Thoughts on Judaism

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Gaza Got Shriller - Part II

How did the right wingers react to Gaza? How do they always react? Predictably of course. Never was there such a steady lot.

1988 - We must have Shamir! Only he can save Israel from Peres.
1991 - Boo! Madrid conference. Anyone but Shamir. How about left wingers like Rabin and Peres to save Israel from the Arabs.
1992 - Boo! Oslo! KILL Rabin! (They do.)
1996 - Only Netanyahu can save us from Peres.
1996 - Skirmishes and Wye agreement. Boo! Anyone but Netanyahu. How about Barak and Peres to save Israel from the Arabs?
2000 - Daily terrorism and Camp David. Boo! Only Sharon can save us from Peres.
2004 - Boo! Roadmap and Gaza! Anyone but Sharon. Peres, you will have your chance, no doubt.

The right wing does not see any problem in the Middle East, you see. They see no need for negotiation or compromise, within Isreali politics or between Israel and other nations. It is like everything else with them, pretend that the Arabs do not exist. Don't seek a negotiated solution. Pretend that the army can continue supply teenagers and youngsters to blast them (and be blasted), and pretend that that will drive the Arabs into submission. It has worked great until now. Probably they will just pick up and leave if we just drop enough bombs on them. We can turn back the clock to 1967 if we just want to. Oh yeah, and the rest of the countries with an interest will all just skulk away. The US can "gai feif". In the world of religious politics, there are only spoiled children. It's all about the principle, ... unless there is money involved. Then it is all about the money first, and then the principle. Vote Shas!

Right wing religious response:
We warned you all about a nonreligious government in Israel back in the 40s. Only a Torah government can save Israel. Our Gedolim should run the country according to Torah.

Rebel's response:
Well, whose Torah? Chabad's and Ponavitch's Torahs seem diametrically opposed. Neturei Karta and NRP certainly could find a compromise al pi Torah, couldn't they? Would Breslov accept anyone but Na Nach Nachman M'Uman to be ruler? What about Chabad and Men Mena Menachem? The concept that the country could be run by the frum PTB is laughable. They cannot even run communities and synagogues without civil war. To them, there is no compromise, there is no political expediency. There is just our vision, we'll call that the "right way", and their vision, we'll call that the "wrong way", and an angry G-d who wants THEM defeated (even though eilu v'eilu, but that only applies when ...). A country has real issues and real lives to deal with, not just high principles and dogma. The frum would quickly turn the country into Afghanistan, by shifting to the most charedi version (in the name of keeping them on board) and then trying to shift reality to match their conceptions. Of course, everyone would be willing to compromise to make the country work al pi Torah, right?

Imagine the Charedi run Israel. Just imagine it from a practical perspective. Was that scary enough?


  • In all of the history of nations warring, negotiating and dealing with each other, how many times have you seen a government TOTALLY UNWILLING to recognize the enemy for what it is - an E-N-E-M-Y - and work accordingly? This you call "pretending that the Arabs do not exist"?!

    The flip-flop that you correctly note, you missasign blame for; the voters are not to blame for voting the most right possible, those they vote for are. Shamir was elected on a base of returning nothing, recognizing nothing, and so on. He was pressured into Madrid. He was against the idea the entire time, but did not have the moral strength to go against the entire world.

    (Had he had that strength, things would have gotten only better. The reason that the US does not expect nearly as much from the Arabs as from Israel is not because it is an antisemitic government. It is because of simple logic: some agreement must be reached; the Arabs will send them to hell; and the Jews will huff and puff, but concede on every front. This began with Begin/Sharon, on to Shamir, and the rest is history).

    To accuse the right of not being willing to "negotiate" or "compromise" and then to blame on that the current state of affairs, as you do by implication, is beyond preposterous. The Arabs were perfectly willing to go away. In 1967, they were FLEEING; Dayan begged them to stay, to show an example of "peaceful coexistence". The demands for the land back were not initiative of the Arabs; they dared not make such demands, having just been roundly and miracously defeated. They started in this direction only when they got the message - from Israel via the United States - that Israel, unbelievably, was willing to do this.

