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Monday, September 17, 2012

Seth Anziska, "A Preventable Massacre": More Israel Bashing From The New York Times

The Middle East is indeed a savage region. In 1982, Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, father of Bashar al-Assad, killed some 25,000 Sunni civilians (there are higher and lower estimates) in the town of Hama. In 1988, Saddam Hussein killed some 5,000 civilians when he attacked the Kurdish town of Halabja with poison gas. Over 1,200 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian terrorists since September 2000. And more recently, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has killed some 30,000 civilians while attempting to quell the current uprising of his country's Sunni majority.

Further afield in Central Asia, some 1,300 Afghan civilians have accidentally been killed by US-led military forces since Obama became president in 2009.

But never mind any of the above. Today, The New York Times would only have us focus on the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre. Over the course of this abomination, Lebanese Christian militiamen murdered some 800 Palestinian civilians in Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, after the Israeli Army allowed the Christians, hungry for revenge, access to the camps.

In his guest New York Times op-ed entitled "A Preventable Massacre" (, Seth Anziska, a doctoral candidate in international history at Columbia University, informs us:

"Israel’s involvement in the Lebanese civil war began in June 1982, when it invaded its northern neighbor. Its goal was to root out the Palestine Liberation Organization, which had set up a state within a state, and to transform Lebanon into a Christian-ruled ally."

Oh really? The 1982 Israeli operation had nothing to do with rooting out terror?

Seth fails to mention the "Coastal Road Massacre" of 1978, when Palestinians from Lebanon landed on Israel's coast, hijacked a bus, and killed 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children.

Seth also forgets to tell us about the massive 1981 rocketing of civilian targets in Northern Israel by the PLO.

And then there was also the June 1982 attack in London on Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov, by the Iraqi-backed Abu Nidal terrorist organization. But why should Seth be troubled with such minor details?

Alleging deception and "browbeating" of US officials on the part of Ariel Sharon leading up to the Sabra and Shatila massacre, our darling doctoral candidate goes on to say:

"The Sabra and Shatila massacre severely undercut America’s influence in the Middle East, and its moral authority plummeted. In the aftermath of the massacre, the United States felt compelled by 'guilt' to redeploy the Marines, who ended up without a clear mission, in the midst of a brutal civil war.

On Oct. 23, 1983, the Marine barracks in Beirut were bombed and 241 Marines were killed. The attack led to open warfare with Syrian-backed forces and, soon after, the rapid withdrawal of the Marines to their ships. As Mr. Lewis told me, America left Lebanon 'with our tail between our legs.'"

Regrettably, Seth again forgets to inform us that the barracks bombing was perpetrated by Lebanese Shiites, who, like the Lebanese Christians, also hated their Palestinian overlords. In addition, the attack was almost certainly undertaken pursuant to instructions from Iran, possibly owing to US support for Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war. Or in other words, there was little connection between the barracks bombing and Israel, unless you also wish to blame Israel for US combat deaths in the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia.

Seth concludes:

"The lesson of the Sabra and Shatila tragedy is clear. Sometimes close allies act contrary to American interests and values. Failing to exert American power to uphold those interests and values can have disastrous consequences: for our allies, for our moral standing and most important, for the innocent people who pay the highest price of all."

"Most important, for the innocent people"? Oh really. Why isn't Seth telling us of the price being paid by civilians in Afghanistan, owing to Obama's inane escalation of that meaningless war? And why doesn't Seth bother to mention the ongoing civil war in Syria, ignored by Obama, which has claimed thousands of civilians lives?

In fact, publication by the Times of this guest op-ed by a doctoral student is all about telling us that the US shouldn't allow Netanyahu to "browbeat" the US into setting "red lines" for the Iranian nuclear weapons development program. Not by coincidence, this guest op-ed was published immediately after Netanyahu informed "Meet the Press" that Iran will be on the brink of a nuclear bomb in six to seven months (see:

As observed in prior blog entries, the crux of the current crisis involving Iran and Israel involves lack of faith in Obama. After witnessing his foreign policy procrastination over the past three years, neither of these countries believes that Obama means what he says. In fact, this perception of Obama as irresolute and wishy-washy, i.e. "leading from behind," is what could well lead to a disastrous war, costing thousands of civilian lives.

