There is so much I want to talk about. We just celebrated July 4th, Independence Day, and while I am overjoyed and grateful for being an American, I am also saddened and dismayed by the lack of meaning the 4th of July now has for many young adults. As Dennis Prager recently cited on his show, there is a sharp decline in young adult Americans (up to age 35) who feel a sense of “patriotism” for America. Many are more focused on being citizens of the world, on America’s faults, or other European values rather than American values (e.g. equality of result vs. liberty).
I have a lot to say about this, and have some solutions in mind. Yesterday I had the rare opportunity to listen to Dennis live when he raised this subject again, and so I called in. Maybe I will do another show just on this, and play for you our exchange. I think American patriotism is vitally important and must be fostered.
Right now, I feel a sense of obligation to follow up on my last podcast, UI 58: Israel – An Ultimate Issue. Sense I aired that much more has transpired regarding Israel. They seem to be on the brink of another war. And everyone in the media seems to have an opinion regarding this mess.
Let’s start out by understanding what is happening.
To a large extent these most recent engagements are a direct result of the kidnapping and murder of 3 Israeli teenagers. No doubt, Israel was angered and there was a heightened level of hostility towards its enemies (Hamas in particular as they appear to be the ones responsible.) Unfortunately, there was a horrific retaliation from supposedly 6 Israeli citizens who murdered a Palestinian teen, Muhammad Abu Khdeir (16). In relation to this story, here is an article for the New York Times which provides more info (and was read on the podcast.)
(on the podcast I also play what Prime Minister Netanyahu had to say in his own words)
Now to be clear about this. In general, Jews around the world are horrified and shamed by the murder of that Palestinian boy. Not because it could mean more war in Israel, but because the Jewish culture believes the murder of anyone by anyone as among the most evil, terrible, horrific, nightmarish, shameful, and destructive actions. Again, the Defense Minister of Israel said those Israeli’s acted as terrorists! And all of Israel and the Jewish nation in diaspora explicitly condemn the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir.
Now contrast this with the Palestinian and Hamas reaction to the kidnap and murder of the three Israeli teens.
The media is so focused on featuring the acts of violence between Israel and its enemies, that they lose focus of what matters even more… How do the cultures differ in the reaction to violence?
How can we judge a culture or society?
If we do it through whether or not evil is done in or by that society, then all cultures and societies are awful. Unfortunately, there will always be people in every society who will do evil.
So then how are we to judge?
It is not by whether or not evil exists in it. It is how the society or culture in general REACTS to evil.
In the Palestinian culture murderers of Israeli youths are honored and celebrated. Streets, plazas, and squares are named after them. The Palestinian society reacts with pride when they learn that Israeli’s or Jews have been killed by them.
Contrast their reactions (and many other Anti-Jew cultures in the middle east and elsewhere) with that of the Israeli’s and Jews around the world. For a people who are rarely unified, we find unity in condemning the Israeli terrorists who murdered Abu Kheider. There is no justification for their actions, no forgiveness, and no atonement for the murderers. The Jewish and Israel culture think murder is horrific regardless of who is murdered or who the murderer is.
A major Orthodox rabbi, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon: head of the Elon Moreh yeshiva, said that the murderers of Muhammed Abu Khdeir should be given the death penalty. “Unfortunately, it appears that Jews were involved in this matter…” and “Jewish law has no mercy for the perpetrators of crimes like murder, whether of Arab or Jew, whether by Arab or Jew.”
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau said “Individuals do not have the right to take revenge for the death of the innocent. Revenge is not a license given to the hot-blooded for ‘action.’ Revenge is a strong, destructive weapon, and if there is such a concept in the world, it does not belong to humans.” Meaning only God could avenge the murder of the three Israeli teens who were recently murdered (Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar.)
So if what I say is true, then how should you judge the cultures? The Islamist, Anti-Israel, and Palestinian culture reacts with indifference at best and celebratory pride at worst when it learns of the murders of Israeli teens by a Palestinian. While in contrast the Israeli and Jewish culture at large reacts with nearly unanimous disgust, shame, and remorse for the murder of the Palestinian teen by Israelis.
Assuming you judge the Israeli or Jewish culture to be on a higher moral plain than the Palestinian or Islamist culture, then what should Israel do when they are under attack?
According to a recent interview with former Ambassador Micheal Oren there have been more than 400 rockets launched at Israel in the last two weeks alone. Hamas openly states their desire to annihilate Israel and the Jews. But whenever Israel engages militarily against Hamas they are condemned by the world’s press.
