Mayor Pete - An Unacceptable Stance on Israel-Palestine
I returned from a wonderful Seder last evening to a terrible shock! Mayor Pete, who I thought was incredibly insightful and intelligent, has a glaring hole in his beliefs that is SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE to me. See: Democrats are increasingly critical of Israel. Not Pete Buttigieg . I will do my best to share my concerns now. Unless I get word, showing significant progress on this issue by Tuesday, April 30th, 2019, my blog: MayorPete.blogspot.com will solely contain this writing, and I will speak out against Mayor Pete on this issue. It is that important to me, as will be explained below. I welcome responses at: ElectingMayorPete@gmail.com.
Last May, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg went to Israel with the American Jewish Committee and two weeks later discussed his trip with that organization. At the time Israel was killing Palestinian protesters at the Gaza fence– 60 on one day within days of Buttigieg’s visit, getting global attention — yet Buttigieg repeatedly praised Israel’s security arrangements as “moving” and “clear-eyed”, said the U.S. could learn something from them, and blamed Palestinians and Hamas for the “misery” in Gaza.
He also faulted fellow Democrats for making snap judgments based on “90-second cable news versions of what’s going on over there.”
I would note that the American Jewish Committee is hardly a “disinterested party” in issues related to complete support of the Israeli Government. In the views of organizations such as it, criticism of Israel is routinely seen as “Anti-Semitism”. In that sense, I am completely a self-hating Jew and am Anti-Semitic. See: How U.S. Politicians Use Charges of Anti-Semitism as a Weapon .
Reality Sports and Wellness similarly sends professional athletes to Israel.
Organizations such as the American Jewish Committee do not send people such as Pete Buttigieg on trips which give a balanced perspective on Israel and the Palestinians. (note: see the discussion of Birthright below). While it is often proclaimed that such trips are “not political” or are “neutral” or similar, they give a strongly pro – Israel Government perspective. The views of moderate Palestinians are given little, if any exposure or support.
Is it any wonder that Mayor Pete is “pro-Israel”? He has been brainwashed by limited exposure towards alternate perspectives, such as those discussed below.
Sheldon Adelson is an extremely large contributor to the Republican Party, including Donald Trump. He also is a major contributor to various causes supporting the Israeli Government. Individuals such as Mr. Adelson, speak and strongly support the positions of the Israeli Government.
Who speaks for the Palestinians to Mayor Pete? Has he talked with The American Muslims For Palestine ? I went to the Chicago chapter’s annual dinner recently. Please – read my writing: Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, American Muslims For Palestine and Respect. I, an American Jew, a grand-nephew of Israel’s first Nobel laureate, amongst close to 400 Palestinian, Muslim-Americans, was treated with incredibly wonderful respect and support. Professor Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired from CNN recently because of his allegedly Anti-Semitic remarks, spoke to his Palestinian, Muslim audience. He did not speak for us Jews, a tiny minority of the audience. His words, while not directed to us Jews, were supportive of both Palestinians and Israeli (and other) Jews.
I strongly suggest that Mayor Pete, if you care, as you seem to in so many other ways, that you listen to the words of some of the people I have noted below, such as: Professor Hill, Michelle Alexander, Jewish Voice for Peace and/or many others. In private, if necessary, speak with some who strongly disagree with your current perspective of Israel.
The next section of this writing focuses upon killings and injuries towards both Israeli Jews and Palestinians. It should be noted that at best, the ratio of killings of Palestinians is about 8 to 1. Commonly, the ratios are much more skewed towards the killing and injuring of Palestinians.
Total fatalities in the history of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza into Israel: 44
Civilians: 30 (including 2 killed at military posts)
Rocket fatalities only: 23
Total fatality-producing strikes: 32 (19 rocket, 13 mortar)
Since 2001, Palestinian militants have launched thousands of rocket and mortar attacks on Israel from the Gaza Stripas part of the continuing Arab–Israeli conflict. From 2004 to 2014, these attacks have killed 27 Israeli civilians, 5 foreign nationals, 5 IDF soldiers, and at least 11 Palestinians and injured more than 1900 people,
Israel saw an astronomical rise in the number of projectiles fired at its southern communities in 2018, with a staggering 28 times more attacks launched from the Gaza Strip than in 2017.
According to the summary of the year released Monday by the Israel Defense Forces, there has however been a reduction in terrorist attacks and subsequently in the number of Israeli fatalities, along with intensified military activity in the Gaza Strip.
According to the IDF, 16 Israelis were killed in attacks in 2018 — nine civilians and seven members of the security forces. This is a fall from previous years, with 20 Israelis killed such attacks in 2017, 17 in 2016 and 28 in 2015. Even so, 199 Israelis were wounded in attacks in 2018, as opposed to 169 in 2017.
Between January 1 and November 6, 2017, Israeli security forces killed 62 Palestinians, including 14 children, and injured at least 3,494 Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel, including protesters, suspected assailants or members of armed groups, and bystanders. Palestinians killed at least 15 Israelis during this same time, including 10 security officers, and injured 129 in conflict-related incidents in the West Bank and Israel.
In 2017, Palestinian armed groups launched 10 rockets into Israel from Gaza as of October 31, causing no casualties but generating fear and disruption in affected cities and towns.
In the West Bank, as of November 6, Israeli security forces fatally shot 42 Palestinians and wounded at least 3,279, including passersby, demonstrators, and those suspected of attacking Israelis.
Israel continued to provide security, administrative services, housing, education, and medical care for about 607,000 settlers residing in unlawful settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Israel’s building of 2,000 new settlement housing units in the period between July 2016 and June 2017 marked an 18 percent decrease over the same period in 2015-2016, but Israeli authorities approved plans for 85 percent more housing units in the first half of 2017 than all of 2016, according to the Israeli group Peace Now. International humanitarian law bars an occupying power’s transfer of its civilians to occupied territory.