If the US truly believes that nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran's maniacal mullahs do not pose a threat to American interests, taking into account hostility and proxy wars between Iran and Saudi Arabia and also Iran's patronage of international terror, perhaps the US should not promulgate red lines. On the other hand, if, as stated today by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Iran poses a threat not only to Israel but to the entire world (see:, then it is indeed time for tough talk.

[Columbia University lists Anziska's "Advisor" as Rashid Khalidi (see:, a Columbia professor once linked to the PLO (see: A tape of Obama's 2003 tribute to Khalidi at a farewell party in Chicago is locked away in the offices of The Los Angeles Times (see:]


  1. Yeah, I noticed it.
    I think that the main rule at NYT now is - everyday something about Israel on front page all day - just to feed the hungry neo-Nazis and friends (do I have to add that usually negative, but occasionally just trivial)
    Who their masters are now?

  2. sad to see this gentleman was a Wexner Scholar in Jewish Studies..and his adviser Rashid Kalidi no doubt has most influence.

    1. Thanks. See the addition in brackets at the end of the blog entry.

  3. You hit the nail on the head with your analysis of this op-ed piece.

    The author's description of why Israel invaded Lebanon also jumped out at me. Those are the kinds of statements that draw contempt from readers who are already at least moderately familiar with the subject at hand.

  4. I applaud your cogent analysis and echo the prior comments.

  5. Your insight is sharp. Self loathing Jew and wexner fellow new year message is a reminder of the challenges facing Israel.

  6. Hi,

    You don't really address anything he said in the op-ed. You really only make two arguments. The first, is complaining that the author said, "Its goal was to root out the Palestine Liberation Organization, which had set up a state within a state, and to transform Lebanon into a Christian-ruled ally."

    You responded, "Oh really? The 1982 Israeli operation had nothing to do with rooting out terror?"

    He doesn't say anything close to this. He says that the primary objective was to root out the PLO. There may have been other factors, but this was definitely a large part of it. You then name off some horrible events, but all of these support the claim that they're going into lebanon to root out the PLO.

    The only other argument you make is that American interests were not harmed by this event, the consequences that the author drew are not a result of the event, and that the U.S. has done worse things. While I don't know whether this is true, it hardly talks about what is the crux of the piece (and which you fail to address entirely)is discussing the atrocity that took place and how Israelis and Americans were complacent/involved. Saying "The U.S. has done something bad" is not an effective response to "The U.S. and the Israelis have done something bad." Its avoiding an argument.
    I really don't know much about the particular situation, but was interesting to read the op-ed and would appreciate a response that was grounded in fact and participated in an open dialogue.

    1. Sorry, anonymous, but you are completely at sea both with respect to the Times guest opinion piece and also with respect to my blog entry.

      You might begin by observing that there is not a single mention of PLO terror leading up to the Israeli entry into Lebanon in Anziska's op-ed. Is this the type of balance you expect from a doctoral candidate?

      Did the world bear no responsibility to seek an end to Palestinian terror attacks against Israel and Israelis? Without such terror attacks, there would have been no Israeli entry into Lebanon.

      Make no mistake about it: The Sabra and Shatila massacre was an abomination for which Ariel Sharon bore responsibility. But Anziska's piece also fails to mention that one week after the massacre, 300,000 Israelis, i.e. some 5% of Israel's total population at the time, gathered in a Tel Aviv square to demand an investigation.

      Again, as noted in my blog entry, it was no accident that the Times published Anziska's piece following Netanyahu's pleas to the world community to set red lines regarding Iranian nuclear weapons development.

  7. These documents declassified by the Israeli State Archives relate to Anziska's post:

  8. This article presents an incomplete picture and is intended as more anti-Israel propaganda.

    1) Christian Arabs had been murdered by Palestinian terrorists the week before in the village of Damour where over 1,000
    genuine civilians had been murdered.
    2) Of the 800 killed in Sabra and Chatilla by Christian Arabs, many were armed terrorists killed in firefights with the Phalange.The article and even this blog mistakenly says all were "civilians."
    There were civilians killed, but many killed that day were armed PLO fighters by Christians seeking revenge for Damour.
    3) The article suggests the truth when Sharon tells the US State ambassador “You want us to leave the terrorists there”? Point of fact, US State did want that. The escape of Arafat from Beirut to fight another day ultimately led to the Intifadas and deaths of thousands of Israelis and even Americans
    years later due to another State Dept. meddling with the Oslo Accords.

    4) The article does not mention that it was the Israeli public who protested allowing the Phalange into camps and that Ariel Shron
    resigned as Defnese Minister. He was not fired. Israel took responsibility.

