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ISM: Lies, damn lies, and more lies Latin
by yourish 2:26pm Thu Jul 31 '03

I thought nonviolent resistance included, well, nonviolence. Tearing down a fence—no matter the reason—is a violent action. You cannot have a nonviolent fence destruction; it simply defies the definition.
print article

ISM: Lies, damn lies, and more lies

Via Sha!, a letter from two ISM "peace" activists, attempting to explain what they're doing. It's nothing but lies from the opening to the close. It's fisked over there, but Sha missed a few spots.

Occupied peoples have the right to resist, By Tom Wallace and Radhika Sainath
'We have all committed ourselves to the practice of nonviolence and do not assist anyone in committing acts of violence'

Except when they are hiding terrorists in their offices and being used by British Muslims as a cover while on a mission to blow up Israeli civilians.

As volunteers with The International Solidarity Movement and as individuals devoted to human rights and justice, we must address recent statements maligning us, our movement and those that have given their lives standing up for the principles we espouse.

We are unwavering in our commitment to nonviolence.

And yet, the ISM "about" page says this:

The International Solidarity Movement is a Palestinian-led movement of Palestinian and International activists working to raise awareness of the struggle for Palestinian freedom and an end to Israeli occupation. We utilize nonviolent, direct-action methods of resistance to confront and challenge illegal Israeli occupation forces and policies.

As enshrined in international law and UN resolutions, we recognize the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle. However, we believe that nonviolence can be a powerful weapon in fighting oppression and we are committed to the principles of nonviolent resistance.

"Legitimate armed struggle" has become a code-phrase for terrorism. But more important, here's what the ISM nutjobs did today for their "principles of nonviolent resistance:"

Israelis, Palestinians and foreign volunteers affiliated with the International Solidarity Movement were confronted with tear gas and rubber bullets on Monday when they tore down portions of the security fence and forced open a locked gate to allow villagers of Anin, north west of Jenin, to tend to their fields.

IDF forces deployed at the site watched the demonstrators over 200 in number as they marched towards the fence, then intervened and dispersed the activists when they began tearing the fence down. Five people, all foreign ISM volunteers, were wounded.

That's some nonviolent resistance. Yup. Can't imagine why the IDF sent tear gas and rubber bullets their way.

I thought nonviolent resistance included, well, nonviolence. Tearing down a fence—no matter the reason—is a violent action. You cannot have a nonviolent fence destruction; it simply defies the definition.

But the stupidity of the ISM defies definition, so I suppose I shouldn't be shocked.

Deport those asshats already. The IDF has enough to do with the so-called hudna going on (they found three more bombs today). They shouldn't have to deal with 200 "peace" activists. Jenin villagers want to tend their fields? Perhaps if they stopped sending their children to kill Israelis, there wouldn't need to be a security fence.

www.yourish.com/

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More here Latin
by Mifkad 2:30pm Thu Jul 31 '03

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http://www.indybay.org/news/2003/04/1600530.php

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bla bla bla
by John Veldhuis 2:37pm Thu Jul 31 '03

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"Except when they are hiding terrorists in their
offices and being used by British Muslims as a
cover while on a mission to blow up Israeli
civilians."

These stories have already been exposed as
zionist propaganda.
As the ISM people were not aware of the identity
of those terrorists, they can not be held
responsible.

""Legitimate armed struggle" has become a
code-phrase for terrorism."

So has Israeli-style "self-defense".

"Can't imagine why the IDF sent tear gas and
rubber bullets their way."

Neither can I. Settlers are much more entitled to
such treatment.

Trying to open a gate that Israel keeps promising
to open is indeed very violent...

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So? Latin
by Slim 2:46pm Thu Jul 31 '03

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"Trying to open a gate that Israel keeps promising
to open is indeed very violent..." - John Veldhuis.

So, if that's violence and the ISM responds in kind, doesn't that make minced meat of ye' ole "we're non-violent" claim?

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Proportion Latin
by John Veldhuis 3:21pm Thu Jul 31 '03

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I think ISM people should refrain from violence, if they claim to be non violent. Forcefully opening a gate to me is violence.

I also think a minor slip up as at this gate does not discredit ISM. Telling lies would hurt them more.

It is not as if they wanted to execute a welll-know alleged Israeli terrorist and in the process blew up a dozen or so innocent bystanders, or half an Israeli village... Or even half a settlement, a well known hiding place for Israeli terrorists.

