The War Isn’t Over, But Israel Has Lost


Haven’t we been here before?

I. The Last Waltz?

Repeating behaviors that have produced catastrophic failures and expecting a different result is insane; and when a person’s psychotic behavior puts himself and those around him in immediate physical danger, the responsibility of those who claim to be his friends is to restrain him. But even as Waltz With Bashir shows in multiplexes across the world as a grim reminder of the precedent for Israel’s brutal march of folly in Gaza, the U.S. (and the editors of the New York Times and Washington Post) insist that there is a sanity and rationality to sending one of the world’s most powerful armies into a giant refugee camp to rend the flesh and crush the bones of those who stand in its way — whether in defiance or by being unlucky enough to have been born of the wrong tribe and be huddling in the wrong place. By fighting its way to their citadel, they would have us believe, Israel can destroy Hamas and usher in a golden age of peace. Or, to borrow from the casual callousness of Condi Rice during the last such display of futile brutality, we are witnessing, again, the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.” Israel failed in 2006, just as in 2002 and 1982. This time, they tell us, will be different.

And then the horror unfolds, as it always does — the hundreds of civilians accidentally massacred as they cowered in what they were told were places of safety, mocking Israel’s torrent of self congratulation over its restraint and its brilliant intelligence — and the hopelessly out-gunned enemy manages to survive, as he does every time. And by surviving, grows stronger politically. No matter how many are killed, the leaders targeted by Israel’s military are endlessly regenerated in the fertile soil of grievance and resentment born of the circumstances Israel has created. Circumstances it has created, but which it, and its most fervent backers refuse to acknowledge, much less redress.

Arafat is dead and gone. So are Sheikh Yassin, and Rantissi. And Abbas al-Musawi, and Imad Mughniyeh. Israel’s ruthless efficiency at killing the leaders of Palestinian and Lebanese resistance groups is second to none, and yet, no matter who it kills, there are always thousands more, ready to declare, “I am Spartacus”. That’s because those who step up to lead these organizations are acting not out of personal ambition — leadership in Hamas is a death sentence. The endless stream of Palestinians willing to sacrifice themselves in the role, then, is a symptom of the condition of their people. And Israel’s leaders know this. Asked when running for Prime Minister a decade ago what he’d have done if he’d been born Palestinian, Ehud Barak — the man directing the current operation in Gaza — answered bluntly, “I’d have joined a terror organization.”

By the logic of his own instinct on the campaign trail in 1999, Ehud Barak should know that Operation Cast Lead in Gaza cannot succeed, except, perhaps, in reviving his own political prospects. No matter how many leaders, militants and ordinary civilians Israel kills in Gaza, Hamas — or something like it — will survive.

Waltz With Bashir — a movie that had to be made in Israel, I venture, because questioning Israeli militarism would have been deemed “anti-Semitic” in Hollywood — reminds us that, in 1982, Ariel Sharon led an invasion of Lebanon supposedly aimed at stopping attacks on northern Israel, advancing all the way to Beirut in order to crush the PLO. Sure, the PLO was driven out of Beirut and exiled to Tunisia, but the Israelis were forced within six years to begin negotiating with it because of the uprising of the youth of the West Bank and Gaza. Lebanon in 1982 was a brutal and ultimately futile campaign that delivered only the brutal images of the massacres at Sabra and Shatila around which the movie centers.

Since 1982, of course, Israel has laid siege to and bombed nearly every major Palestinian city, killing and imprisoning thousands of Palestinians, blundering into Lebanon again in 2006 and killing another thousand Lebanese, repeatedly bombed Gaza and choked off its economy for much of the past three years, and yet, nothing has changed: They have killed some 700 in Gaza now, and still the rockets come; regardless of the state of its structures, Hamas is politically stronger on the Palestinian street, while those Palestinian leaders who have cooperated with Israel and the U.S. are weaker and more discredited than ever. The Israelis — and their backers in the American political establishment — appear incapable of grasping that which is empirically obvious: Hamas and its ilk grow stronger every time Israel seeks to eliminate them by force.

II. Dangerous Illusions and a War of Choice

“But what choice did Israel have?” say those in its amen corner in the U.S. “No normal society would tolerate rocket fire on its territory. Hamas left it no option.”

Well, actually, as Jimmy Carter explains from first-hand experience, Israel had plenty of alternatives and chose to ignore them, because it remains locked into the failed U.S.-backed policy of trying to overturn the democratic verdict of the 2006 Palestinian election that made Hamas the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority. The primary Israeli-U.S.-European strategy here (tacitly backed by Arab autocrats from Mubarak to Mahmoud Abbas) has been to apply increasingly strict economic sanctions, in the hope that choking off the chances of a decent life for the 1.5 million people of Gaza would somehow force them to reverse their political choice. Collective punishment, in other words. So, even when Hamas observed a cease-fire between June and November, Israel refused to open the border crossings. When the exchange of fire began again on November 5 when Israel raided what it said was a Hamas tunnel, Hamas escalated its rocket fire but made clear that it would restore and extend the cease-fire if Israel agreed to open the border crossings. Israel’s answer, Carter explains, was if Hamas ceased firing, Israel would allow 15% of the normal traffic of goods into Gaza. And it’s any surprise that Hamas was not prepared to settle for just a 15% loosening of the economic stranglehold?

Hamas appeared to believe that creating a crisis would force Israel to agree to new terms. Whether this was a mistaken belief or not actually remains to be seen: If the truce that ends Israel’s Operation Cast Lead leaves Hamas intact and includes the lifting of the siege, it will claim vindication. Even now, Israeli leaders continue to insist, idiotically, that Hamas cannot be allowed to achieve any diplomatic gains as a result of any truce that must, of necessity, require its diplomatic cooperation. Just as in 2006, the Israelis have achieved the exact opposite political result to what they intended: They have made it abundantly obvious, even to the incoming U.S. administration, that the policy of trying to isolate Hamas is spectacularly dysfunctional, and will have to be abandoned as a matter of urgency.

Even as the realization begins to dawn that their adversary, once again, will emerge politically stronger from a military pummeling, the Israelis contemplate one last bloody foray into the heart of Gaza City, hoping that military action can weaken Hamas and force it to surrender to Israel’s terms. Some American policymakers even cling to the fantasy that they can reimpose the regime of the pliant Mahmoud Abbas on Gaza — a pathetic fantasy, to be sure, because close observers of Palestinian politics know that the only thing keeping Abbas in charge of the West Bank, right now, is the presence of the Israeli Defense Force, and it’s willingness to lock up his opponents. Conveniently, for example, Abbas doesn’t have to deal with his own legislature, which is dominated by Hamas, because Israel has locked up most of the legislators. Mahmoud Abbas has allowed himself to be turned into a Palestinian Petain, and even much of the rank and file of his own Fatah party has turned against him. Not even the Israelis believe he could control Gaza without them, and they are not inclined to stay.

If Hamas is not allowed to govern in Gaza, chances are that nobody will govern in Gaza. It will look more like Mogadishu than like the West Bank — a chaotic cauldron run by rival warlords, with Hamas — no longer responsible for governance — the most powerful political-military presence (although al-Qaeda will fancy its chances of setting up shop if the Hamas government is overthrown — Hamas is the greatest bulwark against Bin Laden’s crowd gaining a foothold in Gaza).

III. Palestinian Sovereignty

The other trope being desperately worked by Israel’s cheering section is the idea that this is simply another episode of a regional conflict between Israel and its mortal foe, Iran. Hamas, we are told, by many media outlets that ought to know better, is a “proxy of Iran”. This is simply not the case, and sober regional analysts know it: Hamas is certainly dependent on Iranian cash in Gaza, although those Western and Israeli strategic geniuses who deprived it of all other sources of funding ought not be surprised that Hamas turned for funds to those who would offer them. No doubt it will take whatever military assistance it was offered, too. But Hamas shares neither ideology nor the kind of political relationship with Iran that Hizballah does, in Lebanon. Hamas was the creation of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, originally, and its political decision making is entirely independent of Iran. Syria is more politically influential over Hamas, of course, and Syria is hardly a proxy of Iran despite their alliance — if it was, why would the U.S. be working so hard on a diplomatic strategy to break that alliance? Moreover, the idea of Iran on some sort of path of confrontation with Israel is something of a phantom. Sure, Ahmadinejad loves to warn that Israel will disappear, but he, and his superior, have long made clear that Iran has no intention of attacking Israel. And you’d think that those who insist that Iran’s mullahs exist in order to destroy Israel, even at the cost of their own survival (you know, the argument that the iranians are so ideologically committed to Israel’s destruction that normal deterrence policies won’t restrain them) might want to answer this question: Why has Hizballah refrained from firing its massive arsenal of rockets at Israel as it butchers Palestinians in Gaza? Israel tells us they have the means, and there’s no doubt they have the implacable rage. Could the answer be that this Iranian proxy is being restrained by the pragmatic concern for its own survival and progress in Lebanon? And if so, what does this tell us about Iran? Then again, Iran is not especially relevant to the conflict in Gaza.

Nor was the crisis there created by the militancy of Hamas; instead, it’s the final bloody chapter in the failed Bush Administration-Israeli strategy to overthrow Hamas. The alternative to war, ignored by Israel but patently obvious, is simple: It will have to negotiate with Hamas. (And spare me the “but Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist” argument: No Palestinian leader would, if offered the chance to reverse history, allow Israel to have come into existence, for the simple reason that Israel’s emergence was the Palestinian Nakbah, the catastrophe that dispossessed them and made them refugees. Israel started talking to the PLO long before its charter was revised to allow for recognizing Israel; its leaders realized that Israel could not be militarily defeated. Many in Hamas have come to the same conclusion; Efraim Halevy, the former head of Mossad, argues that Hamas is moving towards acceptance of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders. The Americans are simply going to have to let go of the idea that they’re going to negotiate with a Palestinian leadership that answers to them, as Mahmoud Abbas does, rather than one that answers to the Palestinian public.)