    In 1986, when the intifadah began, the issues were stones being thrown at buses and the occasional knife; good friends of mine still remember taking buses home those days via Ramallah. When they were rewarded with Oslo, what do you expect them to do: herd up in their mosques and begin to sing "Racheim na Allah elokeinu rachem, al Yishmael amecha racheim..."?! Or keep doing what they're good at, and what is working? So yes, the Arabs indeed did not exist in the form we know them now; after their total defeat they were relatively meek, and they "are", in the way that we know them now, solely because of Israel.

    Witness what happened when Jordan happened when it "pretended" that they do not exist, and hanged them - when they began to make problems - from every tree in Jordan. They "stopped" existing, at least in Jordan! I am not suggesting that we do the same; it is unnecessary. The awareness that Israel has a backbone would be more than enough.

    That for Shamir, he can still benefit from a limud zechus; the other flip-floppers were most probably open liars. The common denominator was that they were elected on a clear mandate to do certain things, and violated those terms; open and shut. And the only way you have of characterizing this 30-year long travesty is "right wing does not see any problem in the Middle East, you see. They see no need for negotiation or compromise, within Isreali politics or between Israel and other nations. It is like everything else with them", along with the rest of your obscene paragraph?

    Rebeljew, you are indeed intelligent, witty enough to treat some subjects with the humor they deserve, and seem to be searching for the truth. It is usually a pleasure to discuss issues with you (on other blogs, under different aliases). For this very reason, the lack of a moral compass in this instance disappoints me so.

    By Blogger Nathan, at 1:50 PM  

  • I will try to go point for point so that you can understand my psoition at least. It is not at all what you imagine, which is why I stay out of politics.

    1) "the voters are not to blame for voting the most right possible"

    The sentiment is one issue voting. Somehow, right wingers were pushing voting for Kerry as a legitimate answer to Bush, becasue Bush was saying roadmap, and Kerry was not Bush. As a result, they were supporting Kerry as "stronger on Israel security". What could be more absurd?! They don't vote the most right possible, they vote for the best rhetoric on the issue today, and against someone who went 99% with them, because he went 1% against them. That's the pattern. Roadmap bad, Bush=roadmap, ergo Bush bad. OK. Ergo vote Kerry! Huh? Did they not notice how much more they have of their agenda in reality than before? When Sharon entered office, a 100 yard incursion into Gaza caused world condemnation and their were suicide bombings 3 times a week. The US president supports Israel with statements like "Israel has the right to defend itself." When did you hear that before. Reagan? Not even.

    Do you see no improvement here? We can oppose a position of a candidate and still stand with that candidate 90%. Death threats? Vote for Mitzna / Peres?
    What's that about? More later.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 5:23 PM  

  • "an E-N-E-M-Y"
    Essentially, you are tied to a pit bull. They are bitter enemies, but what are the options? Expulsion? Not happening. Kill them all? Not happening. Eternal subjugation? Not what we want, and not happening. There must be a solution that both sides can live with. We changed Japan, Germany, even Russia, all were bitter, irreconcilable enemies at one time. We had to share a world with them, by defeat or by compromise.

    "the other flip-floppers were most probably open liars."
    Not liars. Tehy simply found that tehy had to deal at some point. and part of dealing is losing something. When your standard is 100%, you forget there is another side who wants to win something also, that must win something.

    I could go on, but I would recommend that you read Place among the Nations. I mostly agree with Netanyahu, 1992.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 6:30 PM  

  • "The Arabs were perfectly willing to go away. In 1967, they were FLEEING; Dayan begged them to stay."
    Key operative word is "were". We cannot turn the clock back to 1967, and start there, anymore than they can go back to 1948 and start there.

    In short, there is no leader, who can satisfy the right. If Israel annexed every acre of Yesha, every caravan, every cemetary, every grave of every unknown mekubal, except one, even if it were in a place where Jews would not live, could not live, the right would reject the deal. We need to stop obsessing about the dead Husseini and even the dead Arafat and even the past racism of Abbas, and see if we can create a border with any of them anywhere. Because, just as MAD (mutually assured destruction) was not an option, eternal war with the entire Arab world is not an option.