Building permits are difficult, if not impossible, for Palestinians to obtain in East Jerusalem or in the 60 percent of the West Bank under exclusive Israeli control (Area C). This has driven Palestinians to construct housing and business structures that are at constant risk of demolition or confiscation by Israel on the grounds of being unauthorized. Palestinians in these areas have access to water, electricity, schools, and other state services that are either far more limited or costlier than the same services that the state makes available to Jewish settlers there.
Of the 381 Palestinian homes and other property demolished in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) in 2017 as of November 6, displacing 588 people, Israeli authorities sought to justify most for failure to have a building permit. Israel also destroyed the homes of families in retaliation for attacks on Israelis allegedly carried out by a family member, a violation of the international humanitarian law prohibition on collective punishment.
As of June 30, Israeli authorities held 315 Palestinian children in military detention.
As of October 2017, Israel held 453 Palestinian administrative detainees without charge or trial, based on secret evidence, many for prolonged periods. Israel jails many Palestinian detainees and prisoners inside Israel, violating international humanitarian law requiring that they not be transferred outside the occupied territory and restricting the ability of family members to visit them.
Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel who live in “unrecognized” villages in the Negev suffered discriminatory home demolitions on the basis that their homes were built illegally, even though most of those villages existed before the state of Israel was established or were created in the 1950s on land to which Israel transferred Bedouin citizens.
Israeli forces stationed on the Israeli side of the fences separating Gaza and Israel responded to demonstrations for Palestinian rights on the Gaza side with excessive lethal force. Between March 30 and November 19, security forces killed 189 Palestinian demonstrators, including 31 children and 3 medical workers, and wounded more than 5,800 with live fire.
The Israeli army also launched intermittent air and artillery strikes in the Gaza Strip, killing 37 Palestinians between March 30 and November 19, including at least five civilians. Palestinian armed groups fired 1138 rockets and mortars indiscriminately toward Israel from Gaza as of November 13, according to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, a major increase over previous years, killing one person and injuring at least 40, including civilians.
Israeli authorities continued to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank and to discriminate systematically against Palestinians and in favor of settlers, in providing services, allowing freedom of movement, and issuing building permits, among other actions. During 2017 and the first eight months of 2018, Israeli authorities approved plans for 10,536 housing units in West Bank settlements, excluding East Jerusalem, and issued tenders for 5,676, as compared to approving plans for 4,611 units and issuing tenders for 592 units in all of 2015 and 2016, according to the Israeli group Peace Now.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities destroyed 390 Palestinian homes and other property, forcibly displacing 407 people as of November 19, the majority for lacking construction permits that Israel makes nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain in East Jerusalem or in the 60 percent of the West Bank under its exclusive control (Area C).
As of November 19, lethal force by Israeli forces resulted in the killing of 252 and injuring of 25,522 Palestinians in Gaza, OCHA reported. Many of the injuries were life-changing, including hundreds of cases of severe soft tissue damage, some necessitating amputation of limbs. Most of the killings took place in the context of protests, where Israeli forces, following orders from senior officials, used live ammunition against people who approached or attempted to cross or damage fences between Gaza and Israel. Israeli officials rejected the international human rights law standard in policing situations that prohibits the intentional use of lethal force except as a last resort to prevent an imminent threat to life. They argued that live ammunition was necessary to stop breaches of the fences, which they claimed was a Hamas strategy to enable militants to kill or capture Israelis, without sufficiently addressing why lesser measures would not have worked.
One can interpret the numbers above in various ways. No matter how one does this, one must conclude that the number of Israelis wounded and killed is far, far less than the similar numbers of Palestinians killed and injured.
There is also a substantial increase in Israeli houses constructed and a significant destruction of Palestinian homes.
I am the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), and after more than 20 years fighting Israel's policy of demolishing Palestinian homes, I am witnessing one of the largest campaigns of demolitions since we started our work. In East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, throughout the West Bank (where not only homes are demolished: my friend Ata Jabar's entire farm was destroyed by the Israeli authorities recently) -- and not only in the Occupied Territory: WITHIN the Green Line Israel is systematically demolishing entire Bedouin communities to clear the land for Jewish settlements, and in the Galilee and the Triangle in the north homes of Palestinian citizens of Israel are being attacked.
The scale of demolition makes protest and resistance impossible. ICAHD has led the resistance. We have stood in front of bulldozers coming to demolish Palestinian homes, and, with the families, their neighbors and hundreds of Israeli and international activists, we have rebuilt almost 200 homes demolished by Israel. We have published reports on demolitions, participated in UN meetings on the issue, made films and toured throughout the world with families, enabling them to tell their stories. But all our work is dwarfed by the resurgence of demolitions taking place today, and I have to admit to a feeling of helplessness. By our count and that of the UN, Israel has demolished some 55,000 Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territory since 1967. Add to that the 60,000 homes destroyed in the Nakba in 1948 and in its wake, plus thousands more inside Israel until today, and the picture that emerges is ethnic cleansing.
I don't know how to react anymore. Because demolitions have gone on for so long and are so many, it is no longer an issue. We cannot get activists out to resist (who can keep up with the pace and scale?), and after all these years we cannot get the media to cover demolitions either - it is already not "news." Demolitions is not an issue highlighted by Palestinian support groups abroad (the US Campaign, PSC and the others), nor is it covered much by the radical media, Democracy Now, the Real News and other outlets.
ICAHD has ot been able to keep up either. Our activists have drifted away to other, more immediate things that pop up: Khan al-Ahmer, Gaza, other important but reactive events. We no longer have funding since donors do not invest in political organizations when there is nothing happening politically (another success Israel has had in shutting down all meaningful political support for the Palestinian cause). And our message is growing thin: indeed, how many times can you come back to an audience or write an article abut the same thing?