As Oxford-based Israeli historian Avi Shlaim writes:

Israel likes to portray itself as an island of democracy in a sea of authoritarianism. Yet Israel has never in its entire history done anything to promote democracy on the Arab side and has done a great deal to undermine it. Israel has a long history of secret collaboration with reactionary Arab regimes to suppress Palestinian nationalism. Despite all the handicaps, the Palestinian people succeeded in building the only genuine democracy in the Arab world with the possible exception of Lebanon. In January 2006, free and fair elections for the Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority brought to power a Hamas-led government. Israel, however, refused to recognise the democratically elected government, claiming that Hamas is purely and simply a terrorist organisation.

America and the EU shamelessly joined Israel in ostracising and demonising the Hamas government and in trying to bring it down by withholding tax revenues and foreign aid. A surreal situation thus developed with a significant part of the international community imposing economic sanctions not against the occupier but against the occupied, not against the oppressor but against the oppressed.

As so often in the tragic history of Palestine, the victims were blamed for their own misfortunes. Israel’s propaganda machine persistently purveyed the notion that the Palestinians are terrorists, that they reject coexistence with the Jewish state, that their nationalism is little more than antisemitism, that Hamas is just a bunch of religious fanatics and that Islam is incompatible with democracy. But the simple truth is that the Palestinian people are a normal people with normal aspirations. They are no better but they are no worse than any other national group. What they aspire to, above all, is a piece of land to call their own on which to live in freedom and dignity.

Like other radical movements, Hamas began to moderate its political programme following its rise to power. From the ideological rejectionism of its charter, it began to move towards pragmatic accommodation of a two-state solution. In March 2007, Hamas and Fatah formed a national unity government that was ready to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with Israel. Israel, however, refused to negotiate with a government that included Hamas.

It continued to play the old game of divide and rule between rival Palestinian factions. In the late 1980s, Israel had supported the nascent Hamas in order to weaken Fatah, the secular nationalist movement led by Yasser Arafat. Now Israel began to encourage the corrupt and pliant Fatah leaders to overthrow their religious political rivals and recapture power. Aggressive American neoconservatives participated in the sinister plot to instigate a Palestinian civil war. Their meddling was a major factor in the collapse of the national unity government and in driving Hamas to seize power in Gaza in June 2007 to pre-empt a Fatah coup.

The war unleashed by Israel on Gaza on 27 December was the culmination of a series of clashes and confrontations with the Hamas government. In a broader sense, however, it is a war between Israel and the Palestinian people, because the people had elected the party to power. The declared aim of the war is to weaken Hamas and to intensify the pressure until its leaders agree to a new ceasefire on Israel’s terms. The undeclared aim is to ensure that the Palestinians in Gaza are seen by the world simply as a humanitarian problem and thus to derail their struggle for independence and statehood.

Shlaim introduces us to the deeper flaw in the “no normal society would tolerate rocket fire” reasoning: Israel, quite simply, is not a normal society. It is a country without fixed legal borders, and the disputes over where those borders should be drawn — the basic conflict not over religion or ideology, but over land and power — is at the very epicenter of the current clash in Gaza, and of Israel’s never-ending series of wars with those around it.

One can only hope, with great fervor, that Barak Obama has heeded the wisdom of his foreign policy tutor Brent Scowcroft, whose observations about the folly of the Bush Administration backing Israel’s 2006 campaign against Hizballah apply as much to today’s offensive in Gaza: “Hezbollah is not the source of the problem,” Scowcroft wrote in the Washington Post. “It is a derivative of the cause, which is the tragic conflict over Palestine that began in 1948. The eastern shore of the Mediterranean is in turmoil from end to end, a repetition of continuing conflicts in one part or another since the abortive attempts of the United Nations to create separate Israeli and Palestinian states in 1948.”

If that were true in Lebanon, it’s even more so in Gaza. To understand everything from why Hamas refuses to recognize the State of Israel; why it fights by means both fair and terribly foul; and why it won Gaza by a landslide in the 2006 election; a good starting point is the demographic composition of the strip — 80% of today’s Gazans are refugee families, who were driven out of homes and off land they owned inside what is now Israel in 1948, and forbidden by one of the founding laws of the State of Israel from ever returning. Is it any surprise then that the basic default position of Palestinian politics has always been to refrain from “recognizing” Israel in the sense of simply abandoning their own claims to homes and land stolen from them by Israel’s very creation. Sure, Israel can say it won the war of 1948, and to the victor the spoils. But what would Ehud Barak do if it had been his father or grandfather who’d been forced off a farm in Ashkelon and now found himself in the hellhole of Gaza? You already know his answer.

And that answer will remain the same (even if Barak would never dream of admitting it any longer) as long as justice and dignity is denied to the community that gave rise to Hamas.

What Operation Cast Lead has revealed in stark and brutal terms, is that Israel’s leadership is incapable of transcending the dysfunctional patterns that lock it into a morbid cycle that precludes Middle East stability. Israel is moving steadily to the right politically — even when the center-left was in power and negotiating with the Palestinians, settlements on occupied land expanded at a steady clip; no Israeli government for the foreseeable future is going to withdraw from the West Bank to the Green Line. So, if the madness is to be stopped, Israel and the Palestinians will have to be told where their borders are, as part of an internationally enforced, fair settlement that gives the parties no choice, and provides the Turkish troops to enforce it. But hey, I’m not holding my breath…

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134 Responses to The War Isn’t Over, But Israel Has Lost

  1. abraham says:

    I’m tired of zionists and their ridiculous “anti-Semitism” accusations. Let’s get one thing straight: if your parents, or grandparents, or great grandparents were born in Europe over the past century then you are hardly Semitic; rather, you are European.

    If you meet the above definition and you currently call yourself an “Israeli” then you are a squatter and a colon.

    Israel is a Frankenstein nation created from the cadavers of European Jews and unleashed onto the living inhabitants of Palestine. It has no legitimacy and therefore no right to exist, despite the numerous times this contrived notion is vomitted into the public space.

    The era of stealing land and purging its inhabitants to be replaced by another was dead long before Israel was created. It was the last great colonial project by the savage European race. It will end in ignominy as did the rest of Europes colonial ambitions.

    The Palestinians have an inalienable right to resist as ordained unto them by the Creator. Whether it be by rock or by rocket, every death that comes as a result of this resistance to colonization is justified and deserved.

    Anyone who expresses sympathy towards the colonizers is equally guilty, and fair game for assualt as far as I’m concerned. Whether you are living on stolen land in Al Khalil (Hebron), a stolen home in Jaffa (Tel Aviv), or a townhome in Brooklyn, from which you spew slander and libel against an innocent population halfway around the world that suffers everytime you open your cesspool of a mouth, you deserve nothing less than to be stripped of all your possessions, stripped naked, and then dragged across gravel until your are stripped of your skin.

    Do we have campaigns in favor of supporting cancer? No we do not. We have campaigns to eradicate cancer. Those who advocate for zionism advocate for a cancer of Earth that destroys humanity. As such, they destroy themselves in the process, and like cancer, they don’t realize that when their host body dies, so too do they along with it.

    In this case, good riddance to both the cancer (zionism) and the host (USA).

  2. Shai Mizrachi says:

    Answer to Abraham:
    If someone still can’t see why Israel fighting the Hamas with all its power, they can read your Islamo-Nazi style post.

  3. Joshua says:

    Shai: Gaza is only a part of the problem. You speak as if because Gaza is on the ’67 borders that that is the end of the story. The West Bank still looms large even if it’s not part of this latest tragic tale of debauchery.

    Second: you attribute a quote to myself stating that that is my view. It was in quotations and I referenced Meshal for the insights of Hamas and why they still believe that they can come out of this on top and why they believe they should resist with violence. I’m not Meshal and I neither endorse nor dismiss this view; my views are of my own but I do quote him at length because of the particular facts that are relevant to the Palestinians who fight. (A) Israel had full control of the region post-67 (B) after that it seems that it is stuck on a battle with its neighbours continuously and even itself as the nation seems split on what exactly to do: pull back or take it by force. And pulling back does not come with strings attached (unfortunately for Israel); give Palestinians not only nominal soveriegnty but a possibility of a viable state. What is on offer (even after the Oslo Accords which there are so many faults) is a West Bank that looks like three small Gazas. Outlook not so good.

    Your rebuttal for the tax was altogether missing: it’s Israel’s responsibility to distribute said tax to the PA. It violated the Accords by withholding it.

    Egypt-Gaza border is another story too long for here and I’m sure other journalists have reported on why and how Egypt does what it does. But I also enter another quote from an Egyptian offical: “Egypt has one crossing; Israel has six.” Yes, six of them. Not all of them can be opened 24/7. It’s not hard to fix out a solution here. Hamas has hinted towards the ceasefire but Israel does have its own agenda.

    PS I don’t infer Israeli “tolerance” as weakness. How silly; it’s barely tolerated anything. It strikes its neighbours many times (even Syria last year and Lebanon too numerous to count.). By military prowess it is rather unmatched in the region but its stability and desire to be accepted for normalisation is fading with every bravado move to destroy non-state powers (which ironically both have major blocs in respective countries and territories). The IDF is doomed to repeat past “failures” even if the casaulties were higher than the last time they danced this dance. It’s just a matter of who is going to be the next “no-partner-for-peace”.