    And that raises another point. The "Palestinian" Arabs are not substantially a different nation than Syria or Egypt. They have delusions of existence. But the bottom line is, they are a group of people that has never had leadership or education in a democratic environment. It will take a generation or more to prep them from corruption, gangsterism, and militia rule, to deal, but we need to start leading them so that we can live with them. We will never realistically be able to fully destroy them, even if that were desirable, since there are always more Arabs.

    One day there will be a Pal state with a border with Israel similar to that which the US shares with Canada. We will be very old and our grandchildren may be, but it must happen, just as it happened with Japan and Germany.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 6:55 PM  

  • Rebel, I appreciate your logic - certainly more than at the time of my first comment. That said, I continue to vigorously reject most all of your assertions.

    Before I continue, let me state my bias(es) openly; I purport to be a Lubavitcher, and have been educated for almost all of my life in the Lubavitch system; my views on the subject are therefore of necessity from a certain angle. By the way, I am certain that you have had a look at Eyes Upon the Land, which presents the "Lubavitcher", "ultra-right" or whatever-you-want-to-call-it stance. If you have not read it yet, I urge you to.

    In short, there is no leader, who can satisfy the right. If Israel annexed every acre of Yesha, every caravan, every cemetary, every grave of every unknown mekubal, except one, even if it were in a place where Jews would not live, could not live, the right would reject the deal.

    Let us assume that you are correct; then what? Is taking a firm stance complete anathema today, in the great culture of "pluralism", "mutual understanding", et cetera? אין לך דבר העומד בפני הרצון our Sages have said. The history of even the last centuries have proven this. America's liberties were guaranteed by people who believed (not theorized about, but believed, the sort of belief that finds expression in deed) that these liberties were more important than life itself. The survival of the "state" of Israel FROM DAY ONE was assured by people who were unwilling to compromise, even if that meant war.

    If one's actions are dictated by his essential beliefs, then "compromising" those leave him devoid of meaning. Yes indeed, for over 3000 years we have been referred to labelled "a stiff-necked people" - and we are proud of it.

    (Obviously, there are areas for compromise - that is what the Talmud is all about. The question is the framework, the axioms; if my bottom line is fulfilling G-d's will as stated in the Torah, then we can disagree over what is G-d's will, and can each try to show how our way is more consistent with the Torah way. But to compromise on the essence - this is not a compromise, this is a nobody giving in two a somebody - or two nobodies giving in two each other. This is not true in our case; the Arabs' resolve - resolve, nothing else! - is far stronger than ours. More on that later).

    This is why both of your examples, US/CAN and Japan/Germany are invalid. The US was never bothered by definition by the existence of a country that did not share its' beliefs. You want to be a Loyalist? No problem; just get out of our town, where we are busy fighting our cause, and go to the next one. Japan/Germany, there was no compromise; there was all out war, and we won. Bear them. Not exterminated them, but let them get the message that it is in their best interest to surrender ASAP. To quote the official announcement of Germany's surrender: "To continue the war would only mean senseless bloodshed and a futile disintegration".

    We do not seek to destroy the Arabs; we seek that they get the message that terror does not pay. That they get the message that we consider this land ours. Not "occupied territories", but liberated land. Our land. The reason that the Arabs did not rebel for 20 years is because thay knew (thought) it will not pay. That we will deal with them like their own brethren would. We are not speaking of macho posturing, but showing in thought, speech and action that the real, internal resolve is there.

    Annexing one kever short of everything - one square inch, whether it is a kever or not is absolutely irrelevant - betrays our lack of internal resolve. As they say, פה קבור הכלב.

    By Blogger Nathan, at 12:14 AM  

  • nathan

    "I purport to be a Lubavitcher, and have been educated for almost all of my life in the Lubavitch system"

    That explains much. :D While I am not Chabad, my family is, and I have experience with Chabad and its workings. The last Chabad Rebbe was a strong proponent of Jewish rejectionism, at a time when it was the only way.

    "We do not seek to destroy the Arabs; we seek that they get the message that terror does not pay."

    If the "Palestinians" were the only players, this would make sense. But we are dealing with 20% of the inhabited world, 80% of which has no problem with terrorism. (20% are liberal Arab dissidents. Life insurance rates for them are prohibitive.) America called this type of policy, "containment". It was the policy of defense against Russia. But ultimately, we had to convert rather than contain them. I trust, as a Chabadnik, you know the difference of ISKAFIA and ISHAPCHA. In the final tally, one must reach the second, as the first cannot maintain forever. Containment, ISKAFIA, can only work temporarily.

