Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Friday,
Aug 01st

Layers of horror

E-mail Print PDF

Murder of Israeli teens, immolation of a Palestinian teen, Hamas rockets. A time for war — and a wakeup call.

I.

Sadly enough, the murder, apparently by Jews, of a Palestinian boy, 16 — it is apparently necessary to state — is ethically repugnant and politically stupid, both in the extreme. This, even if the Palestinian boy were not burned to death.

It becomes necessary to state corollaries:

• Jewish education in Israel, the amazing efflorescence in Torah study there notwithstanding, is missing something basic, something prior to ritual and intellection, namely, ethics; as in, thou shalt not kill.

• Holocaust education in Israel, at least in some circles, is woefully inadequate. The burning of a human being is something that every Israeli should know about and viscerally recoil from — not that the violation of thou shalt not kill in any form is less horrendous.

• The death penalty in Israel for terrorists, regardless of ethnicity, must be seriously examined. The release of murderers from prison only spurs more murders, including, it now seems, by Jews.

• The moral high ground in Israel, occupied for weeks courtesy of Palestinian kidnappers and murderers of Israeli teens, is, in its own way, repugnant and obtuse — repugnant, because there is no value in Jews gaining sympathy and support once again for being the pitied victim; and obtuse, because no one outside Israel cares whether the country occupies the moral high ground or not.

• The reality in Israel — the miraculous realization of Jewish economic, intellectual, political and social ideals, but also the home of a deep alienation, a drastic ignorance of Jewish moral and ethical values — must be faced. Israel needs more than unthinking support from the Diaspora, symbolized by the ridiculously idealized image of Israel pushed by Birthright. Friends do not let friends drive drunk.

II.

Hardly the most important matter at this moment, but necessary by way of perspective, is the matter of chronology.

In the aftermath of three murdered Israeli teens, of one murdered Palestinian teen, and of Hamas’ launch of still another war against Israel, perspective is imperative. We have been so overwhelmed with one layer of horror after another that chronology is imperative to be able to distinguish between seemingly related events. And so:

The rocket attacks on Gaza began before the discovery of the body of a murdered Palestinian boy. The rocket attacks began weeks earlier, before the kidnapping of three Israeli boys, last June 12, became known. The rocket attacks were calculated acts of war, intentional acts of hatred.

Not: Hamas rockets as revenge for an Israeli murder.

Not: Cause-and-effect.

It’s anyone’s guess why Hamas timed its new war close to the kidnapping of the three Israeli boys. Was this an attempt to engender support for the West Bank supporters of Hamas? Was this an attempt to diminish understanding for Israel’s search for the three boys? Is there any rationality at all amongst the leaders of Hamas, sworn to Israel’s destruction, long accustomed to regard their own suffering as secondary to their hatred for Israel?

Whatever — the new Hamas war was not a response to the murder of the Palestinian boy, not a stage in a “cycle of violence,” as if there were any logic, even a perverted logic of violence and revenge, to the attacks on Israel by Hamas. These attacks need no logic. In 2005, Israel withdrew from every square inch of the land of Gaza that Hamas occupies and rules — and still the attacks continue. If Israel and the Palestinian Authority reached an agreement for Palestinian independence, these attacks would continue.

They are acts of war and hatred. Nothing else.

One targeted Israeli assassination of a Hamas leader brings another bravado-animated Hamas leader to the fore. His fate, often as not, is sealed in the same way. No matter — the hatred continues. It knows no logic. That is depressing because irrational hatred knows no productive counterproposal. But recognition of the irrationality of Hamas’ hatred for Israel would be liberating. Acknowledgement that only Hamas can save itself from itself would save the likes of naifs John Kerry and others from worsening the Israel-Palestinian conflict by raising wholly unrealistic expectations of a comprehensive solution.

Not every problem has a solution; not, at least, a solution from without. A change of heart, a radical excision of anti-Semitism from the manifesto of Hamas, can only come from within.

Meanwhile, Jews and Israelis are left with their own internal work to do — Jewish boys apparently  burning a Palestinian boy to death! It is more than a disgrace. It is a wakeup call.

Copyright © 2014 by the Intermountain Jewish News

 

IJN e-Edition

This is only a taste! Get full access to the IJN via our e-Edition, only $14.04 for IJN Print subscribers.

E-Edition subscribers get access to a complete digital replica of the IJN, which includes all special sections.

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Shabbat Times

JTA News

Kerry: Israel may continue tunnel demolition during cease-fire

Ron Kampeas Israel will continue its work to destroy tunnels during the Gaza Strip cease-fire, and Hamas is attending truce talks in Cairo, according to statements from U.S. and Turkish officials. ... [Link]

Israel, Hamas agree to 72-hour cease-fire, with Israeli troops in place

Ron Kampeas Israel and Hamas agreed to a 72-hour unconditional cease-fire. ... [Link]

Protesters threaten British cosmetics store that sells Israeli products

Marcy Oster A cosmetics store in Manchester, England, that sells Israeli cosmetics has been victimized by callers threatening to kill the staff and burn down the store. ... [Link]

NYT on why it hasn’t shown photos of Hamas fighters: We don’t have any

Uriel Heilman The New York Times says it eagerly pursues photos from both sides of the Israel-Hamas conflict, but so far their photographer in Gaza hasn’t even seen anyone carrying a gun. ... [Link]

Israeli tourists evacuated from Maldives

Marcy Oster Israeli tourists in the Maldives had to be evacuated from the island nation after an Israeli surfer removed an anti-Israel sign from outside a guest house. ... [Link]

Obama spokesmen urge Israel to exercise greater caution with civilians

Ron Kampeas An array of Obama administration spokesmen said Israel had to exercise greater caution in avoiding civilian casualties during the current Gaza conflict, citing shelling on a shelter that killed at lea... [Link]

Detroit-area USPS clarifies position after local branch refuses mail to Israel

Ron Kampeas The metropolitan Detroit regional office of the U.S. Postal Service issued a clarification to its branches after a local post office said it could not accept mail sent to Israel. ... [Link]

U.S. sells munitions to Israel from its surplus stockpile

Ron Kampeas The U.S. Defense Department sold to Israel munitions from its Israel-based surplus stockpile. ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942
email@ijn.com • larry@ijn.com • lori@ijn.com