July 16, 2008

Hezbular

Before you point out my apparent spelling mistake, may I say that I refuse to use a name which incorporates God’s, even in Arabic, when talking about such savages who desecrate the Divine name.

The return by Hezbular of the corpses of Israeli soldiers Goldwasser and Regev , captured alive, murdered in cold blood, in contravention of the Geneva Convention, ought to be a source for universal condemnation of barbarism. But all I see as I look for international condemnation, all I hear is silence.

Two Israeli soldiers were captured and now it seems, according to Arabic tradition in the Middle East, tortured, mutilated, and killed. This is not isolated. You might recall what happened to two Israeli reservists who strayed into Ramallah and had their hearts literally torn out of their bodies and displayed to the roaring crowd. We won’t even begin to talk about the inter-Muslim butchery in Iraq before and after Saddam Hussein.

Guantanamo Bay may be an affront to Western values, but no one was murdered in cold blood after being caught. Israel kills civilians in collateral damage, which I disapprove of, but this is not the same thing as direct, sanctioned murder. Apologists like to talk about Jewish terror before the state. And there was--both British excesses and Irgun retaliation, not to mention the Stern Gang. Not only were they condemned by all mainstream representative bodies, but also by the vast majority of the Jewish populace. Indeed, if you recall, the Altalena affair was when the new Israeli government forcibly suppressed them. I know full well that Israelis have also committed war crimes, and there have been Jewish terrorists too. But never has there been this barbaric blood lust, this glorification of killing even infants. Comparisons are facile and insulting.

The usual suspects all love to use the Geneva Convention to beat Israel over the head regularly, and I won’t say they are wrong. But where is their condemnation of the murder of captives? Hezbular is not a government, so it may?

I am, as you know, no hawk. I dislike right wing Israeli policies. I abhor the abuse of Arab rights and I am a peacenik at heart. But when I see the world remaining silent, the utter hypocrisy of the so-called civilized world, frankly I simply cannot add my voice to the critics of Israel, if only in the interests of some sort of balance.

There are, indeed, honorable, civilized, lovely, kind, tolerant Arabs. But so long as the Arab street is a murderous gang of blood curdling, blood drinking, fanatical savages who think nothing of killing each other, I do not believe peace is possible. Barricades are far from ideal, but if they keep the barbarians out they serve a purpose.

I know I ought not to use such provocative language. There have been rare cases of Israeli brutality too. It is the fact that the world media is silent on this issue that so offends me and convinces me that unless we take care of ourselves no one else will. Even if there is a peace settlement, separation of a population that contains such an element of bloodthirsty lunatics is the only way to survive. I know it will be said by some, you see it on the blogs, that Israel is responsible for dehumanizing those it occupies. But come on--if Israel were the only place this happened in the Middle East or North Africa I might agree; but it is not. This world is an imperfect place and solutions are imperfect, but survival trumps most other values.

2 Comments:

At 6:19 PM , Blogger -suitepotato- said...

I understand your pacifism and reticence, really I do, but I was once so inclined and while I am still a man who will offer a drink to a man threatening to shoot me (my youth wasn't always pretty) and prefer to keep my enemies close so that they may cease trying to be my enemies, I also have come to realize there are in this world people who will kill you, rape your woman, and sell your kids into slavery. They will burn your home, trash your goods, and see all you ever cared for reduced to ruin and desolation.

Such people one should have no fear to deal with, albeit in the manner of least expenditure of violence and pain in keeping with humane moral ideals, but not at the cost of survival of the lives of innocents, of course.

Therefore, most seriously, the way to deal with Hez* and company is to play the game they are playing. They are playing THE game. The one assassins, mercenaries, conquerors, and kings have for millennia. The game of the law of the jungle.

In that world, honor demands one thing. Reciprocity face to face on the field of battle.

It is galling that this world shirks from that, that when it comes to chasing down these people who've freely chosen to walk outside the grace of civilized compassionate society, the world balks. It is even more galling that once again, Jews are being told to sit on their hands.

When I was growing up, the aging hippies who'd infested my public school system had the harebrained idea that fighting back against bullies encourages them, not discourages them. This is the same idea being foisted on Israel and the west as a whole. That fighting them is not what they want and if we all sing kumbayah around a campfire it will be okay.

It won't, and dealing with people who play THE game from a position of weakness, is to invite their attack and our own destruction just as surely as a wildebeest does by resting at the wrong time when lions are prowling.

It seems wrong to the reactionary unthinking pacifists (to draw a distinction between them and your own position) but it is entirely true that these are people who can not respect weakness and will only deal when strength is before them.

Kuntar was reported in the JPost to envy the Israelis for the lengths to which they will go to get their people back.

It was a telling statement. He's not saying it in a taunting way mocking the weakness everyone perceives in Israel's deal. He's seeing strength in it. Somewhere, somehow, he knows, as do his peers whether or not they want to be as blunt as he was, that the strong thing Israel did was swallowing their pride to get their men's bodies back.

Israel should not now back down, but should embark on a tactical surgical response, fighting these people on their own territory, bringing the life and death struggle to their front door, not indiscriminately of course, but soldier to fighter.

A bloody nose is often the only thing muscle-bound bullies respect on the playground, and sometimes it makes them the best of friends with their once victims. I am not saying Hez* and company will suddenly become Jew lovers, but they will be more open to compromise and conciliation that has to take place before the peace that everyone deep down wants can happen.

 
At 11:03 AM , Blogger Rabbi Jeremy Rosen said...

There's nothing in what you have said that I disagree with, except that I would not equate Shia Hez with all Palestinians, many of whom are more moderate, even secular, though often no less deluded for that.

I guess I'm a theoretical pacifist but a practical fighter.
I know I am fortunate to have that luxury.

 

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