Response to “An Open Letter To The People Of…” on Daily Kos
The diary is “An Open Letter To The People Of Iran, Iraq, Israel, The US, The Troops, And President Bush”, on Daily Kos, from January 15, 2007, at
This diary crossed my path on my regular trawling of DKos for anti-Israel matter, but it’s an amazing diary even from the global point of view—amazing in being such a concise form of what’s putting the non-Muslim world in peril. I wish to refute the part where the diarist addresses Israel, but first let me just quote a few paragraphs highlighting the global problem:
To the people of the United States: are you afraid?
I am. Not of Al-Qaeda, not of Sunni or Shia militias, not of insurgents, not of so-called "Islamofascist", not of dirty bombs, not of having to "fight them here", not of a nuclear Iran, not of planes blowing up, not of anthrax in the mail, not of Guantánamo, not of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), or of terrorist cells in my backyard.
I am not afraid of any of the things that our government has worked so hard to scare me into believing is at my doorstep. Instead, I am afraid of our government. Can we forget about the lies that we were told over and over again by our leaders? Can we forget about the atrocities committed in our name? Can we forget the way the rest of the world sees this great nation now?
Is there any better proof that we need to win the internal war over narratives first if we are to have any hope of victory over the external enemy? All people in the non-Muslim world saw the two towers fall on 9/11, and most of them accept it was a terrorist attack launched by the Islamic organization Al-Qaeda, but the interpretation of that event cleaves non-Muslims in two: those who say it was only one form of “indigenous resistance” to “Western colonialist aggression”, and those who say it was Islam’s first declaration of intent to subjugate the whole world to its rule by means of jihad. Only one of those two views can be right, and acting upon the wrong view will have disastrous consequences.
But back to the regional stage. The diarist addresses the people of Israel, and I’m ready to oblige.
To the people of Israel I'd like to say we understand.
You think you understand. If you only get your view from what Al-Reuters, the Backstabbing Brutus Corporation and Uri Avneri say, then I don’t blame you, but you ought to listen to someone both closer to the scene and saner than them.
We recognize your struggles in the world.
That’s your first mistake—the word, “struggles”. We Jews aren’t into that Radical Sixties thing. Yes, we did put up a fight against the Brits when they took steps hindering the inhabitation of our land (hmmm… so what else is new?), but even during that time, we expended most of our efforts in building our state-to-be, and we continued with that after gaining independence. “Struggles”, on the other hand, are for those who have nothing less than a total goal: the Nazis had that, the Communists had that, the Muslims have that now. There were so many chances for a state for the “Palestinians”, backed up with readiness on the part of the Israeli Jews; but this isn’t about a state for them, it’s about a struggle. That’s the difference between us and them: we set up a state for the sake of life and culture; they set up a state for the sake of justice and revenge.
We understand that for many years you were persecuted. However, that does not give you the right to do to others what has been done to you.
“The Palestinians are the new Jews, and the old Jews the new Nazis”. There you have it. Not explicit, but the implication is nearly impossible to escape.
And just what are we doing to others that has been done to us? The Greeks in the days of Antiochus and the Romans in the days of Hadrian forbade us to practice our religion, but the Muslims of Jerusalem get a Jew-free Temple Mount every time “sensitive circumstances” demand it. We were forbidden to hold official positions of power in Christian and Islamic lands, but the Israeli Parliament has long had Arab (Christian and Muslim) members, and just now an Arab Muslim minister. We were systematically exterminated in death camps, but the Arab population of the territories taken in 1967, despite our alleged operations of “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide”, has grown from 1.1 million in 1967 to 3.5 million in 2002. The other things the accusers of Israel can think of, such as the security fence (the “Apartheid Wall”) and the checkpoints, are seen for what they are when taken in the context of attempts of suicide bombings in public places (G-d forbid) within Israel’s 1949 borders.
But the diarist will now probably prefer to sink back into the “moral clarity” provided by the BBC.
I'm not suggesting that you bare (sic) all of the responsibility for the struggles in the West Asia, […]
Awfully kind of you. May I ask, then, why you decided to address the people of Israel in the same platform where you address the Iranians, the Iraqis and the Americans? If we don’t bear all the responsibility for what goes on in our neck of the woods, then why do you think we bear responsibility for global affairs? Can you give me one good reason why you think solving the Israel/“Palestine” conflict would secure you from another 9/11? Other than taking Zawahri’s words for it, you can’t. Just look at you: you treat every word of your own president with skepticism (not an automatically bad thing per se), but you latch uncritically to every word of a Muslim cleric hiding in an Afghan cave.
