Sentences about Israel

SES [socio-economic status] correlates to willingness to use military force, but not one’s assessment of the need for it.

That is from a fascinating and just-released book I have been reading from Jonathan D. Caverley, A Theory of Democratic Militarism: Voting, Wealth, and War.


If ever there were a topic where investigation should include Sweden and Switzerland ....

Well, this and "How to sell out to the Nazis."

Sweden wasn't supportive of the Nazis especially the Nazis horrors against the Jews. Wallenberg was a government official of Sweden who helped tens of thousands of jews escape the horrors of the Nazis.

Future movie director Ingmar Bergman was rooting for the Nazis to win up until the death camps were revealed in 1945 when he was in his later 20s.


Plus free passage of troops to Norway and the largest supplier of iron ore (most on credit). From their perspective it prevented an occupation, but let's not pretend they weren't helpful to Nazis.

"of all the neutrals Switzerland has the greatest right distinction... She has been a Democratic State, standing for freedom in self-defense among her mountains, and in thought, in spite of race, largely on our side."

Winston Churchill

This might be oblique reference to "But now, officials admit the kidnappings were not Hamas's handiwork after all." (link)

It doesn't surprise me that socio-economic status correlates with the ability to distinguish between "willingness to use force" and "the need for it." But we are seeing an awful breakdown, where the distinction was lost, and willingness trumped need.

No one said that Hamas perpetrated the kidnappings, only that they were responsible.

Just more FUD from the left wing media.

Actually, many in these threads did, and went further, that the Palestinian people "were responsible."

You only have to be a little bit sane to see past that. More than 3 murders were committed in Chicago last week. We do not shell them until they stop. We do not name arbitrary groupings of "responsibility."

No one suspects the government of Chicago to be complicit in either A) Not pursuing the killers with vigor, or B) Looking the other way whilst the killers went about their business.

If either A or B were routinely met - particularly regarding people kidnapped from neighboring jurisdictions, then yes I suspect Chicago may come under Federal "occupation" eventually. And if the government of Chicago violently resists said occupation, then yes why not some good old fashioned shelling.

I don't think the timeline supports that idea at all:

In the hours following the news, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinian Authority, the newly sworn in unity government comprising of both Hamas and Fatah members in the West Bank, was responsible for the attacks.

Timeline Of Events In Gaza and Israel Shows Sudden, Rapid Escalation

Basically, Israel was committed to their "mow the lawn" policy, and flipped it on immediately, without time for either your "A" or your "B."

I would agree with this new point your making, but not the original one.

Israel's problem is that the dramatic and abrupt use of force depends on group responsibility for those 3 murders.

That doesn't hang together, and makes today's photos all the more horrific. That's USA Today, with bleeding Palestinians and smiling Israelis.

Not exactly.....

It is true that Chicago might be unfairly singled out, but my point was more that 3 murders are not a large number, particularly to start a war. In other places, it is a crime problem. We could Google "3 murders" and get lots of hits in the US. (CBS NEWS July 21, 2014: "After 43 people were shot - four of them fatally - over another violent weekend in Chicago..")

Three murders aren't enough to start a war? Whatever happened to mowing the grass?

How about nearly 300 murders? That should be enough for us to put boots on the ground in Ukraine. Alexei, given your name and extremist political positions, I'd assume you'd approve that. [Just finding common ground].

Israel’s problem is that the dramatic and abrupt use of force depends on group responsibility for those 3 murders.

What are you talking about? This is a silly strawman argument.

That doesn’t hang together, and makes today’s photos all the more horrific. That’s USA Today, with bleeding Palestinians and smiling Israelis.

That's the good ol' MSM, conforming to Hamas' stipulations on Gaza journalists.

@Jan: I'm more of a quasi-pacifist, personally, but really don't like poorly constructed arguments.

As for MH in Ukraine...

1. Who routed the flight directly over Donetsk?

2. The number of dead is more or less irrelevant - it's about intent. Zero deaths from rockets intended to maim or kill are worth more than 1,000 by pure accident. Negligence falls somewhere in between, and so on.

3. All of this is irrelevant because (Ukrainian) "boots on the ground" are already in eastern Ukraine, of course.

AS: Weird. I don't really disagree with you, but I totally took you for a super-conservative, neo-con type who I expected to be very anti-Russian on foreign policy. Learn something new every day.


I suppose that anyone defending Israel will come off as a far right neo-con simply by association. It seems to me that many on the left hold Israel to a higher standard than they would any other nation, but I suppose that to the left it seems that the right does precisely the converse with Israel. Either way, its seems obvious that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict generates irrational opinions from many (myself included?), and that's one of the fascinating aspects of the whole thing.

Also, whilst being a quasi-pacifist myself (I've no idea what that even means), I don't hold others to my standards. It seems that by most typical contemporary standards, Israel would be entirely justified in at least occupying Gaza and the West Bank entirely... which makes the concern over the current tiny incursion rather confusing.

Finally, I assumed that you thought I was an ardent pro-Russia nationalist, haha. :)

but I suppose that to the left it seems that the right does precisely the converse with Israel

All right. Can you find me an example of the following?

1. A state is adjacent to a territory controlled by a parastatal mafia.
2. Said criminal organization launches attacks against said state with missiles and constructs tunnels to infiltrate that state and commit violent acts.
3. Said state blows up the infrastructure and takes out the equipment of said parastatal criminal organization, killing some people in the process.
4. Wm Kristol & co. organize a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against said state.

@Art Deco:

I'm with you 100% of the way, just recognizing that others don't see agree. Doesn't mean they're right.

Just more FUD from the left wing media.

Indeed. The media decided a long time ago that the rockets and terrorist infiltrations are being carried out by the "Hamas military wing" as if they are somehow detachable from the Hamas govt.

So according to Alexie if anyone in Gaza does something wrong the responsibility lies with Hamas. Am I the only one who has not realized that certain groups can control whole populations?

Asymmetrical morality. Anything bad my side does is a mistake. Anything the other side does wrong is intended, by every last one of them.

Frankly I think anyone not in that would just count civilian bodies, as a starting point. From that, "mowing grass" starts to look like genocide.

From that, “mowing grass” starts to look like genocide.

Come again?

The origins of "overkill" are pretty straightforward.

Yes, use of the term 'genocide' in this context does count as 'overkill'.

"Gaza death toll over 1,000 - Israeli toll up to 42"

Israel was both pragmatically foolish and inhumane to let things get that out of balance. Basically those numbers destroy the argument that "for our protection we must blow up X because X might have enemies within."

You do have to be a racist to view those numbers any other way. 1000 is few because they are the other, subhuman, now the grass, genocide.

Abhorent and disgusting comments, john. Should we compare civilian causalities in WWII and conclude that America was the country that committed genocide?

No one is cited in that report other than "officials" (which officials? MK Zoabi is an "official," too) and one or two Israeli commentators who have been pushing this narrative from the beginning. Conversely, there are scores of officials on record contradicting this. Either way, whether Hamas leadership actually ordered this act (unlikely, as Hamas generally does not operate in this fashion) is irrelevant. One of the kidnappers comes from a clan that is a major player in Hamas, and that the killers still remain at large (whereas the Israelis caught the murderers of Mohammed Abu Khdeir in a few days) indicates that they are receiving substantial local support. Israel holds Hamas responsible for the kidnappings - rightly so - in a much broader sense than signing an order charging the kidnappers with kidnapping these specific boys.

Moreover, I'm not sure why the recording subject to the original gag-order is being treated as some sort of smoking gun. The Israeli security services simply know what we know now: it is likely that the boys were dead on the day they were kidnapped. Now that bodies have been found this conclusion becomes even more likely. But before bodies were found, it would have been highly irresponsible to conclude on the basis of that recording that they were certainly dead. And even had there been other evidence that they were, the bodies still needed to be found. Had the Israeli public known everything the security services knew from the get-go, I imagine the reaction would have been identical (until the bodies had been found).

Israel really is fascinating, isn't it? They do all these things that the economists swear are just terrible policy, like controlling their borders, maintaining the cultural and political dominance of their ethnic majority. And lo and behold, the place actually prospers. And nobody even calls them 'white supremacists' or 'KKK' or 'xenophobes' or anything. Just really, really intriguing.

I guess Israel is just one of those mysterious, paradoxical, enigmatic places where the iron laws of democracy, multi-culturalism and open borders just don't seem to apply. What sort of crazy, down-is-up kind of place is that? And there are these other countries over there--I forget the names--and it's like, wow, same thing: multiculturalism and free migration of economic units from Libya, the Arab emirates, Chechnya, London and St. Paul-Minnesota aren't resulting in trillion dollar bills appearing on sidewalks. What's up with this baffling world and why isn't it following the model? I'd say maybe the economists forgot to carry a number or something but we know that never happens, so I guess there's just some metaphysical break in the space-time continuum. Mindblowing.

We in California are picking up those billions off the sidewalk, with our multiculturalism, but low and behold, the same economists declare us a failed state!

Man, that's great news! No wonder there aren't any poor people or no-go zones in California!

Dude. Do you ever watch Wallander? If Sweden has "no-go zones" I think we can grant California, or anyplace else, a few.

If you can use land-use and environmental regulation to keep your own neck of the woods low-density and expensive, then those zones of vibrancy pay for themselves!

So that's 3 targets in three posts. You are quick, I'll give you that.

But no, the "six Californias" are not uniformly (a) protected, (b) low-density, or (c) expensive.

As a fun research project, you should investigate what policies and circumstances led to Swedish EMTs refusing to enter certain parts of Malmo.

It's an illustrative exercise.

You're right. Let's get back to the topic at hand: Israel, where border fences and ethnic nationalism mysteriously never result in the economic and moral impoverishment which we are assured would be the result anywhere else.

Jim, in either Wallander (British or original Swedish) our hero sides with neither Muslim radicals nor violent Skinheads. Both Wallenders have their heads on straight.

"the place actually prospers"

If you are willing to accept massive inequality, religious law, extensive conscription, the permanent risk of terrorism, and imperial settlement policies against one's neighbours, then yes.

If only Israel would open their borders and stop favoring the dominant Jewish ethnicity, I bet the place would literally explode with trillion dollar bills. I don't know why Tyler's so fascinated with such an impoverished, reactionary hellhole.

25% of israel is latino (arab)

Israel = USA

USA invade afghanistan and Iraq as revenge. Israel invades Palestina as revenge

How can you not see the parallels.

The best land for the best people, right? The massive boost in immigration from some of the best-educated Soviets (many of whom are not actually Jewish, by the way) helped a lot in the 90s. Also, most of the country's generally good governance has flowed from a well-educated elite that established strong institutions and policy in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Most of these people were not born in colonial outposts with virtually no investment in education, like the Palestinians were. No, they came from Western countries, or the Soviet Union.

The blockades of Gaza that lead to malnutrition, which are referred to, jokingly, as “putting Palestinians on a diet.” So rich, so accomplished. Trillion dollar bills, amirite?

The blockades of Gaza that lead to malnutrition, which are referred to, jokingly, as “putting Palestinians on a diet.” -

Apropos of nothing .. portraying Israelis as total sadists ... yes that's the ticket.

(many of whom are not actually Jewish, by the way

We have it on our authority.

Most of these people were not born in colonial outposts with virtually no investment in education, like the Palestinians were. No, they came from Western countries, or the Soviet Union.

Actually, the Arabs in question have benefited from schooling provided by the UNRWA, by Jordan, and by Israel. Those from Jordan's east bank were doing exceptionally well ca. 1975 because there was a tremendous demand for skilled technicians in the Gulf and these produced mega-remittance flows for Jordan. Israel founded four tertiary institutions on the West Bank in addition to their other initiatives. Fat lot of good it did.

The majority of Israel's Jews arrived there from various Arab and Near Eastern countries, by the way.

Apropos of nothing .. portraying Israelis as total sadists … yes that’s the ticket.

Jan is a reliable exponent of Eurotrash attitudes.

Thats not really what he is trying to say, is it?

None of the "bad" things you mention are the reason that Israel prospers, and none of them are what he is making fun of.

None of the “bad” things you mention are the reason that Israel prospers,

Oh, I'm sure the state of public order would be just Georgia-peachy-keen if Israel were inundated with Syrian Arabs and public policy fostering economic development would be just ace emerging from tangles between competing ethnic blocs. Hasn't public life in Lebanon been just grand these last four decades?

massive inequality

Israel has slightly more equality than America.

Religious law, that's a feature not a bug. In Israel, mixed marriages are not allowed. The risk of any given Israeli citizen dying from terrorism is much less than the chance of an American citizen dying from murder. The difference is they don't except terrorism as a fact of life.

Mixed marriages are allowed in Israel, though, in practice, they might cost up to $1000 more.

One in ten marriages in Israel are interfaith unions. They are tough to perform in-country, but they are certainly allowed, and recognized.

One in ten marriages in Israel are interfaith unions

You fancy that 25% of the Arabs & sundry in Israel marry Jews?

If you are willing to accept massive inequality,

The Arab population in Israel sports a per capita income higher than any other Arab population in the world other than those in some small Gulf oil sheikhdoms. It's about 40% lower than the Jewish per capita income, but those sorts of disparities are unremarkable in ethnically fissured societies.

Israel = USA.

Israel is multuculturalism

1.5 million(!) the same amount as in gaza, live in israel (not the gaza or west bank)!!!!!

arabas that is

And it's still a JEWISH state. Multicutluralism according to modern American standards means for the dominant ethnicity to allow itself to be a doormat for the others, displacement level NAM immigration, affirmative action, White guilt, a "state of all citizens," racial socialism, celebrating racial/ethnic mixing, ect. Israel has none of that.

Good thing we were explicitly founded as a homeland for white, Christian people.

I thought this was a homeland for Asiatic hunters, no for Spanish Conquistadors, no a post-Spanish Republic, no a State in a contenental Union.

Jeez, this monocultural homeland stuff is tricky.

And nobody even calls them ‘white supremacists’ or ‘KKK’ or ‘xenophobes’

You haven't read the utterances of many advocates for the Arab cause, have you?

Do you really not understand what we're saying here, or are you just engaged in deliberate deflection?

Yes, I understand what you're saying. I'm not referring to Bryan Caplan's humbug. People actually do refer to Israel as an 'apartheid state'. If I'm not mistaken, it's been used by one of the participants in this very discussion. Asinine, but then most people who follow public affairs are these days.


He writes "Democracies have fought foolish wars, built massive militaries, and have shown remarkable enthusiasm for imperialism".

1. Were the wars "foolish", or is this another academic handing you a load of wisdom of hindsight?

2. The United States built a massive military between 1940 and 1954. Doing so was somewhat reactive. Military spending as a share of domestic product then declined monotonically for the next quarter century and was at the end of that period 60% smaller than it had been in 1953. During the last 20 years, that metric has hardly exceeded the Cold War nadir. While we're at it, Soviet Russia constructed a military which encompassed about 20% of domestic product by 1975, but that doesn't fit the narrative.

3. Czarist Russia, the Hapsburgs, and the Ottoman sultans all constructed their empires under absolutist regimes; there initiatives in constitutional government post-dated their empire building. The unification of Germany, the unification of Italy, and the acquisition of a overseas dependencies by the Netherlands all were undertaken by constitutional regimes wherein the body politic consisted of modest minorities or was dominated by modest minorities (< 20% of the adult male population in the Netherlands and Prussia, low single digits in Piedmont-Sardinia). The British Empire outside of Africa was assembled under similar circumstances, as was France's acquisition of Algeria. The Belgian state was the receiver of King Leopold's sanguinary commercial ventures. Overseas dependencies held by Germany and the United States after 1885 were never that important demographically or economically to the metropole and the principal American dependency was never understood as a permanent acquisition.