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Slip-up Latin
by Ben 4:08pm Thu Jul 31 '03

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The IDF does not claim to be a non-violent organization. When they dropped the one-ton bomb that killed the terrorist and the large number of civilians, I, and most centrist Israelis, had no problem admitting that the army had gone too far. Nothing like that has happened since, as far as I know.

Storming the fence was not a slip-up. It was premeditated act that required bring wire cutters with them to their demonstration. It took place only one or two days after Tom Wallace and Radhika Sainath wrote in the Jerusalem Post 'We have all committed ourselves to the practice of nonviolence and do not assist anyone in committing acts of violence'

It makes me ask the question: if this is part of their committment to non-violence, what the hell does that term mean when uttered by the ISM? Gandhi, they're not. Nor are they committed to non-violence. Its a lie that buys them a lot of goodwill, that's all.

There are plenty of other "slip-ups" they have been caught doing, none more blatant the when they protected an Islamic Jihad terrorist in their office.

Then there is their "slip up" on the Rachel Corrie photos. Why do they show two photos, one directly after the bulldozer ran over her, and another 45 MINUTES EARLIER of her standing directly in front of it? I don't think truth was their highest priority.

Lets face it, the ISM has a long and dirty record of lies and deciet that includes even their basic claim to non-violence. By now, I don't see how anyone could take these clowns seriously.

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Nonviolence isn't about being passive Latin
by Gilad 4:08pm Thu Jul 31 '03
address: west jerusalem

print comment

Yourish Shalom,

Before i begin i would like to state that i read a bit through your blog. from the different parts that i've read it appears that you're a thinking individual, so i hope my words can come through. furthermore, i greatly appreciate the "blogathon" initiative (to donate money to buy an ambulance). that is truely a great way to help israel, even if our priorities might be different.

Now to my bit of critique. In your article you stated the the ISM is lying when it says its nonviolent, while it is actually "using force" and destruction.

I am not an ISM member, and have no intention in adovcating their actions. in fact, i differ from them on some instences just as much from some of the things you said in your blog.

That being said, I am also a pacifist, and the issue of nonviolent action -- specificly in cases where violcence occurs -- is close to my heart. Being and Israeli, and a Jerusalemite at that, means that i have to deal with such situations as a matter of mundane occurances.

And back to the topic. You said that the (attempt at) destruction of the "security fence"/"apartheid wall" cannot be ascribed as "nonviolence". The way i see it, you believe that because action held on monday involved the use of force it cannot be "nonviolent".

There are several flaws with that logic, and i'd like to state a few. To begin with, pacifism (and nonviolence as a method) aren't about being passive. non-violence isn't non-action. the essence of nonviolence is in actuality actively seeking the points of conflict, and solving them. That being said, it must be said also that there cannot be an action that doesn't involve any force whatsoever. Sleeping, perhaps, but that is that is as far away from a nonviolent action as murder.

Nonviolence is about the appreciation of human life superior moral value and virtue. The act held by the ISM monday was just about that. the "gate" they attempted to destroy pervented the movement and very livelihood of people on both sides of the fence. the word "gate" being in parenthasees because altough it is structured as gate, and being promised to be open, it is closed, locked and behind barbed wire at all times.

What the paragraph above basicly means is that there is inherent violence based withing the fence itself. The force the IDF used to disperse the protestors doesn't show or reflect any "violence" held by them. It just comes to show exactly what they were protesting against. I have been to numerous peaceful marches (that is, involving just walking. as peaceful as the walk to the supermarket - just in a place of conflict) which have been attacked brutaly by the IDF.

To sum this up, nonviolence isn't about being passive. it is about solving a conflict w/out harming or even endangering humans. even though sabotage (as is the case with the fence) probably isn't the bestest of nonviolent methods, and certainly not a perferable one -- it doesn't stand in contrast to the basic principles. so even if i were to choose a different approach to solve the problem (one which perferably uses "less force and more talk"), i don't think the action on monday is in contrast with the ISMs nonviolence policy.

I hope this wasn't too long, or too much of a bore. Have a nice day.

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Thanks Latin
by John Veldhuis 4:13pm Thu Jul 31 '03

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Thanks for the explanation Gilad, I stand corrected.

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Gilad, I strongly disagree Latin
by Ben 4:56pm Thu Jul 31 '03

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Gilad,

I appreciate your comments and do not take them lightly. I'm sure you have devoted more time to the issue of non-violence than I, and have much to teach me. But I have to say, I strongly disagree with some of what you wrote about the issue.

