Daredevil #30

So the itch of a teaser we got in issue 29 of a very special guest star for this issue, is finally scratched.  Oh boy does it feel goooood.  Just as any comic book is elevated by the presence of Daredevil, i think most will agree that the same can be said for our guest star here, the Sentinel of the Spaceways…the Silver Surfer.

Daredevil_

This issue is essentially a done-in-one, although there are elements that drive the overarching narrative of this Waid & Samnee run forward.  It opens with what appears to be an alien seeking refuge in Matt Murdoch’s office.  It is only when our cosmic guest shows up in pursuit of said alien, that we see that all is not what it seems.  As writer Mark Waid informs us, this is the closest Daredevil has actually ever been to the Silver Surfer.  So Matt Murdoch lives up to his name as the ‘man with no fear’ when he initiates a throw-down with the Silver Surfer in defence of his staff.

It isn’t long before our heroes team-up and it is in these parts that this issue really sings.  Artist Chris Samnee treats us to some truly memorable panels (including one nearly double page splash) of Daredevil riding the surfer’s board through New York.  That the Surfer is standing on the back commenting like a back seat driver only adds to the sense of fun.

Through the surfer, we learn that this alien being is part of a race of “Guileful manipulators who live to sow discord and malice.”  It is with this in mind that the emotional final page leaves us with more questions than answers.

One thing i really admire about this run is that Waid and Samnee are both credited as the ‘Storytellers’, which is as it should be.  Waid is a master storyteller in his own right, able to couple fun and adventure with true moments of genuine pathos and his being able to call on the skills of Chris Samnee to bring this all to life (as only Samnee can) elevates both writer artist to heady heights of comic-booking delight.  You throw in Javier Rodriguez’s pitch perfect colours and that’s a holy trinity of comic book creators right there.  If you’re not on the Daredevil wagon, this little interlude is a perfect place to jump on board, it’s a lot of fun, trust me.

Why Rick is a poor leader.

Ok, before you say it, yes i know im late to the party with regard to The Walking Dead.  However, fact is i rarely watch series when they are first airing on the TV as things like work, kids and a desire to shoot my friend over and over…on Playstation – are not conducive to the religiosity of weekly attendance that ongoing television series demand.

That said, I am in the process of marathon-ing The Walking Dead. I started series 1 last week and just yesterday finished series 2.  Let me just say, from the outset, that I think this show is fantastic. The following criticisms I have are not reflective of the show writ large, but just one character, Rick Grimes.  Let’s be clear, i write this not just because i love the show, but because this could actually happen people.

Ever since he joined the group in episode 3 (thus rejoining his wife and child) it was only natural that he would become the leader being a Sheriff’s Deputy. But then again Shane was also a Sheriff’s Deputy, but for the sake of argument lets just accept that Rick had seniority.

By accepting the role of leader of a group of survivors of a Zombie Holocaust (anyone else see that movie by the way?) Rick Grimes took on a responsibility that i will show he is not up to (as far as the first 2 series are concerned, as that’s where I’m at)

First thing as a leader of a small group of people who have thus far survived the Zombie Apocalypse (don’t think I’ve seen that one), has to realise is that no matter where you go, you are essentially perpetually behind enemy lines.  Those lumbering freakazoids with a penchant for treating your arm like a chicken wing are everywhere.  One thing you have to be cognizant of when you are perpetually behind enemy lines is that sooner or later you will have to bug out.  The ability to bug out when necessary requires preparedness, such as the need to have packed or be able to pack quickly, enough kit and provisions to last you a few days.