    "Is taking a firm stance complete anathema today"
    So what is your solution? They have to go, we have to go, or we have to live together. I maintain that neither of the first two will happen. If you intend the third, you can contain them forever or deal, with some of their concerns in mind. Since they can't be contained militarily forever, eventually you must deal.

    The examples of Japan and Germany are valid for the point I was making. Even in total disarray, we could not hope to contain them forever. In WWI that was the thought with Germany, eternal containment. However, WWII was inevitable as
    Germany waited for the worm to turn, and their resentment grew. The down simply wait for the wheel to turn. The key is to make THEM want to live in peace. In the case of the Palestinians or Iraqis, we have to really work on their culture. But the same was true of Japan. We can defeat them for a while, and I began these posts by saying that I agree with that short term goal of policy, but in the end, we will have to pursue ISHAPCHA. It will take at least a generation if not several. To pretend that we can contain them forever is suicide.

    At this point, the RW ususally just sighs and says some platitude about needing Moshiach. That is a modeh b'miktzas, saying there is no answer until Moshiach comes. Or maybe they are saying, we will take care of the short term, since Moshiach is coming very soon, or whatever. But, as far as lives and security are concerned, "ain somchin al haNes". The only way to attain security is lower the resolve of the enemy. Containment only strengthens their resolve in the long run. This has been the pattern for 100 years of successful containment of the Arabs. We win every time, yet the Arabs think, if we lose today, we will win tomorrow. That is why containment is useless.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 7:15 AM  

  • At this point, the RW ususally just sighs and says some platitude about needing Moshiach. That is a modeh b'miktzas, saying there is no answer until Moshiach comes.

    For a Lubavitcher at least, this is not being מודה במקצת; this is the sad, bitter reality. Yor err in assuming that ishapcha can be achieved; if it cannot by definition, then one is a fool for pursuing that path (this is why we have all of Tanya - there are no "quick and easy", "unilateral disengagement" fixes). Moreover, such it has been for the past 2000 years. The wonder is that for the first time in a very long while, we are miraculously being given the ability to contain them (5 wars in which we had no chance fits the bill); this in and of itself ought to show that this is the way of going.

    But, as far as lives and security are concerned, "ain somchin al haNes". The only way to attain security is lower the resolve of the enemy.

    Exactly. The question is begged; which nes is bigger, and ought be avoided at all costs? Note the example you brought; Russia. What we did with Russia is exactly what Israel is not doing; build up military might. Announce to anyone willing to listen that they are not "partners", not anything good, they are an Evil Empire. We will not negotiate (we did, but in this crystal-clear framework), we will not acknowledge any truth on their part. And at the time, everyone called Reagan a cowboy who thinks that this is Star Wars. As everyone but the pathetic left fringe acknowledges today, he won the Cold War for us.

    We have clearly seen the way that has worked - in '48, NO compromise, in '67 a pre-emptive strike - and sadly, what has not. That should guide us when we strive not to be "somech al haNes".

    The Cold War was not won with missiles; it was won with moral clarity and resolve. Exactly what Jews for the past while have been sorely lacking.

    By Blogger Nathan, at 11:46 AM  

  • A couple more points.

    The Germany after WWI is a near-perfect analogy to Israel from '67, through '73, to the present. The same konseptzia; we already beat them, now we can give in a little here, a little there, everything will be fine. It wasn't. The reason Germany managed to get going again is precisely because it DIDN'T get the point, and it was right; it was allowed in short order to get moving again.

    The beating that Germany and Japan got the second time around was qualitatively different. The defeat was total, the message was complete: If we have to nuke you out of existence, then we will do exactly that. Wonder of wonders; half a century has passed, and the Japanese have not shown even an inclination to fight. I neglected to post a link to Germany's surrender announcement; I do so now.

    Every time we have won, we have of our own volition lost the war of ideas. That is the one reason that the Arabs think that "if we lose today, we will win tomorrow". There has been no real containment for even 20 years. America is just starting to realize what real containment is.

