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Guest Post: Israel – Definitely One Subject Where One “Size-R” Does Not Fit All!

October 27th, 2009 by Matt

This guest post, part of open mic week(s), is a long, uncharacteristically straight-forward and very interesting submission from Jonny King on Israel.

Israel – Definitely One Subject Where One “Size-R”
Does Not Fit All!

Warning! Reading this could induce uncontrollable urges to spontaneously desire sleep!  Recommended for Insomniacs and other freaks!

Now I thought that heading was rather cheeky, but also rather good… go on, call me a cheeseburger… what say you?

If you are still miffed and are desperately looking again to see what could possibly have caused such a flummoxed expression redounding right back at you, what can I say but, “read on, all will be revealed, blog to the future… after all, you did have a flummoxed capacitor.”

If you know the subject heading to your question, then dim your lights, there will no doubt be traffic coming in the opposite direction… and this could be get rather sporting!

A Jewish proverb says, “Two Jews, three opinions.”  Sadly and with a little concern, on the subject that relates to the nation of Israel, be it either theological or Geo-political, it seems to be becoming more and more “Two Gentiles, One Opinion,” with this opinion being neither nuanced, consistent, and credible, when the facts on the ground are fairly and comprehensively examined, contrasted and assimilated into ones worldview, which means that at the crossroads of justice, Israel is seemingly always getting a red light for its actions, with those that action upon it, receiving no such sufferance.

We live in such a cultural time that when the weapons of thought war are drawn, when one affirms that they biblically and theologically support the nation of Israel, such are viewed at best as theological lightweights, and at worst, Christians blindingly committing injustice with their “Left Behind” special edition bibles in tow,  as some pseudo-come-psycho-authorial basis.

We will get to a discussion of some of these themes at a later date (marriage is out of the question), but I do want to make some opening statements, call them clarifications, which reflect on this support.

The nation of Israel is like every other nation under the Sun, inhabited by people who are not only mortal, but mortally fallen.  Therefore, as a practical outworking of this theory, they will do things that reflect this standing, as I occasionally do, okay, add that to the list of the many… liar.

You know what, there have been times and will be times when total depravity will party with utter depravity, with the result being that circumstances of sin will stain their record and others reality.

An example of where the nation of Israel misses Mark. and while you’re at it add in Mary and Martha,  relates to a historical reality I personally know about (Jacob Damkani would be another example).  I believe it is not presumptuous to call Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum a friend. I have had the pleasure of touring Israel (on two occasions) and Jordan (on one of those occasions) over a five to six week period in 2000 and 2004.

I have been on the border with Gaza and I have been in the West Bank.  I have heard the sounds of battle and I have been locked in Rachel’s tomb as stones were being thrown on the roof, with some teenage Soldiers discussing how to approach such a reality.  I have been to Bethlehem Bible College, had lunch and listened to someone from Musalaha speak about reconciliation (I believe it was Salim J. Munayer).

In fact, “the Frucht” has authored a chapter titled, “The Biblical Teaching on Peace,” in a book titled Seeking and Pursuing Peace: The Process, The Pain, and the Product, which is published by this ministry.  In a small precis about Arnold in this work, which by the way, is not produced by an organisation that shares Arnie’s perspectives on Israel, it does say, however, He has graciously led several Musalaha conferences and is best known for his biblical teachings.

However, this survivor of the Holocaust, whose account and travel to safety is really one of “boys own” fame does not have the freedom to make “aliyah” and live in the national homeland that has once again been introduced into the drama of statehood for the express purpose of Jews diaspora-wide.

The obvious question from the interactive reader is why this is the case?

There was a time when Arnold did live in Israel and would do so, for at least a portion of the year (at the time I asked him so years ago).  He has committed no crime (that we know about anyway… joking), but the reason he cannot is that many years ago, upon his return to the land of his ancestors, Arnold and his wife decided to set up a small Bible study type school for believers and those God-ordained to be.  Hush your perverse lips!… He did what?  Surely not, who would consider such a concept this side of Matthew 28: 19-20!

When the more ultra-orthodox found out about this, there was a full-page spread on the fourth page of one of the newspapers, which did not make him especially popular, with Arnold sent on his own personal diaspora, and like little old me, a goy boy, he gets the standard three-month exemption card when entering the country, with his future stops there, always having to return to go, as he can not stay.

For all intense and purposes, the reason is because of his belief that Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed One not only for Gentiles, but even for Jews, without distinction, which all mankind must accept, without prejudice… such an intolerant message.

This is also why, if my memory serves me correctly, he is on what is termed a Grey list, not, however, what is termed a Black list, which would mean he would not be able to get in at all, but a Grey list… which means that he is allowed in, after all, he does bring the student, not the tourist dollar (most, if not all reading this will not have been on his tours and one of the first things you are made to understand is that you are students, not tourists.  If you doubt this, just wait until you start), but those in the know will know who he is!