  4. bob kay says:

    Israel and its defenders stand before us, dripping blood of murdered children claiming self defense.

    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/172752-Gideon-Levy-The-time-of-the-righteous

    ” Aid cannot be offered with bloodstained hands. Compassion cannot sprout from brutality.

    Yet there are some who still want it both ways. To kill and destroy indiscriminately and also to come out looking good, with a clean conscience. To go ahead with war crimes without any sense of the heavy guilt that should accompany them. It takes some nerve. Anyone who justifies this war also justifies all its crimes. Anyone who preaches for this war and believes in the justness of the mass killing it is inflicting has no right whatsoever to speak about morality and humaneness. There is no such thing as simultaneously killing and nurturing. This attitude is a faithful representation of the basic, twofold Israeli sentiment that has been with us forever: To commit any wrong, but to feel pure in our own eyes. To kill, demolish, starve, imprison and humiliate – and be right, not to mention righteous. The righteous warmongers will not be able to allow themselves these luxuries.”

  5. Carroll says:

    Here is the future of Israel.

    Last Firday I was out for lunch at a resturant in town. A lady came in holding our local newspaper, which had a front page picture of the dead children in Palestine..with the feature story condemning both Israel and the US congress. The lady held the paper over her head and started screaming…”why is this picture allowed to be published, why aren’t they talking about what Palestine does to Israel!”
    There was dead silence in the resturant. Then an older man stood up and said and I quote…”Lady, you and Israel and congress can all go to hell”. Dead silence again. Then someone started clapping and the whole place broke out in applause and the lady stormed out.

    Several things amazing about this public incident.I live in a small city of about 60,000 surrounded by two Marine bases.
    It’s a historic/resort/retirement kind of town mainly where people are usually pretty polite and laid back.
    And our paper is usually very right wing…now they have turned.

    Israel is finished in US public opinion. Eventually those in congress who work for Israel will be finished too.
    Israel has gotten Main Street USA’s attention and Main Street is replused by it.

  6. chandra says:

    One point. The author says Israel has no ‘legally fixed borders’ and that’s the crucial problem. That’s misleading. Legally speaking, Israel’s borders are on the pre-1967 lines. Legally, there is no controversy. Politically, of course, there is a dispute, but legally, there is no question about what Israel’s borders are. The International Court of Justice has unanimously upheld UN 242, meaning the 1967 borders, in a decision about the separation wall (or annexation wall). In the UN, every year there is a vote for Israel to get back to these borders, with only the US, Israel and a few pacific island countries on the ‘no’ side. The problem is not one of what the legal borders are but whether Israel will adhere to international law.

  7. abraham says:

    Answer to Shai Mizrachi:

    You zionists gave up your right to be accepted in the region when you killed the first Arab to steal his land.

    Deal with it.

    As for Israel’s “borders”, they don’t exist, as the entire “nation” is an abstract fiction that exists only in the fancied delusions of war criminals. When the war is finally over (and know that it’s been raging for 100 years), the zionists will have been defeated thoroughly, and Palestine will once again belong to its rightful owners. The 10th and final Crusade will have once again been a failure for the West, and herald its global decline.

    As I say above, good riddance.

  8. Shai Mizrachi says:

    Answer to Abraham:

    Your delusions is why the Palestinians are the most unfortunate people on earth.

    In Hebrew we saying:
    The dogs barking and the convoy keep going… Hav Hav

  9. Melanie Charlton says:

    During my time in Israel in 97 it seemed very apparent to me that 99% of Israelis were taught to hate their fellow Palestinians. They grew up with this sentiment and it seems that it is rooted into their being.
    Very sad indeed.

  10. Pingback: Eccentric Optimism » On Israel and Hamas

  11. abraham says:

    Shai, my previous answer to you stands.

    We have sayings in Arabic as well. The appropriate one for you is “go lay tile on the ocean”.

  12. Marjorie says:

    Why would the Iranians destroy Israel? As ever it’s doing a damn fine job of this by itself.
    My hope of much-needed tough love being doled out by the US has evaporated after reading Roger Cohen’s article in the NYT yesterday.
    Dennis Ross as the change we need – that’s laughable. As RC points out he has been failing at this game for decades.
    Ludicrous too is the fact that the entire new ME team is going to be male and Jewish apart from HRC herself.
    In that case, why not send Mbeki the ennabler to Zimbabwe to sort out Mugabe while we’re at it.
    Mr Obama, please let’s have some Muslims, Christians, women and Arabic speakers in there. Start over with a team that will have some credibility to the rest of the world.

  13. ted says:

    Melanie:

    “…it seemed very apparent to me that 99% of Israelis were taught to hate their fellow Palestinians. They grew up with this sentiment and it seems that it is rooted into their being.”

    Not only are they taught to hate, and from an early age, they are militarized from an early age:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CGz6wEBswU

  14. Ghassan El-Kadri says:

    Israel has lost, Israelis and Palestinians has won!
    Great Mr. Karon!

  15. Ghassan El-Kadri says:

    Israel has lost; Israelis and Palestinians have won!
    Great, Mer. Karon!

  16. Pingback: Back to the drawing board. « halewistan | ??????????

  17. KB says:

    To #3 Raanan
    You must be on drugs. I am glad you are offended.
    Tony great as always.
    Peace out

  18. Zev Reichman says:

    Dear Friends,

    I am writing to you at the end of a day that was truly thrilling and inspiring. On my flight to Israel , I read the edition of Time Magazine with the picture of the Star of David on the cover. It was more than merely depressing. The magazine strongly implied it believed that Israel would not survive. The article claimed that there was no solution to Israel ‘s problems.. Between terrorists like Hamas who try to attack us wherever we are and the fact that there are more than five million Arabs in the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan , the magazine claimed that Israel cannot survive as a democracy. Today I experienced why the article is wrong.
    I began the day in Alon Shvut. Rav Rimon and I joined Gabi Nachmani from Livnot Ulihibanot and we set out to go south to give some love to our soldiers who are fighting so bravely in Gaza . Rav Rimon has invested tens of hours in this project. For the last week he has constantly been on the phone with soldiers to try and determine what they really need. He has heard from many units that they are cold. Israel has historically waged its wars in the summer. The last war in Lebanon was in July. The Six Day War was in June. Even the Yom Kippur War was in October. Israel is not conditioned to a war during winter. The soldiers in Gaza are reporting that they are very cold at night Rav Rimon then found out that pairs of thermal, polartec gloves and undershirts, as well as thermal neck warmers would really make a difference for the soldiers. He found the manufacturer and it turns out that the maker of these products has a son who is serving in Gaza . This man, Aharon Gantz, was so moved by what we wanted to do that he provided the products to us at cost. Our shul sponsored the purchase, and Rav Rimon and I went with Gabi this morning to pick up 1,000 pairs of thermal gloves, (the army typically only buys these gloves for the most elite units), 1,000 pairs of thermal neck warmers, 80 thermal socks, and 80 thermal undershirts. Aharon was most moved by the fact that a shul in New Jersey would subsidize a gift of such utility for soldiers. He said to me, “This is the nice part of our nation. In times of crises we all come together. Nothing can stand in the way of this unity. This strength is what will defeat all our enemies.”
    We then headed down to Gaza . Gabi found a way for us to avoid the military police and through back roads we arrived at a base about a kilometer away from Gaza .. When we arrived there we found the officer in charge of logistics and we told him that we had brought gifts for the soldiers – gloves, neck warmers, special cards with chapters of Tehillim on them and packages that the children in our shul packed. He was very happy with the gifts. He told us to follow him and he actually took us to the staging grounds where the soldiers are entering and leaving Gaza , about 400 meters from the fence that Israel has broken through to enter Gaza city. We spent almost 4 hours with the hundreds of soldiers who are entering and leaving Gaza .
    As we arrived, a group of thirty soldiers returned from Gaza . They had been inside for 10 consecutive days. That is ten days with no showers or changes of clothing. Ten days dodging mortars and snipers. Ten days conquering territory and avoiding mines. For the tankists it is ten days of not leaving a tank. Imagine what it would be like to spend ten days in a row in a car without the ability to leave it. Now imagine ten days in a tank. These soldiers were dirty with sweat and mud. Many had battle paint on. The officer gathered them and Rav Rimon and I spoke to the troops. The Rav gave them words of encouragement. He pointed out that each of them is engaged in a mitzvah activity protecting the Jewish people from enemies. He pointed out how many miracles our nation is receiving. For example think of the story of the soldier who woke up in the middle of the night in a school and noticed a chord and saved 150 of his friends and so many other stories that we must be thankful for. He then introduced me to the soldiers. He pointed out that I had come from the US in order to convey our community’s love for the troops. I spoke with the soldiers about the great unity that now fills our nation. How in Englewood , New Jersey , in our shul our kids gathered on Shabbat and each child prayed for one soldier. I told the soldiers how we all bless them and pray that Hashem send his angels to protect them and lead them to success. I told the soldiers how God is one and whenever we become one here below we merit feeling the presence of the One above. Finally we hugged each soldier and thanked him for protecting all of us through his service. We then started to hand out all our goodies. The soldiers were ecstatic. They were so thankful for the gloves and the neck warmers. They eagerly took our tehillim cards and chocolates, which now helping to sweeten a very difficult time for thousands who are fighting for our state. Undoubtedly, the favorite gift of all was the packages from our kids. The handwritten cards were the most precious item. Each handwritten letter meant so much. Soldiers told me they treasure those simple displays of caring. As one told me, “The most wonderful thing is the handwritten note. When we see that Jews elsewhere in the world care and are writing to us it warms our hearts.. This gives us the strength and support.” We could not leave. We spent hours with the soldiers talking and davening, learning with them and giving out thousands of thermal items, but we also were receiving a great deal, more than words can ever describe.
    We then went to Sderot. In Sderot, two officers came to meet us. These soldiers are with a unit of paratroopers of very young soldiers. They are still in their first year of army service. They never expected to be sent into hostile territory. However, they are deep inside Gaza and this unit of eighty soldiers has already had five wounded members. One of their members, their commander, was wounded by a mine. When the others went in to evacuate him, one of the soldiers was hit with a sniper’s bullet from a hamas terrorist. The bullet penetrated his ceramic bullet proof vest and entered his chest. They thought they had to do a surgery on him in the field because they did not think he would survive long enough to arrive at a hospital. In the end he was airlifted to Tel Hashomer and operated on there. There was a great miracle. While the bullet broke through the vest, it ended up flying through his body and missing his heart and lungs. The bullet left his body and he is recovering nicely. These boys are very young and are having a difficult time. For them we got gloves, neck warmers, socks, and undershirts. Since they still have two years of army service they wil certainly use these gifts well after this war ends. They repeated their invitation to Rav Rimon and me. When the war ends they plan to make a large party of thanks to Hashem. They want us to come and speak at that meal when the warriors will be honored.
    We met with other units and we helped them as well.
    Finally we loaded the car with fifty pies of pizza and headed back to the front. We arrived at a base of paratroopers and tankists who were returning from Gaza . By now it was dark out. We started to distribute the pizzas to the soldiers; it became a yom tov. There was such joy! Soldiers, who are really just kids, they are nineteen and twenty years old, surrounded us and asked us to sing and dance with them. They all had tehillim they had taken from Breslov chassidim and they wanted to dance and declare that “Yisrael betach bahashem, Israel trust God, ezram umaginam hu, He is their help and protector, anachnu maaminim bney maaminim, we are believers sons of believers, viain lanu al mi lihisha’ain elah al avinu shebashmayim, and we have no one to rely on, we can only rely on our father in heaven.” Rav Rimon then jumped on a van and gave the soldiers a short talk of encouragement. He then introduced me. I turned to the soldiers and told them, “Today was Rav Rimon’s birthday, he did not even realize it but when he did, he said to me, ‘my present was getting to spend an entire day running from group of soldiers to group of soldiers to give them gifts and encouragement!’” When the soldiers heard that they all burst into song. They pulled Rav Rimon into a circle and from their depths of their being they sang together, “Yisrael betach behashem ezram umainam hu anachnu maaminim bney maaminim viain lanu al mi lihisha’ain ela ela al avinu avinu shebashamayim!”
    So let Time Magazine claim that Israel has no future. They have not experienced Jewish unity. When Am Yisrael is together, when soldiers are singing and dancing of their faith, we will survive, we certainly will.