    One more point, that has come up many times. As is explained at length in Chassidus, non-Jews do not have true free will. Therefore, the damage they can render the Jewish people is limited, being entirely in the hands of G-d. (Therefore we can pray on Yom Tov that Hashem influence kings for the good of the Jews, etc).

    Only a Jew, by virtue of his בחירה חפשית, can make a true חורבן.

    In all the wars, from '48 to '67 to '73 to '91 וכולהו דביני ביני, we had next to nothing but sheer miracles. Our צרות are דוקא the ones that we are bringing upon ourselves.

    May Hashem have mercy on us all.

    By Blogger Nathan, at 12:10 PM  

  • But we did not, could not hold Japan, Germany nor Russia, by occupation. The reason Japan et al shows no inckling to war is because the government and the culture, after decades of retraining, of presenting a better alternative, were changed in those countries. Russia was also changed internally, not by us bombing them into submission. The US is not trying to occupy Iraq or Afghanistan either, for the same reason. A big difference is that in all these cases, the "conquerer" wasn't living side by side with the "conquered".

    The Palestinians are not necessarily "occupied" in the way that these countries were (so Israel is not "on the hook" for them, in technical terms), but that is irrelevant to the current generation (in real terms, perhaps unfairly, but that is the case). Nonetheless, only they can change themselves. When did the Civil War end? With the surrender at Appomatox? Or with the disbanding of the Klan in the 1870s? I would argue the latter. It was not won by carpetbagging, but by changing the minds of the average Southerner, that the future lay with the Union. Reconstruction took much longer than necessary, because of the vengeful attitude of Congress. With the Arabs, the minds will change only when THEY act. That is why Netanyahu chose, ,of all acts, the (purported) change of the PLO charter as the most significant step toward peace in the last 100 years. (Too bad it was fake, but there is no monopoly on people fooling themselves.)

    So, if you reject the concept that a deal can ever be reached, do think that Israel will one day drive them out, or that they will pick and leave by themselves and shout "zei gezint" as they go? Or do you think that they will ultimately accept whatever they are given and be happy? (Keep the parenthetical above in mind.)

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 1:52 PM  

  • I will risk belaboring the point.

    You correctly note that Japan, Russia etc. went through fundamental internal changes en route to becoming a player in modern society. I stress again though, that the primary catalyst for these changes was necessity; necessity brought about by unrelenting pressure. That has yet to happen in Israel.

    Once (if) the Arabs would be given the message that Israel is not budging (even if Israel would decide this today, after 30+ years of concessions, it would take some time for this new message to sink in), then in my opinion, the same internal changes would begin to take place by the Arabs - both the PLO/PA as well as the Arab League in general - in one way or another. I will pursue one approach.

    Remember that the only reason that the Arab countries refuse to let "Palestinian" refugees out of their miserable camps is to increase world pressure on Israel; once it was made clear that this pressure will not help much, that Israel has some backbone (again, this would take some time), other options would inevitably become viable. The same world which pressures Israel today, (IM(H)O the reason being that Israel accepts this pressure at least as much as antisemitism), would begin to explore other options. Maybe not the Transfer in the way it is being marketed today, but certainly something.

    The poor Palestinians themselves are merely looking for a better way out of their misery than suicide. The point is to make Israel the least attractive target; then they would themselves turn their attention to other goals, like getting other Arab countries to accept them. This would make Israel's selling this idea to the world much easier.

    Obviously, merely entertaining the thought of realistically carrying this out is sheer heresy at this point in time. As I said before, the guilt for this lies in great part with Israel. With a change in attitude, many preconceptions on the ground would change as well.

    By Blogger Nathan, at 4:59 PM  

  • Before I am accused of being mechalel Shabbos, let me make clear that I am not currently in North America.

    BTW, if my wild guess on who you are is correct, then we have met a few months ago.

    By Blogger Nathan, at 6:52 PM  

  • Your point of showing resolve is well taken. However, consider the history. The Arabs are under no pressure to make a deal today or tomorrow. Fifty years or a hundred years is soon enough. The problem has been that they know that certain nations can pressure Israel and that politics will eventually turn in their favor. Not Israel, but the other countries, the left in America and in Europe, have kept the West Bank and Gaza on the table for all of these years. Israel's resolve is meaningless, because anything that they do will be overturned.

