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Confused Jews
by Yosef Y. Jacobson
A Letter
A Jewish attorney in the US responded to my recent article The Psychology behind Mumbai and Gaza with this message:
“The present situation in Gaza, with the 1.5 million Gazans being choked off from medicines and foodstuffs purposefully by the Israelis, so as to make lives so miserable that they would 'say Uncle' and change government (all the while with Israel carrying out executions of specific individuals in the West Bank and Gaza who they decide, with no court decision or determination by any neutral body deserve execution) is an unholy act. The reaction of some in Gaza to shoot homemade rockets is entirely justifiable. One would only have wished they could have made such weapons in the Warsaw Ghetto. Now the Israelis, much as the Nazis then, are bombing people in crowded living conditions, in the place with the highest density of people in the world. And you applaud this.
“As you applaud this, Jews around the world become more and more reviled and hated for their association with Israel. We are looked upon as being able to commit evil, and all the while calmly and coolly justifying it, much as the Nazis of Hannah Arendt’s description. The Palestinian people- choked off from goods with which to live, to the extent that they have to make tunnels and walk great distances underground to get foods and medicines to their people- are fighting back in the only way they can. Rather than charge into the Israeli positions and merely be shot, they make their home-made rockets as they have no other choice. If they ceased doing that, Israeli would STILL view it as their right to choke them off and kill whomever they deemed worth killing.
“Congratulations. You have managed to become just like those who killed so many from 1942 to 1945. You are a sick psychopath and I will not read or view your letters. I will delete them all as you have deleted yourself from humanity. You call yourself a Jew. I am a Jew. You are a rabid animal.”
This letter – like many other voices we are hearing today -- is a sad demonstration of how confused so many of our brothers are; how ignorance and misguided idealism can lead people of good faith to such inhumane conclusions, as to define the monster as the saint, and the people yearning for nothing but a single day of peace as the Hitler’s living among us.
Is a woman who fights off an attacker to be seen as the criminal? Israel would not touch Hamas if Hamas would stop sending rockets and suicide bombers into Israel. Israel would not erect a single blockade if Hamas and its allies did not seek to murder every Jew living in the land. Israel seeks to live in peace with its neighbors; Hamas and its allies clearly state that their objective is to destroy Israel, no matter what Israel does.
My dear brother, may I ask a question: What if your little children were sitting and playing cards on the porch of your home in New Jersey when a group of gangsters kidnapped one of them and killed five other members of your family. These same gangsters then began launching thousands of rockets on your neighborhood, killing and maiming children and adults in their homes, in their schools, parks, shops and businesses. Your children -- and thousands of other children -- would not be able to sleep at night. Each moment of their days and nights would be filled with dread of a sudden, violent death.
What would be the right thing to do? What would be the appropriate response driven by sanity and compassion? What would you expect of your authorities at such a moment?
Perhaps you'd opt for the choice of sending roses to the launchers of the rockets, to the kidnappers of the youngsters and the killers of your family, with a message of peace. You'd communicate to them how much we would like to reconcile our differences and reach a state of mutual respect.
Now, let's say that following these gestures, including the fulfillment of their demands to redefine your borders, they continue to fire rockets indiscriminately. Innocent people are being buried. Your foe insists his goal is to destroy your entire family and annihilate your city. What would you do now?
You may continue to choose to attempt mediation, calling for peace and compassion, and continue to reach out with affection to the launchers of the rockets. But wouldn't you then, in effect, be assisting their crimes against humanity, enabling children to be blown to pieces?
If you observed a person about to launch a rocket at a school filled with children, what would be the moral response: to give the launcher an embrace as he shoots the deadly rocket, or to cut him down on the spot and save the lives of the children?
Do you feel that the violent and bloody war against Hitler was also a rejection of the higher discourse that calls for sanity, peace and human compassion? I suspect that deep in your heart you know the answer: If the allies had not engaged the Nazi regime in war, you and I, together with millions of other Jews and innocent people, would not be here today. Hitler was not stopped through love; he was defeated through aggression. And our fight was not an unholy act.

The Gaza War
This is why every moral and compassionate person ought to support Israel today.
In the past, the Israeli left and many liberal thinkers preached that the Arab aggression toward Israel was a result of its occupation of Arab land. Give up the territories occupied in the 1967 war, the left said, and reconciliation will follow.
Gaza was a good experiment. In the summer of 2005, Israel withdrew completely from Gaza. In December 2003 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced:
“The purpose of the ‘Disengagement Plan’ is to reduce terror as much as possible, and grant Israeli citizens the maximum level of security. The process of disengagement will lead to an improvement in the quality of life, and will help strengthen the Israeli economy … These steps will increase security for the residents of Israel and relieve the pressure on the IDF and security forces in fulfilling the difficult tasks they are faced with. The ‘Disengagement Plan’ is meant to grant maximum security and minimize friction between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Sharon believed, as did so many others, that with not a single Jew left in Gaza, with the Israeli occupation over, the Arabs living there would now be driven to create a beautiful functioning state for themselves, and security would reign for both sides.
Alas, the exact opposite occurred. Hamas swept over Gaza and turned it into a terrorist state, with a single objective: to destroy Israel.
Since August 2005 there is no more occupation in Gaza, not an inch. The result has been increased attacks targeting Israeli civilians, well within their own borders, on a daily basis. What do you expect Israel to do? Not to take any security measures to protect its children from being blown up? Not to stop Hamas?
To define this war as state terrorism is not only objectively wrong, but also immoral. By demanding restraint from Israel, you are demanding that the country allow its children to be murdered.

The Civilian Casualties
Hamas, not Israel, is culpable for the fate of the innocent people living in Gaza, whom they hide among and whose homes and schools they use as bases to launch rockets, and as ammunition caches. Israel always makes sure to distant its war zones from civilian areas; Hamas makes sure to fight within civilian areas. Israel goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid killing civilians while Hamas does everything in its power to force Israel to kill Palestinian civilians by firing its missiles from densely populated residential areas and refusing to build shelters for its people.
When a murderer takes a hostage and fires from behind his human shield, and a policeman, in an effort to stop the shooting accidentally kills the hostage, the law of every country holds the hostage taker guilty of murder even though the policeman fired the fatal shot.
The cry against the tragic civilian casualties in Gaza is hypocritical. Hamas shoots rockets on civilians for years, yet nobody condemns or passes emergency resolutions. When Israel wants to defend itself, Hamas – like all sick monsters – uses civilians as shields. When Israel targeting Hamas, inevitably kills civilians, Hamas screams: Oy vey! They are murdering the innocent! And the world, instead of blaming Hamas for these tragic casualties, faults Israel.
The strategy of Hamas is as simple as it is cynical: Provoke Israel by firing rockets into Israeli cities and towns, kindergartens, playgrounds and hospitals; hide behind its own civilians; refuse to build bunkers; have the TV cameras ready to transmit every image of dead Palestinians, especially children; exaggerate the number of civilians killed by including as "children" Hamas fighters who are 16 or 17 years old and as "women," female terrorists. It is a win-win situation: If Israel responds, they will unavoidably hit children, and if they don’t, Hamas can continue to fire.

On to Victory
During these challenging days, Israel and the Jewish people must stand tall and not falter nor sway. A war (and Hamas has repeatedly said this is war) is never won if you are disproportionately kind to someone who wants to destroy you and, failing in that, demands with indignation that you not destroy him.
When meeting that enemy, be proportionate.
Israel should not subject its children to death, in order to please pacifists and Jew haters who will criticize the Jewish state regardless. It must not hesitate to take the terrorists down in full force, and ultimately save the lives of innocent human beings - on both sides.
 

 


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