  19. bob kay says:

    @Zev Reichman,

    Have you considered the 1000 dead and 5000 wounded and a million traumatized Palestinians are human being whose lives are destroyed by the soldiers you dance and sing with in celebration of your tribal mythology of racial superiority. You stand on the bodies of the dead, Jews and Gentiles, and shout for joy that women and children are dead and wounded by the thousands at the bloody hands of the Zionist gunmen.
    I suggest you consider your inhumanity and the suffering of Israel’s victims. The Zionists are attempting to suppress news of their savagery by murdering journalists who report the bombing of mosques, schools, and hospitals.

    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/173196-Unprecedented-Gaza-Emergency-Meeting-New-York-City-Jan-14th-2009

    “Adam Shapiro spoke of how Israeli soldiers on the ground now carry photographs of the handful of journalists allowed into Gaza — with direct orders to murder them on sight. He made the point that the world must be made aware of the fact that the cause of the conflict is due to one simple fact – the illegal occupation of Palestinian land by the state of Israel and the regular and brutal oppression of the occupied Palestinians by the Israeli military.”

  20. gianni says:

    Thanks.

    America is also a defeated aggressor in the Gaza slaughter. Defeated by its inability to face up to its real role in the violence and by its lack of courage to refuse complicity.

  21. Pingback: maanskyn » shared items for 2009-01-15

  22. Y. Ben-David says:

    Zev,

    Time Magazine has written articles of this type-”Is Israel Doomed?”, “How Can Israel Be Saved From Itself?”, “Is It Too Late For Israel?”- for decades. In that period, Israel has gotten stronger and the Arab side, particularly the Palestinians are regressing. What is the Gaza regime investing the money they are getting from Iran and others in? In their human and physical infrastructure? Or in weapons like the rockets they keep firing indiscriminately into civilian areas?
    When Israel expelled the Jews of Gaza in 2005, their hi-tech agriculture facilities were going to be turned over to the Gazans? What did they do with them? They destroyed them. Israeli arranged for large-scale interational aid for Gaza? What did they do with the money? Build terrorist training camps. They allied themselves with the Iranians who couldn’t care less about the welfare of the Palestinians, they are essentially an imperialist power using their money and weapons to gain power and influence throughout the Middle East. They are a destructive influence, which I think explains why the rest of the Arab world is maintaining a somewhat lower profile than expected regarding the current war.

  23. Y. Ben-David says:

    Bob Kay-
    You apparently have forgotten the suicide bomber war which killed or wounded thousands of Israelis, and the celebrations in the Palestinian territories each time one happened, and HAMAS fair at the University in Shechem (Nablus) where a display of a bombed out pizza parlor was set up with ketchup sprayed all over the floor and walls, and body parts of mannekins distributed around. And you wonder why the Palestinians don’t have a state? Just read their propanganda.

  24. KB says:

    Hey Zev,
    Your story makes a good hollywood flic. Maybe it will be the next season of the TV show 24.
    Ah, where is Jack Bauer when you need him.
    By the way you have played quite a few viloins in your response.
    Keep it coming baby.
    There are people out there just enjoy and thrive upon dead human bodies.
    In my opinion humanity has stooped down beneath the animales.
    Can anyone find a name for it?
    Peace out

  25. purity of arms says:

    Zev,
    You and the IDF soldiers you describe are the mirror image of your hated adversary: a Hamas resistance fighter.

    The lack of self-awareness of Israel-supporters is stunning.
    PoA

  26. Pingback: la guerra non ? finita, ma Israele ha gi? perso, a prescindere | hilpers

  27. E.G says:

    Thank you brave Mr Karon.

    Can Americans not see that Gaza is a prison for people whose crime was being the wrong religion?

    Americans would fight to the death if Israel’s state model were imposed here, with a cross on the flag and your property confiscated.

    A zero-sum game of security is a perpetual motion machine of conflict. Injustice-driven conflict.

    You “supporters” of Israel are killing both Israel and the United States. We have heard enough from you. You will have to live in equality with the wrong-religion, wrong-race people whose contaminating presence you can never cleanse from your societies, no matter how much blood you spill. For G-d’s sake learn the lesson of the Holocaust.

  28. Canadian Pinko says:

    Zev,

    I am happy that you were able to bring comfort to those young men, I truly am. Their task is nothing I would wish on any man, young or old.

    My question to you, however, is this: do you want your children or grandchildren to be doing the same thing? Is that what it now means to be an Israeli, what it now means to be a Jew? To dance and to sing in the shadow of war, always war, only war? For surely you know, Israel does not dance alone.

    The Palestinians will always be a defining contributor to the Israeli identity, just as Israel will define what it means to be a Palestinian. Like it or not, you are locked together in a terrible embrace.

    Perhaps it is time to acknowledge this, and end this destructive madness.

    Yours,
    Canadian Pinko

  29. Arie Brand says:

    Zev wrote:”to give some love to our soldiers who are fighting so bravely in Gaza” .

    What has been going on in Gaza has been mistakenly called ‘fighting’ by the media.’Fighting’ is done with an opponent who has some chance to get back at you. What happened in Gaza was wholesale slaughter from the skies or from the safety of armor. This did not require bravery but the willingness to murder.

  30. Arie Brand says:

    Ben-David keeps treating us on his special brand of history, unashamed hasbara. He wrote:

    “When Israel expelled the Jews of Gaza in 2005, their hi-tech agriculture facilities were going to be turned over to the Gazans? What did they do with them? They destroyed them. Israeli arranged for large-scale interational aid for Gaza? What did they do with the money? Build terrorist training camps.”

    Here is a far more respectable and honest Israeli voice, that of the historian Avi Shlaim:

    “Four decades of Israeli control did incalculable damage to the economy of the Gaza Strip. With a large population of 1948 refugees crammed into a tiny strip of land, with no infrastructure or natural resources, Gaza’s prospects were never bright. Gaza, however, is not simply a case of economic under-development but a uniquely cruel case of deliberate de-development. To use the Biblical phrase, Israel turned the people of Gaza into the hewers of wood and the drawers of water, into a source of cheap labour and a captive market for Israeli goods. The development of local industry was actively impeded so as to make it impossible for the Palestinians to end their subordination to Israel and to establish the economic underpinnings essential for real political independence.

    Gaza is a classic case of colonial exploitation in the post-colonial era. Jewish settlements in occupied territories are immoral, illegal and an insurmountable obstacle to peace. They are at once the instrument of exploitation and the symbol of the hated occupation. In Gaza, the Jewish settlers numbered only 8,000 in 2005 compared with 1.4 million local residents. Yet the settlers controlled 25% of the territory, 40% of the arable land and the lion’s share of the scarce water resources. Cheek by jowl with these foreign intruders, the majority of the local population lived in abject poverty and unimaginable misery. Eighty per cent of them still subsist on less than $2 a day. The living conditions in the strip remain an affront to civilised values, a powerful precipitant to resistance and a fertile breeding ground for political extremism.

