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Satire done right

Mark Steel praises our new-found tolerance for child murderers.

In recent years most of humanity has become proudly more tolerant of groups who once seemed to be on the margins of society. But until now it’s still been seen as acceptable to be offensive about one minority, which is the child murdering community.

At last it seems the mood is changing, and finally we’re beginning to hear the child murderers’ point of view.

For example one brave soul, prepared to speak out, is spokesman Uri Drome, who explained on Radio 4 yesterday that although the Israeli government bombed a school that several children died in, the deaths are clearly the fault of the people who live in the areas being bombed.

What a refreshing change from that tired old thinking that always blames murder on the murderer.

Comments

  1. paulburnett says

    Why do we support Israel when they have no oil, and oppose Israel’s enemies who do have oil? Is it because our fundagelical rulers cannot distinguish between today’s Israelis and the Israelites of old?

  2. says

    Is it that simple, though? Hamas puts rocket batteries on top of schools (which they do in attempt to use school children as human shields), which get fired (indiscriminately into Israeli neighborhoods. I’m in no way exonerating Israel’s actions, but I don’t think that putting some blame on Hamas for their tactic of intertwining themselves with the civilian population is unjustified. (I also don’t think that blaming Hamas is the same as blaming the dead school children)

  3. says

    That human shield argument has been shown to be so much bollocks, in is the same as 200 yards away apparently.

    You need to look at a map and see exactly how densely packed the Gaza strip is.

    Incidentally, they did it again this morning, took out another school.

    Now they’re saying their ground invasion will continue after the tunnel network is destroyed.

    Perhaps if the US stopped kissing their arse in the UN, arming and funding them we might actually be able to do something about them? They’re clearly a murderous rogue state. Nuclear armed no less but yeah, Iran is the main problem. Sure.

  4. Matt Penfold says

    “Is it that simple, though? Hamas puts rocket batteries on top of schools (which they do in attempt to use school children as human shields), which get fired (indiscriminately into Israeli neighborhoods. I’m in no way exonerating Israel’s actions, but I don’t think that putting some blame on Hamas for their tactic of intertwining themselves with the civilian population is unjustified. (I also don’t think that blaming Hamas is the same as blaming the dead school children)”

    In the case of the UN schools this is simply not true, and you are excusing barbarity by deliberately spreading what you know, or should know and have no excuse for not knowing, this falsehood.

    Do you want to explain why ?

  5. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re @1:
    I too, find our support of Israel, somewhat paradoxical. We seem to love to hate them. But then, we hate even more, the people they’re fighting (“enemy of my enemy…is my friend” … sorta).
    The fundagelical aspect must NOT be brushed aside. If Israel is destroyed, the ‘End Times’ follow.
    They survived the shoah, so we must help them survive in the “Holy Land”, so we can visit, tourism style.
    [donning tinfoil hat] And do not forget that Zionists are in control of our goverdement and all our banks are Zionists. So money will always flow to protect their parents and siblings over in the “old country”. Donchaknow?

  6. qwints says

    Amnesty International says

    The Israeli authorities claim that Hamas and Palestinian armed groups use Palestinian civilians in Gaza as “human shields”. Does Amnesty International have any evidence that this has occurred during the current hostilities?
    Amnesty International is monitoring and investigating such reports, but does not have evidence at this point that Palestinian civilians have been intentionally used by Hamas or Palestinian armed groups during the current hostilities to “shield” specific locations or military personnel or equipment from Israeli attacks. In previous conflicts Amnesty International has documented that Palestinian armed groups have stored munitions in and fired indiscriminate rockets from residential areas in the Gaza Strip in violation of international humanitarian law. Reports have also emerged during the current conflict of Hamas urging residents to ignore Israeli warnings to evacuate. However, these calls may have been motivated by a desire to minimize panic and displacement, in any case, such statements are not the same as directing specific civilians to remain in their homes as “human shields” for fighters, munitions, or military equipment. Under international humanitarian law even if “human shields” are being used Israel’s obligations to protect these civilians would still apply.

  7. qwints says

    Israel was attacked maliciously and unprovoked by a gang of babies. When that many babies get together they can be like piranha.

  8. rossthompson says

    Israel was attacked maliciously and unprovoked

    Yeah! All Israel did was to steal their land, cut off their access to food and water, and prevent them from having any political representation! What kind of babies would respond to that with unprovoked violence?