1) Why am I telling you this, and 2) What is my response to such realities?

I am telling you this to affirm that while I like wearing glasses, rose-tinted glasses are so passe.  My theoretical statements about Israel failing is not mere rhetoric, but is allowed out of the dark into the sunlit world of reality.

I am also telling you this to show that Israel is imperfect and is not above reproach, and where they fail, they should be called out.  However, this calling out should be consistent and reflective of our interactive discourse with the activities of other nations of this world.

Sadly, it is my perception that too many people occupy one or the other extreme, with presently, there being no room at the Inn of Israel hostility.  Therefore, now that I have offered such a reflection,  in today’s climate, there are those who will use this as another knife to fix into this nations back without so much as a moments Christ-like reflection.

Yes, we should speak the truth, but as Messiah affirmed in the sermon of Mountainous proportions, it is not only what we do, but why we do it!  Can I suggest that we imitate this high calling and do so with the love of Christ in Paul (Romans 9:1-3) radiating within to without our puny frames, after all, the power does not emanate from our building… it is the Gospel that enters the building (Romans 1:16-17)!

Now that I might possibly have made some more street cred before I get to some more heated matters, let me also say that I am a Chovevei Tzion, and I believe her best times are ahead of her when a generation of Jews will say, Baruch Haba B’Shem Adonai.

Here is where we take the corner and transition… lean, the J, I mean G-forces are about to hit!

Statement of Intent: I find the present and the presently growing attitude towards Israel and Jews worldwide to be very concerning, with the recent conflict in Gaza an example of wisdom gone wild.

While the time will come when there will be reflections on a certain written Christian witness as it pertains to Israel, this will have to wait for a future time, as what was going to be my introduction has binged!

I know, I am being so I am Jonny King… writing too much to so few… spread the word wouldya!

The present cultural climate can be exemplified by the response to the recent confrontation, war, or whatever you want to call it… blatant Israeli aggression the kool-aid drinker interjects.

As an example of such a position, Amnesty International has placed the sole blame on Israel for the breakdown in the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that led to Operation Cast Lead, as affirmed here… which it seems is another way of framing the perspective that one way or another, Israel is guilty – period!

Forget the historical fact that Israel, lock, stock and multiple smoking barrels aimed at its own, pulled out of Gaza in 2005, with the vivid scenes of Israeli armed forces removing those Jews who were intending to stay, leaving all behind them (this included what I believe is millions of dollars worth of donated technology [glasshouses]), with one donation, some $500,000, being donated by the head of the World Bank.  Sadly, this was subsequently destroyed by those who were claiming a victory.

Forget the consistent terrorising of Israeli life with some 8,000 rockets fired to Lord knows where these would hit, as a possible reason for the escalation!

Scrap that statement, please consider this…

Seriously reflect on the implications and practical applications as to how a nation-state should respond when, for example, in the first six months of 2008 alone, Israel was on the receiving end of over 2000 rockets and mortars that were launched into the nation proper from Gaza.

That means on average of about a dozen times each and every day, Israeli’s must to be ready to re-act, should they get the call, which means for certain areas, not straying too far from a bunker… Oh, the possibility of death plays some small part in this fear factor too (yes, purposely understated)!

Do you think accepting such a reality is a reasonable position to maintain? If not, from our theoretical (safe) ivory towers, how would you stop such a reality, when withdrawal, sanctions, and talking obviously did not?

Maybe if Israel pulled out – period!… that “cessational” idea might work, but it is so of the 1940’s… who would possibly suggest such a thing?!

While you are contemplating, here is one possible answer from one individual… See what you think!

I don’t think any country would find it acceptable to have missiles raining down on the heads of their citizens.

The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens.  And so I can assure you that if – I don’t care if I was a politician.  If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that.  And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.

In terms of negotiations with Hamas, it is very hard to negotiate with a group that is not representative of a nation state, does not recognize your right to exist, has consistently used terror as a weapon, and is deeply influenced by other countries.  I think that Hamas leadership will have to make a decision at some point as to whether it is a serious political party seeking to represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people.  And, as a consequence, willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist and renounce violence as a tool to achieve its aims.  Or whether it wants to continue to operate as a terrorist organization.  Until that point, it’s hard for Israel, I think, to negotiate with a country that – or with a group that doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist as a country.

Did you really read all that?… Sound reasonable?… Guess who said that?

The-then Candidate Barack Obama at Sderot, Israel, prior to becoming Mr President.

Obviously, when he said that he would do anything for the safety of his daughters, he did not mean such things as water-boarding!

Intriguing!

As the cease-fire that was spoken about (I refer to that concept loosely, somewhere near the trajectory of the meaning of this concept) was nearing its conclusion, Hamas once again affirmed that it would step up to the rocket fire plate and play “ball” again.

