Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Israel’s response is ALWAYS disproportionate

Israel has long been accused of its ‘disproportionate response’, when confronting terror, or attacks on its populace

In Israel’s last war in Lebanon with Hezbollah, Israel was blasted for its disproportionate response when dealing with Hezbollah’s terror/military infrastructure

During Israel’s last incursion into Gaza to stop rocket fire into its territory, Israel was widely accused of using excessive force. The press, international community and ‘humanitarian’ organizations fell in love with the term: "disproportionate use of force"

Last week saw the Hamas release of Gilad Shalit, along Israel’s release of 1,027 Palestinians

Once again I witnessed Israel’s disproportionate response to violence and terror in the prisoner ‘exchange’ that took place

Gilad Shalit was taken captive while sitting on Israeli territory, defending Israeli lives. Many of the Palestinian prisoners were arrested after committing murder, or for plotting attacks on civilians. Attacks that included the bombing of restaurants, clubs and busses and the stabbing of teenagers.

Everyone now knows of Gilad Shalit. But what about Nasser Yataima who killed men, women and children in a bombing attack on a Netanya Hotel. Or Yussuf Dhib Hamed Abu Aadi and Na'el Barghouti who stabbed Israelis to death

Israel’s release of 1,027 prisoners for one Israeli is pretty darn disproportionate. But the figures are not the key driver of Israel’s (once again) disproportionate dealing with the situation

Calling the proceeding a prisoner ‘swap’ is a disservice. It was no ‘swap’. A swap is regarded as an exchange of equal value.

But in this situation, the value is indeed disproportionate.

A defender of human life was exchanged for takers of human life

This is not my twisted, right wing view of the situation. Israel and its enemies have disproportionate/unequal values, disproportionate/unequal ideologies and disproportionate/unequal world views

After a prisoner deal between Hezbollah and Israel, Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah said the following:

"We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win, because they love life and we love death."

Chief Palestinian Authority cleric Mufti Sheikh Ikrimeh Sabri has stated:

"We tell them, in as much as you love life, the Muslim loves death and martyrdom. There is a great difference between he who loves the hereafter and he who loves this world. The Muslim loves death and [strives for] martyrdom."

I followed the prisoner exchange closely. I watched ‘Western’ channels – BBC, Fox, CNBC, France 24 and I watched ‘Arab/Islamic’ channels, including Al Jazeerah and Iran’s Press TV

It was clear from the all the interviews with Palestinian prisoners, the one with Gilad Shalit, as well as from all the footage, that once again, Israel showed it’s disproportionate response to terror and violence.

• Israel disproportionately fed the Palestinian prisoners – they looked nice and plump, vs Gilad’s gaunt look

• Israel disproportionately gave Palestinian prisoners access to sunlight – they looked good, vs Gilad’s deathly white complexion form the lack of exposure of sunlight

• Israel disproportionately gave the Palestinian prisoners access to humanitarian organizations – They had access to the Red Cross, Red Crescent and United Nations representatives, vs Gilad’s access to NONE OF THESE

• Israel disproportionately gave the Palestinian prisoners access to legal representations – vs Gilads’ access to NOTHING

• Israel disproportionately allowed the Palestinian prisoners to have contact with their families (even if only telephonic at times) – vs. Gilad’s contact with NOBODY

• Israel disproportionately gave the Palestinian prisoners access to education (in Arabic, their mother tongue), with many earning Masters and Doctoral Degrees while in prison – vs. Gilad’s periodic access to a radio and TV (also in Arabic, his captor’s mother tongue)

I’m reminded of Israel’s disproportionate response, following the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti.

At the time, Peggy Shapiro noted:

“Despite its small size, Israel sent a large contingent of highly-trained aid workers to quake-stricken Haiti. Two jumbo jets carrying more than 220 doctors, nurses, civil engineers, and other Israeli army personnel, including a rescue team and field hospital, were among the first rescue teams to arrive in Haiti. In fact, they were the first foreign backup team to set up medical treatment at the partially collapsed main hospital in Port-au-Prince.

The international agencies that condemn Israel for its "disproportionate response" when it is attacked are not mentioning Israel's disproportionate response to human suffering. The U.S. has pledged 100 million and sent supplies and personnel. The U.K. pledged $10 million and sent 64 firemen and 8 volunteers. China, a country with a population of 1,325,639,982 compared to Israel's 7.5 million sent 50 rescuers and seven journalists.

The 25 Arab League nations sent nothing.”

Israel continues to be regarded as a ‘rogue state’ and a ‘violator of human rights’ whose response to fighting terror is always regarded as ‘disproportionate’. This latest ‘prisoner swap’ has once again made it clear to me, that in an effort to achieve peace, Israel will always demonstrate its disproportionate value for human life and human dignity

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The rise of the Jewacide Bomber

It has long been asked: Why?

Why are there no Jewish suicide bombers?

Why has Judaism not created extremists, fundamentalists, and (dare I say) lunatics, the kind of which have brought disgrace to Islam and embarrassment to Moslems the world over?

Why is there no Taliban style movement in the Jewish world, where women are degraded and people attacked, in order to maintain a system of religious control?

Why are there no Jewish martyrs?

Is it because followers of the Jewish faith are less extreme? Is it because ‘religious’ Jews place a higher value on human life? A greater significance on human dignity? A greater respect for fellow human beings?

The people who dispatch suicide bombers, and most of the bombers themselves, believe that they are in a war. A war between Islam and the West. A battle between the infidels and those that submit to the will of the Almighty God. A fight between good and evil.