    There is serious fault on both sides, and Israel (being the combatant with the most power) has the greatest responsibility to ensure that things like this don’t happen. But instead they continually ratchet up the aggression. Like America, they seem to think that if they kill enough “militants” there will soon be none left, and killing a few thousand civilians is a small price to pay to achieve that. And yet somehow, there are more people who are prepared to die to oppose Israel or America every year.

  9. rossthompson says

    Hamas puts rocket batteries on top of schools

    The Gaza Strip is one big, densely populated urban area. Israel has taken control of all the farmland, and forced more and more people to live in a smaller and smaller area. Hamas launch their attacks from residential neighbourhoods because that is all the places they control.

    Israel forces the Palestinians into ghettos, and when they fire rockets into the ghetto and kill dozens of children, it’s because Hamas doesn’t care about babies.

  10. says

    Jarred Barber

    Is it that simple, though? Hamas puts rocket batteries on top of schools (which they do in attempt to use school children as human shields), which get fired (indiscriminately into Israeli neighborhoods. I’m in no way exonerating Israel’s actions, but I don’t think that putting some blame on Hamas for their tactic of intertwining themselves with the civilian population is unjustified. (I also don’t think that blaming Hamas is the same as blaming the dead school children)

    And like most simple stories, it is also completely untrue. But thanks for playing.

  11. says

    Ooh Mark Steel has a blog. *grabs RSSS*

    qwints #6

    Israel was attacked maliciously and unprovoked by a gang of babies. When that many babies get together they can be like piranha.

    Ah, a hugely complex interweaving of political, ideological, economical and human-rights issues, boiled down to two simple and obviously non-partisan sentences. You’re a frickin’ genius!

  12. Ed Seedhouse says

    But, even if we accept the claim that Hamas is using children as shields, how does that give Israel the right to shoot hostages?

    When did two wrongs start adding up to a right?

  13. Jarred says

    #5 – thanks for that. It’s quite possible that my assertion (about human shields) was wrong. I had read it multiple times from multiple sources. Unfortunately, I have found it difficult to find remotely objective sources for this particular topic.

    #12 – Nobody claimed that

  14. says

    I never got how the “yes, Israel kills civilians, but that’s what Hamas wants” argument is supposed to make sense. Since when is it a good idea to do what your enemy wants you to do?

  15. Ed Seedhouse says

    > Jarred – 3 August 2014 at 12:19 pm
    >#12 – Nobody claimed that

    Oh come on. The whole point of the “They are terrible people doing terrible things” argument is to justify the arguer’s actions. No one ever says “but that doesn’t give us the right to do terrible things in return”.

  16. Jarred says

    #15 Well, I had assumed that you were responding to me, and I certainly didn’t claim that.

  17. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Oh look at that, another school under UN protection was not bombed by Israel. Someone just bombed a place near the school, killing 10 people.
    Of course, Hamas is blamed again for using school as a “human shield”.

    *facepalm*
    How long can people fall for this crap?

  18. laurentweppe says

    How long can people fall for this crap?

    People do not fail for this crap: it’s like the whole “Saddam Hussein has WMD and is Bin Landen’s Buddy and they are conspiring together against ‘Murica, and everyone who disagree is an islamist-killer-loving traitor” bullshit used to sell the Iraq invasion to the American public: the maximalist rhetoric carried the veiled threat that those who didn’t fall in line would suffer from ostracization or worse, and it was repeated both by those who wanted to browbeat the public into acceptance and those who wanted to prevent the bullies from targeting them.

  19. Ed Seedhouse says

    > Jarred 3 August 2014 at 1:08 pm

    > #15 Well, I had assumed that you were responding to me, and I certainly didn’t claim > that.

    How lovely for you. You didn’t actually outright say the only logical conclusion of your argument so you aren’t responsible!

  20. Jarred says

    #19 It’s *not* the only logical conclusion. Multiple parties can be jointly responsible for shitty things happening.

  21. says

    Jarred Barber#3
    You do realize that it’s possible to respond to a rocket launch in a manner other than ‘blanket the whole area with mass artillery fire’, right? As I noted in a different thread about this, there’s no reason that Israel can’t hang a constellation of aerostat drones over Gaza, which track launches, note the people who were standing by the rockets when they launched, keep an eye on where they go, and communicate that information to a squad of troops who go round and take them into custody. It’s entirely technically feasible, all it requires is that the IDF actually consider Palestinians humans.

  22. mildlymagnificent says

    And for the ultimate cherry on this shit sundae, I watched and Al Jazeera interview with a doctor in the early hours of this morning.

    He was showing some distressing things we might have predicted. That they were running out of everything from surgical gloves to IV fluids and antibiotics. Then he complained that he’d had calls from the Israeli commanders at various times telling him that they were going to include the hospital as an artillery target. I’m half convinced that these awful people were more or less serious about this – even if they didn’t carry through it’s a great bullying tactic getting the hospital to worry about whether they should try and get people away from the hospital rather than getting people into it.

  23. Tualha says

    Is it really surprising that most American conservatives have consistently supported Israel’s right to: (1) move into an area where other people were living; (2) form their own government, excluding the indigenes; (3) marginalize the indigenes, forcing them into ever-smaller areas of land and taking more and more of that land over time; and (4) respond to any aggression with overwhelming force?

    After all, that’s exactly what the European settlers and their descendants did to the indigenous Americans. The only difference is that the Israelis at least have some historical claim to the region, based on some of their ancestors having lived there over 1,900 years ago.

  24. wcorvi says

    It’s interesting that for 25 comments, the theme goes like this: “They killed school children” “But before that, they put missile launchers in school yards” “But before that, they took their land and forced them into concentrated cities” “But before that ….”

    The point is, this goes back 4000 years. And where you stop, is determined by who you want to support. Each side has developed a philosophy that if the other side agrees to a cease-fire, it’s a sign of weakness and means ATTACK! The only reason for a cease-fire is to allow time for the next weapons shipment to arrive.

  25. lorn says

    “We will not bend or fail until the blood of every last Jew from the youngest child to the oldest elder is spilt to redeem our land!”
    Yasser Arafat

    “Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations.”
    Yasser Arafat

    “We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem.”
    Yasser Arafat

    Before anyone thinks that policy died with the man you have to realize that Hamas, like the PLO before it, refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and that whereas the PLO was not religion based, Hamas is. With God assumed to be extant, and on their side, they openly say that they will not compromise, give up, or settle for anything less than total victory. The Palestinians have never been known to show restraint. They try to kill as many Jews as possible with every attack. The only limit for them is their ability to get to their targets and the willingness of the Israelis to spend resources on defense.

    The Palestinians have shown no desire to build defenses. Materials and efforts are made building scores of tunnels and thousands of rockets and generally planning for attacks but little seems to go to protection of their civilian populations. The Israelis build public bomb shelters at close intervals for anyone to use. They have demanded all buildings include gas-tight bomb shelters for the inhabitants in their building codes. Where are the Palestinian reinforced concrete bomb shelters? Did all the iron go to rockets and all the concrete to tunnels?

    Of course, it isn’t like you really need to have iron and concrete for good protection. All you need is a shovel and someone willing to swing it. Given the unemployment rate I would think manpower wouldn’t be an issue. When the US was bombing North Vietnam they built thousands of small shelters. Some made out a large clay pot buried. Many little more than a simple, but quite effective, slit trench. If you wanted to keep the kids from getting injured you stuff them into their hole when the bombs start going off.

    A slit trench is a short trench barely shoulder wide and deep, and just long enough to accommodate one or two people. It is arranged perpendicular to the likely direction of attack and the people, to get maximum protection, sit in the bottom with their back to the incoming fire. It is the time honored protector of soldiers and civilians and requires nothing but a shovel and effort.

    Watching the news with families crying I noticed some commonalities. The kids on the beach were reported as “playing”. And later the explosion in a UN school, initially reported as Israeli action but now considered more likely to have been a misdirected Hamas rocket, I thought the pattern of fragments looked odd for a Israeli weapon, the man said his kids were playing in the playground. It took a day or so for the oddity of this to sink in.

    A Hamas spokesman has declared that Hamas considers this to be a war but parents are still sending their kids out to play. The sounds of explosions are heard all over Gaza and the parents are still sending the kids out to play. I don’t understand it. If there was a war going on I would be digging holes and getting the children into them. And they would stay there. Playtime be damned.

    Where are the shelters and why aren’t the Palestinian children in them?

  26. Marc Abian says

    So, you are claiming all those civilian deaths are ok, because of what Arafat said?

    And it’s also the fault of the Palestinians for not building enough shelters and slits in the ground and allowing their children to play?