It is also an important historical point to affirm that the long-distance attack, viz-a-viz rocket attack, would have to become the weapon of choice as Israel decided that suicide bombers were not the visitors-come-tourism that one should seek or encourage.  Weddings, Nightclubs and gathering of Jewish humanity were the vortex where the brutality of shrapnel-infected weaponry (is such a war crime) would inflict, killing and maiming citizens not directly involved in this bloody interchange (civilians).

Therefore, can such a decision be justified?

It probably depends on what side of the border your presuppositions reside.  Although, I must inform you that such a question has been hung, drawn and quartered as plainly “Zionist” in many corners and many contexts, where there is an “a priori” to the “a priori.”

There is the general sense that whatever Israel gets, Israel deserves.  I mean, some are more reticent to say it, in person anyway… thank God for the Internet… but Israel is certainly getting what it deserves.  Sadly, with the historical revisionism that has and is being completed from many of Israel’s own, the history of Israel is being exiled, one might say pejoratively, driven into the sea, for a new meta-narrative, with the Jews once again assuming their historical type-cast, as the forever fall guy.

By the way, to reaffirm, this security fence has been, pretty much, an absolute success at keeping out the suicide bombers, but a PR nightmare for all those far enough away from Tel Aviv and its environs who can gesticulate enough to not have to seriously consider such terminal realities, both physical and psychological.  Tough decisions, but don’t let that previous fact, in anyway, cause you to question Israel’s motivation, after all, Israel does not care about the health of its citizens, only land.

If such statements by I am Jonny King are at least converging to a  representative reality of what transpired in Gaza, at worst, there should be a comparative discourse in the world of ideas that accepts the diverging in the converging between the perspectives on both sides.

If such was indeed the case, I think the words of Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist/ author, would be accepted as a reasonable standard criteria for discourse and decision-making as it relates to such matters.

Here is what Friedman has to say…

Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vital.  But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanctions – out of proportion to any other party in the Middle East – is anti-Semitic and not saying so is dishonest.

Such is a powerful statement of intent, and if such was the case, multiple evangelicals (that’s my team) should be squirming in their seats!

Such might also be an appropriate occasion to bring up the recent UN Human Rights Council and their statements/ resolution on Sri Lanka who have been playing tame the Tamil Tigers, with spectacular results.

Read the reports of the war between these two people groups that are contained in this article

The rebels have been fighting since 1983 for a separate state for Sri Lanka’s ethnic Tamil minority after years of marginalization at the hands of the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

Government forces ousted the rebels from their shadow state in the north in recent months and brought the group to its knees. Thousands of civilians were reportedly killed in the recent fighting.

Senior diplomats had appealed for a humanitarian cease-fire in recent weeks to safeguard the tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the war zone, but the government refused, and denied persistent reports it was shelling the densely populated war zone.

Diplomats in Brussels said Monday the European Union will endorse a call for an independent war crimes investigation into the killing of civilians in Sri Lanka. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because discussions were ongoing.

The rebels were also accused of using the civilians as human shields and shooting at some who fled.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband says there have been “very grave allegations” of war crimes on both sides of the conflict adding “they should be properly investigated.”

The U.N. said 7,000 civilians were killed in the fighting between Jan. 20 and May 7. Health officials in the area said more than a 1,000 others were killed since then.

So what is to be done about this internecine situation?  Another article here has this to say about deliberations in the UN body…

An acrimonious special session called at the request of mostly European and Latin American member states displayed in stark relief the gulf between Western-led democracies and developing nations at the 47-member human rights watchdog.

Sri Lanka garnered a powerful group of allies including China, Cuba, Russia, India and Islamic states, defeating a European bid to have an internal investigation into alleged war crimes by both sides in the civil war.

Instead, the council on Wednesday passed by a 29-12 vote [on] a Sri Lankan-authored resolution that congratulated the government in Colombo for its efforts to address the needs of civilians displaced by the fighting. The measure also acknowledged the government’s commitment to provide access to international humanitarian agencies – “as may be appropriate.”

The resolution condemned that Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for attacks on civilians and for “its practice of using civilians as human shields,” but made no reference to allegations of abuses against civilians on the government side. Up to 300,000 ethnic Tamils are being detained in camps set up by the government to house those who fled the warzone.

Note what this article says next, remembering what Friedman stated…

The contrast to numerous previous Human Rights Council resolutions condemning Israel was striking.

