Friday, July 25, 2014

An apology for Israel, the Jewish people and a larger world perspective

"An open-air prison" is the term used by an advocate for and ally of the Palestinians in Gaza on Andrea Mitchell's television show on MSNBC yesterday.
"Drop all connections with Hamas" chimed in his Israeli counterpart....'Israel has the right to defend herself."
The "blockade" of Gaza, apparently, is Israel's answer to the continuing flow of arms into Gaza, a flow which, under the Hamas terrorists, is aimed and if possible fired into Israeli towns and cities.
Even the current leader in Egypt, Sisi, has denounced the Muslim Brotherhood and his country has taken some would say extreme steps to outlaw and even to imprison large numbers of the Islamic movement, banned and virtually silenced under Mubarak. Consequently, Egypt's manoeuvring room in attempts to design, negotiate and implement a cease-fire is limited with Hamas.
Iran conspicuously remains silent on the conflict between Hamas and Israel, yet everyone knows that she too, officially as a country, if not the people of Iran, wishes to eradicate the state of Israel from the world map while Iran continues to supply arms and intelligence and training for the Hamas "proxy".
Only this morning, former Secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush, Michael Chertoff, commenting on  Morning Joe on MSNBC, indicated that the danger to western countries from an increasing number of western recruits to the Islamic terrorist camps continues to grow. The thinking is that they will likely, after their training, return to their home countries, from which they have already acquired travel visas, to inflict harm. Norway, for starters, has already public declared her warning about the potential of such developments.
So in Gaza and in Israel we are watching a conflict whose initial causes, on the surface, are based on both the Islamic terrorists' determination to destroy Israel, and the Israeli people and government's self-defence response. However, from a larger and now increasingly dangerous perspective, there is already a much larger and stronger and more geographically diverse cluster of Islamic terrorist  cells, in many regions of the globe, linked to the shared and stated purpose of destroying the west and its liberal education and culture, along with its shared  profound contempt for Israel and her people.
And while most Muslims denounce Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, ISIS, and most other 'affiliates' of the AlQaeda origin, along with their continuing reprehensible and horrific acts against humans, there is no doubt that the "movement" is continuing to acquire weapons, strategy, tactics and recruits around the globe, all of them brain-washed into the conviction that theirs is a holy war, a jihad, against the infidels.
It is from this perspective, and not from the more localized perspective of the closed borders and the blockade and the increasing humanitarian crisis that besets the crowded strip of land known as Gaza, and the Israeli agency in generating those conditions in Gaza, that we assert unequivocally, that in this crisis, and those that will inevitably ensue, the west has to consider itself, individually and collectively "Jewish" for the purpose of confronting all of the various faces of the cancer that is Islamic terrorism. The world can no longer reject or deny the proposition that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a microcosm of the larger and much more dangerous Islamic terrorism threat to the stability of the world, its governance, its economy, its treaties and alliances, its international organizations, including the United Nations.
The determination to eradicate an existing state, because of historic contempt and hatred of the people of that state must not and cannot be permitted, no matter the nature of the threat to that principle and those people. We have to see the long-term objective of the Islamic terrorist insurgence, not merely from the lens of their current capacity to achieve that objective, a world caliphate dominated by Sharia Law, but from the implications to all of us, everywhere, who are not Muslims, and particularly Muslims of the "correct brand" against whom the larger jihad is directed.
We may not appreciate the manner in which the United States has "mid-wifed" Israel and has supported her with nuclear weapons, long before the Iron Dome, nor the specific tactics of the killing of women and children even in hospitals and schools where they have fled, even under Israeli warnings, nor the imbalance of weaponry (never to be exempted from the Iranian contributions) between Hamas and Israel, nor the deplorable conditions under which the people of Gaza, most of whom wish to live in peace in a separate state along with Israel (following the two-state solution model) have to exist even prior to the commencement of this round of hostilities. We may also not understand why the people of Gaza even "elected" Hamas, nor why the people of Lebanon have surrendered some political power to Hezbollah nor why the moderate Islamic community cannot (will not) bring their radical monster "brothers" to heel. We may also decry the inordinate power that has been acquired by non-state actors in the world's current dilemma, as well as the over-reach of many of the counter-approaches in intelligence, and the restriction of personal freedom that have resulted from the threat imposed by those same Islamic terrorists.