    In August 2005 a Likud government headed by Ariel Sharon staged a unilateral Israeli pullout from Gaza, withdrawing all 8,000 settlers and destroying the houses and farms they had left behind.” (Guardian 7/1/09)

    James Wolfensohn, special envoy for Gaza, recalled with bitterness the dashing of Palestinian hopes there. He had raised a great deal of money inter alia for setting up greenhouse farming:

    “I remember seeing the greenhouses with the chairman and looking at the fruits and everything, and there was a joyous atmosphere: ‘Boy, we’re about to get this going and we’re going to have hotels by the beaches and we’re going to have tourism and it’s going to be fantastic, and the Palestinians really know how to be hosts.’ But in the months afterward, first of all Arik [Sharon] became ill and the current prime minister came in, and there was a clear change of view.”

    At that time, Wolfensohn recalls, powerful forces in the U.S. administration worked behind his back: They did not believe in the border terminals agreement and wanted to undermine his status as the Quartet’s emissary. The official behind this development, he says, was Elliot Abrams, the neoconservative who was appointed deputy national security adviser in charge of disseminating democracy in the Middle East – “and every aspect of that agreement was abrogated.”

    So that whole greenhouse project came to nothing because the terminals at the border were closed and fruit and vegetables were rotting along the wayside.

    “The non-implementation of the agreement naturally had serious economic consequences. According to Wolfensohn, the shattering of the great hope of normality, which the Palestinians experienced so deeply when the Israel Defense Forces and the settlers left the Gaza Strip, brought about the rise of Hamas. “Instead of hope, the Palestinians saw that they were put back in prison. And with 50 percent unemployment, you would have conflict. This is not just a Palestinian issue. If you have 50 percent of your people with no work, chances are they will become annoyed. So it’s not, in my opinion, that Palestinians are so terrible; it is that they were in a situation where a modulation of views between one and the other became impossible.”

    (from Haaretz)

  31. zealot says:

    It pains me to say it, but it looks to me like, despite Tony’s predictions (which I consider ‘optimistic’) the Zionists have won this round.

    It was obvious this will end before Obama’s inauguration. AIPAC may be pulling the strings on most US congresscritters, but the Israeli Zionists still don’t wont to force the new POTUS into taking a stance that would compromise him in front of large part of his electorate.

    So they announced a unilateral ceasefire. This means they have (in a hurry it seamed) achieved all their real military goals. They were never about the rockets or Hamas, but so obviously about the destruction of all remaining civilian infrastructure and even of stored food, and further compressing the population to even smaller patch of land, making up for what Zionist regime had to give up in their former withdrawal from Gaza.

    Now the fighting seams to be over, due to a ‘generous’ ceasefire by Israel, who will in most media be shown as having done the responsible thing. They stopped the war without having to acknowledge Hamas in any way. No deal, no concessions, like an exterminator who determined he inflicted enough damage on the pests for now. Most Israelis’, and certainly hard-line Zionists’ treatment of Palestinians as subhuman nonentities, was very effectively confirmed and reinforced.
    The Hamas guys are stumped. they retained their capacities, but cannot afford to use them. If they resume fighting/firing rockets, they will:
    - Be again portrayed as the aggressor (even though there are still IDF on their land, you all know how this works in western media) and lose the moral advantage they miraculously have been granted by Israel’s indiscriminate aggression.
    - Undermine support amidst their civilian population who in the short term are surely relieved the bombs have stopped falling.
    - Make even more certain the Likud victory in coming elections.
    If they don’t resume fighting:
    - The IDF are pretty much guaranteed to stay where they are.
    - Siege will continue (only harder, because whatever infrastructure the Palestinians had was destroyed, and replacements won’t be allowed in. Also I’m pretty sure IDF is stationed outside urban areas, meaning in food producing areas).
    - With Hamas unable to get the siege lifted, Gazan Palestinians might come to a conclusion that Fatah collaborators are the only realistic way to go.
    This outcome does not surprise me at all. Palestinians in Palestine have been condemned to extermination pretty much since 1948. The Zionist regime cannot afford to copy the ‘final solution’ and get it over with all in one go, they have to do it in installments. But the outcome is a foregone conclusion.
    Palestinians have no good options left:
    - They can die fighting an uneven, dehumanizing fight, where they can only ever hope to be able to attack soft enemy targets such as a restaurant or a bus full of colonials,( sacrificing themselves in the process), or hopelessly lob next to harmless rockets over the fence.
    - They can attempt to escape from Palestine (where to? how few can actually hope to do this?)
    - They can yield to the Zionist rule, accepting whatever abuse, expropriation and economic enslavement is inflicted upon them. Jews should know best where that approach eventually ends.
    The Zionist regime will be OK with each of these options.
    The ‘global public opinion’ doesn’t really have a good option either. We may choose to turn against the Zionist regime, as unlikely as this seemed till recently, but so what? That regime will only see it as a signal to implement their ‘clean break’ and most likely pull off some sort of final solution. So while it may cause some inconvenience to Zionists, it will not save the Palestinians. (To a point, Obama’s silence was perhaps not only an exercise in saving his own ass, but also an attempt to make sure that the scouring of Gaza does end before his inauguration.)
    Even worse, since most people find it hard to tell the difference between a Jew and a Zionist, a wave of anti-Semitism would ensue recruiting millions of Jews currently happy to live in the Diaspora to join the Zionists. I would not be surprised if this was part of the plan for the regime.
    So us goyim cannot save the Palestinians, or the Jewish conscience, either.
    Arab countries, even if they democratize and their public opinion’s demands to oppose Israel and help Palestinians, will not dare to challenge a nuclear power. And if they really start threatening Israel in any meaningful way, they will just trigger the ‘Final Solution”.
    Only you can do it, the Jews who post here and read these posts. But not by hitting the keyboard, that’s just mental onanism. The only arguments that seemed to have any effect on the regime so far, even if temporarily, were arguments of force.
    I have already posted on this forum some months ago (although I might have been using a different name, I cant remember) voicing my opinion on the futility of this here public forum as far as saving the Palestinians from this holocaust, and Jews from committing it, goes.
    Unless Jews like you, Jews -the only people who’s opinion seems to mater in this debacle, use against the regime meaningful arguments that cannot be ignored, and break the public myth of Jewish and Israeli homogeneity subsumed under the banner of Zionism, the above outcomes will be realized. Meeting at the fence, singing songs with the prisoners may make you feel good, but it doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t even make the evening news.
    And you guys, the few Jews aware of what’s actually going on and the only people in position to do something meaningful about it, will prove yourselves to be no better than those few ‘Good Zionists’ who post here every now and again, so worried that the Palestinians won’t act responsibly and keep forcing Israel’s hand. This is, as excuse me for quoting that guy, a ‘with us or against us’ moment.

  32. Pingback: When being jewish was more important than israel « Divining the News (DTN)

  33. Liraz Madmony says:

    Liraz Madmony, a 23-year-old law student from Sderot, addressed the UN Human Rights Council Special Session on Gaza in Geneva on behalf of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) on Monday, Jan. 12, 2009 before the vote by the council that condemned Israel’s military offensive in Gaza and resolved to send a fact-finding mission to investigate alleged Israeli abuses against Palestinians.

    Here is the text of her speech.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

    I come from Sderot, the city in Israel that for eight years has been terrorized, by 10,000 rockets fired against us from Gaza.

    As a law student, I learned — and I believe — that all human beings have the right to peace and security.

    But when I see today’s resolution, I ask: Why is the United Nations ignoring my suffering? When the terrorists committed these 10,000 violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, why was the UN silent?

    Are human rights for some, but not others?

    The constant assault on Sderot has destroyed our ability to lead a normal life. The warning before each attack gives us only 15 seconds to run for shelter. Fifteen seconds that will decide, life or death.

    Mr. President, who will protect our right to life? My family does not have a bomb shelter, so we run to the most protected room, which is the shower.

    There is one attack I will never forget. We heard the siren at seven in the morning. We ran to the shower. The rockets fell next to my house. My little brother, who was 14, went to see if anyone needed help. He found a man whose legs were blown off, and a woman blown to pieces.

    My youngest brother is six. The rockets have been falling for eight years. He knows no other reality.

    Everyone suffers in Sderot. Fathers and mothers are afraid to go to work, creating poverty. Kids are afraid to go to school. I have missed many of my law classes. My friends are afraid to visit. The streets lie empty.

    I dream of the hometown that I remember. When the park near my house was filled with happy families and children playing. When people enjoyed life.

    I still dream of peace. It will come when the rulers of Gaza choose humanity over hate, when they stop firing on our children while hiding behind their own.

    We refuse to grant victory to the terrorists. We choose to live, staying strong with our faith, family and love of country.

    Mr. President, who will protect our most basic human rights? My country is now trying its best, and all who love life and desire peace should pray they succeed.

    Thank you, Mr. President

  34. Ziad says:

    “Unless Jews like you, Jews -the only people who’s opinion seems to mater in this debacle, use against the regime meaningful arguments that cannot be ignored, and break the public myth of Jewish and Israeli homogeneity subsumed under the banner of Zionism,”

    Unfortunately, Jews who are too critical of Israel are marginalized same as everyone else. How often do you see a Chomsky, Norman Finklestein, Uri Avniery, etc. on TV here? (You saw plenty of Fuad Ajami, though)

    And the fact is, they are hopelessly outnumbered by true Zionists who will be on TV all the time.