You say that non-violence "it is about solving a conflict w/out harming or even endangering humans. even though sabotage (as is the case with the fence) probably isn't the bestest of nonviolent methods, and certainly not a perferable one -- it doesn't stand in contrast to the basic principles." You explain that the fence was harming the Palestinian farmers and destroying the fence was serving the higher human good.

That may be true as some sort of principle, but its not the principle of non-violence. If you put it in those terms, when Israel destroys the homes of know terrorists, it is acting non-violently. No one would agree with that, and I am certainly not trying to make that point, but it follows your formula as I understand it.

I don't have a working definition of non-violence to replace the one you suggest, but I think I know violence when I see it. Storming a fence because you believe it should be opened and cutting it down with wirecutters is simply not non-violence. You may be right, it may be the right thing to do. I don't know. But non-violence it isn't.

Your definition defines non-violence down in dangerous way. It could be applied all sorts of ways. Is throwing rocks non-violent? Is sending a fighter plane to knock down empty Palestinian government buildings non-violent? Is building a security fence on Palestinians land non-violent - if those gates had been real gates and they could access their land?

I think most people would agree these are violent acts. Tearing down a fence falls is no different than those examples.

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Its a matter of ethical terms Latin
by Gilad 5:50pm Thu Jul 31 '03
address: West Jerusalem

print comment

Hello Ben,

Its good that you posted your comment, because that gives me a good excuse to elaborate the weak point in my comment to Youri's article.

In order to clarify the definition i came up with for nonviolent action the first thing to do is to clearly define the terms which i use. I'll apologize before i start, because most of my studies in this field have been done in hebrew. so there will probably be some trouble with my attempt to translate everything to english.

Now that the set has been placed, and the apology as well, lets begin.

Passive: being passive, is quite simply doing nothing. It might serve a further goal (like sleeping enabling action), but for itself is a negation of action. There are several forms of pacifism which hold passiveness as an ideal, and are refered as "quietist". A prime example for this approach are the european jews during the holocaust.

Action: basicly, anything a man does. be it drink, eat, talk or fire a gun. by itself it has no significant ethical meaning.

Force: force is the basic concept which causes the most misunderstanding in the theory of nonviolence. Force, in all actuality, is practicly synynomous (i just *know* i spelled that wrong) with action. Pushing my grandfathers wheelchair when we go outside involves force. My work in the construction site takes enormous amounts of force. These examples being given to show that any action, be it violent or nonviolent, involve force.

Hurt: hurt is but a possible effect of action. it doesn't neccesarily represent physical damage (e.g., psychological repression)- but that is an entirely different topic. here i will regard only physical hurt.
hurt is the effect caused by a forceful action. it is the physical reaction on a subject to force inflicted upon him. e.g., when a shock-grenade explodes a meter away from me-- i'm hurt. some might exapnd the definition and regard also animals as subjects required for ethical treatment, but that again is a different topic. none (that i know) would argue that inanimate objects (e.g., a stone, a house, a fence) can be "hurt". when a building is destroyed, for whatever reason, it doesn't "hurt".

Harm: hurt being ellaborated extensivly, harm is a more general term. a house, when demolished, defenitly is harmed. so is a tree being cut down, etc.

now that the distinction between the terms has been set, its time also to mention their cases of interrelation.

people, which can be hurt, often rely on objects which can be harmed. a house being destroyed, does hurt the family which once lived in it -- since they doen't have a roof over their heads. a fruit tree being bulldozed out of the ground can hurt a man living off it -- since he doesn't have what to it. and just the same, a sabotaged fence doesn't provide the same sense security a whole one does.

but a lacking of "sense of security" isn't the equivelent of hurt. and so is the man's malnutrition because his fruit trees have been destroyed. if the lacking security causes a violent action actually happening, the action causing the lacking security can be regarded as sinful. perhaps as a cause, or source, of violence. but it definitly isn't violence by itself.

violence: violence is an action taken by one human in order to harm another human. a torando, destructives as it may be, isn't "violent". when i wait in line to get in to the bus and somebody pushes behind me, and i in effect stumble and hurt the person waiting in front of me, i am not being "violent".

thus, consciensiously hurting somebody is neccesarily violence. purposely harming an object isn't neccesarily violence. when i burn a log in a bon-fire with friends, even though i'm harming the log, i'm not commiting violence. when a house is destroyed (harmed) in order to hurt the family that lives in it- that's violence.

but when a gate in a fence -- which has been promised by the IDF itself to be open -- is broken in order to allow passage of civilians that want to plow their share of land, that simply isn't violence.

now, it is true that there is a possibility that a terrorist (read: one who's intention is to hurt) can get through the damaged (harmed) fence/wall. but that is already a completely different action, and needs to be judges seperately. that is to say, you can judge an action by it's intended effects, but not by something that is completely opposed to them.