    Note that Israel is entirely militarily dependent on the US and others. Certainly in the past this has been true. The nuclear option is care of France. The Israeli aircraft are based on F-16 and later. To pretend that Israel can go it alone is ridiculous. they must have the consent of those countries on which they are dependent.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 1:11 AM  

  • The booklet I linked to above (in general, reading things meant for print are a real pain to read online) makes a good case against your last point.

    America's interest lies in Israel remaining strong. Period. At the same time, she must be in normal relations with the Arabs. So the demands are placed on Israel. But these are America's cheshboynes; why does Israel have to go along with this? Who even says the US wants Israel to go along nearly as often as it does?

    America's primary interest is getting a deal done; at whose expense is secondary. The US rightly expects each side to look out for itself. If Israel would stick to its guns, the pressure would naturally fall back on the Arabs.

    Demand after demand is placed on the Palestinians; they barely even pretend to fulfill their side of the bargain. At some point, everyone gets the message: the Arabs will not play along. Why does everyone know that in the end Israel will give in? Because of an age-old Jewish fear of our own shadow, still there after a good few generations. As the Rebbe said many times over, when ונהי בעינינו כחגבים, the natural result was וכן היינו בעיניהם. We are afraid to "upset the goyim", when what the goyim themselves want to see is a partner that is willing to stick up for itself.

    Proof is in the deteriorating support for Israel on the part of the Bush administration. Bush is not an anti-semite; but why waste political brownie points on supporting Sharon, when it will lead nowhere? I would venture to say that North Korea commands more respect with the US these days than does Israel.

    May we truly have the real נחמו נחמו עמי!

    By Blogger Nathan, at 1:46 AM  

  • Some of your points here are the very points Netanyahu made in his book as well. Nor do I disagree with them. I am refocusing on the concept though of not being able to go forward with anything at all. Not only that, but that any leader who decides that he has moved the bar significantly and wants to take any step is pilloried, no matter how great a hero he was the day before.

    By and large, other than rejectionism, the RW has no cohesive plan or idea where it wants to end up, that has any grounding in realism. That is not an indictment of rejectionism at all. It like chasidus. Some things can only be described by what the are not "b'ofen Shlila". The RW knows what peace isn't, and that is fine, I do not disagree. But no one claims to know what peace IS, what it really looks like when they are done. That, in the REAL world, is a big failing, the same as shared by the late Arafat.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 10:22 PM  

  • I have not yet read Netanyahu's book.

    The reason Sharon is being pilloried because he is guilty of a betrayal. He was elected as the most RW person out there, with his history behind him. He was elected with a clear mandate to do anything but run off from all of Gaza; he reneged on his promise. In truth, the betrayal began the first time he used the word "occupation"; that was the beginning of the end.

    You are right in that finding the way to a real peace is no easy thing. Which is small consolation in that we are going down the absolutely worst path (yes, I have short term memory; I begin to forget that Barak wanted to give a lot more and the Golan too), moreover a path that is tried and true for bringing us צרות.

    I have not analyzed the wisdom of not voting period, as a sign of protest. This argument is well developed by Joseph Farah in regard to American politics.

    May there be true Redemption for all the Jewish people בטוב הנראה והנגלה!

    By Blogger Nathan, at 10:50 PM  

  • "The reason Sharon is being pilloried because he is guilty of a betrayal. He was elected as the most RW person out there, with his history behind him."

    Precisely my point. And the minute he had to make a hard decision, a choice between Gaza and Maaleh Adumim, and he chooses Ma'aleh Adumim (a NO BRAINER), he goes from settler champion to target of a death curse and "the worst ever". The worst ever? Did these people ever hear of Oslo?

    Anyway, the primary point remains. The RW does not have an agenda for a realistic lasting peace. So in essence they advocate the status quo. Problem is, it's gotten a lot quo'er over the past 15 years and it will only get worse. Oslo did not help, but the ressurgence of al Qaeda and its active war with the US changed the whole game.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 6:31 AM  

  • "One more point, that has come up many times. As is explained at length in Chassidus, non-Jews do not have true free will. Therefore, the damage they can render the Jewish people is limited, being entirely in the hands of G-d. (Therefore we can pray on Yom Tov that Hashem influence kings for the good of the Jews, etc)."