But there’s another element of preparedness that is required if you have to hightail it, and in a Zombie Nightmare (ooh that one looks good) this is probably the most important – you need to have decent cardio.  This is my biggest criticism of Rick.  He organised for those who needed it to get some shooting practice in, but in the 2 series i have watched thus far, he has not so much as organised a single cardio session for the survivors.  This is a particularly egregious oversight for a leader who recognised that these zombies do not run of gas in episode 1 of series 2 when he tried to rescue Sophia.
Im not expecting Rick to set up a gym, for cardio he doesn’t need to – although Dale quite clearly could have done with some strength training then maybe he could’ve dealt with that zombie a little better in episode 11 of the second series.  “He was 64!” i hear you cry. Doesn’t matter, does it Sly? (he’s 66, round of applause for that man please)

The absolute need for decent cardio in a Zombie Armageddon (haven’t seen that one either) was highlighted in episode 13 of series 2 when Andrea basically engaged in a cross country race for her life (with a bag of guns) and she’s breathing out of her ass.  But as i said earlier, Rick was aware that these freaks do not run of steam yet he never once sought to improve the overall fitness of the group.  The hunting and the gathering might help with functional strength but it won’t give them that cardio they need to have in their back pocket when the herd comes and the ammo is running out.

A second criticism of Rick, whilst not as serious, is why on earth did he not A-Team or MacGuyver one of the vehicles on the farm and outfit it with an improvised bucket or something for smashing down a herd of zombies.  Surely revving up one of those pickups with some kind of Zombie leg destroyer welded to the front, would have been a wise idea.  It may not kill the zombies, but you know what Rick, they’re a hell of a lot less dangerous when they can only use their arms to move.

My final criticism of Rick is even minor yet again.  I’m not entirely sure it qualifies as a drop holster, but nevertheless, he needs to tie that shit down.  I’m aware of the Western aspects that run throughout Walking Dead, but seriously Rick, if you wanna run best not to have your piece flapping all over the place.  That would also help with noise discipline Rick because we know these Zombies react to sound.  Not expecting you to have perfect fieldcraft Rick, but c’mon, you can’t expect the rest of the group to be on the ball if you’re not.

One final point – I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed but old Rick didn’t seem to run out of gas when his son was shot, running him in his arms the whole way to Hershel’s house.  Yet he stuck Sophia under a fallen tree in a river cause he was tired?  I don’t think it qualifies as nepotism but it was cold Rick, cold.

Half Past Danger

If you’re like me and in your (early) 30’s then movies like Raiders of the lost Ark and Romancing the Stone no doubt hold a special place in your heart.  Rarely has the high adventure, splash of intrigue and dash of romance that was so perfectly captured by those movies of the 1980’s, been replicated since.

Dames. Dinosaurs. Danger.

Dames. Dinosaurs. Danger.

Which is why Stephen Mooney’s new six part comic book series ‘Half Past Danger should strike a cord with you.  This, ladies and gentlemen’ has it all – Dames. Dinosaurs. Danger. One of those words should be enough to pique the interest of that little BMX rider that still lives inside each one of us, but all three in the one comic book is manna from heaven.  The cover is worth the price alone as it evokes classic Sturzan or Amsel movie posters.

Half past danger is the tale of Staff Sgt Tommy ‘Irish’ Flynn and his crazy experiences on one remote pacific island during World War 2.  What starts as a seemingly routine recon patrol soon develops into a Spielbergian dash for life. Along the way our hero encounters Nazis and dinosaurs culminating some months later in a good old fashioned throw-down in some back alley New York bar where our hero meets a a mysterious group who try and enlist his help.  I don’t want to go into too many plot specifics because I really think you should go out and buy or download this little gem of a book.  No doubt Mr Mooney had most of you at Dinosaurs anyway.

As to the art? Well it’s just sumptuous. From the verdant lush island locale at the start to the mean streets of New York, Mooney has the penciling chops of the best of them. He has a style all his own, realistic all though still with that sense of fun and in the less kinetic moments his background detailing shows a love for the art form.  Mooney would easily fit in great with either of the big 2’s style (and its a matter of when, not if, they’ll come calling).

