Israeli soldiers were wounded by Palestinian fire, and the IDF "retaliated" by killing several Palestinians. But just two days before, a 13 year old Palestinian boy was killed in an Israeli military incursion into Gaza (among other fatalities in preceding days). Is there any reason why those couldn't be the starting point of the "cycle of violence"?"
First of all, a 13 year old Palestinian boy wasn't just sitting there minding his own business when the Israelis walked into Gaza and killed him. According to Baddar's own link, there was intensive fighting between Hamas gunmen and Israeli soldiers at the time. Let's not forget either that Hamas militants have been firing rockets at Israel all year long, since January of 2012 almost 2,000 rockets have been fired. And as much as Baddar may not like to admit it, Israel would be justified in wiping out Hamas after just one, let alone a thousand. So why don't we have January 2012 be the starting point of the violence? Finally, the two sides still exist in a state of war. Mr. Baddar has yet to prove that Israel is not responding to the rockets to defend its citizens.

After attempting to change the subject to Cast Lead, Mr. Baddar asks some rhetorical questions that are morally bankrupt (not to mention dishonest):
"Are the Palestinians not entitled to self-defense? And if indiscriminate Palestinian rocket fire is not an acceptable response to Israeli violence (which it absolutely isn't), how can indiscriminate Israeli bombings of Gaza ever be acceptable?"
First of all, nice attempt at trying to seem impartial by calling Palestinian war crimes "not an acceptable response to Israeli violence." It totally didn't work but at least you bothered to try. Secondly, Palestinians have a right of self-defense, but Qassam rockets onto Sderot are not and will never be "self-defense," and to try and make the case that they are only serves the function of revealing yourself to be a propagandist. You'll notice that no one calls Hamas terrorists clashing with IDF soldiers a war crime, because it isn't. But randomly firing rockets into Ashkelon is.

Now we have our most blatant lie so far, though it is sure to not be the last. Indiscriminate Israeli bombing of Gaza would not be acceptable, in some parallel universe where Israel bombs Gaza indiscriminately. Here on Earth 616, however, they are very discriminate indeed:



But let's not get distracted. Baddar said that the claim that Israel was forced to defend itself against rockets was a lie. Has he proved that it was a lie? No he has not. He has only attempted to cloud the issue with fallacious "evenhandedness" and off topic whining.

The next "lie?" That Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties. Mr. Baddar is going to have to go against not only common sense and logic, but also Richard Kemp and other experts. Let's see how he does. First he tries to make the claim that because Israeli politicians stay stupid shit, that means the IDF kills indiscriminately:
'High-ranking political officials slip and get off the sanitized/approved message for public consumption.Yesterday, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said the "goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages." Not to be outdone, Gilad Sharon, son of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, said "we need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza." '
Did you know that Gilad Sharon is a high-ranking political official? I mean, he isn't, but for the purposes of Baddar's article he has become one because apparently Baddar couldn't care less about actually telling the truth. As for Yishai, it's obvious to anyone paying attention that Gaza is not in the Middle Ages (at least not physically). Remember when John McCain said "Bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran?" You may have noticed that we didn't bomb Iran the next day. But don't worry, Baddar has a response to that as well! First he references Cast Lead and testimonies by such impartial organizations as Amnesty International and Breaking the Silence. But here's his main point:
"If Hamas has only managed to kill 3 people despite being bent on killing civilians with thousands of indiscriminate rockets, how has Israel managed to kill several dozen Palestinian civilians when it is using sophisticated precision weapons to avoid civilian casualties?"
This is Omar Baddar attempt to be an armchair general: assuming that if weapons are called "sophisticated precision weapons" they must therefore be magic weapons that can only kill terrorists. That is, until the gun is taken out of the hands of the terrorist and he turns into a civilian. But fine, Baddar, you asked your question and here is your answer.

  1. Because Israel takes great care to protect their people, developing technology such as Iron Dome and making sure there are bomb shelters aplenty. They also blockade Gaza to keep more sophisticated weapons out of the hands of Hamas.
  2. In contrast, Hamas couldn't care less if their civilians die, because they know it will help their propaganda team like Omar Baddar when they write articles denouncing Israel.
  3. Hamas' goal with their indiscriminate rockets is to make the lives of Israelis intolerable, not to kill civilians. If they kill civilians, obviously that's great for them but that isn't the goal. 
  4. Whenever wars are fought, civilians die, no matter how precise the weapons can be. Just because civilians are dying does not mean that Israel is not trying to avoid civilian casualties.
  5. Hamas uses human shields. They don't even bother to deny it at this point, so you shouldn't either. Don't be more Hamas than the Hamas. 
  6. Finally, watch this video and then tell me that Israel doesn't avoid civilian casualties:

So has Mr. Baddar proven that Israel doesn't try to avoid civilian casualties? No he has not.

Moving on to "lie" number three. He says that this isn't really about security, it's just about Israel being mean to the poor innocent Gazans. His claim?
"If Israel's main objective were indeed to end the rocket fire from Gaza, all it had to do was accept the truce offered by the Palestinian factions before the Jabari assassination. And if the blockade of Gaza was just about keeping weapons from coming in, why are Palestinian exports from Gaza not allowed out? Why were food items ever restricted?"
Let's begin with this claim of a truce. First of all you may notice that Baddar references freaking Electronic Intifada for his source. If this is how he makes his arguments most of the time, no wonder he holds the positions that he does. Nowhere in the Electronic Intifada article is there any proof provided that there was a truce offered by any "Palestinian factions," only claims that there was an effective truce in play before Jabari's assassination. But do you remember Netanyahu saying that if Hamas didn't cut out the rocket fire, then they would resume targeted assassinations? We commented on it at the time. Doesn't sound like there was much of a truce happening at all. But apparently EI and Baddar both only choose to remember what they want to hear.

As for the blockade, there's nothing under international law that says Israel can't restrict food or stop Palestinian exports. During World War II the Allies stopped both of those things. Israel isn't allowed to starve the Palestinians to death but they also aren't required to make their lives easy and comfortable while Israelis live in bomb shelters. Let's not forget either that Israel allows food and supplies in every damn day, something unprecedented in history. This situation remains war, not a game. Just because Omar Baddar thinks the blockade is going too far does not mean that isn't about security, that argue is positively facile.

Let's not strawman though: he continues to quote Gilad Sharon, a man with no political power at all, and then accuses Israel of attacking Palestinian civilians. It still isn't working. Has he proven that this isn't about security? No he has not.

Stay tuned for part two after the break.

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