We do not have to attempt to justify Israel's over-reach, the over-compensation of a people whose history (too often denied by her most misguided enemies!) has told her that the world will go to dangerous lengths, and has, to eradicate her people. Yet we do have to attempt to understand her deeply held fears, linked as they are inextricably to the remnants of Buchenwald, Auschwitz, and the internment camps, the railway cars and the stories of both the lost and the survivors of the Holocaust. If God meant, by the Old Testament assertion (written also by humans with their own perspective) that the people of Israel were His Chosen People, that they were to be history's eternal targets for the contempt, the trickery, the deception and the consuming need for a targeted victim, as a human archetype, without which the human condition would not exist in its current and established form, then there is little doubt that that "naming" has been more than fulfilled, and continues to fulfill and incarnate those words.
Little wonder, is it, that by far more than any other single ethnic entity, the Jewish people have individually and collectively resisted and survived more than any other people, have risen and disproved through their own magnificent accomplishments in all human endeavours, their resilience and their commitment "to their tribe" and to the  enhancement of the human condition, and they have done all of these things while suffering the indecencies, the injustices and the wounds of all conceivable types, forms and methods, almost as a testament to the concept that the more suffering a people has to undergo, the more resilient, creative and courageous they will inevitably become.
It is not a denial, or an avoidance of any of the many platinum achievements of the Muslim people to assert the Jewish ones. In fact, over the centuries, the world has benefited from the gifts of both faith communities, in many fields of human activity. We are and will continue to be grateful for the many gifts of both faith communities. As for the merging of Zionism and the Jewish faith and religion, and the manner by which many of Israel's opponents declare their contempt "for Zionism" and for the Zionists, without having to take responsibility for their anti-Semitic bigotry, there is little reason to doubt that there would not be an Israel without Zionism, and there would not be Zionism without Israel. However, whether one is a practicing Jew (in the religious sense) or a secular Jew, is a matter for the people and the scholars and the leaders of that faith to study, to discern and to manage. It is not a matter which inflicts itself on a purpose to eradicate any other state or people, simply because they bear a specific ethnicity.
Israel, and the Jewish people themselves, have demonstrated a commitment to the pursuit of democracy, to the pursuit of justice (Jewish legal scholars and scholarship abound), the pursuit of equality of the genders, the pursuit of the development of talent, scholarship and innovation including some of the most profound scientific discoveries, and the pursuit of reasonable accommodation of their people and their state with those who would have them erased from history.
Rather than falling prey to the pleadings of the people suffering the current humanitarian crisis, and picturing the rising death and injury toll on the screens of every television set around the world (most of them among the Palestinians) it would behoove the world to learn about the fallacy of the Islamic threat to Israel, its history, its many institutional agencies of spreading the dogma of hatred as a primary religious value, and in turn submit to a re-thinking of the Israeli history, situation and potential as a contributor to the human development both of states, and of international agencies, from the perspective of the most maligned and the most hated tribe in the history of mankind.
Their voice, it seems to us, is one that can, if we permit its hearing, can lead us to a more compassionate and a more integrated and a more collegial and humane series of decisions and we all know that the world need such a voice.
It is not that Muslims and Christians are unable to participate in offering a human and compassionate voice to human relationship, but that the Jewish voice has a unique perspective maintained with great care and determination, not to mention considerable generous funding from all quarters of the planet, through many programs that seek to keep memory, and possibility fervently alive, while rejecting the loss of those memories and their meaning.

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