The dialogue is natural and flows perfectly, be it the witty banter between the recon patrol or the surly ‘here comes trouble’ attitude we are treated to towards the end.  Mooney was on colouring duties himself for this opening salvo in the series and considering how good it is – I kinda hate the guy for being so talented – my natural Irish begrudgery oozing out :)

But seriously folks – buy this first issue. This is  comic book-ing at its finest, like the perfect Saturday matinée movie in comic book form.  In an era when the big 2 seem to have run out of fresh ideas (hey, lets get the superheroes to fight eachother…again) its so refreshing to read something original done so well.  If you were into the likes of the Rocketeer or any of those pulpy period comics, trust me you’ll love this.  It left me with a smile on my face as wide as Michael Douglas’ after he landed face down between Kathleen Turner’s legs in Romancing the Stone.  Now that was Thigh Adventure ;)

Israeli Misnomer Day

Many people will be celebrating Israel’s 65th year of ‘independence’ right about now.  Conversely on May 15th each year is the date which Palestinians mark as Naqba Day, which commemorates the destruction of Palestinian society in 1948 by Zionist forces who ethnically cleansed Palestine of roughly two thirds of its indigenous Palestinian population.  I have written before detailing the numerous myths and falsehoods surrounding the establishment of the state of Israel, but i just want to highlight an oft-ignored point relevant to what is euphemistically termed ‘Israeli Independence’.

You have ‘Israeli Independence day‘ marked each year by Israel and its supporters, you also have the ‘Israeli Declaration of Independence’. Now you may accuse me of being a pedant or engaging in semantics for arguments sake, but the use of the term ‘Independence’ in these instances is a misnomer of the highest order.  A misnomer that requires correction.

What the term ‘Independence’ infers in both the above usages, is that in 1948 there existed some occupied land called Israel which Zionist forces simply ‘liberated’.  Indeed the war of 1948 war is often termed as a war of liberation‘ by Zionists.  The use of this misnomer in reference to Israel’s establishment is so ingrained that MSM outlets simply accept it without question.  Note here where the BBC has put Nakba into quotation marks but simply states ‘Israel’s independence’ as if its an undeniable fact that Israel somehow magically gained independence in 1948.  Whether the BBC know it or not, they are engaging in a political argument, one that is, unfortunately for them, bereft of any credence once one examines the history.

To state an undeniable fact – there existed no Israel before May 1948.  If there existed no Israel how then can the war that established it be termed a ‘War of Independence’? In essence it cannot, unless you buy into the Zionist narrative that immigrant Jews into Palestine had superior rights to the land belonging to the indigenous Palestinians.  How also  can the declaration that David Ben-Gurion delivered on May 14th 1948 be termed the ‘Israeli Declaration of Independence’?  Again it cannot unless you believe that there existed some land called Israel that was occupied by both the British military and the indigenous Palestinians.  Which quite obviously, wasn’t the case.  The British Mandate For Palestine was termed so for a reason.

With regard to the British Mandate, it is also important to remember that Palestine had been classified as a Class A mandate – meaning it was recognised by the international community as being one of the former Ottoman provinces that was closest to being ready for total independence.  Which had this occurred, the term Independence would have been most apt because it would have been an indigenous people declaring independence in their own land.

This was not to be the case however – the people who declared Independence in 1948 were Zionists, the vast majority of whom were immigrants into Palestine.  As Henry Cattan has noted

In terms of population, the Jews constituted in 1947 fewer than one third of the inhabitants of Palestine. Only one tenth of them were original inhabitants belonging to the country.  In fact, this original Jewish Palestinian community…favoured neither partition nor the establishment of a Jewish State. The rest of the Jewish population was composed of foreign immigrants originating mostly from Poland, USSR and central Europe, only one third of whom had acquired Palestinian citizenship. (Palestine: The Road To Peace p17)

It is quite a trick of the mind to portray what was a war of conquest and colonization as some kind of ‘Independence’ struggle.  Quite obviously a more appropriate term for ‘Israeli Independence Day’ would be ‘Israeli Statehood Day‘ and likewise the ‘Israeli Declaration of Statehood’, because one thing is for certain, the only people who had a right to independence in Palestine in 1948, were denied it.  So when you hear or read about ‘Israeli Independence Day’ or the ‘Israeli Declaration of Independence’ – remember, what you are hearing is a gross misnomer, one that is intended to obscure the fact that Israel, a colonial project, was founded upon the destruction of an indigenous society.  Happy Israeli Misnomer Day y’all.

