Tuesday, February 05, 2013



On 1 February 2013, at the Financial Times, Simon Kuper wrote about Israel: perched between hope and fear

"Listen to six former chiefs of Israel’s domestic intelligence service Shin Bet.

"They speak in the new Israeli documentary The Gatekeepers...

"'We are making millions of people’s lives unbearable,' says one ex-chief. 

"'We have become cruel,' says another.

"'When you retire,' a third says of his job, 'you become a bit of a leftie.'"

Simon Kuper continues:

"War is in decline worldwide, as the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker points out in his magnificent book The Better Angels of Our Nature. 

"In part, states have learnt that war rarely achieves its goals. 

"In part, mass media and international pressure put the brakes on prolonged bloodshed. 

"Israel now gets only brief windows to fight wars ('to cut the grass' as its army says) before the world intervenes.

"Hence its 'mini-wars' of recent years in Gaza and Lebanon....

Tel Aviv Dance
Tel Aviv. By Gilad Benari

Simon Kuper continues:

From "January 2009 through October 2012, 422 people (mainly Palestinians) were killed in Israeli-Palestinian violence.

"That’s horrible - but it’s a far lower death rate than the homicide rate in a safer than ever New York City over the same period.

"Tel Aviv really has become a hip Mediterranean beach town with an IT boom.

"Military leaders worry that civilians are becoming less willing to sacrifice."

Netanyahu mulling possible coalition without Lapid

Haaretz-by Jonathan Lis-

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker argues:

Violence in the world, especially the western part, has declined both in the long run and in the short, and suggests explanations why this has happened.[1]

The Better Angels of Our Nature - Wikipedia,

Pinker argues that "The way to explain the decline of violence is to identify the changes in our cultural and material milieu that have given our peaceable motives the upper hand".[2]

Among these social changes cited as bringing about the ascendancy of our "better angels" are:[3]

1. The interconnectivity of cultures through the need for trade. 

2. Increased literacy.

3. Increased urbanisation. 

4. Increased mobility. 

5. Increased access to mass media. 

6. All of the above exposing different cultures to each other.

7. The spread of democracy.

Pinker stresses, however, that "The decline, to be sure, has not been smooth; it has not brought violence down to zero; and it is not guaranteed to continue".[4]

John Arquilla criticized Pinker's book in a December 3, 2012 article in Foreign Policy.

Arquilla criticized Pinker for using statistics that he said didn't accurately represent the threats of civilians dying in war: 

"The problem with the conclusions reached in these studies is their reliance on 'battle death' statistics. 

"The pattern of the past century - one recurring in history - is that the deaths of noncombatants due to war has risen, steadily and very dramatically. 

"In World War I, perhaps only 10 percent of the 10 million-plus who died were civilians. 

"The number of noncombatant deaths jumped to as much as 50 percent of the 50 million-plus lives lost in World War II, and the sad toll has kept on rising ever since." [22]

The Better Angels of Our Nature - Wikipedia,

It is estimated that 10 million people died in the Korean War - as many as died in the First World War. Korean War

Six million dead in Congo's war

Vietnam War killed 3.8 million Vietnamese.


Anonymous said...

I hope this is genuine that Israelis realising the error of its ways, the killing has to stop,
this eye for an eye bit just does not work, as the man said "the world will end up blind"
israel must make peace with iran immediately and apologise for killing its scientists and leaving bombs about the place etc.
do it now.

Anonymous said...

@Anony 5:48 - keep dreaming, mate, keep dreaming....

KPRyan said...

Actions are bankable. Words are simple hot air. So nice that the retired Shin Bet bosses, as one says, become '... a bit of a leftie' once they retire. Too damn bad they didn't influence politics and life and death when they were in positions of power... simple hot air.

I haven't read Pinker's book and have no intention of doing so. It is beyond me that any American could claim war is in decline when I've literally spent more than 25% of my life witnessing my country at war. My sons have literally spent 100% of their lives as residing in a nation at war. We're just damn lucky we don't live in one of the lands where the US or Israel is on the offensive. In addition, Pinker's claim that 'mass media and international pressure' reduces bloodshed is beyond silly. Mass media is Mass controlled. The UN (from which 'international pressure' would eminate) can't even see to it that a few ships can reach Palestinians unmolested.

Furthermore, the world is on a collision course and most people recognize it. Rather than 1 kingdom going after another, we're at the point where 1 kingdom (the jewish one) along with its allies is threatening all members of the human race: Join or Die.

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