Our response, as I've written many times, is to pull back from activism on the ground. ICAHD still rebuilds, we still visit families, we still resist whenever we can and we still speak out, but we have come to the conclusion that protest is pointless unless it is attached to a political program. We don't want to abandon these families and the thousands more who homes will be demolished by Israel, but we have come to understand one fundamental fact: unless we join with others to formulate and effectively campaign for a political program to end Israeli rule and oppression (and I don't mean some vague "rights-based approach" but a real political program -- the establishment of a single democratic state between the River and the Sea), then our activism, outrage and protest is meaningless. Not pursuing a political program -- THAT is truly abandoning these families to their fate.
In the meantime we at ICAHD continue as best we can to call attention to, and resist, this tragic, cruel Israeli POLICY (backed by the courts) of home demolitions. Any help you can offer, getting us access to media, for example, is welcomed. In the meantime, ICAHD has joined with the One Democratic Campaign (ODSC) in its campaign for a one state solution to this colonial travesty.
There are a lot of resources you could look to, if you really care about Israel-Palestine. Criticizing the Israeli leader Netanyahu, as you do, is helpful. You do, however, ignore the obvious facts that the problems pre-date the current Israel leader and are much larger than him.
It is very peculiar that currently six individuals are attacked by far the most recently. You are, of course, familiar with the three women in The House of Representatives who speak out the most. Additionally I would suggest:
Michelle Alexander wrote an incredibly good editorial for the New York Times entitled: Time to Break the Silence on Palestine . You should read it.
Angela Davis has written about Israel-Palestine and recently drew the ire of the Birmingham Jewish establishment. See: her speaking out on Palestine here or elsewhere.
Professor Marc Lamont Hill is writing and speaking a lot in incredibly good ways such as: here , Also see his Breakfast Club or the interview that got him fired by CNN
These six individuals are all people of color. All, except Professor Hill are women.
Where there may be issues with your candidacy, they seem to be primarily related to race. Various specific things related to you being South Bend’s mayor (, such as the firing of your police department head,) seem to relate to issues with black people. Issues related to Israel-Palestine relate to race also, mostly in a slightly different way.
There are several groups you should become familiar with.
Christians United for Israel through its leader John Hagee, the founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church, a San Antonio megachurch is probably more influential upon support of Israel and any other group including AIPAC. “ It is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States, with 5.3 million members.2 “ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christians_United_for_Israel .
Jewish Voice for Peace (from JVP’s website) - The violence between Israelis and Palestinians is often falsely presented as a conflict between two equal sides with irreconcilable claims to one piece of land.
In reality, this is a conflict over territory between a nation-state, Israel, with one of the world’s most powerful and well-funded militaries, and an indigenous population of Palestinians that has been occupied, displaced, and exiled for decades.
Although Palestinian citizens of Israel are entitled to vote and participate in Israeli political life, and several Palestinians are members of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament), they do not receive the same treatment as the Jewish citizens at the hands of the government. Israel still applies over 50 laws that privilege Jews over Arabs (as documented by Adalah: the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights).
Pinkwashing is an explicit strategy taken up in recent years by the government of Israel to portray Israel as a leader in gay rights and a gay tourism destination to improve its human rights image while deflecting attention away from the extreme violence of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Through a campaign called “Brand Israel,” Israel has tried to change its public image, promoting itself as a “modern democracy” – and projecting a “LGBT-friendly” image is just one part of this.
J Street J Street organizes and mobilizes pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who want Israel to be secure, democratic and the national home of the Jewish people. – Note: J Street is less “radical” than Jewish Voice for Peace.
Birthright – is an organization whose self-definitions include:
The Birthright Israel journey is committed to a culture of open discussion and dialogue about all issues: identity, geopolitics, religion, and Jewish life.
PLEASE – read the writings below. “open discussion” does not seem “open” to me.
Close to 25% of Israel’s citizens are non-Jewish. Palestinian Israeli citizens are both Muslim and Christian. Discriminatory laws favoring Jewish citizens remind me of places such as South Africa under apartheid and even occasionally Nazi Germany.
Sixty Five Israeli Laws That Discriminate Against non-Jews is written by Ray Hanania, a suburban Chicagoan who is Christian Palestinian American. Hanania’s wife is Jewish.
For example, Zachary Lockman, then a Harvard history professor, contended in a 1988 letter to The New York Times that
some 92 percent of Israel's land area is administered in accordance with ... [regulations which] prohibit these lands from being purchased, leased or worked by Arab citizens of Israel.6
More recently, speaking on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, William Quandt of the University of Virginia charged that
Israel was established as a state for Jews. It has of course an Arab minority who have citizenship rights, but the specific way in which land is owned in Israel is predominantly that the Jewish Agency purchases land on behalf of the Jewish people and then leases it out to its Jewish citizens.
Arabs cannot have access to that land that's owned by the Jewish Agency. They can keep land they have privately owned before the State of Israel was created. There's a small amount of private property that can be traded and Arabs can buy that as well as Jews, but most land is held in trust for the Jewish people, so yes there is a legal basis for what we would flat out call discriminatory practices.7
Palestinian Israeli citizens are significantly limited in their rights to buy land in much of Israel.
I will not go into detail concerning the issues of the movement of Palestinians within the West Bank in comparison to the rights of Jewish residents of Israel (including the West Bank). Special roads exist for Jewish residents.
There are numerous areas one could easily go into related to how Palestinians are treated both within Israel and in the West Bank and Gaza.
Gaza: The territory is 41 kilometers (25 mi) long, and from 6 to 12 kilometers (3.7 to 7.5 mi) wide, with a total area of 365 square kilometers (141 sq mi). With around 1.85 million Palestinians on some 362 square kilometers, Gaza ranks as the 3rd most densely populated polity in the world.
According to the 2010 census, South Bend has a total area of 41.877 square miles (108.46 km2), of which 41.46 square miles (107.38 km2) (or 99%) is land and 0.417 square miles (1.08 km2) (or 1%) is water.
If South Bend was as densely populated as Gaza, it would have over 536,000 people living in it.