Before this week, five of the 10 special sessions held by the council since it began operating three years ago focused on Israel. The most recent, last January, strongly condemned the Israeli government in the aftermath of its offensive against Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Now compare the basis for their decisions, each war, and the decisions that subsequently took place…

Comparing the resolutions

A.   Jan. 2009 Human Rights Council resolution

Title:  The grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly due to the recent Israeli military attacks against the occupied Gaza Strip

Gaza civilian death toll:  930 (Palestinian figures); 300 (Israeli army figures)

Proposed by:   Cuba, Arab, African and Islamic groups

Main features:

– “strongly” condemned Israel

– accused Israel of “aggression” (twice)

– accused Israel of grave or massive “violations” (seven times)

– demanded that Israel withdraw forces, end occupation, stop targeting civilians, stop destruction of property and open Gaza’s borders

– appointed a fact-finding mission to investigate violations by Israel

– urged “all parties” not to harm civilians but Hamas not mentioned by name

Vote:  33-1;  13 abstentions

Voting record:

For: Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia

Against: Canada

Abstained: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom

B.  May 2009 Human Rights Council resolution

Title: Assistance to Sri Lanka in the promotion and protection of human rights

Sri Lankan civilian death toll:  7,000 since January (U.N. estimate; the U.N. says the figure “cannot be fully, reliably, and independently assessed”)

Proposed by:  Sri Lanka

Main features:

– commended Sri Lankan government for addressing humanitarian needs of civilians displaced by the fighting

– LTTE mentioned by name and condemned for attacks on civilians

Vote:  29-12;  6 abstentions

Voting record:

For: Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia

Against: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Abstained:  Argentina, Gabon, Japan, Mauritius, South Korea, Ukraine

According to the definition posed by Thomas Friedman, a three times Pulitzer Prize winner, is such a response by the international community anti-Semitic?  Surely such a distinction and decision by the international community is not only out of the proportion to the Middle East, which was part of his definition, but any such direction be it north, south, east or even west!

Remember…

Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vital.  But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanctions – out of proportion to any other party in the Middle East – is anti-Semitic and not saying so is dishonest.

Still skeptical?

Who wouldn’t be?

I think it is fair to accept the conclusion that if one accepts the sound-byte information posed by so-called News media, without a does of  willing-to-search skepticism, it is easy to draw conclusions about Israel.

I mean, surely you heard the media reports of targeted killings, admitted by the IDF’s own number?… They certainly made it to a number of NZ’s papers!… It is reasonable to assume that if this was not the case, then you would have also heard about it.

You’re right, it is reasonable to assume, but one does not seem to be allowed such luxuries.

The issue I am referring to is so-called admissions by some soldiers of war crimes in the operation in Gaza as affirmed below from this article

The investigations examined claims made by graduates of the Rabin Pre-military Academy during a conference held last month, which were later written up and printed in an academy pamphlet. Some Israeli media outlets, including Haaretz, then seized on the claims, and the allegations went on to make headlines around the world.

During the conference, one soldier claimed a marksman opened fire on a mother and two of her children, after a squadron commander told them to walk into a no-entry zone.

However, after completing a review, the following details came to light

All of the soldiers who were involved in the conference were questioned – not as a punishment – but in order to understand whether they had witnessed these things. From all of the testimonies we collected, we can safely conclude that the soldiers who made the claims did not witness the events they describe,” the source said.

“All of it was based on rumors. In the incident of the alleged shooting of the mother and her children, what really happened was that a marksman fired a warning shot to let them know that they were entering a no-entry zone. The shot was not even fired in their general direction,” the source said.

“The marksman’s commander ran up the stairs of a Palestinian home, got up on the roof, and asked the marksman why he shot at the civilians. The marksman said he did not fire on the civilians. But the soldiers on the first floor of that house heard the commander’s question being shouted. And from that point, the rumor began to spread,” the source added.

“We can say with absolute certainty that the marksman did not fire on the woman and her children. Later, the company commander spoke with the marksman and his commander. We know with certainty that this incident never took place,” he said.

The source said that a second allegation of killing of civilians was also false, though he could not provide further details at this stage…

“Unfortunately, due to competition, sections of the press picked up this story and ran with it. It is a shame the media promoted this sort of spin all over the world,” he added.

It is unlikely the damage to Israel’s image from the allegations can be repaired, irrespective of the results of the investigation, he noted.

“It is a shame that the media allowed Palestinian manipulations to spread,” he said.

“Look at the allegation that we killed 48 civilians in a UN school in Gaza. In reality, seven people were killed, and four to five of them were terrorists. The UN apologized, but the damage is done,” the source said.

For more information about this situation see here and here

You may also not have read the following about soldiers actually seeking to help out those under fire… where will your presuppositions lead you as you read this portion of an article?

Amir Golan, a 25-year-old medic, had entered Gaza with his reserve Givati unit during the recent Gaza incursion. “I never saw anything like that,” Golan told the Post, in reference to the recent allegations.

“I was very disappointed by the Israeli media. It pained me that people don’t show integrity, because I know that someone examining this from the outside will view this very harshly,” he added.

Golan said there was never any hostility towards Palestinian civilians among members of his unit. “I think the general spirit was that there we were there to protect our homes from rocket fire. We were highly motivated,” he said.

“It always hurts when people suffer. It was clear the operation would cause suffering in general, but we hoped that if we could stop the rockets we could end the suffering on both sides,” Golan said.

