Monday, January 10, 2011

Michael Totten - Israeli Way of War

Michael Totten has just published a really interesting article on The Israeli Way of War. It covers a number of things, including his interview with an official in the Judge Advocate General's office in Tel Aviv. (JAGs prosecute crimes committed by soldiers).

The JAG office spoke about how they gain information about possible crimes committed during war by soldiers.

Totten asked her:
“What do you think about all these NGOs that criticize Israel and the army?” I said.

“I actually appreciate the work of the NGOs,” she said. “They help me make sure our violent operational activity is conducted appropriately. I want to live in a country where there is an address for these kinds of complaints. We’re in constant dialogue with them, and they help me. They do seem to appreciate the thorough work we do. They probably don’t agree with all my decisions, but they know I take what they say seriously.
An impressive testimony about the value of Israeli human rights groups. If the Israeli army doesn't consider them traitors, I don't understand why blowhards on the Israeli right do.


  1. The issue here is not whether, internally, groups funded to advance the political agendas of foreign countries harm Israel. The issue is how such political agenda harms Israel. Consider what Robert Bernstein, founder of HRW, notes, which is that groups like HRW, which employ faulty fact finding and analysis, smear Israel's reputation. Do you really think it is of no concern that supposed Israeli groups, whether or not acting at the bidding of foreign countries, do the same as HRW?

  2. Uh, no, N. Friedman, they do not. As I have repeatedly said, why don't you go to the website of B'Tselem or any of the other groups you're so concerned about, and read about what they do, their philosophies, their funders, etc. You might not agree with what they are doing (I don't agree with everything they do), but you'll see that their agendas come from the Israeli context - they are not dictated by donors from outside the country.

  3. I prefer not to reopen an old wound. At the risk of pointing you to some considerations that may not have occurred to you, I ask you to consider two points:

    1. That if someone pays someone else a large chunk of money, that payer normally expects something in return. That goes for governments, most especially as it relates to foreign policy, businesses and people.

    2. Normally, the recipient of large chunks of money somehow, someway espouse something that is convivial to the payer. That, after all, was part of the stink made when John Esposito's Islamic center, of Georgetown, received tens of millions of dollars from a Saudi donor. The assumption is that a Saudi did not donate so much money without expecting Islam and/or the Saudis to receive a kind word, here and there.

    2. The recipients of large chunks of money tend, historically, to somehow to advance the agenda of their paymasters. That is true in the drug industry. It is alleged to be true among polluters, in the tobacco industry, etc., etc.

    Why would you think that the above two considerations are not true regarding the donors to and recipient in the so-called human rights industry? To me, your contention that money does not buy something and corrupt the recipient is preposterous and not worthy of someone as brilliant as you.