    I want to simply add the pov of a secular Jew--the reliance upon G_d as a deus ex machina that makes statecraft considerations unnecessary won't work either--if you wish to say that there are commandment's not to do this or that, that Torah forbids this or that regardless of the consequences, fine--but if the idea is G-d or Moshiach or whatever Divine Force will inevitably see the faith of His Children Israel and put His hand on the balance; that's a minority viewopoint--plus, with Lubavitch and the various doctrines of "etzem b'guf" floating around there's a question of whose Chassidus are we talking about

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:23 AM  

  • RJ - in re: my reference to giving Hillel "credit for the kill" perhaps knowing the readership of the blog it was a poor choice of phrases the kill actually referring more to the ger's resistance to embracing yiddishkeit other than on his terms "al regel achas" - obviously once Hillel got past that "the rest is commentary" :)
    the problem with blogging and e-mail is that it doesn't allow the reader to get the true essence of the nuances meant - certain things are said deadpan, tongue in cheek, seriously and they get read differently then intended. That's one of the reasons a letter is inadmissable as evidence - "you can't cross examine a letter" or discern its nuances - since this type of writing is done "real time" it doesn't allow the author the luxury of reflection, rewriting and judicious editing
    shmuel m (banned from the island for being "boring and thick" imagine that - I accept my banishment with equanimity but "boring and thick" c'mon now!)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:38 AM  

  • I think you have trouble with fully appreciating the BT experience. I did not find your posts boring or thick personally, just somewhat "out of touch".

    My family and I are personally trying to give emotional and moral support to 3 families. In each case, the BT husband was never properly integrated and the BT wife and SOB (son of a BT) kids are now coping alone. And there are many more where they came from. What do their families usually say? "We told you so."

    I know many cases, where the kids grow up just not knowing Grandma and Grandpa, because the GPs have the larger family over on Thanksgiving (all treif, done in treif house), the BTs have everyone for seder (GPs not comfortable to stay, nor can they drive there), the weddings and get togethers are all in nonkosher venues, and there are no accomodations for large numbers of kids.

    It took me a while to appreciate the extent of the strain on BTs and their families. Integration is vital, but no one forsaw the need for it.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 12:15 PM  

  • SM,
    Almost any venue of communication can be effectively used, if its weaknesses are acknowledged. The issue is understanding who are dealing with, and act (speak, write) accordingly. It takes but a short time to get to feel the mood of any blogster, the one in question particularly so, and have it in mind. Your posts there, coupled with your stance on the BT issue - I could not agree more with RebelJew's assessment - gives the impression that you have some work to do in the sphere of understanding people.

    I will risk a rant. To clarify: Sharon ran for election with a mandate of keeping BOTH Ma'aleh Adumim and Gaza. That keeping both was a NO-BRAINER. That as one of Israel's most decorated generals, as well as former defence minister, he knew what he was talking about. This was after Oslo. After Intifadah II. I was in Israel both when that intifadah began, and through his election; I distinctly remember the attitude on the street. So yes, he reneged on his promises, and did so very consciously. It was not just in the last, final betrayal; it was, as I said before, evident in words much earlier. From the time he first referred to an "occupation". So I harbor very few sympathies for the Sharon of today.

    I trust that you will be interested in a letter that the Rebbe sent then MK Geulah Cohen. The prophetic vision is chilling.

    About the "status quo", a few short words. The status quo, like I have said before, is infinitely better than what is happening now - if it is implemented entirely. In other words, I see any policy of containment as being a much safer policy for both Jews and Arabs, and more condusive to being a catalyst for real change - IF it is real containment. If it is the lame-duck "status quo", an official policy that is not backed up by deeds - simply not making it worthwhile to make terrorism, at any cost to them, more settlements, etc. etc. - but rather smashing an empty building for every terrorist attack , that status quo indeed gets only worse and will continue to do so. The pity is that the difference between that and the true status quo is not recognized.

    By Blogger Nathan, at 9:08 PM  

  • "I trust that you will be interested in a letter that the Rebbe sent then MK Geulah Cohen. The prophetic vision is chilling."

    Which part exactly? The concept that they were using the terrirtories as bargaining chips was commonly known then. (Parts of the letter are a bit garbled, so perhaps I am missing the "Kuntz".)