How dare Israeli leaders be treated like other leaders

An interesting double standard has been highlighted with the recent kerfuffle over Gerald Scarfe’s cartoon depicting Bibi Netanyahu building a wall, in which is trapped the bloody bodies of Palestinians.

Predictably, there was an outcry from the usual pearl clutchers, who didn’t seem to mind when Scarfe was illustrating similar cartoons about Tony Blair or George W Bush.  No similar outcry over Chris Riddell’s blood soaked Blair. Of course some will say that its the timing of Scarfe’s cartoon that’s the issue, being printed on Holocaust memorial Day, but isn’t that conflating the state of Israel with world Jewry?  Something we’re repeatedly told only anti-semites do.

It is also worth remembering that under Netanyahu illegal settlement building has reached record levels.  And make no mistake, the settlement project is indeed built upon the blood and  indeed freedom of the Palestinians forced off their own land. Palestinian civilians are routinely killed by Israeli occupation troops, but they don’t really merit much of a mention in the major western MSM.  But if one Israeli soldier is captured (not kidnapped, as that’s a patently ridiculous term for a soldier being captured by the enemy) by Palestinian militants, its headline stuff.

Of course one major difference between Netanyahu and Bush or Blair is that the the two latter boyos have never given a speech on a balcony adorned with a banner reading ‘Death to Arabs‘.  Was Gerald Scarfe’s cartoon wrong? Make up your own mind…

“Ignore what i said before, I was talking outta my ass”

This last month has seen several beautiful instances of US political figures believing  that the media and electorate are goldfish.  The first has to do with the current Chuck Hagel brouhaha.

It appears that before they were opposed to him taking a position in the US govt, several US senators were quite enamored with former Senator Hagel and thought he would make an excellent addition to any cabinet. Such as Senator John McCain, who told the New York Times in 2006 – “I’d be honored to have Chuck with me in any capacity.”  Of course one can only speculate as to why Hagel is now persona non grata for McCain who last month claimed Hagel wasn’t even a real republican.

The second example of treating people like Goldfish is even more brazen.  It involves one John Bolton. Earlier last month when giving an interview over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s reported concussion he stated -

You know, every foreign service officer in every foreign ministry in the world knows the phrase I am about to use. When you don’t want to go to a meeting or conference, or an event, you have a ‘diplomatic illness.’ And this is a diplomatic illness to beat the band.

Yet just this week when it was reported that Mrs Clinton’s illness was rather more serious, Mr Bolton had this to say - “I didn’t think that (protecting Clinton from Benghazi testimony) was the effort to begin with.”  Further adding…

“I think that they’re trying to walk a fine line that does not affect the potential presidential candidacy that we expect Sen. Clinton to enter into in the near future, after she leaves the State Department. I think it’s the too cute by half approach that’s reflected in the absence of transparency that’s going to end up damaging her and damaging her credibility.”

Perhaps if Bolton had begun the latest interview by saying - “Forget what i said earlier about Clinton faking it, i was talking outta my ass!” he may not have come across as the asshole he so clearly is.  

In any event, what this tells us is that somebody needs to take Messrs Bolton and McCain aside and walk them through the predicaments of living in the age of the internet.

 

The Propaganda Beacon

You just have to admire the way the neo-con propganda site The Washington Free Beacon has spun a recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Centre.  The National Iranian American Council has a good overview of the evident mendacity of Free Beacon here. Important to note the byline that Free Beacon uses – REPORT: Nuclear Iran would ‘double’ oil prices, cost millions of U.S. jobs

In his piece, Free Beacon ‘journalist’ Adam Kredo states…

Oil prices “could double,” increasing the U.S. price of gasoline by up to $2.75, if Iran is permitted to obtain a nuclear weapon, according to a new economic analysis by a bipartisan team of current and former government officials.

However when one looks at the relevant paragraph Kredo fashioned this claim out of, we see that it states…

For example, in the case of significant instability in Saudi Arabia or a Saudi-Iran nuclear exchange, oil prices could double; gasoline prices could increase by more than 70 percent, adding $2.75 at the pump; GDP could plummet by as much as 8 percent in the first year, or $1.2 trillion, sending the nation into a severe recession; inflation could skyrocket to almost 5 percent; and unemployment could increase by almost 4 percent, translating into more than five million more people out of work.