The man's talking about France after 1860, Italy's stomp through the Maghreb, and Britain during the era of Cecil Rhodes and Joseph Chamberlain (1885-1905). On that sample of three he's constructing a 'theory of democratic militarism'?

I'd say that Tyler is off today.

The sentence
"SES [socio-economic status] correlates to willingness to use military force, but not one’s assessment of the need for it."
is just not a very good one.

It's unclear in its meaning.
Try the shortened version:
"SES [socio-economic status] DOES NOT correlate to one’s assessment of the need for it."
THAT too is meaningless as a sentence by itself. Far too many assumptions to know what it means.

Base sentence: too cryptic/unclear to be a useful place to start a discussion.

Caverley is the sort of twit who sticks the character string "The Myth of..." on his articles and book chapters.

There are two sides to this story, like it or not?

There is a petition going around the globe, against Israel and their supporters. When the dead Palestinian children were, merely collateral damage, the anger exploded. The petition signatures, must be in the millions by now.

SES [socio-economic status] correlates to willingness to use military force, but not one’s assessment of the need for it.

Once again, Tyler writes as if the only thing worth discussing is the psychological/sociological/public choice aspects of why Israelis think that they are entitled to a "regular" existence. Just like his friends at Vox, he sees no need or reason to justify the repeated implicit and explicit assertions that Israel should not take preventative action - let alone retaliate - against Hamas.

Apparently Israel should take down the naval blockade of Gaza so that Hamas can build up a real army and Air Force. Also Israel has to let Hamas continue to build tunnels under the border into Kibutz Be'eri, Kibutz Nir Am etc. so that they can infiltrate and murder people in these communities. (he might not know about this because the New York Times etc. barely mention the tunnels under the border).

Israel informs the Palestinians before it launches attacks so that civilians can leave the area. This endangers soldiers and makes operations less effective. But Tyler, Ezra etc. just keep on sneering.

Oh and those rockets .... goes without saying that Israelis just have to get used to them.

I guess that Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram etc. are "different" somehow. No need to try to win their hearts and minds. Just fight them.

I'm not sure the moderator is taking sides with this.

Caverley defines 'militarism' on page 3, but even his idiosyncratic use of the term makes a nonsense definition applied to any contemporary occidental country.

I’m not sure the moderator is taking sides with this.

Previously Tyler wrote:

Or is the fear that even intercepted Hamas rockets will in the long run spur too much Israeli emigration? Are the economics of long-run rocket/shoot-down reciprocity unacceptable to Israel?

ie. Tyler says why can't Israelis just live with rocket fire?

He also wrote:

I do think it is deontologically wrong on the part of the Israelis, and I also do not understand their strategy from even a purely nationalistic point of view. But my voice will have no influence....

One could expend a lot of pixels trying to unpack that pithy statement....

However it is clear (at least under a non-Straussian reading) that Tyler - like that folks at Vox and most of the pontificators on the internet - thinks that what the Israelis are doing is objectionable but won't offer an explicit statement on what they should be doing instead.

I suspect it's just reductionism. He's speaking as if economic calculation were the exclusive mode of decision-making on public questions.

The moral rules are governing his "deontological" statement are not the Geneva conventions.

Perhaps Tyler's moral universe is one of hyperindividualism in which a state cannot defend its citizens because doing so would inevitably kill, hurt, or restrict the freedom of non-citizens.

By the way, Israeli media is reporting that John Kerry almost completely capitulated to Hamas conditions for a ceasefire.

Kerry should have said that firing rockets at cities is a crime against humanity and stopping it cannot be made conditional on anything.

Israeli cabinet ministers reportedly said that Kerry lacked understanding of basic issues.

Israeli cabinet ministers reportedly said that Kerry lacked understanding of basic issues.

Kerry's preparation for the post was that his father was a Foreign Service officer and he'd devoted a mess of time while a member of Congress running committee inquiries intending to embarrass Republican administrations. At the end of the day, Kerry is what he always was: a rank-and-file criminal defense lawyer whose in politics faux de mieux.

Back to first comment. I have not read the book. Switzerland, where I live, immigrant, is aggressively neutral and empiricaly the most democratic set of states.

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