    That baby who died when the power plant was hit and her incubator could no longer work, was that the baby’s fault for picking the wrong hospital, or should the hospital have been built in a trench? Or caked in clay?

    What the hell is your point on the playing thing anyway? They say there’s a war, but the children are playing. Therefore, it can’t really be a war, or therefore Palestinians are sending their kids out to be killed to win a PR victory, or Palestinians have no concept of safety?

    Where are the shelters and why aren’t the Palestinian children in them?

    I believe there were some children sheltering in each of the 7 UN schools that Israel have hit.

    Given the unemployment rate I would think manpower wouldn’t be an issue.

    Tact is very much the watchword for you, isn’t it?

  27. Bernard Bumner says

    If your answer to this is “why aren’t Palestinian children cowering in holes in the ground?”, then your moral compass is horrifically miscalibrated.

    Still, those Palestinian children will end up in the ground, one way or another, so don’t worry.

  28. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    marko,

    That comment was so absurd, the only way for it to work would be as satire. Unfortunately, given lorn’s previous comments, it obviously wasn’t.

    Marc Abian,

    She shouldn’t have gotten pregnant. That’s the answer you were looking for. I mean, blaming the baby would be absurd, but blaming the mother for trying to live her life in the middle of an endless occupation… totally makes sense.
    Right, Zionist fans?

    (Bonus points: if those irresponsible Palestinians stop breeding while living under occupation, there will be less and less Palestinians for Isareli to deal with. Win!)

    PS;: that was satire, by the way

  29. lorn says

    Answers in no particular order:

    UN schools are not shelters from fire from either side. they seem to be, typical of the architecture of the region, to be made of reinforced concrete designed for normal and expected loads, not high explosives and fragments. The only protection is in the form of an imaginary box around GPS coordinates. An imaginary box that stops nothing, from either side. Locate a a well engineered shelter, or a series of simple slit trenches and you have both physical and administrative protection.

    ———-
    When one is talking about war, politics by other means, in this case by use of high explosives, tact is not a virtue. And satire is irreverent.

    ——–
    If you love your kids you protect them. If that means they have to spend time in holes, cowering or playing patty cake, then it doesn’t sound like too much of a burden to dig the hole so you can take advantage of the simple fact that it is hard to break dirt. On the other hand, if you desire to win propaganda points by being able to point to your broken children then leaving them unprotected is the proper course. This is a values judgment that exposed the priorities of the Plaistinian people to both themselves and others.

    According to some sources there are some shelters. The Hamas leadership is reported to shelter itself under a hospital and the tunnels are restricted by the leadership to fighters and weapons. Another demonstration of values and priorities.

    ———-
    The children are the victims. They are victimized by adults who fail to protect them by the most basic means and the war. I say the war because it is becoming clear that misdirected Hamas rockets are as deadly to Palestinian children as anything the Israelis do.

    ——–
    Glad you raised the population question:
    “Abu Mailaq said that Gaza’s fertility rate would be considered high even for developed countries with a high average income, let alone for a besieged territory suffering a blockade, extreme poverty, high unemployment and low per capita income.”

    From: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/04/gaza-growing-population-challences.html#

    Whether by tacit consent or design the Palestinians seem determined to make the living conditions within Gaza as hellish as possible, and then turn around and use that self-impose suffering as a club to beat Israel.

    Another take
    “Pedersen says that a sense of duty to expand the population is a factor that can’t be dismissed. “There have been statements from Hamas urging women to have more children to create a larger army,” he says.”

    From: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25993-the-reasons-why-gazas-population-is-so-young.html

  30. anteprepro says

    lorn

    If you love your kids you protect them. If that means they have to spend time in holes, cowering or playing patty cake, then it doesn’t sound like too much of a burden to dig the hole so you can take advantage of the simple fact that it is hard to break dirt. On the other hand, if you desire to win propaganda points by being able to point to your broken children then leaving them unprotected is the proper course.

    Your victim blaming is noted. Speaking of propaganda, you fucking hypocrite. Go fuck yourself. Come back once you grow yourself some humanity.

  31. Nick Gotts says

    lorn@37,

    “Abu Mailaq said that Gaza’s fertility rate would be considered high even for developed countries with a high average income, let alone for a besieged territory suffering a blockade, extreme poverty, high unemployment and low per capita income.”

    WTF? Anyone with the slightest knowledge of modern demography knows that there is a clear negative correlation between birth rate and per capita income. You only have to look at a map of birth rates by country, FFS.