    The mildest criticism is all you’ll ever hear. Within Israel, the pro peace camp has to rely on arguments of Israel’s long term interests; that Israel needs to offer a square deal to survive. But is that really true? Couldn’t Israel just engage in slow motion ethnic cleansing, as it has been doing? Couldn’t the bought and paid for leaders of Egypt and Jordan be made to go along with it?

    Who is going to stop them? It wont be a mass movement or the Israeli/Jewish peace camps. Unless the balance of power changes, nothing else will change.

    That means a nuclear Iran, a very heavily armed Hizbullah, a resurgent Russia and China with a decline in U.S. global power, and oil prices back up to 100$ plus. I don’t know if any of that is going to happen, but that is what is needed to pressure Israel into a fair deal.

  35. zealot says:

    Ziad, i’m afraid you have missed my point, which was:

    The only arguments that seemed to have any effect on the regime so far, even if temporarily, were arguments of force.

    and

    use against the regime meaningful arguments that cannot be ignored

    and

    make the evening news.

    I have left you the option of pretending not to understand what I mean, or perhaps genuinely not understanding. I thought only those who understand this message without havingit spelled out would be ready to commit to it. Frankly, I thought you might be one of the few who get it. Your posts here are better even than Tony’s, none of his wishfull thinking. But now that you have shown you don’t get it, I will make it plain: only violence amidst Jews will save Palestinians in Palestine from holocaust.

  36. Ziad says:

    Not sure what you are trying to spell out. If by “violence against Jews” you mean attacks against random people walking about, that wont help anyone. And is evil to boot. I’m not saying that’s what you mean, only that it was poorly phrased.

    If, however, you mean being able to cause enough pain to Israel to deter it from terror bombing Gaza or Beirut, then yes. Most will note that Israel did not declare a ‘unilateral ceasefire’ in Lebanon.

    But honestly I do not see any “decisive battle” that will save the Palestinians. And none is needed, if current trends hold. A nuclear Iran, more expensive oil and and a stronger Hizbullah. They need win any battle, but only be strong enough to prevent any ethnic cleansing and to raise the price of Western support for Israel. Time, demographics and a gradually shifting western opinion will do the rest.

    Shifting opinion btw, is not just a function of watching Gaza burn. When western power elites realize unending support for maximalist Israeli positions are too costly to them, they will gradually aid in this shift.

    My original point, was that Jews critical of Israel, while heartening in their ability to rise above the petty tribalism of mankind, are not going to be enough. They are marginalized and do not shape public opinion.

  37. zealot says:

    No you didn’t get me again, not ‘violence against Jews’ but ‘violence amidst Jews’. Putting your own blood on the line.

    I understand and agree with your assesment about situation shifting against the Zionist regime both in demographic and global-economic terms. But that only means they will be more motivated to ditch their interest in western oppinion, turn openly into a full-blown middle eastern satrapy and go for a final solution while they still have the resources.

    I believe that only a clearly visible and violent breaking of the Israeli tribal unity under the Zionist leadership will undermine the Zionist legitimacy sufficiently to prevent a Palestinian holocaust. The Israeli public would see that they never will have peace, and that the violence cannot be contained. That would make it clear to most that Israel is a place you want to leave, not immigrate to.

    I don’t think israel would, or should, dissapear completely in such scenario. It is an almost indelible demogrphic reality now, and creating another refugee crisis is the last thing anyone needs. but the impetus for agression and expansion, the will to fight for supremacy, would be taken out of them when it becomes clear that violence is not something you can consign to the ‘other’, the untermenshen, and put behind the fence.

    But obviously, I’m not holding my breath, I don’t know of any examples from history where the members of the opressor tribe would join a fight for the opressed in any meaningfull way/numbers, however great their moral outrage. Tribal loyalty and cozy lifestyles afforded by the membership of the privileged tribe always win. (I will gladly accept correction on that point)

    In the long run, most Palestinians who don’t manage to leave Palestine are in my opinion as good as dead. The rest are slaves/peons whatever you want to call it. They will join a long list of tribes who ended up that way – nothing is new under the sun.

  38. Curious says:

    As a result of the past three weeks of Operation Cast Lead, it is incumbent on every Muslim to aks themselves the following questions:
    (1) Why is Allah, praise be upon Him, allowing this “Naqbah” (terrible catastrophe) to happen to us, the only true believers, at the hands of the infidel Jews?
    (2) Why is Allah,praise be upon Him, displeased with us.
    (3) Can it be possible that somehow we’ve gotten it all wrong?

  39. Y. Ben-David says:

    Curious-
    I think you are on to something….we dhimmis are demanding our equal national rights within your Dar Al-Islam. Maybe you are getting the message that it is time to share part of the Middle East with others who are also native to the region.

  40. Arie Brand says:

    “… astonishing claims in the House of Parliament. Sir Gerald Kaufman, the veteran Labour MP, yesterday compared the actions of Israeli troops in Gaza to the Nazis who forced his family to flee Poland.

    During a Commons debate on the fighting in Gaza, he urged the government to impose an arms embargo on Israel.

    Sir Gerald, who was brought up as an orthodox Jew and Zionist, said: “My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town a German soldier shot her dead in her bed.

    “My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. …

    “The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploits the continuing guilt from gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.”

    He said the claim that many of the Palestinian victims were militants “was the reply of the Nazi” and added: “I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.” “Arie

    He accused the Israeli government of seeking “conquest” and added: “They are not simply war criminals, they are fools.”

  41. bob kay says:

    The following photo essay explores a question whose time has come. Has Zionist Israel revealed its violent ideology of racial superiority by continuing a reign of terror over Palestinians forced into the concentration camp in Gaza? Are we to remain silent while the Zionist Jews perpetrate crimes against humanity while concealed behind a massive propaganda campaign? The perpetrators are war criminals and their crimes are no different than the Nazi crimes they point to as justification for their exemption from international law and common decency. The following photo essay shows the Zionist hypocrisy in the stark terms of human suffering and racial bigotry.

    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/173411-Nazi-Treatment-of-Jews-Israeli-Treatment-of-Palestinians

  42. Jorge from Bloomington says:

    It seems to me that the Jews ought to have a place to call home. I have always thought that choosing Palestine was a bad idea. But why not? That’s where the Jews originate from, is it not?

    Sadly, NO ONE in the world has shown love for the Jews – including the USA.

    So even if one were to say, “Well, they should make a home in Wyoming,” well, that’s not likely to be well received in Wyoming.

    So, here, really, is the problem.

    The Jews, in an effort to establish a home, displaced others. But who hasn’t?

    It would be great if the Palestinians did not protest, but who wouldn’t?

    This is a no-win, endless struggle. It’s NEVER, EVER going to stop. NOTHING will stop it. NOT TIME, NOT SENSES, NOT some alien force from outer space – because each side will claim it as its God.

    It’s sad and hopeless.