Both Mayor Pete and I would like for a two-state solution, with a lasting peace resulting in Israel and in Palestine. We both agree that Mr. Netanyahu is an obstacle to peace. We strongly disagree, though as to what is preventing peace!
I see a reality in Israel, and the additional land under its control, where Israel, with United States support, wields incredible power over the Palestinians. Israel is currently in a tremendous position where it could negotiate a lasting peace, because of the power imbalance that exists. Israel itself, has a population which is projected in the next several decades, to become majority non-Jewish. If the entire West Bank and Gaza were to become a Palestinian State, the state would have far less land total than Israel would have.
The Palestinians cannot bring peace to Israel-Palestine. They have no military. They have little money. They have no political power. Contrary to the public perception, the violence that exists, is substantially the Israeli army killing unarmed Palestinians; automatic weapons against stones or nothing besides human beings.
I can not and will not support Mayor Pete until and unless I see him looking at Israel-Palestine in a very different way than his speeches have proclaimed. I was about to donate more money (I have donated several times recently to the campaign). While I believe that Mayor Pete is a much better candidate in most ways that others such as Bernie Sanders, shortly I will have to change my allegiances.
I have provided a lot of sources for where Mayor Pete can reach out to educate himself. He is a very bright man! I hope that he will do the right thing! I am not optimistic! I hope that I am proved wrong.
If anyone should wish to contact me, they can email to me at: ElectingMayorPete@gmail.com. This writing will be posted, both at: MayorPete.blogspot.com and at: georgesworldonthewater.blogspot.com .
Thank you! I hope that my words are heard! I hope that voices such as those of Professor Marc Lamont Hill and those speaking for Jewish Voice For Peace, people who are much better read and more eloquent than I am, will be heard.
More on Killings
It's no secret that the death tolls in the Israel-Palestine conflict are lopsided, with Palestinians far more likely to be killed than Israelis. But just how lopsided is driven home by looking at the month-to-month fatality statistics, which the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem has been tracking since September 2000. Those numbers also tell some important stories about the conflict, how it's changed, and maybe where it's going.
You'll notice right away that the overwhelming majority of the deaths are Palestinian, and have been for the almost 14 years since B'Tselem began tracking. Overall, the group has recorded 8,166 conflict-related deaths, of which 7,065 are Palestinian and 1,101 Israeli. That means 87 percent of deaths have been Palestinian and only 13 percent Israeli. Put another way, for every 15 people killed in the conflict, 13 are Palestinian and two are Israeli. (Statistics for the past two months are from United Nations Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs.)
That number is even more staggering when you consider that there are about twice as many Israelis as there are Palestinians. This means, very roughly, that a Palestinian person has been 15 times more likely to be killed by the conflict than an Israeli person. Of course the conflict impacts Palestinians and Israelis far beyond just conflict deaths, but these statistics help show how utterly disproportionate the conflict has become in its toll.
The disparity has widened dramatically over time. Since January 2005, when the conflict began to change dramatically, it has killed 4,006 people, of whom 168 have been Israeli and 3,838 Palestinian. That means that, since January 2005, only four percent of those killed have been Israeli, and 96 percent Palestinian. Since January 2005, in other words, the conflict has killed 23 Palestinians for every one Israeli it claims.
Still, even though Israelis are killed at a far lower rate than are Palestinians, that does not make Israeli deaths any less real or traumatic.
This chart shows just the 1,101 Israeli deaths in the conflict since September 2000. Of those, 744 were civilians and 357 security forces, meaning that an Israeli killed in the conflict is much more likely to be a civilian than uniformed — a legacy of the bus bombings and other terrorist attacks frequent during the early 2000s. But the most striking thing about this chart may be how dramatically the rate of Israeli deaths has declined since the early 2000s, with many months passing with no deaths at all. Here are a few bigger-picture lessons from these two charts.
B'Tselem began tracking these numbers when the Second Intifada, or second mass Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation, began in September 2000. And you can see that reflected in the numbers of deaths of Israelis as well as Palestinians.
The Second Intifada included riots, large-scale clashes, bus bombings and other acts of terrorism against Israelis, Israeli targeted killings against Palestinians, and perhaps most costly of all large-scale Israeli military assaults. This is when Israeli deaths hit their peak, with 283 killed in a five-month run from February through June of 2002. Even then, though, Palestinian deaths were much higher, with 659 killed over that same period. This is the closest that Israeli and Palestinian deaths have gotten to symmetrical, and still more than twice as many Palestinians were killed than Israelis.
That is when Israel, fed up with the violence of the Second Intifada, responded in part by dramatically increasing the size and number of walls separating Israeli from Palestinian territory. Israel also withdrew its military and all settlers from Gaza, which is the smaller of the two Palestinian territories.
Both of these actions did a lot to remove Israelis from harm's way, which you can see reflected in the dramatic — and sustained — reduction in Israeli deaths. But they did not end the conflict, especially not for Palestinians, who continued to be killed in large numbers even after the Second Intifada felt like it had ended for most Israelis.
These two Israeli changes — installing more walls and withdrawing from Gaza — have also done their share to perpetuate the conflict. They drastically deepened the physical and metaphorical barriers between Israelis and Palestinians, further raising the pain of occupation for Palestinians and making it easier for Israelis to accept the conflict as status quo, and thus less likely to elect governments that will take risks for a long-term peace deal.
After the withdrawal from Gaza, the terrorist group Hamas took power there and has held it since, using the territory as a base for regular rocket attacks against Israel. While those rocket attacks do not in themselves cause nearly as many deaths as the violence of the Second Intifada, they are part of the conflict between Israel and Gaza-based militant Palestinian groups that occasionally flares up to cause massive numbers of Palestinian deaths, as is happening this week.
Since 2005, the conflict has settled into a new pattern: fewer Palestinian deaths during "calm" months with occasional spikes into catastrophic numbers of Palestinians killed.
