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Ammous vs. Block on Israel

As I tweeted here:

Walter Block’s pro-Israel WSJ article from October, “The Moral Duty to Destroy Hamas” (substack version) upset lots of libertarians, e.g. Scott Horton who says, at about 1:08:00 here, that Walter is now kicked out of libertarianism because of his Israel-Gaza views.

Kevin Duffy also criticized him; Walter responded here: “Have I Gone AWOL?” He argued that his views on Gaza are fine since it’s okay to disagree with Rothbard and still be a libertarian.

Walter has another pro-Israel piece up in the WSJ today — “How Jews Escaped Their Dismal Fate.” Saifedean Ammous and Walter had debated this topic previously and after the October editorial, Walter asked Saif to co-author something with him to show that even libertarians who disagree can collaborate on issues they agree on.

This is Saif’s response to Walter (he gave me permission to post it):


Our debate made it very clear that you refuse to accept the legitimacy of private property rights for Palestinians, and you support the continued monopolization of Palestine’s land by a socialist government agency, the Israeli Land Authority, which means you are a socialist. Also, your recent unhinged bloodthirsty WSJ editorial made it clear to me you think carpet bombing innocent civilians is acceptable if they do not belong to your tribe, which means you do not view me as a human being. Both of these facts mean there is no room for any sort of constructive dialogue between a civilized human being like me who accepts property rights as the basis of human interaction, and renounces the initiation of aggression, and a barbaric socialist monster like you who supports violence and theft. There is absolutely nothing anyone can offer me to sully my name by associating with anyone who thinks like you.

Rather than trying to assuage your guilty conscience over supporting a genocide by writing an irrelevant paper with me, I would encourage you to read Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action to understand the inextricable importance of property rights to civilization, and to read Professor Hoppe’s argumentation ethics to understand why it’s meaningless for me to engage with socialists who reject property rights. I also discuss these points in detail in my latest book, Principles of Economics, attached here. I realize these authors write at a level far more intellectually advanced than your moronic brand of shock-jock shallow libertarianism dedicated to defending prostitution, political Zionism, and other types of detestable degeneracy, but I have hope that if you persist and push yourself, you may yet come to understand how human society can function peacefully and redeem yourself in your latter years.

If you read these books and come to your senses, and are willing to publicly support the privatization of the land of historic Palestine, and to denounce the bombing of civilians, I would be happy to consider working with you. Until then, I will continue to only cooperate with civilized human beings, while you and your work continue to fade to hypocritical irrelevance.


Update: See also—

  • Saifedean Ammous’s discussion of this issue with Robert Breedlove here
  • Randians Are Genocidal Collectivists,” by Fernando Chiocca.
  • Block arguing here that Native Americans do not own the United States (unlike Israeli Jews’ claims…).
  • Re Walter’s views on Covid lockdowns/restrictions, see his article My Response to Jeffrey Tucker on Covid, responding to Tucker, The Downfall of the Gurus
  • Hans-Hermann Hoppe, “An Open Letter to Walter E. Block,” LewRockwell.com (Jan. 31, 2024).
  • Ron Unz, Prof. John Beaty and the True Origin of the Jews. The material towards the end argues that the Palestinians are very probably the direct descendants of the ancient Jews who converted to Christianity and then to Islam, and never left; i.e., that the ruling Askenazi Jews are descendants of converts. See other Unz pieces on this topic.
  • Kevin Duffy’s longer essay on the Israel-Palestine conflict
  • Someone sent me this: comment: “About Block’s case of property rights being justified by genetics, this should make him reverse his position on the Israel-Palestine war”: Zionism: The Secret Evidence Israel Tried to Bury
  • Scott Horton’s tweet
  • Michael Rectenwald’s tweet: “For a long time, I’ve had my own internal struggle with Walter Block’s anti-libertarian stance with reference to Israel. Block, I thought, was simply wrong on this one issue. And Walter has been a good friend to me. But at this point, with a heavy heart, I must disavow Walter Block as a failed libertarian thinker, due to his egregiously erroneous claims that the Jewish people have some collectivist rights to property and thanks to his insanely blood-thirsty stance on the Palestinian people, replete with horrendous recommendations that Israel violate the non-aggression principle in the case of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Therefore, I have decided to remove Block from my list of campaign endorsers. Hans-Hermann Hoppe destroys Block’s anti-libertarian stance in this recent article, proof that Hoppe remains the leader of true libertarianism.”
  • Rothbard, War Guilt in the Middle East
  • Stephen P. Halbrook, “Alienation of a Home-land: How Palestine Became Israel
  • Michael Rectenwald, “Statism Is the Cause of the Israel-Hamas War
  • David Gordon & Wanjiru Njoya, “The Classical Liberal Case For Israel
{ 11 comments… add one }
  • richard656b738d8d January 29, 2024, 7:46 am