Golan is a veteran of Gaza operations, having entered the Strip with his unit in the past. During one counter-terrorism raid in 2005, Golan encountered a pregnant woman inside a home belonging to a wanted terrorist.

“We saw a woman who started complaining about a stomach ache. I was ordered by my commander to check her medically,” Amir said. “It turned out she was going into labor. I did everything I could in order to help her… for obvious reasons she didn’t want to give birth there. She was hoping to get to a Palestinian hospital,” he continued.

“So what we did was to evacuate our force really fast out of there. And we almost ran away from there,” Amir added. “We called [for] a Palestinian ambulance to come as fast as it could and evacuate her,” he said. “I pulled some strings and I tried to follow up on the woman. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

A site has also been dedicated to allow soldiers to speak out about what happened… you can find it here

HOW YOU THE READER RESPOND TO THE ABOVE STATEMENTS WILL BE DIRECTLY PROPORTIONATE TO YOUR PRESUPPOSITIONS, OR YOUR WILLINGNESS TO CHALLENGE THEM WITH THIS INFORMATION, IF INDEED YOU DEEM IT WORTHY OF SUCH A CHALLENGE.

If these challenge your presuppositions, either what has been presented here is exceptional at best, or some sort of propaganda at worst [or nuanced somewhere in between], and should be called as such, or it has reasonable correspondence with the truth of the context of the situation.  If one holds to the belief that this is propaganda, then such an attitude is not produced in a vacuum, with such a presupposition being informed, which will also view other information as being more trustworthy that refutes the statements by those that I have previously affirmed, which also correspondingly means that one must admit that what has been stated by I am Jonny King is at best, extremely exceptional, or at worst, a fabrication of reality [or once again, nuanced somewhere in between].

However, if such is not the case, which is that one has not been informed by a more authoritative source of information that provides sufficient refutation… and if one can not accept what has been stated by I am Jonny King, one would seem to be without justification and seem to be moving dangerously close to the position as outlined by Friedman, because surely such statements/ attitudes can not be maintained as being grounded in reality, which suggests and challenges one to consider whether there is an underlying anti-Semitic attitude as the foundation for such an intransigent position.

In my studies, my thesis in my undergraduate looked at the impact of Christian anti-Semitism on Jewish evangelism.  The message and tone of some within the Christian faith throughout an extended period of church history historically, is presently on a dangerous trajectory that should it continue and grow, we simply do not want to conceive on the outcomes.

Let me be clear, I am not talking about legitimate criticism of Israel (cue Friedman), but for examples sake, take the situation where a Christian author would see the need to record the source for the belief by the few that there was a Jewish conspiracy in causing 9/11, such a statement is definitely worth taking note of.

Take note when legitimate criticism is replaced by irrational animus and focus on Israel that is without historical exemplification anywhere else in the world, at such times, one should be aware!

In closing, as it relates to the bloody battles in Gaza and the subsequent reaction by the international community, as recorded in a CAMERA monograph, read the following quotes that must surely resonate.

According to a translation by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, on February 29, 2008, Fathi Hammad, a Hamas Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, stated:

“For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land.  The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahadeen and the children.  This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahadeen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine.  It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death like you desire life” (emphasis mine).

Surely such actions are tragic and we should rightfully mourn the loss of life!

What should be noted in contradistinction is that a reason why Israeli deaths have been low from the rocket attacks is that, with much expense, bunkers are everywhere, in all contexts, as Israelis have 15 seconds (in Sderot) to get into a safe area.  For example, a rocket hit a Kindy, but no one was inside, they were safe.  Seemingly such a different philosophy.

Here is another quote from the CAMERA monograph

So here is the legal dilemma faced by democracies such as Israel.  They have every right under international law to take whatever military actions are necessary to stop the rockets randomly fired at civilians.  Their enemy uses human shields to prevent Israel from destroying the rockets without also killing Palestinian civilians.  All the law requires under these circumstances is that Israel take reasonable precaution to minimize enemy civilian deaths in order to prevent the murder of its own civilians.

Has Israel taken such precautions?

Let the retired British Colonel Richard Kemp answer that question as he did in a recent BBC interview.  He said that there has been “no time in the history of warfare when an army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and the deaths of innocent people than the [Israel Defense forces in Gaza.}

For all those with the Thomas disposition, watch the video of the Colonel, and note his positions of responsibility and listen to what he has to say.

Therefore…

Is legitimate criticism of Israel anti-Semitic?  Thomas Friedman would say, No!

Is criticising Israel out of all historical and present contextual reality anti-Semitic?  Thomas Friedman would say, Yes!

Was it legitimate for Israel to defend her citizens from the continuing rocket attack?  The-then soon-to-be President, Barack Obama said, Yes!

Did Israel do their best to keep civilian casualites down?  Colonel Richard Kemp says, Yes!

Is the International community consistent in their practice and according to Friedman’s definition, pracitising anti-Semitism?  According to Thomas Friedman’s definition, Yes!