Now, i fear that i've already gained a length exceeding my intentions. that is, when wanting to clarify one generaly prefer to remain concise. i'll probably wan't to elaborate exactly what non-violent action is in the future, but for the meanwhile i hope that my definition of violence would suffice.

hope you haven't been completely bored by this dictionary-thing i just did, and may peace prevail from jerusalem.

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Property Destruction is not Violence Latin
by Peter Kropotkin 6:19pm Thu Jul 31 '03

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Property destruction is not violence, it is property destruction.

One can argue whether it should be considered ethical, but it is in fact ethically imperative that we differentiate between the destruction of inanimate objects and living beings.

Equating property with human life lifts up property beyond its rightful place to be considered sacrosanct and at the same time debases human life.

Further, the equation of violence and property destruction is a well worn ideological tool of the media. The unmarked (linguistically speaking) meaning of violence will always mean direct harm to a living body. When the media writes a headline: "Violent protests shook St. Louis" the first thing that we think is: "how many people were hurt by the violence, did anyone die, are they hospitalized, etc." By this means you can call protestors violent even if they merely caused property destruction.

And Gandhi said property destruction is a form of nonviolence if it occurs in pursuit of justice and carefully avoids injury to any sentient being.
Also during the Indian resistance to the notorious British an activist asked Gandhi if blowing up a goods (freight) train is an act of violence. Gandhi said blowing up a passenger train is an act of violence.

And as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote:

"I am aware that there are many who wince at a distinction between property and persons - who hold both sacrosanct. My views are not so rigid. A life is sacred. Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. ... The focus on property in the 1967 riots is not accidental. It has a message; it is saying something. If hostility to whites were ever going to dominate a Negro's attitude and reach murderous proportions, surely it would be during a riot. But this rare opportunity for bloodletting was sublimated into arson, or turned into a kind of stormy carnival of free-mechandise distribution.... [P]roperty represents the white power structure, which they were attacking and trying to destroy. ... [Arson], too, was a demonstration and a warning. It was directed against symbols of exploitation, and it was designed to express the depth of anger in the community. What does this restraint in the summer riots mean for our future strategy? If one can find a core of nonviolence toward persons even during the riots when emotions are exploding, it means that nonviolence should not be written off[.] ... It is paradoxical but fair to say that Negro terrorism is incited less on ghetto street corners than in the halls of Congress. ... The dispossessed of this nation - the poor, both white and Negro - live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize a revolution against that injustice, not against the lives of the persons who are their fellow citizens, but against the structures through which the society is refusing to take means which have been called for, and which are at hand, to lift the load of poverty. The only real revolutionary, people say, is a man who has nothing to lose."

- Martin Luther King Jr., The Trumphet of Conscience
Chapter 4: Nonviolence and Social Change

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Got it Latin
by Ben 6:34pm Thu Jul 31 '03

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Silly me. All this time I thought Israel's house demolitions were acts of violence, but really the IDF had been walking in the path of Gandhi and MLK.

I'll start calling them direct actions from now on.

I expect you will too, Peter.

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I don't think you've grasped it, still Latin
by John Veldhuis 6:55pm Thu Jul 31 '03

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Demolitions of houses where people still (need to) live in, is not merely stupid violence, it is terrorism.

I don't see the Israeli army bulldozer and other thugs carefully avoid injury to any sentient being, au contraire, mein Lieber.

Furthermore, the Israeli's have no business destroying (or building) things where they have no jurisdiction, like outside the green line.

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House demolition is unethical and criminal Latin
by Peter Kropotkin 7:12pm Thu Jul 31 '03

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First, Gandhi said it could be considered non-violent if it occurs in pursuit of justice and carefully avoids injury to any sentient being.

Israeli house demolitions are not in pursuit of justice, they are about injustice and oppression.

So stop with the bullshit Ben.

Further, if I cut a fence, for instance to allow people to get to their fields, I am helping to secure them a livlihood, if I destroy their house or fields, I am destroying their livelihood.

Moreover, I would still call house demolition highly unethical and criminal, yet not a violent act in itself, though it may include violent acts around it, such as leaving people in the building when it collapses or beating family members who try to stop it from happening.

Property destruction is not violence, but as I said before, depending on the purpose, it may be unethical.