  43. Dena Gewanter, M.D. says:

    While the media in the West are lambasting Israel for killing women andchildren, and are saturating their viewers with horrific photos of bloodiedcorpses, Israel as a nation is undergoing an astonishing spiritual awakeningas a result of this conflict. It is a pity that the world is unable to bewitness to the miracles that are occurring here daily. Even the most jadedperson would be amazed at the transformation of the people in this country.After many years of feeling the underdog and fearful of the approbation ofthe outside world, Israel is undergoing an absolute renaissance on apersonal and national level. First and foremost, Israel as a nation has finally decided to throw asidethe fear of being rejected by the nations and embrace its sovereign right todefend it’s citizens from terrorist attacks. What is so astonishing, forthose who know Jews and particularly Israelis, is that a whopping 92% ofJewish Israelis actually AGREE that the war is necessary and just. The adageof 2 Jews, 3 opinions and 4 political parties has vaporized in the face ofthe national crisis we are in. Not only is there agreement among thepopulace, but also the left wing and the right wing of the political spheresagree. Even more amazing is the concordance among the various religiousfactions: Ashkenazi, Sephardic, reform and conservative, Zionists andanti-Zionist Jews are all joining together in prayer and supplication to theAlmighty for salvation, protection and victory over our enemies. There arecalls to prayer everywhere, regardless of denomination or ethnic background,everyone is united in looking towards the God of Israel to keep our soldierssafe and help us win against an evil enemy who has sworn never to stop untilIsrael as a nation is destroyed. The soldiers themselves seem to have a huge spiritual hunger, and areunified in not only asking for prayer but also praying themselves, wearingtzitzit (prayer tassles) into battle and carrying the book of Psalms withthem. The Rabbis are calling the tzitzit “heavenly flak jackets!” Tentsynagogues on the battlefield have no less than 10 sessions every morning,and it is reported that soldiers who20never attended synagogue are nowpraying with tefillim. They have reason to cry out to God, since everyoneis aware of the years of preparation of the bloodthirsty Hamas militants,their desire to kill, maim or kidnap Israeli soldiers is greater than theirdesire to live; they have been financed by Iran and supported by Syria andHezbollah. Yet, we are defeating them, and there are reports daily ofamazing miracles of protection and Divine direction during the battle. The following are jus a few examples: A Hamas map was found, withbooby-traps, landmines and sniper positions clearly spelled out. The IDF wasable to counter each installation due to the information given. A largeplatoon of soldiers not realizing they were resting in a school that wasbooby-trapped, (discovered by a soldier relieving himself in the night),disarmed the bombs with no one hurt. A single soldier successfully foughtoff several Hamas terrorists trying to drag him into a tunnel, and all werecaptured. Hundreds of tunnels, hidden in homes under beds and kitchencabinets, all full of live explosives and ammunition, yet none have explodedwith IDF soldiers inside. While there have been soldiers wounded, there aremiracles there as well. A young man who moved here alone from England lessthan 2 years ago to serve in the army was in an explosion, and thrown intothe air. After being carried off the field by other soldiers and transportedon a tractor to helicopter and then to hospital, the doc tors were utterlystunned when they saw that a piece of shrapnel that went completely throughhis neck, missed the carotid artery, the jugular vein and the spinal cord bymillimeters. After they removed it, he needed only stitches. Anothersoldier was shot through the back but the bullet missed his spinal cord andexited from the front. A young newlywed, in grave condition, inexplicablyturned for the better and will recover to go home to his wife. On the ground level, bombs continue to fall, but here again, miracle aftermiracle is reported even on the local news. One hears the word “nes”(miracle) over and over by the reporters and the bystanders. A bomb headingtoward 4 apartment buildings goes into a sewer pipe and explodesunderground, damaging nothing above ground. An elderly woman caught in anapartment completely demolished by a bomb, walks out with scratches on herankle. The mayor of Beersheva felt he should cancel school one day, and arocket completely destroys an empty kindergarten. The elder housing complexthat was hit in Nahariya had the sleeping quarters destroyed, but everyonehad just gone to breakfast, so no one injured. A man leaves his car with hisyoung daughter, and the car is blown up moments20later after they entered abomb shelter. If they had taken a few more seconds, he and his daughterwould have been burned to a crisp. He was televised saying again and againit was a miracle. Similar stories like these were heard during the second Lebanon war,reported on Israeli radio and television, but no one in the west ever heard;only negative propaganda from the terrorists was reported, whose aim was tomalign Israel and make us look like a nation of bloodthirsty killers. Onehas to grieve over the terrible destruction of the cities in Gaza and thehorrific human tragedy going on there, but the responsibility for thesuffering and death is directly on the doorstep of the Hamas leadership.These deluded people think that their god, Allah, will give them victory,and have entered into a battle with the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacobthat they will never win. We are literally living in times like those of thescripture, when the Lord told Elisha all the plans of the enemy, until theybegan to wonder if there was a spy in their ranks. There is hope here, not despair and unity of resolve. Even the parents ofYoni Natanel, killed by friendly fire, were quoted as saying that their sondied “for the sanctification of God’s name”, and forgave and blessed thosewho accidently fired at his unit. There is such heroism and courage here,one wishes that the world could see it, but as one of our journalists said,the media have left their brains at the door of Ben Gurion Airport. They aremany miles away from the actual battle, wear flak jackets and helmets forthe cameras, and then take them off to have cappuccino at the localrestaurant! Fortunately, Israelis are accustomed to being misunderstood and malignedby the outside world. At this point, everyone knows we have a job to do, andwe are becoming more and more aware that there is a greater Power than us ison our side. We are fulfilling our commission to be a “Light to theNations”. Israel learned from the failure of the Lebanon war, and preparedwell to fight the terrorists who clearly said they wanted to destroy us. Therest of the nations have not remembered the threats of Hitler, and how theJewish people were almost wiped out because no one wanted to believe heactually meant what he said. Contrary to those who want to hide their headsin the sands of political correctness, there is a right and a wrong side inthis conflict. It is a battle between darkness and light. Fortunately, wehave a God who was never wishy-washy about defending Israel against herenemies, when His People cried out to Him for help. The outside world ismissing the miracle of a righteous God who hears the prayers of the humble,and defends what is His. If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray andseek My Face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heavenand will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chron 7:14Kiriat Yam, Israel

  44. Ledgerley says:

    Speaking of “tropes,” I see all the usual critiques of Israel are solidly, and predictably, in place. Do you ever tire of spouting received ideas, or is thinking through complex moral and political questions too much effort?

  45. Arie Brand says:

    I don’t know what the person hoped to achieve who published here this childish rave by Dewa Gewanter, that has appeared on several blogs.

    Perhaps he believed it to be an example of what Ledgerley apparently believes is going on in his camp: the “thinking through (of) complex moral and political questions.”

    For the rest of us it is just conspicuous folly.

  46. Rav Amnon Bazak says:

    I. DAVID’S MEN

    In chapter 21, the story of Achimelekh in Nov was cut off by the account of David’s flight to Akhish the king of Gat; in the previous lecture, we discussed the connection between these two events. The beginning of chapter 22 continues to describe David’s movements, and only in verse 6 do we return to the main story regarding Nov, the city of priests. We will begin with verses 1-5, which describe David’s wanderings after he runs away from the Pelishtim.

    Scripture opens with a description of those who joined David’s ranks:

    (1) David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. (2) And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him, and he became captain over them; and there were with him about four hundred men.

    Two groups join with David: members of his family, and people of a low social class. The joining of these two groups to David does not speak well of Shaul. David’s family presumably joined with David out of fear that Shaul would do them harm (see Metzudat David). And the joining to David of members of the lower ranks of society alludes to a difficult social reality, which, according to the continuation of the chapter as we shall see below, Shaul had a part in creating.

    On the other hand, this description of the group in which David finds himself during the period of his wanderings serves as an exposition that will help us understand various stories that take place along the way. Special note should be taken of the conduct of these people when David is afforded the opportunity to harm Shaul. In chapter 24, a conversation takes place between David and his men, who try to push him to action:

    And the men of David said unto him, “Behold the day in which the Lord has said unto you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good unto you.’” Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily. And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. And he said unto his men, “The Lord forbid it to me, that I should do this thing unto my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to put forth my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed.” So David checked his men with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Shaul…. (24:4-7)

    There is no doubt that people in such desperate financial straits would tend to blame Shaul for their situation, and therefore they rejoiced over the opportunity that they were given to strike at Shaul. It is not by chance that in our chapter these people are called “discontented” (marei nefesh, lit., bitter of soul). This emotional state is described in other places as well as a possible cause of violent reactions. For example:

    And the children of Dan said to him, “Do not raise your voice among us, lest angry fellows (marei nefesh) run upon you, and you lose your life with the lives of your household.” (Shoftim 18:25)

    And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved (mara nefesh), every man for his sons and for his daughters. (I Shmuel 30:6)

    To David’s credit, it may be said that he succeeded in gaining control over his men, and they obeyed him and did not harm Shaul. It was not easy leading such people, but in none of the stories of David and his men do we find that his men acted improperly or against David’s orders.[1]

    In light of this, we can easily understand the argument put forward by Naval the Carmelite: “And Naval answered David’s servants, and said: ‘Who is David? And who is the son of Yishai? There are many servants nowadays that break away every man from his master’” (25:10). David’s band was likely to stir up scornful reactions, inasmuch as it was comprised of poor and destitute people. Naval’s reaction also testifies to the difficult social reality in the time of Shaul.[2]

    It is possible that David first acquired his leadership skills while leading these people. Anyone who can impose his authority on four hundred[3] poor and discontented men, can, when the time comes, serve as the leader of Israel.

    II. DAVID AND MOAV

    David does not remain for very long in the cave of Adullam (v. 1), and he is forced to wander from place to place, as is detailed in the coming verses:

    (3) And David went thence to Mitzpeh of Moav; and he said unto the king of Moav, “Let my father and my mother, I pray you, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me.” (4) And he brought them before the king of Moav; and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the stronghold.[4] (5) And the prophet Gad[5] said unto David, “Abide not in the stronghold; depart, and get you into the land of Yehuda.” Then David departed, and came into the forest of Cheret.

    Why does David transfer his parents spcifically to Moav? It is possible that David is following the approach that we saw in the previous chapter: using the house of a king who is hostile to the reigning king as a haven for those persecuted by the latter. Moav is mentioned among the nations against whom Shaul fought,[6] and therefore it is only natural that the people of Moav would cooperate with those persecuted by him.

    Nevertheless, going specifically to Moav seems to have special significance in light of David’s genealogy – “And Boaz begat Oved, and Oved begat Yishai, and Yishai begat David” (Ruth 4:21-22). David’s great-grandmother Ruth’s Moavite origins would likely help the temporary absorption of Yishai and his wife in Moav.

    In any event, the lengthy description of the move to Moav is somewhat surprising. It is reasonable to assume that the move from the cave of Adullam to Mitzpeh Moav was not executed quickly, and it is therefore unclear why Scripture cuts off the account regarding Nov in order to describe this event, which presumably took place at some later date.

    Chazal seem to have been aware of this difficulty, and they express their solution to the problem in their explanation of David’s attitude toward the Moavites after ascending to the throne and imposing his authority on the neighboring nations. His attitude toward the Moavites is very strange, especially in light of his positive attitude toward Moav in our chapter:

    And he smote Moav, and measured them with a line, making them lie down on the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. (II Shemuel 8:2)

    Why does David adopt such a severe measure specifically against Moav? The plain sense of Scripture does not provide any clear answers, but Chazal proposed an explanation of dramatic significance:

    For the king of Moav killed them, and nobody escaped except for one brother of David, who ran away to Nachash king of Amon, and the king of Moav sent after him and he did not agree to turn him over. This is the kindness that Nachash did for David.[7] And therefore he fought against the Moavites. This is what is written: “And he smote Moav, and measured them with a line….” (Bamidbar Rabba 14, 1)

    The midrash is apparently based on the fact that David’s parents are not mentioned again after moving to Moav. It is doubtful, however, whether this midrash – and especially the story of the brother who ran away to Nachash the king of Amon – is supported by the plain sense of Scripture. It stands to reason that what Chazal wanted to accomplish here is to give expression to the severity of David’s responsibility for the killing of the priests of Nov, as was discussed at length in the previous lecture. It is difficult to ignore the similarity between what is stated in the midrash, “and nobody escaped except for one brother of David,” and what is stated later in our chapter:

    And one of the sons of Achimelekh the son of Achituv, named Evyatar, escaped, and fled after David.