I think it’s fair to say that that is a rather key part of the sentence which Kredo has decided to omit.

He goes on to quote Democratic Sen. Charles Robb thus…

“Inaction also poses economic risks,” former Democratic Sen. Charles Robb (Va.) told a group of reporters Wednesday during a discussion about the report. “Heightened expectation … and instability triggered by the consequences of a nuclear Iran would cause the price of oil to go much higher and remain high … significantly impacting the US economy.”

However, as the presser is available online it is worth quoting Senator Robb at length…

In the public debate during the last year or so a recurring concern has been the  economic risks posed by the available means for preventing a nuclear Iran. Whether through tough sanctions or military action. Economic risks are a legitimate concern but eco…, but inaction also poses economic risks. The purpose of the paper we’re releasing today is an attempt to illustrate some of the economic costs that would emanate from the impact of a nuclear Iran.  We don’t suggest that these will be the only costs the US would bear by any means.  There would be a myriad of consequences, direct and indirect, only some of which can be foreseen or quantified. We concluded simply, that heightened expectation of instability and supply disruptions triggered by the prospect of…, the consequences of a nuclear iran would cause the price of oil to go much higher and remain high for a sustained duration of time significantly impacting the US economy.

So the Senator first admits that preventing aIran from gaining a nuclear weapon poses economic risks. He also admits that this report is just their conclusion. You will also notice that Kredo has a strange way of editing quotes, making mid-sentences appear as if they are the beginning of a sentence.

The report in question bases it magic 8-ball analysis around 5 possible consequences of a nuclear Iran. These 5 predictions are – domestic instability in Saudi Arabia, Saudi facilities being destroyed, sanctions against Iran lapsing, Iran-Saudi nuclear exchange and finally an Iran-Israel nuclear exchange.  So you can see that the report is based upon rather shaky predictions, the most likely of which the report states to be domestic instability in Saudi which they peg at a probability of 40%.  Interestingly and obviously not reported by Kredo is the report’s conclusion with regard to the sanctions lapsing scenario, it states -

Were this scenario to occur, our model suggests the price of oil would actually fall by about 20 percent from the current baseline. Although this could have positive economic effects, because we consider it likely that Saudi Arabia might scale back its own production in the event of this scenario, we did not calculate its economic impact.

So there you have it, Iran is to blame for the actions of Saudi Arabia as well.  What that little nugget inadvertently admits, is that any kind of tough posture toward Iran, the current sanctions or a possible military option (which this report no doubt seeks to scare-monger for) has negative economic consequences, as Senator Robb admitted above.

Finally the report in question concludes with a Caveat paragraph (page 43), part of which reads…

Attempts at prediction and quantification of future events are fraught with perils and ought be approached with humility. Thus, we undertook this study not to yield an authoritative description of what will happen the day after Iran becomes a nuclear power, but to provide an account of what might happen that could lay the foundation for discussion among reasonable people. For this reason, our effort has been guided throughout by the twin principles of simplicity and peer review. First, rather than develop highly complex and technical models of how energy markets function or of what drives the U.S. economy, we have opted throughout to make simplifying assumptions. This might sacrifice predictive accuracy, but we decided it more important to demonstrate intelligibly general trends and linkages to policy experts and the general public alike than to build quantitative models worthy of Wall Street

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Free Beacon enjoyed this report. Bless their little hearts.

Batman – Court of Owls finale

Batman #11

Warning, the following review contains spoilers.

After probably one of the most memorable and thrilling arcs in recent comics memory, we finally get to the finale of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s epic and brilliant Court  Of The Owl’s  storyline. What follows is as I’m sure you’re well aware, simply my opinion (which let’s face it matters little).   Did Snyder manage to land this epic arc with triumph and aplomb? Yes…and no.