[…] but you're not helping to solve it either.
What the…? Why are we supposed to help solve it? We’re not the ones raising hell all over the world. We’re inhabiting our land, and since we started coming back to it, in the late 19th century, we have done nothing but make the desolate land described by Mark Twain bloom. In contrast, the other side—Muslims, not “Palestinians”—are bent on stealing the whole world, and make a hell out of every place they settle in (for which see: no-go zones in London, Paris and Oslo, to name just a few examples).
Your fight is for property.
Yes. Our fight is for being able to inhabit our property, which is the entire land as promised to us by G-d in His book, the Torah. When you say any part of this land is not ours, that we have “stolen it from another people”, you automatically become an enemy of ours.
Your fight is for recognition.
Not really. It was in the not so far past, but more and more the Jews of Israel have come to realize there are more important things than recognition. We evacuated all of us out of Gush Katif for the sake of recognition, yet that didn’t stop us being hammered for our “disproportionate response” in Gaza and Lebanon almost a year afterward. Recognition is swell, but we now think survival is even more peachy.
Your fight is for peace.
Yes, that is peace, and not the truces and armistices that take that holy word for themselves. Peace is nothing if it isn’t guaranteed to be permanent; a truce buys you some respite from the carnage, but it also buys the enemy time to regroup and rearm for even more carnage. “Peace”, like “oppression” and “genocide” and many others, is among the words New Left radicalism has devalued through cynical use.
May I suggest to you that if after 60 years nothing has changed, maybe you're going about it the wrong way?
What hasn’t changed after 60 years is the refusal of the Muslims to accept a non-Muslim state in the Middle East. What do you suggest doing about it? Anything less than dismantling the Jewish state (G-d forbid) would never be acceptable to them—they might accept temporary recognition of Israel as a stage toward that goal, but to believe things could be settled here through diplomacy as if this were a trade dispute between Holland and Belgium is, to put it mildly, unrealistic.
We had been forced to go to war in every decade of Israel’s existence. We tried the diplomatic solution as an alternative in 1993, only to have it go up in the smoke and flames of bus bombs right from 1994, and finally of rockets ever since August 2005, when all the Jews of the Gaza Strip were coerced to leave it by their own government for the sake of peace. The great majority of Israeli Jewish adults of 1993 gladly accepted the Oslo Accords, as they had known at least two wars in their lifetimes; the children of today know of nothing but the diplomatic path taken in 1993 and its failure, so when they grow up, there’s going to be a majority of Israeli Jews who aren’t into taking that stuff anymore.
1993 was the “Palestinians’” best chance: a majority of Israeli Jews with a disposition toward diplomacy and land concessions, together with a world free from the considerations of the Cold War. They squandered it. Now the Israeli Jewish public is much less sympathetic toward negotiations, and the world is, post-9/11, veering toward instability once again. Once again Abba Eban’s words come to mind: they’ve never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
I know that you will illicit images of bombings and terror to reinforce your actions.
If, G-d forbid, you had to suffer suicide bombings and rocket attacks on your territory on a daily basis, how would you react to a suggestion from another country that you not “use the attacks as justification for retaliation”? Would you not disdainfully brush away those moralistic pontifications from those speaking from the comfort of their armchairs? That’s our shoes.
But please consider, violence in response to violence, only leads to more violence.
Yep, Winston Churchill had it all wrong. The failure of the 1938 Munich Agreement should have been responded to by a Polish extension to it, not by the declaration of war.
Today, you have no European state more appeasing toward the Muslims than France. They were among the first to cave in to the Muslim economic boycott of Israel, and they conscientiously refused to send troops to Iraq; yet Paris is now daily subjected to vandalism and even violence by Muslim immigrants (whom the West’s TreasonMedia dutifully calls, “youths”), often explained by their poverty, though never with explaining why no immigrants past in Paris ever engaged in such actions (the same problem as blaming 9/11 on poverty: there should have been a Haitian suicide terrorist attack on America long ago if that were true). Close to France in appeasement is Spain, which sheepishly withdrew all its troops from Iraq upon the Madrid Train Bombings; yet Spain too is regularly featured on Muslim preachers’ sermons as being “Al-Andalus”, an Islamic land that needs to be taken back to the rule of shariah law. Appeasement has bought those states no peace. It cannot, for the Islamic idea of peace is the total cessation of all resistance to the rule of Islamic law.
Also on the issue of, “violence in response to violence only leads to more violence”, it is pertinent to ask: Does it hold true only for us Israeli Jews? Ought not the “Palestinians” also to consider that idea—that their violence only begets more violence? For consistency, it should be demanded of both sides to stop the violence simultaneously, yet only Israel is ever presented with that demand. Why is that? Because Israel is the “strong, militarized state party” while the “Palestinians” are the “weak, stateless underdog”? I guess so. To the weak, every crime is permitted.
There must be a better solution.
I agree. But the ones within the limits of political correctness have all run out.
There is plenty of space to allow two separate and sovereign nations to exist.
Did you smug American Leftist even take a short look at the globe before making that claim? This piece of land is so small that the name, “Israel” has to be placed on the Mediterranean Sea. It’s only a little saner than saying there’s plenty of space to allow two separate and sovereign nations to be cut from Lichtenstein. Now, we were willing to give it a shot for the sake of peace and quiet, but then a few Independence Wars and Intifadas and Kassam rockets here and there got in the way, you know?
Israel and Palestine.
Israel. Israel. Israel! “Palestine” is Emperor Hadrian’s name, given to the region, hitherto Judea, after Bar Kochba’s revolt of 132–5 CE, for the purpose of blotting out the connection between the Jews and their land. He named it thus for the Philistines, who were invaders from other regions in the Mediterranean who made life stressful for the Israelites by launching periodic attacks on their towns. Nearly 3,000 years and almost nothing has changed!
I understand that there are more issues to discuss here, however, we have to start somewhere.
No, there is nothing more to discuss here. It’s not about the checkpoints, it’s not about the “Apartheid Wall”, it’s not about maps and treaties; it’s about the one and only question of whether this land belongs to the Jews or not. Either all of it belongs to us by right (by divine right), or none of it does. Either Ma’aleh Adumim is inhabited by Jews by right, or Tel-Aviv is stolen land. Both are of the Zionist project; to say one of them constitutes a “land-grab”, a “colonization of foreign lands”, is to accuse the Zionist project of being so. To accuse Zionism of being so is to deny the Jews the right to inhabit their land, which is anti-Jewish just as it is anti-Italian to say the Italians have no right to Naples and Palermo (Muslim, then Norman, then Spanish lands until relatively recently).
Do we really want to blame all the ills of life on "the other guys"?
We do not want to blame anyone. But we have to go by the truth: if we are really to blame, then there is room to consider blaming ourselves (I say “there is room to consider” because the situation is such that the world accepts our apologies not as sincere admissions of having done wrong but as proofs of the justice of us being murdered and our state being dismantled (G-d forbid)), but if it really is the fact that the other side is to blame, then blaming things on ourselves isn’t just stupid, it’s a sin against the truth.
As for this phrasing, “to blame all the ills of life”—how did you come to it? When ever did we Israeli Jews blame all the ills of life on the other side? If anything, it’s the other side that blames us for all the ills of their lives, and it’s you and your ilk who, by choosing to include Israel in your address, or by claiming the solution of the Israel/“Palestine” conflict would remove the threat of another 9/11, or by implicating the “Israel Lobby” to be the cause for all the current global turmoil, that engage in blaming us for all—or nearly all—the ills of life indeed. Take that plank out of your eye.
This sort of thinking is shortsighted and full of its own bigotry.
Only if it’s untrue. If it’s true, then your sort of thinking is shortsighted and woefully naïve. Just as “By jingo” can be either bigoted or true, so can “Kumbaya” be either true or naïve.
And please, before dismissing me as just another anti-Semite, look at my name (Bottom of the diary says, “Written by Brian Bloom”. —ZY) and understand that we share the same heritage.
I’m sorry, but the fact of your being a Jew does not give you absolute moral authority to speak on Jewish matters. If it did, then we could accept the Ahmadinejad-hugging NK’s as legitimate representatives of the Jewish people. You are to be scrutinized with the same yardstick as any non-Jew: if you believe any part of the Land of Israel does not belong to the Jewish people, then you are wrong. I’m not calling you a self-hating Jew; I’m quite sure you’re sincere in your beliefs as to what is good for the Jewish people. However, I make no bones in telling you the truth: your beliefs are wrong.
That, it is worthy to note, is the essence of your whole diary: it is entirely written out of wrong beliefs. I pray G-d may bring you to reject those beliefs and accept the right ones.