Does War Suck?  HEAVEN YEAH!!!

What say You?

While this discussion this day is surely down the list when the theory of peace is so desired, by so  many, to indeed be this regions reality!

However, given my understanding of the ideological battle, assuming it corresponds with reality, my hope has taken on water… which really means that my confidence for such a reality is waiting on the Prince and when He comes theory and practice, hope and reality, talk and actions will kiss, and the land area that seeks to offer much but delivers so little in this regard, will finally, after much groaning, be able to keep what it has always Promised!

Until Next Time

I am Jonny King

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15 responses so far ↓

  • “uncharacteristically lucid”… I didn’t realise that you were such a regular reader Dr. Flanagan 😉

  • “Lucid”… according to allwords, means…

    1. clear; easily understood
    2. mentally rational; sane
    3. bright, luminous, translucent or transparent

    My favourite meaning is the second one… If you are going to read every post of the Jonny King am I, you might just be irrational and insane… Seen as I post these pieces, there is a question begging, but I refuse to answer it!

    Sorry Matt., I got in too quick!

  • I have bookmarked this for when I need long reading Ha! Just kidding …

  • Maybe its time to leave a piece of humour… well, possible humour, as a way of saying thank you to all the weary blog-travelers who have traversed to the better end!

    Now I can’t take credit for the bones of this joke… Dr Fruchtenbaum is its source.

    However, while it goes something like the following… I have taken some creative license… Okay, I am usually not one for understatement…

    There was a small town in the middle of “Lord knows where” with only a very small population, but which had near enough to an equal amount of Jews and Gentiles. Life in this town was tough, as the locals were going through a recession [sound familiar], but the community was pretty tightly knit, as long as things didn’t get onto the subject of religion, where neither the twain would meet!

    However, things were about to change…

    You see, the town had just been on the receiving end of the new Pastor… an energetic 20 something straight from the dorms of Laidlaw! Roberto… that was his name, was so excited about this opportunity and wanted to make every post a winner. He had had stuttering dreams of playing his guitar like Dylan before he went to College, but now he thought this could be used as a door for further evangelism… or so he thought.

    His monotone mumblings might have been evangelical, but attracting the dogs in the neighbourhood was not the type of church growth that he was after! Although, reared from an Irish dyslexic past, he was taken aback for a moment [confused… focus on “dogs”]!

    Therefore, he decided on a new course of action. He would let his actions, and not his voice do the singing.

    Evangelism might be a too loaded term… He had been an evangelical, but his time at Laidlaw had put pay to that [this is a joke… LOL… I am no mouse, but I am taking the Mickey], so he decided to seek to join forces with the other religious group in the town, and see about bringing further unity that way!

    After all, this was the area of taboo that needed to be confronted in the community!

    Therefore, he would let his actions speak to the Rabbi about his intentions and desire to bring some religious unity into the community [Feel the Flow]. He decided on a plan, and he would put it into action.

    He had seen Rabbi Yonatan driving around town in his beautiful ve-hicle and thought he would, without any interaction, wash the Rabbi’s car as an act of service, allowing his actions to speak louder than his words.

    The next Saturday he turned up to the Rabbi’s residence, and did his best to see his receding hairline redound in every curve and straight of this special ve-hicle. Not being exceptionally bright, he forgot that this was Shabat, the Sabbath. At the time, he wondered why it was so quiet, but had assumed that the Rabbi was doing something more spiritual.

    However, on his day of rest, the Rabbi had been watching from inside, and with each ever-increasing stroke of the “rag,” the Rabbi was growing more and more incredulous. As he was the observant sort, he would sort this out later, but he was sure of what the Pastor was up to, and this was unacceptable!

    Therefore, the next Saturday, Rabbi Yonatan was after his redemption, as the account had gotten around town, and the Rabbi was sure that people were saying things about him that weren’t cricket, the Kosher variety.

    Arriving at the Pastors place, he went to work to balance the ledger. Kneeling behind the car, the Rabbi went to work.

    Inside, Pastor Roberto was whining, I mean singing a hearty tune of, Hosanna in the Highest, but through the deafening mood, the Pastor was alarmed by something more abhorrent. From the vicinity of his car, there was a screeching metallic-type noise. He had also been a hard-rocker in his youth, which brought back some of his harder days, but he was sure this was not normal.

    Walking out his front door, he could see someone behind his car, and such was not a pretty sight, as he could see someone working feverishly away, builders… cap, and all!

    What was this person doing?

    Running to the rear of his car, looking down, there was Rabbi Yonatan, hack-saw in hand, sawing like a madman, gnawing away at his exhaust pipe.

    At such a moment, his three shot guns came rushing into his consciousness, but going all charismatic, he rebuked such thoughts, much to alarm of the Rabbi, who thought he was talking to himself. Regaining his composure, Pastor Roberto gushed forth asking what the Gehenna the Rabbi was doing with his car?