    The midrash is alluding here that it was owing to David’s responsibility for the death of all the priests of Nov, except for one, that all of the members of David’s family except for one were put to death by the king of Moav.[8]

    III. “WILL HE GIVE EVERY ONE OF YOU”

    In verse 6, Scripture returns to the story of Nov, the city of the priests. Scripture describes Shaul’s reaction when he hears that David is moving around in the area with a group of his men:

    (6) And Shaul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him; now Shaul was sitting in Giv’a, under the tamarisk-tree in Rama, with his spear in his hand,[9] and all his servants were standing about him. (7) And Shaul said unto his servants that stood about him, “Hear now, you Binyaminites; will the son of Yishai[10] give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all captains of thousands and captains of hundreds; (8) that all of you have conspired against me,[11] and there was none that disclosed it to me when my son made a league with the son of Yishai, and there is none of you that is sorry for me,[12] or discloses unto me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?”

    Shaul’s words conceal a difficult situation. Shaul turns to his servants with the argument: Do you really think that if David becomes king, he will give your fields and vineyards and appoint you to senior positions? Why did none of you tell me of the pact between my son and David? The implication between the lines is that Shaul himself had indeed given his tribesmen fields and vineyards and appointed them to such positions. These verses bring us back to the prophet Shemuel’s warning (above, chapter 8), when he tried to convince Israel to withdraw their request for a king:

    (11) And he said, “This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: he will take your sons, and appoint them unto him for his chariots and to be his horsemen; and they shall run before his chariots. (12) And he will appoint them unto him for captains of thousands, and captains of fifties… And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.”

    In order to strengthen the connection between our chapter and chapter 8, we might add what is stated later in v. 17: “And the king said unto the runners (ha-ratzim) that stood about him” – which is reminiscent of “and they shall run (ve-ratzu) before his chariots.” Additionaly, the location of the entire story is “under the tamarisk-tree in Rama,” which alludes to the connection with Shemuel the Ramatite.[13] The chapter is hinting, then, that what Shemuel had warned about actually took place, and a king arose who took people’s fields and vineyards and gave them to his servants.

    This point is, of course, relevant to what was stated at the beginning of the chapter: “And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented.” It might be suggested that the discontented people symbolize those whose fields had been taken by the king and handed over to his servants and friends. The chapter, as it were, stands two groups up one against the other: those in power and those who are being exploited.

    Above all else, Shaul stands up and demands to know: Why did no one inform him of the conspiracy between David and Yonatan? Shaul sees this alliance, one that was based on love that is not dependant on anything else,[14] as an act of conspiracy and treachery and as initiative on the part of Yonatan to set David up as an enemy to Shaul.

    (Translated by David Strauss)

    ——————————————————————————–

    [1] A distinction must be made between these discontented people, who were poor and unfortunate, and a similar situation – Yiftach and his men, about whom a negative moral judgment is explicitly expressed: “And idle fellows joined themselves to Yiftach, and went out with him” (Shoftim 11:3).

    [2] Especially grave was the situation of “every one that was in debt,” owing to the common practice of taking debtor’s children as slaves (see I Melakhim 4:1; Nechemya 5:1-11).

    [3] In the continuation, David’s regiment grows to six hundred men (23:13), but it is still possible to distinguish between two groups – four hundred fighters and two hundred who remain behind guarding the equipment. It is possible that these correspond to the original core and those who joined later. So we find when David goes up to the house of Naval – “And there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the baggage” (25:13); and similarly in the pursuit after the Amalekites – “But David pursued, he and four hundred men; for two hundred stayed behind, who were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor” (30:10). In that pursuit, the tension between the two groups is clearly evident: “And David came to the two hundred men, who were so faint that they could not follow David, whom also they had made to abide at the brook Besor; and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him; and when David came near to the people, he saluted them. Then answered all the wicked men and base fellows, of those that went with David, and said, ‘Because they went not with us, we will not give them aught of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart’” (ibid. vv. 21-22). But there, too, David’s leadership skills stand out: “Then said David, ‘You shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the Lord has given unto us, who has preserved us, and delivered the troop that came against us into our hand. And who will hearken unto you in this matter? For as is the share of him that goes down to the battle, so shall be the share of him that tarries by the baggage; they shall share alike.’ And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day” (ibid. vv. 23-25).

    [4] It is not clear from the verses whether the stronghold is located near Moav or at a distance. According to R. Yeshaya, the stronghold is the Mitzpeh of Moav mentioned in the previous verse, and he understands that Gad’s admonition of David, “Abide not in the stronghold; depart, and get you into the land of Yehuda,” was meant to distance David from Moav, owing to a concern that were he to remain in Moav, the king of Moav was liable to hand him over to Shaul, who had defeated him in battle (see below). According to the Radak, however, the reference is to a stronghold in Yehuda.

    [5] In Divrei Ha-yamim, Gad is referred to several times as a “seer” (I Divrei Ha-yamim 21:9; 29:25, 29). In the book of Shmuel, he is mentioned only one other time – in the story of the census and the purchase of the threshing floor of Aravna the Yevusite, which closes the book (II Shmuel 24). In any event, it is not surprising to find here a “new” prophet, for Shmuel was already old when Israel had asked for a king (above 8:1), and would certainly not have been able to travel to the places where David was hiding.

    [6] See above 14:47: “So Shaul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moav, and against the children of Amon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Tzova, and against the Pelishtim; and wherever he turned himself, he put them to the worse.”

    [7] The reference is to the kindness mentioned in II Shmuel 10:2: “I will show kindness to Chanun the son of Nachash, as his father showed kindness to me.”

    [8] According to the plain sense of Scripture, we can propose a more moderate explanation: Owing to the fact that through his lack of caution, David brought harm to Achimelekh and his family, he put his own family into danger, to the point that he had to seek the haven of the king of Moav.

    [9] In chapter 17 (lecture no. 33), we noted the repeated motif of Shaul and his spear. Here, too, the spear ironically represents Shaul’s difficult mental state: lack of confidence, fear, and despair.

    [10] Here and in the next verse, Shaul mockingly refers to David as “the son of Yishai” – as we saw in chapter 20 (see lecture no. 40, note 9) – and by the designation, “my servant.”

    [11] Three times in this short passage Shaul repeats the term, kulkhem, “all of you,” thereby expressing his feelings of isolation, that he has not a single loyal supporter.

    [12] The meaning seems to be: Nobody is pained and sorrowed by my troubles. But the verse also contains a play on words: “And there was none that disclosed (goleh) it to me when my son made a league with the son of Yishai, and there is none of you that is sorry (choleh) for me, or discloses (ve-goleh) unto me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” It would appear that the awkwardness of the verse follows from Shaul’s excited state (this phenomenon was already noted in chapter 12, lecture no. 21).

    [13] We are, however, dealing with different places, for Shaul resides in Giv’a – his city, Giv’at Shaul, in Binyamin.

    [14] This love also demonstrated cracks, as we saw in the previous chapters (see lectures no. 39-40).

  47. bob kay says:

    I would that the many of the posters consider themselves, as many Jews are doing today. Do you realize that Zionism is an existential threat to Jews and Gentiles? Mankind is divided into war by psychopathic war criminals of Israel. You are becoming a threat to humanity as a whole, please reject the racist ideology of
    Zionism and Judaism and assimilate into general mankind where you are welcomed. Gilad Atzmon shows the way.

    http://palestinethinktank.com/2009/01/03/gilad-atzmon-living-on-borrowed-time-in-a-stolen-land/

    “All that is left to Israelis is to cling to their blindness and escapism to evade their devastating grave fate that has become immanent already. All along their way down, the Israelis will sing their familiar various victim anthems. Being imbued in a self-centred supremacist reality, they will be utterly involved in their own pain yet completely blind to the pain they inflict on others. Uniquely enough, the Israelis are operating as a unified collective when dropping bombs on others, yet, once being slightly hurt, they all manage to become monads of vulnerable innocence. It is this discrepancy between the self-image and the way they are seen by the rest of us which turns the Israeli into a monstrous exterminator. It is this discrepancy that stops Israelis from grasping their own history, it is that discrepancy that stops them from comprehending the repeated numerous attempts to destroy their State. It is that discrepancy that stops Israelis from understanding the meaning of the Shoah so can they prevent the next one. It is this discrepancy that stops Israelis from being part of humanity.”

  48. Edwn Standing says:

    “You are becoming a threat to humanity as a whole”…Bob Kay, 2009

    “Only when this Jewish bacillus infecting the life of peoples has been removed can one hope to establish a co-operation amongst the nations which shall be built up on a lasting understanding.” …Hitler’s Speech in Wilhelmshaven, 1 April, 1939

  49. bob kay says:

    @Edwin Standing,

    I apologize for not making myself clear. Zionism is using Jews to further their racial ideology of a “Jewish” state in Palestine. Israel is founded on ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Zionist Jews have ignited war in South Asia, hence the threat to humanity.

    Thousands of men, women, and children trapped in the Gaza concentration camp have been slaughtered in the last 22 days This is a racially motivated war crime, as were Hitler’s crimes against the Jews. I am opposed to war crimes, whether perpetrated by Hitler or by Zionist Jews. I am not opposed to Jews.

  50. Curious says:

    Why are 56 Muslim states not a threat to humanity, but a Jewish one is? Does that mean that Judaism is at least 56 fold more evil than Islam?

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