The people who dispatch suicide bombers and the bombers themselves are willing to die for, and kill for, the values that they believe are true, the system they ‘know’ is right, the religion they trust, the people they trust, and the God they serve

These people have passion. They have anger. They have desperation. And they are willing to do something about it

They are willing to martyr themselves, and take a few sacrificial lambs with them in the process

And there are always the majority of Muslim leaders who condemn these actions as ‘non-Islamic’ and the perpetrators as not representing ‘true Islam’

And there are always the minority of extremists who defend the actions, and claim it’s a battle between Islam and the West, Good and Evil

Why are things different for the Jews?

Do religious Jews feel no passion? Do they have no anger, or desperation, or a willingness to protect the faith they believe in. Are religious Jews not willing to defend and fight for what they ‘know’ is right? Do they not have the same passion that would drive them to defend their principles and values at any cost?

Would religious Jews not do anything to protect themselves and their communities from the onslaught of ‘western’ values and the threat it poses to their religious system?

Are religious Jews not keen to become martyrs for their cause, and take a few sacrificial lambs along for the ride?

Well, the concept of martyrdom is not alien to ‘religious’ Jews.

Judaism has cardinal sins which should be avoided at all costs. A person must give up their lives, rather than transgress these sins. And over the millennia, famous Jews have given their lives for far less than the cardinal sins, and in the Jewish world, these people are considered saints and heroes

But there have also been people that not only martyred themselves, they took other with them

Baruch Goldstein was deeply concerned about the threat to Israel’s existence and the deligitmisation of so-called ‘settlers’. He believed he had a religious duty to do something about that threat. And that religious duty demanded action, sacrifice and martyrdom.

On 25 February 1994, Baruch Goldstein martyred himself. It was after all, for the cause. For the defense of Israel. For the protection of Judaism. And it was perpetrated in the name of Almighty God

And in the process of martyring himself, Baruch Goldstein took 29 sacrificial lambs with him

The majority of Jewish leaders condemned the massacre, and called it a misrepresentation of Judaism.

A minority of extremists defended the actions and view Baruch Goldstein as a defender of the faith

Yigal Amir was frustrated with the concessions Prime Minister Rabin was making to the Palestinians. He was concerned about the future of the Jewish Promised Land. He was worried about the safety and security of Jews, and the relinquishing of land, promised to the Jewish people, by God

Yigal Amir martyred himself. He gave up his ‘life’ (of freedom), for the cause. He was willing to be imprisoned for the rest of his life, in the defense of the people of Israel, the land of Israel and God. In fact, he would have been more than happy to give up his life (in this world) for the cause. If secret service agents, or the Prime Ministers body-guards had killed Yigal Amir, Yigal Amir would have still succeeded in his plans to halt the ‘peace process’ and defend the values he believed in

And in the process of martyring himself, he took a sacrificial lamb with him

And again, most of the Jewish world condemned the assassination. A few praised it

These two examples are of two individuals. They could be considered truly ‘fringe’. Is a sample of 2 big enough to generalize, despite the support and admiration that both these individuals received in certain circles?

Are there no communities, or larger grouping of extremist Jews? Entire schools of Taliban style thought? And again, the question is asked: Why?

Why is there no Taliban style movement in the Jewish world?

This week, the BBC ‘exposed’ the extremist, ‘ultra-Orthodox Jews’ who are defending their value system in Beit Shemesh, Israel. They are fighting the threat that is posed to their lifestyle, their beliefs and their practices. For these ultra-orthodox Jews the young school girls from the adjacent neighbourhood are a threat. The school girls’ sleeves and skirts don’t meet the same religious criteria imposed by the ultra-orthodox Jews. The ultra-orthodox Jews feel that their sensitivities are being ignored, and the Jewish value that is placed on modesty is being threatened.

These ultra-orthodox Jews are willing to martyr themselves. They are willing to be beaten by police officers, arrested, and imprisoned, all for the sake of protecting their value system and defending God.

They are even willing to a few sacrificial lambs with them. Not through the murdering of Jewish school girls, but by subjecting them to abuse, taunts, rock throwing. They even throw feces at the school children

These ultra-orthodox Jews have staged similar protests in the past, violently clashing with police and local communities, protesting what they call “the evil regime”. There have many incidents too, of women being beaten, spat at and taunted for sitting on the men’s side of segregated busses. They believe that these Taliban style actions are required in the battle of good and evil. And martyrs and lambs are required too

Some in the ‘religious’ Jewish world condemn such attacks, beatings and public humiliations. Many, do nothing. These ultra-orthodox Talibani Jews belong to a value system that the religious Jewish world relies on for religious rulings, conversions, marriages and even the certification of Kosher products.

Most of the religious world turn a blind eye to the growing number of attacks on women, on secular Jews and even on other religious Jews (as is the case in Beit Shemesh)

The real number of Jewish extremists is low, but that low real number is merely a factor of the size of the Jewish population, which is, sadly, low. There are many in the religious Jewish world (whether ultra orthodox, or ultra-nationalistic or ultra-anything) that are feeling frustrated and threatened.

And these people have shown a willingness to martyr themselves and take a few sacrificial lambs with them.

Just as the majority of Moslem leaders denounce martyrdom operations, these Jewish extremists are widely condemned in the Jewish world. But condemnation does not make an extremist’s frustration and fear disappear. Neither does condemnation make an extremist’s willingness to be a martyr fade away. And condemnations will not stop an extremist from taking some sacrificial lambs along for the ride, as long as the cause is justified

And it always is

The number of incidents perpetrated by ‘Jewish extremists’ will continue to rise. And the methods employed will continue to escalate. Martyrdom operations will move from a willingness to be subjected to teargas and imprisonment to a willingness to die. And the throwing of feces at sacrificial lambs will simply not be sufficient in the war between good and evil

The question of :WHY are there no Jewish Suicide Bombers? is irrrelevant

The question is: WHEN will the first one strike?