    Getting to his feet, Rabbi Yonatan, with Mosaic force, threw down his hack-saw, exclaiming, “I saw you last Saturday baptising my car, so today, I have come to circumcise yours.”

    My Thoughts on Where I Would Like to See Matt Flanagan Used in a New Zealand Context… not forgetting “the Glenn of the Peoples.”

  • The reason Israel gets more stick is that it is not only a democracy, but a heavily westernized democracy. Moreover, it was established on territory that looms large in western consciousness for religious reasons. Remember that every Sunday, faithful members of the world’s largest religion hear stories about this place.

    Most people in New Zealand only ever think of Sri Lanka in relation to the occasional cricket matches that New Zealand plays against that country.

    Similarly, there is not a large and well funded Sri Lankan lobby in many countries, whereas in Britain, Canada and the US there are well-funded pro-Israel lobbies that have been relatively successful in promoting Israeli interests over Arab interests (not that there’s anything necessarily objectionable about that). New Zealand doesn’t have this, which is one reason why New Zealand discssions of the Middle East tend to be a bit more measured and rational than you get in some other places.

    Your claims about the Gaza withdrawal are inaccurate. Israel withdrew as part of an attempt to freeze the “peace process”. The place was still under a a strong embargo that had been in place for a long time.

  • Not sure what happened to my comment, but when I clicked on post, it left… Is it hiding somewhere MandM?

    I hope to get back to you later “L”… but I have an assignment to focus on, let alone finish!

    Brian Tamaki: Man of God, Man of doG… or a Protestant Pope?

    My Thoughts on Where I Would Like to See Matt Flanagan Used in a New Zealand Context… not forgetting “the Glenn of the Peoples.”

  • I did have quite an extensive response to what you affirmed “L”… but my time is broke at the moment, so I will just respond to your last comments as they affirm inaccuracies in what I wrote.

    If my memory serves me correctly, as I posted this some 6 months ago, I did not give any reason or motivation for why Israel pulled out, just that they did!

    Nevertheless, you have claimed that “my claims about the Gaza withdrawal are inaccurate,” as it is an “attempt to freeze the peace process.”

    I am assuming you have heard this through a given media source, but as the following article will make clear, the media picked up on a story that was in Ha’aretz a day before it was broken fully, and got it all wrong…

    Here is an initial quote from a piece you can go to through the link…

    “In his interview with the Israeli daily Haaretz, Dov Weissglas, a close advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, was asked about Israel’s decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. According to American media coverage of this interview, Weissglas suggested that Ariel Sharon’s true intention in planning the Gaza disengagement is to freeze the peace process and prevent a Palestinian state. However, this was not his message at all; his words were taken out of context.

    The misleading account of the interview stems from an Oct. 6 Haaretz article, a “teaser” promoting the publication of the full interview on Oct. 8. The “teaser” revealed a few selected quotes, and carried the sensational headline, “Top PM aide: Gaza plan aims to freeze the peace process.” Though the article made clear that the full interview would appear on Friday, Oct. 8, American newspapers on Oct. 7 followed Haaretz’s lead, proclaiming that Sharon’s advisor had finally admitted the Gaza disengagement was aimed at sidestepping negotiations and obstructing formation of a Palestinian state. Weissglas protested that his words had been taken out of context, and some newspapers did make note of this – but they left it as a matter of doubt.”

    You can read the rest here

    http://camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=31&x_article=783

    It may interest you to hear how the Palestinian side viewed the Israel pull out

    http://blog.camera.org/archives/2005/08/palestinian_lea_2.html

    Toda Raba

  • The Gaza withdrawal melodrama of 2005 has been described as a “giant theater piece”. See http://world.mediamonitors.net/Headlines/Theatre-surrounding-the-Gaza-retreat . Note, in particular, the following paragraph:

    Dov Weisglass, Sharon’s adviser and confidant …in an interview with Ha’aretz … stated: “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process… And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda… The disengagement is actually formaldehyde… It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.”

  • Alan,

    The comment previous to your’s gave the context of how these incorrect details got into the mainstream media, and the link with which to peruse it for yourself.

    I can only encourage you to read this for yourself, and for those, such as the site you have linked to, who are not fans of the nation of Israel, such details are grist for their presuppositional mill, and what actually Weisglass said becomes sadly inconsequential, and the mis-information and damage is compounded, which says more about the attitude of those who sites that continue to do so!

    Anti-Abortion Quotations for You to Ponder On!

  • Pity the full interview with Weisglass/Weissglas, mentioned at http://camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=31&x_article=783 , is apparently no longer available. (Well, I can’t access it.)

  • Yeah, I saw that the link is now broken, which means that it is probably not up on the Ha-aretz site anymore… its been many years!

    However, I would affirm that your doubts and acceptance on differing sites, which affirm differing positions, does underscore your presuppositions on this matter!