These spikes, of which the chart shows four since 2005, are all times when Israeli forces attacked Gaza, where Israel was targeting Hamas and other militant groups but also ended up killing large numbers of Palestinians civilians. In mid-2006, form June through November, Israeli forces invaded Gaza as part of Operation Summer Rains, which was sparked by Palestinian rocket fire into Israel and by the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was released five years later.
2008 and early 2009, Israel again invaded Gaza as part of Operation Cast Lead, which caused only 13 Israeli deaths but ended with well over 1,000 Palestinians killed and devastated the Gaza Strip. Those two months were by far the deadliest for Palestinians since B'Tselem began tracking in 2000.
Israel launched extended bombing campaigns in Gaza in late 2012 and again this month, both of which have killed dozens of Palestinians. While Israeli strikes are targeting Hamas and other militant groups that are firing rockets into Israel, a local UN office estimated on Friday that 77 percent of people killed in Gaza up to that point were civilians, including 30 children. A separate UN agency estimated on Sunday that 70 percent of the killed were civilians, including 27 children.
ou can see the pattern of the last several years clearly on the top chart: the conflict remains at a relatively low level until, every couple of years, it flares up with heavy Israeli strikes on Gaza that also cost a large number of Palestinian lives. This status quo, on net, clearly causes a large number of Palestinian lives. But it kills very few Israelis, which is a big part of why Israeli voters and leaders have appeared willing to accept it.
This Israeli strategy is sometimes described as "cutting the grass." In this thinking, Israel never really solves the conflict or even tries; it tolerates a level of violence from Gaza-based militant groups, but every few years bombs and maybe invades Gaza to weaken militants there and destroy their weapons – to cut the grass. It treats the Israel-Palestine conflict, at least as it pertains to Gaza, as something to be managed rather than solved.
It is important to stress that this strategy is not one that ever produces peace or that is designed to lead to a solution. It accepts a low level of Israeli deaths from rocket fire, and occasionally dozens or hundreds of Palestinian deaths from air strikes, as status quo.
Correction: This post initially reported erroneous fatality statistics. I had misread B'Tselem's data tables in a way that significantly under-counted Israeli deaths, as well as some Palestinian deaths. The charts and statistics in this post have been corrected to reflect the accurate count. I regret the error and thank Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner for pointing it out to me.
https://www.vox.com/2014/7/14/5898581/chart-israel-palestine-conflict-deaths - note: 2014 article covering 2000-2014
Fatalities from rocket and mortar attacks in Israel from the Gaza Strip, 2001–present (up-to-date as of August 29, 2014)
Date of attack
Afik Ohion Zehavi
Dorit (Masarat) Benisian
Moshav Nativ Ha‘asara
Kibbutz Kfar Aza
IDF base near Nahal Oz
Hani al Mahdi*
Moshav Nativ Ha‘asara
Eshkol Regional Council
Eshkol Regional Council
Yosef Nachman Partok†
Eshkol Regional Council
village near Dimona
Ouda Lafi al-Waj*
Ashkelon Coast RC
Sdot Negev RC
Barak Refael Degorker†
Meidan Maymon Biton†
Sha‘ar HaNegev RC
Total fatalities in the history of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza into Israel: 44
Civilians: 30 (including 2 killed at military posts)
Rocket fatalities only: 23
Total fatality-producing strikes: 32 (19 rocket, 13 mortar)
Total rocket and mortar fatalities incurred in Israel during major Israeli “anti-rocket” military offensives: 27
Operation “Cast Lead”: December 27, 2008–January 18, 2009
Operation “Pillar of Cloud”: November 14, 2012–November 21, 2012
Operation “Protective Edge”: July 8, 2014–August 26, 2014
Additional fatalities from previously unexploded ordnance: 2
More Writings of Mayor Pete on Israel Palestine
After Gaza slaughter, Buttigieg praised Israeli security responses as ‘moving’ and faulted Democrats for easy judgment
FeaturesUS Politics Last May, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg went to Israel with the American Jewish Committee and two weeks later discussed his trip with that organization. At the time Israel was killing Palestinian protesters at the Gaza fence– 60 on one day within days of Buttigieg’s visit, getting global attention — yet Buttigieg repeatedly praised Israel’s security arrangements as “moving” and “clear-eyed”, said the U.S. could learn something from them, and blamed Palestinians and Hamas for the “misery” in Gaza.
He also faulted fellow Democrats for making snap judgments based on “90-second cable news versions of what’s going on over there.”
Buttigieg, 37, a former Navy intelligence officer, is today a rising star in the Democratic presidential field as a midwestern mayor with a reputation for intelligence and pragmatism. In his 22-minute discussion with the AJC’s Seffi Kogen last May, Buttigieg never mentioned the Gaza protests directly. But he said that if you only visited Israel, you’d see what wise judgments Israelis are making.
He went to Israel last May for the first time at the behest of strong Israel supporters, the Jewish Federations of Indiana and the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange. “I’d always been interested [in going]. But when the Jewish Federation reached out and told me how special this opportunity was, I thought ‘Now’s the time.'” (It helps to be planning to run for president.)
Rockets fell from Syria on his visit and Buttigieg was impressed that Israeli society did not “grind to a halt.” He went on to justify every choice Israel has made on its security in a “challenging neighborhood,” offered those choices as a “moving” model for the U.S., and said the U.S. is not doing enough to pressure Egypt and the Palestinians.
Seeing the way that a country can be on one hand very intentional, very serious and very effective when it comes to security and on the other hand not allow concerns about security to dominate your consciousness– I think there’s a very important lesson in that that hopefully Americans can look to as we think about how to navigate a world that unfortunately has become smaller and more dangerous for all of us…
I was in a very modern city surrounded by people going about their lives. Seeing how people fit those things together was illuminating and in many ways moving. There’s a sense there that no matter what challenges there are in the community or in the society, they can’t wait for security issues to be resolved. People live their lives, they’re pretty clear-eyed about what is going on around them. And at the same time, you don’t let that take over… The sense that we were in a very safe and very peaceful place– some of the numbers we’ve been shown on violence of any kind in many of the cities we visited, even in Jerusalem, whether you’re looking at political violence or petty crime, those statistics would frankly be the envy of a lot of our midwestern cities….
Kogen asked what Buttigieg would want Americans to understand about Israel. The mayor said, How exciting Israel is, not the cable TV images:
Certainly just understanding the complexity and nuance of the issues. Also understanding the level of modernity there….So often you only see coverage of international tension. You only see what’s maybe going on with the prime minister and the Palestinian Authority and you’re not seeing nearly enough I think about the energy, the dynamism, the creativity, the innovation that’s happening at the local level and how some of that is also feeding up to the national context in a positive way.
He spoke of keeping Israel a bipartisan cause, and keeping the focus on Iran.
I think there’s a risk that Israel could come to be regarded as a partisan issue, and I think that would be really unfortunate.
One of the first things you realize when you get on the ground is this is not a left versus right issue. At least it shouldn’t be. We met a lot of people from the Israeli left who have complicated and nuanced views of what is going on [including the]…. relationship with Iran. Unfortunately these things are reduced into a black and white picture sometimes in the American media.
Buttigieg also visited the occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank. And he faulted Palestinian leadership and Hamas for Palestinian misery, and said Democrats just don’t get it cause they’re watching cable news:
[We got] a more nuanced idea of what is happening on the Palestinian side. So one of the first things that was very clear to us was the extent to which there really is not a unified or single voice for the Palestinian … people. Most people aren’t aware of the difference between what’s happening in Gaza run by Hamas in a way that is contributing to a lot of misery there but also totally different than an environment where you would have a negotiating partner across the table is really important. I don’t think that’s widely understood and I think if it were you would see more Democrats would be asking more questions as we face these kind of 90-second cable news versions of what’s going on over there.
Remember that many progressives responded to the shock of the May 14 slaughter by pronouncing it a massacre. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:
This is a massacre. I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such. No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore.
In his interview, Buttigieg issued one mild criticism of the Trump administration policy, as consisting of “sweeping gestures that may move public opinion, but not so committed to peace.” Everyone over there wants peace, but people here reach easy judgments, he said.
Those who seem to have the most clearcut answers and the most strident opinions seem to be the one on the outside looking in. That’s another reason the trip was so valuable.
Buttigieg says the region needs for the U.S. to be an “honest broker” of peace, but we’re losing “credibility.” But when asked how we’d go about doing that, it’s building the alliance with Israel and putting more pressure on Palestinians and Arabs.
I think the security and intelligence cooperation [between the U.S. and Israel] is obviously vital, certainly something that is as important for American interests as much as Israeli interests.
There may be some opportunities perhaps not under the present administration but over time to be a constructive voice in inducing some of the other players in the region to accept greater responsibility. You think for example about the Egyptian role when it comes to the situation in Gaza, and you think of some of the leverage the US has over Egypt. Before you even get to the Iran issue and what’s going on in some of the Gulf States, there’s certainly a chance for the U.S. to exert influence and be a constructive player when it comes to a lot of states in the region that frankly just haven’t lived up to their responsibilities.
So Israel has lived up to its responsibilities, but Egypt hasn’t.
Buttigieg is a quick study; and what leaps out from these remarks is how completely the Rhodes Scholar imbibed the official pro-Israel version of events, and showed contempt for Palestinian understanding. There is no sense in Buttigieg’s remarks that Israel is a militarized, rightwing country that adores Donald Trump and that is led by a strongman and that answers resistance to the existing order with overwhelming force that international human rights organizations said at the time of his remarks were likely war crimes.
Buttigieg did not meet with AIPAC last week; but we can expect Buttigieg to take a centrist pro-Israel position in opposition to the Democratic base, which is highly critical of Israel.
Thanks to Adam Horowitz.
April 2, 2019, 2:22 pm
… So often you only see coverage of international tension. You only see what’s maybe going on with the prime minister and the Palestinian Authority and you’re not seeing nearly enough I think about the energy, the dynamism, the creativity, the innovation that’s happening at the local level and how some of that is also feeding up to the national context in a positive way. …
Pete says, So often you hear rumours that Joe kidnaps women, chains them in his basement and rapes them. But you’re not hearing nearly enough I think about the energy, the dynamism, the creativity, the innovation of his awesome dinner parties and how some of that is feeding up to the municipal context in a positive way.
Buttigieg did not meet with AIPAC last week
The Washington Post’s David Weigel, who publishes the Trailer newsletter, had some insight into Buttigieg’s absence at AIPAC:
Two of them reached directly by The Trailer, Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard, explained that they simply were not invited and wouldn’t rule out going in the future.
“We’d entertain any serious invitation to engage in an issue that matters to people in our country,” Buttigieg said. “We should be able to have different views represented without saying something that belittles someone’s right to be in the debate.”
Buttigieg is open to going in the future. He isn’t even trying to appeal to AIPAC’s critics.
… … Buttigieg said. “We should be able to have different views represented without saying something that belittles someone’s right to be in the debate.”
Wait for it…wait for it…almost there…and here it is:
… “People like me get strung up in Iran,” said Buttigieg … without mentioning Omar by name. … “So, the idea that what’s going on is equivalent is just wrong.” …
Misrepresentation and belittlement in one short paragraph. The Zionism is strong in this one!
, 3:36 pm
Also, on ABC’s The View, Buttigieg engaged in pinkwashing when he blasted Ilhan Omar for comaparing Israel to Iran. “People like me get strung up in Iran… So, the idea that what’s going on is equivalent is just wrong.”
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a dark horse in the Democratic presidential stakes, chided Netanyahu for saying he would annex parts of the West Bank if he is re-elected.
“This provocation is harmful to Israeli, Palestinian, and American interests,” Buttigieg said Saturday on Twitter, attaching a Haaretz news article reporting Netanyahu’s pledge made in a TV interview.
