Friday, October 5, 2012

Article Announcement

The Harvard-MIT journal International Security,  has just published a long article of mine, "Just War Moral Philosophy and the 2008–09 Israeli
Campaign in Gaza,"  some parts of which have previously appeared on this site.

The hard copy of the journal won't be out for a couple of more weeks, but it can be read now, free, on the journal website: ttp://

Here is the abstract of the article:

The Israeli attack on Gaza at the end of 2008--"Operation Cast Lead"--is best understood in the context of the overall Israeli "iron wall" strategy that has been at the core of Israeli policies in the Arab-Israeli conflict since the 1930s. The iron wall strategy emphasizes the need for overwhelming military power to break Arab resistance to Zionism and then Israel’s goals and policies; from its outset, the strategy has included attacks on civilians and their crucial infrastructures. Such attacks violate the just war moral principles of discrimination and noncombatant immunity. In addition, Cast Lead violated the just war principles of just cause and last resort: wars must have a just cause and even when it does, must be resorted to only after nonviolent and political alternatives have been tried. Israel did not have a just cause, because its primary purpose was to crush resistance to its continuing de facto occupation and repression of Gaza. Further, Israel refused to explore the genuine possibility that Hamas was amenable to a two-state political settlement. Thus, the iron wall strategy in general and Cast Lead in particular have been political as well as moral failures, failing to serve Israel’s genuine long-term security.


Anonymous said...

Although I have been involved as an amateur since 9-11 as an ardent spectator of Israel’s endless crimes and the (comic) justifications thereof, I do not think I have ever read such a superb, calm, unanswerable indictment of the state’s seamless policy of state “deterrence” (=state terrorism) considered as a moral issue.
In a certain sense, Slater has ended the debate. One can perhaps add or subtract here or there or take issue with a footnote , but for all reasonable purposes to America, once a civilized society, Slater’s task has ended it and it can be added to a few others by Walt and Weir and Finkelstein—all of which will be ignored by sleeping politicians, journalists or public.
Allow me to add a few points that may be helpful in adding some side-bars to Slater’s achievement.
§ Some great mysteries remain: a) how step by step does Israel teach the catechism of Sanctified Violence to its young—such that the IDF/Israel have become the most successful Terrorist Organization—surely since the Nazis.
§ Has there ever been a people who enjoyed the reputation as the moral conscience of the world (the former Jews) who fell from grace with such breathless speed and such confident indignation (as tactic) and the hallowed Trance Dancing—which signals to each other: “How scared we all are of the Second Holocaust (SH)—which happens whenever an IDF corporal is kidnapped or indeed with a change of weather on the beach!=in other words, an hysterical nation pretending to be normal.
§ Slater’s treatment is utterly earnest from beginning to end, but he allows for a certain unintentional humor with the reasons offered why under 600 children and women were killed in Gaza. Here is the script:
THE DEATH RATIOS PROVE WE DID NOT DO IT ??? (Whatever this means?)
In Heidelberg , I have heard twice the same practiced (?) defense:
“What is 400 kids compared to 6,000,000 victims?”!!

§ Anyway, I offer respectful thanks to Jerome Slater for his extraordinary fortitude in defending Truth&Justice against the odds AND suggest a certain Stoicism because no one in Germany will read or understand the detailed argument (they are terrorized) and 2) almost no one in the USA also because we too are both terrorized and ashamed that we are complicit through both the media and the government in the greatest single act of loathsome ruthlessness since the Nazis.

Don Brady said...

Sir, you forgot a central point, I believe.

Hidden in the canon law and quite alive in the Israel policy is "State's Reason".

Such allows the most heinous crimes, mass murders--if the state's existence is in jeopardy--which like the just war argument is always! (0as in fact argued by any government or any freshman in logic.)

It is first found in Tacitus, but then mostly supported by the Jesuits--today sub rosa.
Don Brady

pabelmont said...

In the article PDF you say: "Throughout 2007 Israel stepped up its targeted assassinations and other attacks on militants in Gaza and the West Bank, using indiscriminate methods that resulted in the killing of civilians

I would ask you (and all others) to avoid using the slick Israeli jargon of "targeted" as in "targeted assassinations". One would surely hope that Israel would not perform un-targeted assassinations, and yet you also (here) refer to "indiscriminate methods" which itself seems to give the lie to "targeted assassinations".

pabelmont said...

Jerome Slater -- a fantastic essay. Especially for the analysis from 1930s-2005 etc. Thanks so much for this gargantuan effort.

In my view Israel has been an essentially criminal enterprise from 1930s til today by which I mean a group of people doing what they want, to the cost of others, by force, and it is in no way excused by saying that Israel is now a state -- because it was a state created by illegal and immoral violence without anything (neither Balfour nor Mandate nor UNGA 181) offering a STATE (nad 181 only suggesting a state IF an Arab state, co-operatively, were also created.

Since the essential violence was done in 1947 AFTER the UN Charter stated the principle of non-permissibility of taking territory by war, the creation of Israel was itself illegal.

This has of course caught the international community in a difficulty it has never escaped, presumably because of Holocaust guilt in Europe and USA's interventions on Israel's behalf.