    My Thoughts on Where I Would Like to See Matt Flanagan Used in a New Zealand Context… not forgetting “the Glenn of the Peoples.”

  • Jonny,

    Uri Avnery has some relevant comments at http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/5424 , in an interview with Tikkun:

    UA: Sharon does have an interest in making this evacuation appear to be nearly impossible in order to demonstrate that if removing eight thousand settlers is such an immense and dangerous job, how could anyone consider moving two hundred and fifty thousand settlers from the West Bank? I think the Palestinians are right if they suspect this, because I suspect the same

    TIKKUN: In order to show support for Sharon’s disengagement plan, Labor and Meretz have backed the withdrawal without demanding that it be the first step in withdrawing from the West Bank. Do you think that this was a smart tactic on the part of people who actually want to end the Occupation in its entirety?

    UA: All of us in the peace movement have been faced with this dilemma. According to people who are close to Sharon, after Gaza we shall not retreat from any place whatsoever. There shall be no peace agreement, no final status negotiations, nothing…

  • If Mr Avnery’s sources were the ones talking, such as Weisglass has, then such sources and claims would be worth listening to.

    Given the date of the Z-Mag interview, the people close to Sharon that Avnery is probably referring to is the same Weisglass, as he is/ was close to Sharon at the time!

    However, this does not provide any further illumination!

    Mr Sharon is very silent on the matter…for obvious reasons!

  • I listen to all reports, all claims. I try to keep an open mind. If I find that Weisglass has been misquoted, or quoted out of context, that won’t surprise me. (Ahmadinejad is assiduously misquoted in the Western media, according to Juan Cole.)

    But returning to the “giant theater piece” of the 2005 Gaza withdrawal, I’m struck by the number of commentators who use this or similar terms to describe the pullout.

    The following is from the Habitat International Coalition site at http://www.hicnet.org/articles.php?pid=1774 :

    …Jewish Israeli society and the international media remain transfixed by the pornography of the disengagement. Attention is focused on the alleged trauma of the government’s decision to sponsor the relocation of approximately 8,000 Jewish Israelis from the Gaza Strip and a few hundred others from four West Bank colonies to homes within their state. Such is the absurdist theatre of the disengagement that the histrionic settlers even have the audacity to compare their protests to the civil rights campaign led by Martin Luther King Jnr.

    These theatrics serve Mr Sharon’s agenda well, adding drama to the staged representation of a Jewish nation on the brink of civil war. Far from its portrayal as a traumatic operation of historic significance, the disengagement is in reality a superficial, cosmetic operation…

  • I have found what appears to be the full transcript of the Weisglass interview from Ha’aretz Magazine, October 8, 2004. It’s at From Occupied Palestine at http://www.fromoccupiedpalestine.org/node/1433.

    You are correct in pointing out that the Ha’aretz “teaser”, if reported accurately by you, lacks context, insofar as it makes no mention of the “formula that asserts that the eradication of terrorism precedes the start of the political process”. However, after reading the full article, I think “L” is correct in asserting that “Israel withdrew [from Gaza] as part of an attempt to freeze the ‘peace process’ ”.

    I would add only that the Israeli intention was to freeze it indefinitely. As Weisglass says: “I found a device, in cooperation with the management of the world, to ensure that there will be no stopwatch here. That there will be no timetable to implement the [West Bank] settlers’ nightmare. I have postponed that nightmare indefinitely. Because what I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements [the main ones] would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns.”

    Now we all know that the Palestinians are not going to “turn into Finns”, who are presumably people who, even if subjected to appalling oppression, will not take up arms against their oppressor – which is the legal right of any occupied people, by the way. In reality, in any such oppressive situation, in any part of the world, there will always be acts of retaliation, which means that the Israeli precondition for a “peace process” will never be met.

    This is just another example of the Zionist modus operandi, which we have seen in operation since 1947-48: Seize Palestinian land; drive out the Palestinians; come up with a contrivance that convinces the world (though fewer and fewer people these days) that the Palestinians as the architects of their own plight.

    But are the Palestinians really suffering? Well, not according to Weisglass. In a statement that can only be described as surreal, when one considers the actual conditions in Gaza, he says: “There are no more Israeli soldiers spoiling their day. And for the first time thay have a slice of land with total continuity on which they can race from one end to the other in their Ferrari.”

    I’m also puzzled by Weisglass’ assertion that “We reached that conclusion [that there is no negotiating partner on the Palestinian side] after years of thinking otherwise. After years of attempts at dialogue.” If my memory serves me correctly, I first heard this line in 1986. Anyway, it ignores the obvious point, made by innumerable commentators, that you negotiate peace with an enemy, not with an unctuous collaborator.

    I found the article interesting only because of its descriptions of the relationship between Weisglass and Sharon, and of the relationship between Weisglass and the Secretary of State of “the management of the world” – now deservedly bankrupt as a result of its military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.