“Supporting Israel does not have to mean agreeing with Netanyahu’s politics,” Buttigieg said. “I don’t. This calls for a president willing to counsel our ally against abandoning a two-state solution.”
Buttigieg, who last year visited Israel with the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange, has so far mounted a surprisingly effective campaign, raising $7 million in his first quarter and surpassing the 65,000 donor minimum to participate in the party’s presidential candidate debates.
April 04th, 2019
WASHINGTON — Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, whose candidacy is currently being heavily promoted by corporate media, was one of the many 2020 contenders for the Democratic Party who declined to attend the recent annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in apparent response to calls from prominent “progressive” organizations to boycott the event and a growing shift among Democratic voters in favor of Palestinian rights.
However, despite his absence from the AIPAC conference, Buttigieg’s past public statements on the Israel/Palestine conflict echo those of pro-Israel stalwarts in the Democratic Party. Indeed, Buttigieg, in a trip to Israel last year that was funded by the pro-Israel lobby, praised Israel’s security response to protests by Palestinians on the Gaza-Israel border just four days after the slaughter of Gazan protesters by Israeli military snipers — repeating many of the same one-sided talking points about the conflict that define centrists in both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Impressed by Israeli security policy
Last May, Buttigieg traveled to Israel as part of a trip for U.S. mayors organized by Project Interchange, an affiliate of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), one of the oldest and most influential Israel lobby organizations in the United States. The AJC regularly conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and has even accused progressive American Jews of anti-Semitism for their critiques of Israeli government policy.
Soon after the Israel lobby-sponsored trip, which the Times of Israel referred to as a “learning experience trip,” Buttigieg appeared on AJC’s Passport podcast, hosted by Seffi Kogen. Buttigieg, during the 22-minute discussion, stated that Israel’s security policy is “on the one hand very intentional, very serious and very effective when it comes to security and on the other hand not allowing concerns about security to dominate your consciousness.” He then added that his trip to Israel showed him that Israel’s security policy offers “a very important lesson that hopefully, Americans can look to [when] we think about how to navigate a world that unfortunately has become smaller and more dangerous for all of us.”
This statement is troubling for several reasons. First, it suggests that Israel’s security policy does not “dominate” Israeli political consciousness even though nearly every discriminatory policy targeting Palestinians — from the blockade of Gaza to the military occupation of the West Bank to the separation barrier — are all justified by the Israeli state’s claim that it is responding to “existential threats” relating to Israel’s security. Second, Buttigieg calls Israel’s draconian security policies “very effective,” yet does not mention their human costs, such as Israel’s regular imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or its arrest of children for allegedly “throwing stones.” Third, his claim that Israel’s security policy offers a “very important lesson” to the United States suggests that Israel’s apartheid, police-state security policies are a model for homeland security policy in the U.S., a suggestion that concerns the “progressive” voters to whom Buttigieg is currently attempting to appeal.
During the podcast, Buttigieg also claimed that support for Israel “is not a left vs. right issue — at least it shouldn’t be” and stated that “the security and intelligence cooperation [between the U.S. and Israel] is obviously vital, certainly something that is as important for American interests as much as Israeli interests.” This is a drastic over-simplification of the U.S.-Israel relationship and makes no mention of the fact that the U.S. now provides $3.8 billion to Israel annually as part of this “security and intelligence cooperation” and also ignores Israel’s documented espionage efforts targeting U.S. state secrets that have occurred under the guise of this “cooperation.” Notably, former U.S. intelligence officials have claimed that the CIA considers Israel “the Mideast’s biggest spy threat.”
Buttigieg also blamed Hamas, the Islamist group that won Gaza’s elections in 2007 and still governs the enclave, for the “misery” present in the strip. At no point does he mention the air, land and sea blockade — imposed by Israel and Egypt — as having a role in creating “misery” for Gazan residents. Particularly telling is the fact that he blamed Hamas for the situation in the Strip during the Great Return March, when Israeli forces massacred scores of unarmed protestors. Just days after Buttigieg’s visit to Israel and not long before his appearance on the AJC podcast, the IDF shot and killed 60 unarmed Gazans, among them seven minors and a paramedic. During his 22-minute discussion with AJC, Buttigieg never spoke of the Gaza protests directly.
A separate point Buttigieg made in the podcast is related to the exchange of fire between Syrian/Iranian forces and Israeli forces in the contested Golan Heights, which Israel annexed in 1981 but is internationally considered (aside from by the United States) as Syrian territory. In speaking of the attack by allegedly Iranian forces on the Golan Heights and the exchange of fire between Israel and Syria that followed, Buttigieg stated:
It didn’t stop people from living their lives and I actually think there’s a lesson to be learned from that for America … to prevent terrorists from succeeding in their goal of becoming our top priority.”
It is notable that Buttigieg chose the word “terrorist” to describe the attack, given that it had been launched by a foreign government, not a terrorist group, and also given the fact that the area had long been overrun by actual terrorist groups that were supported by the state of Israel.
McKinsey and Israel
While Buttigieg’s admiration for Israeli security policy and support for continued U.S.-Israel “security and intelligence cooperation” may simply be an indication of his support for Democratic centrist policies, there may be other reasons for Buttigieg’s apparent support of Israel’s apartheid-like policies. For instance, Buttigieg’s past position as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. — recently called “the world’s most prestigious consulting firm” by the New York Times — may have also informed his views.
Buttigieg worked at McKinsey prior to enlisting in the military and jumpstarting his political career. Buttigieg has called his time at the firm his most “intellectually informing experience” and described it neutrally as simply “a place to learn.” Other previous McKinsey consultants have come away with a very different view of the controversial company, with one recently writing:
Working for all sides, McKinsey’s only allegiance is to capital. As capital’s most effective messenger, McKinsey has done direct harm to the world in ways that, thanks to its lack of final decision-making power, are hard to measure and, thanks to its intense secrecy, are hard to know.