    As to the rest, I would agree mostly. However, one major difference remains. Sharon is talking about expanding setlements in Yesha, as he dismantles some of the outlying ones, with more or less a nod from the US. Teh end is clear. He intends to hold ma'aleh adumim and Betar Elite and "the bloc". I think they will keep the Jordan Valley. He intends not only to hold them, but to give them room to grow. They will then retreat from the outlying settlement areas and call it a day. Abbas does not need to deal, and in doing so, lose his "frum" base, and I think this is a much better position than anyone could have hoped for before Sharon or from any Labor government.

    So the "betrayal" has just begun, but it is inevitable, regardless of who is PM. It is driven by the US, not by any Israeli interest, and it is naive to think otherwise. The public eats only from the trough of information, not from the field. Put the promises right up there with "Read my Lips" and "I will not raise taxes on the Middle Class."

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 6:26 AM  

  • Nathan said, “The status quo, like I have said before, is infinitely better than what is happening now -if it is implemented entirely.”

    The status quo involves Israel running the lives of over 2.4 million Palestinians in the WB. Everything wrong about their lives there is blamed on us. Poverty, unemployment, poor health facilities and education. Are these problems the fault of the Israelis? Partly. Will the disengagement improve the lives of Palestinian in Gaza? I doubt it. But at least it will start them focusing their frustrations against the PA, rather than it being directed against Israelis.
    We must end the status quo.

    As The Late, Professor Yeshayahu Leibovitz said after 1967, “All spiritual and material resources in Israel are channeled in one direction: to maintain the Palestinian occupation in the eventual hope that we may seize their land. We are truly Bolshevik. And we should get out of the territories just as the Portuguese left Angola, the British left India, and de Gaulle abandoned Algeria. Then there might be a real possibility of peace. Maybe Jews in the Diaspora like the image of the iron fist; I don’t. It’s pretty hypocritical to call us a democracy while we deny the Arabs their rights. Our national structure is starting to crumble…and without US aid we would be cast adrift in the space of a single day.”

    By Blogger Ittay, at 10:12 PM  

  • Ittay, I do not consider Prof. Leibovitz a person worth quoting. I will not at this point go into why; maybe others will.

    Suffice it to say that after the disengagement, people will continue to blame things on the Israelis. So would Leibovitz.

    Rebel, I envy your optimism. I have little to no hope even with regard to Sharon's intentions; much less so about the reality. Rice has made it clear that the US considers the "disengagement" to be Step 1 in the return to the road map. The pressure will only continue, and I will be more frank than I ought to be: after 30 years of looking at things ideologically one way, I do not think he has simply gone through some change in approach. This is why I am absolutely sure that (בדרך הטבע) there is more on the way.

    G-d help us. We need it.

    By Blogger Nathan, at 10:39 PM  

  • Perhaps, it is illusion, as two other commenters say. Perhaps we have been jaded by the 80 years of double standard. But my opeitmism stems from the fact taht the signals are changing. The US has a stake in the game now. George Bush has a clearer view than any revious president. The rejectionist Arafat is gone, and Abbas seems much more pliable. Note his call to congratulate Ariel Sharon on Sharon's "unilateral" move. He should have been angry.

    I do not think that the concept that Arabs can live anywhere, but Jews can only live in certain places is a healthy precedent. That is my biggest reservation about this process. But the PM has spoken about expanding the settlements in WB, unprecedented. He may have opened the door by saying "occupation", but his actions show that he will annex enough to hold East Jerusalem. And Bush and Rice are silent. Good signs all.

    In the end, as I have ever said on this blog, we must be realistic.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 12:02 AM  

  • "The US was never bothered by definition by the existence of a country that did not share its' beliefs."

    Have you asked the American Indians if they agree with this?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:09 AM  

  • The AmerIndians are a very good parallel in this case. With all due respect, the Israelis did not do to the Arabs what the West Europeans did to the AmerIndians, so the comparison is not fully fair, but the tribal loose structure, the nomadic culture, the internecine eternal war, the backwardness that existed among the Arabs, existed with the Indians also.

    The sentiments are likely to be the same. In fact, on American campuses, the Arab sympathizers use this connection in there literature.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 9:42 AM  

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