For me he sits on the fence too much, it’s too open ended for my taste.  I’m not asking for a Morrison-esque universe changing twist, but even if Snyder had determined that Lincoln March wasn’t Bruce’s brother, we would still have the mystery of the true origins of the Court of Owls and if they are finished for good.
That said, the dichotomy between March and the Court of Owls was great, with each thinking they are ultimately pulling the strings of the other.  The fact also that Bruce has placed the captured Talons in a cryo-prison is obviously a little nod to possible future ‘Owl arcs’, which I would definitely read because as a whole this is still an amazing arc.

Its just the fence-sitting over whether or not March is really Bruce’s brother, Thomas Wayne Jr, is where i feel this final issue is weakest.  It’s almost as if Snyder didn’t want to upset fans or alter the Batman universe and undermine the great writers that have taken on the mantle of Bob Kane’s creation in the past.
The final scene between Bruce and Dick is immense and in a way we see that batshit crazy as Lincoln March might be, he has actually taught Bruce a valuable lesson.  During their fight Lincoln explains to Bruce how he spent years waiting on his brother to come get him, how that ultimately selfish brother never arrived.  In talking to Dick, Bruce states he was only planning the initiative to have more look-outs and bases for Batman to operate from so it was being done in a kinda selfish way, but he now realises that Gotham isn’t Batman or the Court of Owls, but it’s “all of us”.  He’s going to rebuild Gotham for Gotham’s sake.

With regard to the art, Capullo nails it again from the small enclosed fist fight scenes to the citywide expansive air sequence.  His pencil-work is so good in this run that it reignited the old frustration in me that artists very often don’t get the praise they deserve.  Usually it’s only the writer people mention when talking of famous arcs.  I hope that Capullo’s work on Batman will help change that tradition.

My only criticism here would be Batman being able to pull himself out of a massive speeding jet engine and that iron-man type jet suit that the Ultimate Owl/march is wearing…really?

I know, I know, we have 200 yr old assassins coming back from the dead with a serum in this arc but just those bits were kinda meh for me.
However the final citywide fight scene was an important metaphor for a central theme of this arc, that being where the two men stood, each thinking he ‘owned’ Gotham in a way.   So to have the two of them duke it out through and literally over Gotham was pretty cool, with that in mind perhaps the Owl’s jet suit was a thematic requirement.

The back up story ‘The Fall Of The House Of Wayne’ not only has a great title with a nod towards the master Poe but ends nicely with roles reversed and Alfred questioning the truth of his father’s death.  It was a very bleak story and Rafael Albuquerque’s art was perfectly suited to this Gothic inspired mystery written by both Snyder and James Tynion IV

Having already bagged and boarded each and every issue in this arc, I can’t wait for where Capullo and Snyder are taking us next.  Obviously my criticisms here are entirely subjective and as a result of my own tastes.  With this Court Of Owls saga, Snyder has cemented himself as the best writer in comics at present and Capullo sits atop the throne of artists in my opinion.  It’s not often we get a new addition to our comic book heroes rouges galleries that becomes instantly  classic and part of the canon, but Snyder has achieved that with the Court of Owls.  I’m confident enough to predict we shall see this mysterious Court of Owls and their assassins making an appearance on the big screen with the next Batman franchise.  If you haven’t read this storyline yet, the trade paperback for the first half is out now.  Buy it, I’m sure it’ll hook you into picking up the rest.

Goldberg Propaganda Laid Bare

Yet again I have been compelled to the keyboard because of Jeffrey Goldberg’s mendacity.  He posted a piece yesterday which regurgitates practically every long debunked falsehood surrounding the events of Palestine in 1948.  Like other hardened supporters of Israel and Zionism, Goldberg opens his piece by engaging in the usual hyperbole

‘….but what I won’t do is label as a “nakba” a war that saw the 600,000 Jews of Palestine prevent their own slaughter at the hands of invading Arab armies.’