The firm’s willingness to work with despotic governments and corrupt business empires is the logical conclusion of seeking profit at all costs. Its advocacy of the primacy of the market has made governments more like businesses and businesses more like vampires. By claiming that they solve the world’s hardest problems, McKinsey shrinks the solution space to only those that preserve the status quo.”
In addition to working with “despotic governments” like Saudi Arabia, McKinsey also regularly works for Israel’s government and military. For instance, McKinsey was given $27 million in 2011 to help “streamline” the Israeli military. McKinsey claimed that it had offered its services to Israel at a steep 36 percent discount. Then, a year later, McKinsey was tasked with reviewing Israel’s police force and determined that Israel did not have enough police patrolling its streets and “lagged” behind other countries in terms of police deployment. Furthermore, the company itself has a large presence in Israel, where it “works across all major sectors of Israel’s economy.”
Buttigieg’s connection to McKinsey, and his decidedly neutral view of the firm, have been largely glossed over in the coverage of his candidacy, despite the controversial nature of the company, which was recently revealed to have advised a leading pharmaceutical company on how to “turbocharge” the sales of opioids to Americans, despite the country’s severe opioid addiction and overdose crisis.
More “hope” and “change”
Buttigieg, like several other 2020 contenders for the Democratic nomination, has thus far built his campaign on platitudes and progressive “values” without providing policy plans that back them up. Indeed, Buttigieg is routinely evasive when pressed on any specific policies he champions. When recently asked to specify policies he supports by VICE, the former South Bend, Indiana mayor stated that “Right now I think we need to articulate the values, lay out our philosophical commitments and then develop policies off of that. And I’m working very hard not to put the cart before the horse.”
This same tactic, of promoting “values” and platitudes and failing to run on any policy, has become common in the 2020 field as other candidates who have received fawning media coverage — like Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke — have also built their campaign on platitudes and varying degrees of identity politics. It should come as no surprise, then, that Buttigieg has recently been compared to Barack Obama in several mainstream profiles. After all, Obama built much of his campaign on platitudes (i.e., “hope” and “change”) and vague policy positions as opposed to specific, detailed policy proposals.
Buttigieg’s decision to not promote any specific policy has allowed him to become a policy chameleon, and his stance on foreign policy, including Israel and Palestine, is no exception. As an example, Buttigieg has claimed that the Trump administration’s minimal efforts to reduce the number and intensity of “forever wars” has been “largely good,” even though he opposes Trump’s recent calls for a withdrawal of U.S. troops in Syria. Yet the epitome of the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce “forever wars” has been its calls for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria.
Buttigieg’s evasiveness and contradictory statements on foreign policy are all the more telling because such evasiveness is not due to a lack of knowledge on the subject. Indeed, Buttigieg wrote his undergraduate thesis on U.S. foreign policy. This suggests that his evasiveness on these issues since becoming a candidate for the presidency is instead based on political expediency.
Buttigieg’s past comments on Israel and Syria are compounded by a recent statement he made via Twitter that reads: “I did not carry an assault weapon around a foreign country so I could come home and see them used to massacre my countrymen.” The tweet was heavily criticized by anti-war voices on social media for its implication that it is perfectly fine to carry assault weapons as part of an occupying force in a foreign country, but not OK to carry those assault weapons domestically.
This troubling double standard suggests that Buttigieg, despite being a veteran, supports U.S. military adventurism abroad. This is further supported by his past position at the Cohen Group, a consulting firm founded by former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, a “moderate Republican” who oversaw the U.S.’ role in the NATO bombing of Kosovo.
In a crowded 2020 field and with mainstream media heavily promoting his candidacy, it is essential that all Americans take the time to research the past statements and positions of a candidate like Buttigieg, as opposed to merely relying on media-generated hype and statements made only after the establishment of one’s candidacy. The U.S., a country undeniably at a crossroads, cannot afford any candidate who cloaks his or her actual opinions and policies in platitudes and evasive or even contradictory language. Thus, a candidate’s past and track record are increasingly important, yet overlooked, aspects in a 2020 race that will have important implications for the country moving forward.
Top Photo | South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington, Jan. 24, 2019. Jose Luis Magana | AP
Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.
South Bend Mayor Buttigieg slams Omar for comparing Israel to Iran: ‘Just wrong’
The freshman congresswoman said, “ … when I see Israel institute laws that recognize it as a Jewish state and does not recognize the other religions that are living in it. And we still uphold it as a democracy in the Middle East.”
(January 31, 2019 / JNS) Pete Buttigieg, the popular mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, blasted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for comparing Israel to its adversary, Iran.
“People like me get strung up in Iran,” said Buttigieg, 37, on ABC’s “The View” on Thursday without mentioning Omar by name. He was referring to being openly gay, something that is outlawed in Iran and punishable by death. “So, the idea that what’s going on is equivalent is just wrong.On Tuesday, the freshman congresswoman said, “ … when I see Israel institute laws that recognize it as a Jewish state and does not recognize the other religions that are living in it,” she added. “And we still uphold it as a democracy in the Middle East. I almost chuckle because I know that if we see that any other society we would criticize it, call it out. We do that to Iran, we do that to any other place that sort of upholds its religion. And I see that now happening with Saudi Arabia and so I am aggravated, truly, in those contradictions.”
"It's a complicated picture," @PeteButtigieg says on America's relationship with Israel and what needs to be done moving forward: "We need to figure out, as an ally, what the regional security picture is going to look like in the future."
Buttigieg, who was in Israel last May as part of a tour for mayors organized by Project Interchange, an affiliate of the American Jewish Committee, said “not only is there a real problem with their long term [in] how they’re going to balance being a democracy with being a Jewish state. But they’ve also got to figure out—and we’ve got to figure out with them as an ally—what the regional security picture is going to look like in the future.”
Rockets from Syria were launched into Israel while Buttigieg was there.
“It has always been one of the most fiendishly complicated issues,” he added, “and simple answers will not serve us well at a time like this.”
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