    Mr. Anziska’s faculty advisor is Rashid Khalidi, a former terrorist from Fatah and the PLO who was active with Arafat’s gang during the Israeli invasion of Lebann. Khalidi is against Israel as much now as he was then. Anziska certainly wants to suck up to his advisor. This might explain his one-sided reporting. It no doubt helped net him another stipend-supported stay at the London School of Economics where anti-Israelism is rife.

    Another Jew who willingly will distort facts to damn Israel and build a career for Arab deep pockets is this Seth Anizka.

    The NY Times should know better.

  9. Didn't read the whole thing, only the final words. Just one thing: the Shiites who "hated" Palestinians, did so because of extensive bombing campaigns carried out by Israel against Shias in retribution to Palestinian attacks on Israel -- campaigns that did have the express purpose of making the Shias turn against Palestinians. Moreover, it wasn't all of the Shias who disagreed with Palestinians -- it was only those who belonged to the Amal militia. The barracks attack, however, was the work, not of Amal, but of Islamic Jihad, that is, of Hezbollah, which was allied with Palestinians and supported them against the Amal movement in the War of Camps.

    Lee Kaplan;

    The Damour massacre had more like 600 casualties, not 1,000. And you overlook the fact that, just days before Damour, there was the Karantina massacre, wherein Christians killed 1,500 Palestinians and Lebanese Muslim civilians. Damour is widely believed to have been a response to Karantina, itself the first mass killing of the Lebanese civil war. That is, it was really the Christians who started the whole mass killing cycle of violence.

    1. Shiite Hezbollah, today holding reign over Lebanon, is compassionate and cordial to Sunni Palestinians? See:

    2. The article doesn't mention Hezbollah. Moreover, Hezbollah is only one party in Lebanon's multiconfessional political system -- it isn't an absolute ruler, and it can't be held responsible for everything that goes on there. Moreover, Palestinians in Lebanon do sympathize with Hezbollah (perhaps they're the only Sunni community in Lebanon to do so) and see it as the only group that defends their interests (this may be Hezbollah demagoguery, but still). Palestinians participate in Hezbollah events and marches, and Hezbollah, of course, is widely known as a great ally to Hamas and other Palestinian militias. Many Hezbollah militants had, before founding the group, fought under the aegis of Palestinian groups -- Imad Mughniyah, for instance.

      Moreover, the situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon has always been bad -- this can't be blamed on Hezbollah, which was formed in 1980s. David Hirst wrote that, whilst Arab governments neglected their Palestinian refugees, the peoples tended to be sympathetic to them -- only in Lebanon was this an exception: that is, in Lebanon both government and population looked down on Palestinians. And not a little important in this phenomenon was the Maronite fears that the integration of Palestinians into Lebanon would represent a demographic threat to its political supremacy.

  10. I didn't blame the situation of the Palestinians on Hezbollah. On the other hand, Hezbollah has not made it any better.

    A happy relationship between Hezbollah and Lebanese Palestinians and Hamas? You are ignoring developments in Syria and the persistent enmity between Shiites (Hezbollah and Iran), which are aiding the Assad regime, and the Sunni Palestinians, who have also been butchered by Assad. Khaled Meshal has distanced himself from Damascus, both figuratively and literally, given Assad's atrocities against Syria's Sunni majority.

  11. "You are ignoring developments in Syria and the persistent enmity between Shiites (Hezbollah and Iran), which are aiding the Assad regime, and the Sunni Palestinians, who have also been butchered by Assad."
    Jeff, it's time for me to give officially a lesson.
    Assad isn't Jewish, so he is automatically "nice."
    Hussein wasn't Jewish, so he is automatically "nice."
    Ahmadinejad isn't Jewish, so he is automatically "nice."
    You see it's simple and you can learn also to differentiate good people from bad people.
    I know what I am talking about and not only because antisemitism happen to be one of my areas of expertise, but also because not so long ago I lost a friend, an admirer of "the religion of peace" (no she isn't Muslim) a friend whose list of "good, good, good" people included Chavez, Ron Paul, Hedges, Chomsky and any Nazi in sight, past and present.
    Recently, I read that some 400 Palestinians were killed in Syria. Apparently, these are wrong Palestinians, since my friend and all her co-marchers and co-shouters (all these Roseannes, all these Alices, all Medeas, all these other witches are SILENT, SILENT, SILENT.