    Whether by tacit consent or design the Palestinians seem determined to make the living conditions within Gaza as hellish as possible, and then turn around and use that self-impose suffering as a club to beat Israel. –

    That you can actually believe crap like that says a lot more about you than about the Gazans.

  32. says

    theo #35

    To clarify. Matt was answering the charge that “Hamas puts rocket batteries on top of schools (which they do in attempt to use school children as human shields)”

    The weapons found were in vacant schools:

    The main U.N. agency in Gaza, UNRWA, found the rockets in one of its vacant schools a week ago. It found a second batch in a vacant school on Tuesday, but said in a statement that because staff were withdrawn quickly, they were “unable to confirm the precise number.”

    Pretty hard to use non-present children as a human shield, yes? I agree that using such places puts all schools at a certain risk of being viewed as potential military targets, especially in light of the Israelis’ willingness—I could almost say eagerness—to shoot at innocents on the thinnest excuse, but (again) the “human shield” accusation turns out to be pure bunkum.

  33. Nick Gotts says

    The point is, this goes back 4000 years. – wcorvi@26

    No, it doesn’t. If you’re going to take the “I’m a rational, sophisticated person who understands the historical background” tack, it’s advisable to ensure you do actually have some understanding of the historical background.

  34. Marc Abian says

    On the other hand, if you desire to win propaganda points by being able to point to your broken children then leaving them unprotected is the proper course. This is a values judgment that exposed the priorities of the Plaistinian people to both themselves and others.

    Here’s my judgement: You’re a wilfully blind piece of shit.

  35. lorn says

    anteprepro @n 38:

    “Your victim blaming is noted. Speaking of propaganda, you fucking hypocrite. Go fuck yourself. Come back once you grow yourself some humanity.”

    So I take it I won that point and your emotional response is a result of your difficulty squaring Palestinian behavior with expected level of human decency. And, as an aside, you are wrong. You can’t wrap your head around the clear distinction of who is victim and who is victimizer. I don’t blame the victims, the children. I do blame the victimizers, the adults responsible for taking reasonable steps to protect the children. If you fail to get your kid into a child seat and someone drives into you and the kid dies because they were not in the car seat you cannot place all the blame onto the other driver. In many cases you cannot place any blame on the other driver unless you can claim they intended to drive into you.

    I could cite law but, based upon your emotional tendencies, I doubt you would make the effort to understand. Understanding a complicated reality requires effort. You like the world simple where there is a emotionally derived determination of virtue. Good guys, and bad guys, and you get to feel better about yourself by playing at being the righteous defender.

    Marc Abian @ 43:
    Back at you sunshine.

    Sooo sensitive about what actions, and the lack of actions, tell people. When you see the world in black and white it hurts to think that the side losing children might not be entirely blameless. Are you more upset that I point out difficult contradiction, or is the fact that you can’t logically demand that Israelis care more for Palestinian children than Palestinians do more frustrating for you?

  36. anteprepro says

    lorn

    So I take it I won that point and your emotional response ….

    Spoken like a true troll.

  37. says

    lorn #43

    I do blame the victimizers, the adults responsible for taking reasonable steps to protect the children.

    “I order you to fire on that school full of children.”
    “But sir, it’s full of children!”
    “Nevertheless, you will fire on it.”
    “That order is illegal and I will not follow it. Sir.”

    There’s your reasonable steps to protect children.

  38. laurentweppe says

    So I take it I won that point

    No, you just demonstrated that you’re a fucking psychopath who perceives other human beings as cardboard cutouts whose role is to be waived in a game of wits.

  39. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    lorn

    I do blame the victimizers, the adults responsible for taking reasonable steps to protect the children.

    Ah, so the Israeli who knowingly bomb children.

  40. Anri says

    If lorn’s kids even end up in a hostage situation, let’s hope lorn isn’t the negotiator.

    …or maybe it’s just other people’s kids that aren’t worth not killing.

  41. Monsanto says

    Oh, come on! The Israelis dropped leaflets all over Gaza warning non-combatants to leave before they invaded. How could they know that kids might actually be in a school? Or that sick people are sometimes in a hospital? After all, didn’t everyone have fair warning?

    Some day, should I decide to bomb a building in NYC, I’ll warn all the residents of the city by all means possible to leave for a month while I decide which building to bomb. It’s the only ethical and moral thing I could do.

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