Israel declared statehood unilaterally, on 15th May 1948 using United Nations Resolution 181 as their basis for doing so.  As I will demonstrate they had no moral or legal basis for this declaration of statehood. The Israeli/Zionist narrative posits the nascent Israeli state declaring ‘Independence’ and holding out against all odds from the invading armies of the surrounding Arab nations. Or as others would have it ‘Israel defended itself against a genocidal war of extermination’ (Dershowitz)

Undoubtedly there were startling statements emanating from some of the Arab elite, such as the oft cited alleged statmement from Secretary General of the Arab League, Abd al-Rahman Azzam  – “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades”

Yet this statement has never been verified.  However a war of defence cannot be credibly claimed to be in defence if it is launched on the basis of rhetoric alone.  The question of what constitutes defence and what constitutes aggression is very important.  The common failure of those who claim Israel acted in self-defence in 1948, is that they leave out the context of Israel’s declaration of statehood.  It is a vital area which requires close examination to truly decide whether or not 1948 was a war of defence, as far as Israel is concerned.

Goldberg continues…

The Middle East suffers today from the crucial mistakes made by Arab leaders in the late 1940s. The United Nations, you’ll recall, voted to divide Palestine into two equal halves, one for a Jewish state, the other for an Arab state.

Ok, for the umpteenth time, UN Res. 181 was a recommendation only and as such held no enforcement power whatsoever.  Furthermore the Jewish Agency had no right to declare statehood against the express will of the inhabitants of Palestine.  The Arabs of Palestine were under no moral or legal obligation to accept 181, which advocated the partition of their land into a Jewish state and an Arab state, and as such were fully entitled to refuse it as they did.  Not to mention the recommendation for partition sought to give the Jewish minority the majority of the land.  This view was shared by a US State Dept official, who in a secret memo to the then US Secretary of State, George Marshall, wrote

‘These proposals [of the majority of UNSCOP proposing partition]…ignore such principles as self-determination and majority rule.’

Indeed in the words of one of the worlds foremost jurists of the time, Hans Kelsen (himself a Jew) UN General Assembly recommendations “do not constitute a legal obligation to behave in conformity with them”. In this regard Kelsen was in agreement with the likes of Clyde Eagelton, Leland Goodrich and Edvard Hambro who stated “recommendations have no obligatory character.”

This non-obligatory character of UN resolution 181 was also highlighted by Canada at a Security Council meeting on 17th December 1948 when their representative statedwe regard the resolution of the general Assembly [Resolution 181] as having the force of a recommendation.”  For UN resolution 181 to succeed, it had to be accepted by both sides.  As already stated, the Palestinians were perfectly entitled to reject it as they did.

With regard to UN resolution 181 (a recommendation only) Goldberg writes…

The Jews accepted the plan; the Arab leadership, thinking its armies were strong enough to annihilate the Jews, invaded, and then proceeded to lose.

A couple of issues here. First, the Zionists were on record as seeing the initial partition of Palestine as merely a stepping stone to a greater Israel as, in the words of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion…

The Jewish State now being offered to us is not the Zionist objective. Within this area it is not possible to solve the Jewish question. But it can serve as a decisive stage along the path to greater Zionist implementation. It will consolidate in Palestine, within the shortest possible time, the real Jewish force which will lead us to our historic goal.

Ben-Gurion was on record claiming that Zionists would accept partition..

on the assumption that after we become a strong force, as a result of the creation of the state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine.

No mention of these Zionist aims from Goldberg of course, as for him to admit to these realities would highlight how his whole piece is built on sand.  On his claim that the Arab armies simply ‘invaded’ to annihilate the Jews and lost.  First thing to note, is that Zionist forces had begun ethnically cleansing Palestine of its indigenous inhabitants well before the Arab armies intervened.  Even today, intervention is still seen as the best way to avoid such man-made humanitarian catastrophes.  But it seems for some people, Arab nations are not allowed to intervene in the way Western states are.

When the surrounding Arab armies entered Palestine on 15th May 1948, the day after Israel’s declaration of statehood, Israel (or rather the Jewish Agency) petitioned the UN that this move by the Arab states amounted to aggression. Unfortunately for the Jewish Agency, the UN did not make such a deliberation. In point of fact, the surrounding Arab nations stressed that they were coming to the aid and at the request of the lawful bearers of sovereignty in Palestine, namely, the Palestinians. It is worth remembering also that the League of Arab States had adopted a charter on March 22nd 1945 which recognized the rights of the Palestinians and identified Palestine as a state.