House demolition is a highly unethical and criminal act which takes place within a violent system of oppression, yet is not violent itself.

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To Kropotkin Latin
by gilad 7:34pm Thu Jul 31 '03
address: west jerusalem

print comment

Hello Peter,

I'd like to ask a few questions. regarding the debate about nonviolence/sabotage i'd appreciate if you could give specific references to the sayings you credited Gandhi with. I'd certainly like to read that up in depth.

other than that, i've got a couple of personal questions. where do you live? have you been to the region? do you have a formal education in these fields?

thanks,
gilad

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What a BS propeganda Latin
by LSM 8:24pm Thu Jul 31 '03

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The IDF promised that in time for the olive harvest the gates ay Anin would be open.

Cutting the fence was NOT for allowing access. If any thing it may cause retribution aginst the farmers (I hope it would not)

Cutting the fence was an act against the right of Israel to set a border.

Just look at today's action in Kalkilia:
While not violent as the Anin demo it was targeted against a wall situated ON THE GREEN LINE.

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Answer to Gilad Latin
by Peter Kropotkin 9:16pm Thu Jul 31 '03

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Gilad, I live in the region of Tel-Aviv.

Do I have a formal education in these fields? In non-violence you mean?

I learned about these aspects of Gandhi while studying my Masters in Political Science.

We studied the "Hind Swaraj" of Gandhi and his idea of satyagraha.

In the context of learning on this topic, we discussed what he meant and didn't mean by non-violence.

I heard the anecdote about the goods train/passenger train when I was in the states several years ago. Gandhi's grandson who runs a Gandhi institute was asked by one of the listeners about property destruction and the grandson told the anecdote as an answer. I also saw a similar version of it on the net.

I think that actually Gandhi didn't think that property destruction was correct action in most cases, but he also didn't think that it was violence. He thought that it wasn't usually conducive to the mindset of satyagraha.

Several months ago, I also heard Adi Ophir lecture once on this very topic, stressing the ethical need to separate violence from property destruction.

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non-violence is about confrontation Latin
by amir givol 5:28am Fri Aug 1 '03
agivol@yahoo.com

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hi all. non-violence is about confronting injustice, not just talking and thinking about it. it's called non-violence in order to emphasize that even though the action uses force, creates a disturbance, and sometimes endangers the well being of the participants (by provoking violent responses), the emphasis is on minimizing the force of the action so that it gets the message through with a minimum amount of risk to people. non-violence is usually practiced more in the forms of demnstrations or sit-ins or marching as we recently saw but sometimes more direct and forceful (and therefore raising the potential for violence but still making sure the right precautions are taken) actions are taken, like blocking roads or sabotage to military installations, depending on the agenda and the situation.

the emphasis here is on peaceful confrontation, which sounds like a contradiction in terms but isn't when performed wisely. of course this action and the one in qalqilia are against the appartheid wall, the wall is a huge injustice and should be protested against. the fact that the gate blocks passage into the fields goes to demonstrate that injustice, it's not just a question of whether x person can get through on a particular day or not, although it would be nice if x person could. it's about protesting in a more direct and creative fashion, albeit using a lot of force which isn't exactly my cup of tea, exactly because it makes it that mucxh easier to blame the protestors of being violent.

one could argue for instance that the mere presence of the ISM in palestine is violent because they came here to confront the idf (among other things) but that again is turning the accuser into the accused, "i apologize for placing my face in front of your batton, officer".

one last thing, gilad, i think damage is a better term than harm, harm usually also relates to people.

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Israli Reaction Denotes Israeli Fear
by Jordan From Canada 2:21pm Wed Aug 6 '03

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ISM represents meaningful, peaceful Resistance,
something which cannot be "spun" for political
gain the way suicide bombings have been.

This, coupled with their demomstrated ability to
expose Israeli actions and brutality,
threatening
Israeli "aid" payments and "loans" (billions of
which find their way into Israel's nuclear,
chemical, and biological weapons programs, as
opposed to any sort of social structure
benefitting the average Israeli) is the reason
Israel and its Zionist Extremist supporters
worldwide have engaged in this campaign of
Slander, Libel, and direct Repression (As in the
case of the murder of Rachel Corrie - a War
Crime) against the group.

Goldberg is just a part of this, repeating old
lies, and doing what he's been told to do.

This demonstrates Israel's fear of allowing
honest, peaceful, reasonable, non-Extremist
voices into the conflict, as well as the
knowledge that what they are doing is morally
wrong.


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