    Walter Block also supported Trump, so I don’t know why anyone still thinks he’s a libertarian

    • Dennis Nezic January 29, 2024, 3:55 pm

      I don’t think he did, except insofar as to say he was the lesser of the two evils, which seems to have been the correct take – given the swamp’s now clearly demonstrated eagerness for war, with Russia, and all of Israel’s other enemies :p. Isn’t he like the only president who never started a war? Although the Jared Kushner stuff, and Pfizer/Fauci stuff, was disturbing, but still. I don’t think Walter explicitly endorsed any anti-libertarian positions with Trump, as he’s now doing for his tribe.

      (Hm, but now in hindsight, maybe the main reason he liked Trump was cuz of the Kushner/Jerusalem stuff :S.)

  • Dennis Nezic January 29, 2024, 8:39 am

    Walter finally met an undefendable he couldn’t defend – bombing civilians (after ethnically cleansing them and then keeping them in cages for decades), or not recognizing their property rights because they’re sub-human. It’s depressing that even someone like him wasn’t able to overcome his base tribalism. It’s terrifying clown world that this is being considered … clearly we came down from the trees too soon (ie. we’re still primitive monkeys).

    I recently heard about a story that Jewish culture still PROMOTES(?!) about a guy wanting to marry some king’s daughter (Saul’s?), and the king finally agrees on the condition that he MURDER (AND GENITALLY-MUTILATE (afterwards?)) ~100 palestinians. The guy came back with ~200. I’m pretty sure they aren’t ashamed of this story, they haven’t tried to scrub it from the texts they use to teach their children (like I think they did with many other psycho passages), it bolsters their myth about being superior/chosen. It’s a sick culture.

    There’s another story that they teach their kids about a guy tricking GOD HIMSELF, after god wanted to destroy a city or something. Some really absurd lawyer-esque slight-of-hand, WITH GOD. A sane reasonable and decent person would cringe at this story, and see it as embarrassing or shameful – but I bet they see it as a positive thing, about their cunning.

    So it’s a culture that relentlessly promotes racism, dehumanizing of the other, and deception. That explains a lot.

    • Bob Murphy February 1, 2024, 6:10 am

      “I recently heard about a story that Jewish culture still PROMOTES(?!) about a guy wanting to marry some king’s daughter (Saul’s?), and the king finally agrees on the condition that he MURDER (AND GENITALLY-MUTILATE (afterwards?)) ~100 palestinians. The guy came back with ~200. I’m pretty sure they aren’t ashamed of this story, they haven’t tried to scrub it from the texts they use to teach their children”

      It is true that the Jews have not scrubbed this story from the texts they use to teach their children, in this case it goes by the street name “The Bible.”

      • Dennis Nezic February 2, 2024, 9:16 pm

        :). Thank you for the context, noble sir!

        But the point still stands, I think they ENCOURAGE their youth to behave like those psychos/murderers/deceivers – they’re not dusty passages that are awkwardly avoided. Do you recall if “The Bible” presents these stories as cautionary or exemplary? Surely God would not approve of slaughtering ~200 outsiders, and then cutting their dicks? I was never taught such stories in my Catholic schools or churches.

        Also “The Bible”, as I’m sure you know, is a collection of books, some were added or removed over the centuries? I’m not sure why such grotesque stories were kept – surely as cautionary tales, for us saner more decent folk? And I think the Jew texts (ie. Talmud) were scrubbed of really racist stuff? Like Sanhedrin 57a: “When a Jew murders a gentile, there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a gentile he may keep.” … or is that still in their books? 😛

    • Amit Reuveni February 1, 2024, 8:38 am

      Palestinians or Philistines?
      Surely you don’t believe the name “Palestine” was in use during the times of the Bible?

      • Dennis Nezic February 3, 2024, 9:49 am

        I’m aware of the distinction :p. I forget the (irrelevant) details, either they’re basically the same thing (modern day Palestinians are basically those Philistines?) or consider both terms to simply mean “non-jews”/”outsiders”. After reading the passage that Bob linked, I’m even more horrified and confused. God approved of the slaughter and mutilation of those ~200 non-jews??

  • Adam February 1, 2024, 12:17 am

    Isn’t Block also sympathetic to lockdowns (per Jeff Tucker)?

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