The Arab Higher Committee also submitted a memorandum to the UN in June of 1948 in which they explicitly defended their entry into Palestine. It was entitled ‘Why the Arab States Entered Palestine: Their Action Justified in Fact and in International Law’.  Part of which reads

The Arab armies entered Palestine on the invitation of the native Arabs of Palestine who are ‘resisting attempted subjugation by the armed (Jewish) minority and outside (Jewish) pressure.

This ‘outside pressure’ being not just Jewish/Zionist groups, but also actual states, such as Czechoslovakia, which was selling arms to the Jewish Agency.  The support that the Jewish Agency was in receipt of from outside elements, which it required in order to subvert the rights of the majority indigenous population, could be argued to have given the surrounding Arab states the right to intervene. As noted by eminent international jurist, Michael Barton Akehurst, who stated

“The Jewish community in Palestine…was being used by foreign interests to commit indirect aggression against Palestine. The Arab States were protecting Palestine against such subversion, it is generally agreed that one state may protect another against subversion, under the idea of collective self-defense

As mentioned above, the UN did not agree with nascent Israeli state that the actions of the surrounding Arab armies in entering Palestine amounted to aggression. In fact China’s representative Tsiang Tingfu highlighted the aggressive nature of the Jewish Agency’s unilateral declaration of statehood –

The prompt proclamation of the Jewish state last evening reduced considerably the prospects for peace in Palestine.

Goldberg continues…

As a consequence of the war, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians became refugees — some were expelled by Jewish forces in the course of fighting, some fled, others were encouraged to leave by their leaders.

Thats his way of putting it. More honest people might say Zionists ethnically cleansed large swathes of Palestine, as had been Ben-Gurion’s dream.  Goldberg also dredges up the long debunked Arab leaders caused the exodus of Palestinians argument.  He goes on to write The disaster, in other words, was the result of a series of mistakes made the leaders of the Arab states in 1948.

No Jeffrey, the Naqba was a premeditated land grab and ethnic cleansing project long envisaged by the early Zionists and indeed the man who became Israel’s first Prime Minister, who we would rightly label a war criminal today.  What is patently obvious is that in your attempt to lay the blame for the Naqba with the Arab states, you seek to ignore declared Zionist intent to ‘transfer’ the Arabs out of Palestine, the immorality and illegality of the Jewish Agency’s declaration of statehood and the right of those Arabs not just to live on their own land, but to fight to uphold that right.

Goldberg continues his blatant falsehoods…

The war that brought the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank under Israeli control in 1967 was not of Israel’s making,

I have previously demonstrated this claim of Goldberg’s to be false, which resulted in his clicking on my profile page on Twitter and hitting ‘Block’.  But to be fair he was no doubt already angered by previous posts of mine demonstrating his mendacity.

Goldberg concludes by mentioning the movement of 850,000 arab jews into Israel..

And speaking of nakbas, here is a report about another, more silent nabka, one that caused the movement of 850,000 people across the Middle East, but one that doesn’t get that much attention, in part because these refugees were cared for by their brethren.

What he doesn’t say, is that this took place over several decades, involved not just expulsion, but also messianic jews on Aliyah, and also Jews fleeing as a result of what has been termed ‘cruel zionism‘ working in tandem with British attempts to move Iraqi Jews to Israel.

If this threat [to expel Iraqi Jews] could be transmuted into an arrangement whereby Iraqi Jews moved into Israel, recieved compensation for their property from the israeli government, while the Arab refugees were installed with the property in Iraq, there would seem to be something to commend it.

(Foreign Office to British Embassy, Baghdad, Sept 5th 1949)

Instances like the Lavon affair also undermined the position of Arab Jews even further.  Indeed as John Rose has written with regard to Zionism’s desire to artificially implant a settler population in Palestine, its ‘first victims were the Arabs of Palestine. The second were the Jews in Arab countries.’

It is a sad reflection that Jeffrey Goldberg has the standing he does among US commentariat.  His piece is predicated upon his belief that his readers are not well informed about the issue.  Unfortunately one does not need to examine his output that vigorously to see what a crude and unabashed propagandist the man truly is.