So Israel has to fight two battles. One they have to fight those who wish her liquidated, and the second is that Israel has to fight the media. Hamas knows this. Hamas uses not only military strategy in fighting Israel, but also media strategy. How quick was everyone to learn of the Palestinian who was horrifically murdered? Within a day, I had people at work asking me about it. But when the Israeli boys were kidnapped there was virtual silence in the mainstream media. Even after they were found murdered… silence. When I mentioned it to friends (as I was going to show support at a synagogue) they did not even know what I was talking about. It had been over two weeks at that point.
Then there is the video of Abu Khdeir’s American-Palestinian cousin being beaten by the IDF. The teen claims he was just watching protests… but of course the officials say he was one of the many masked protesters attacking the IDF. All that is shown on the video is the end of the violence, not the beginning. The context matters. But all that the video is used for is Anti-Israel imagery and rhetoric.
Another question I have is why has our American government decided it will now recognize Hamas and Fatah as governments? Read the article from Breitbart.
OBAMA RECOGNIZES TERRORIST GROUP HAMAS AS LEGITIMATE PALESTINIAN GOVERNING PARTNER
“The White House announcement that it would break with existing US policy and work with a new Palestinian government which includes the terrorist organization Hamas has stunned and outraged Israelis and emboldened radicals in the Arab and Muslim world.
Defending the controversial decision Wednesday in Beirut, US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed the decision to keep funding the Palestinian Authority, now jointly run by Hamas terrorists, does not violate US prohibitions against supporting, funding, or recognizing terrorist groups because no senior Hamas officials have formal cabinet posts.”~ by THOMAS ROSE 6 Jun 2014
So I want you to imagine that you state is surrounded by other states who think it has no right to exist and must be annihilated. How would you want your state to act?
If your state fights back and does so effectively, but is condemned by world opinion for disproportionate violence… How would you want your state to act?
These are the dilemmas Israel and Israelis face. They have to fight terrorists, the media, and much of the world’s opinion.
So what should Israel do?
No doubt, Israeli citizens should do as they have done and outright condemn any murderers and terrorists. And they also must do a sincere moral inventory to understand if those murderers were an aberration of current Israeli society or an underlying unspoken spirit (God forbid.) If there is any truth to the latter, then there must be a return to the Jewish values that have made Israel upright with its moral clarity and stance. My guess is that the outrage, shame, and embarrassment felt by every Jew will help ensure such evil does not become the norm within Israel. Israel must not lose its moral high ground.
Also, in listening to the Israeli defense and Michael Oren it would appear that continued strategic airstrikes done with surgical precision are the best course of action. I know that the world will still condemn Israel because of the effectiveness of the strikes. But so what?
Again, it is that “disproportionate force” argument. If the capabilities were reversed, Israel would have already been annihilated. Israel’s “Iron Dome” is 90% effective in reducing massive damage from Hamas rockets. But that doesn’t mean Israel isn’t affected by the attacks.
The only way to restrain Israel’s enemies is through force. I wish peace agreement worked. Israel wishes peace agreements worked. They gave up the entire Sinai Peninsula (rich with oil and strategic positioning) to Egypt for a sheet of paper that promised peace. But once there was a regime change in Egypt… the peace ended… and of course Egypt still has the Sinai Peninsula.
Making peace would be great if both sides would agree, but since only one side wants peace it is a naive sentiment.
So with all that said…
What Should Israel Do?
Psalm 59 New International Version (NIV)
For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam.[b] When Saul had sent men to watch David’s house in order to kill him.
1 Deliver me from my enemies, O God;
be my fortress against those who are attacking me.
2 Deliver me from evildoers
and save me from those who are after my blood.
3 See how they lie in wait for me!
Fierce men conspire against me
for no offense or sin of mine, Lord.
4 I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.
Arise to help me; look on my plight!
5 You, Lord God Almighty,
you who are the God of Israel,
rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
show no mercy to wicked traitors.[c]
6 They return at evening,
snarling like dogs,
and prowl about the city.
7 See what they spew from their mouths—
the words from their lips are sharp as swords,
and they think, “Who can hear us?”
8 But you laugh at them, Lord;
you scoff at all those nations.
9 You are my strength, I watch for you;
you, God, are my fortress,
10 my God on whom I can rely.
God will go before me
and will let me gloat over those who slander me.
11 But do not kill them, Lord our shield,[d]
or my people will forget.
In your might uproot them
and bring them down.
12 For the sins of their mouths,
for the words of their lips,
let them be caught in their pride.
For the curses and lies they utter,
13 consume them in your wrath,
consume them till they are no more.
Then it will be known to the ends of the earth
that God rules over Jacob.
14 They return at evening,
snarling like dogs,
and prowl about the city.
15 They wander about for food
and howl if not satisfied.
16 But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
17 You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely.