Monday, November 19, 2012

No Settlements, No Jews, No Peace

You might have heard that Target Corp headquarters had a little incident on Friday. Seems someone called in a report of what sounded like gunshots being fired on the 10th floor. In the scheme of things, security did everything right. There was confirmation that something that sounded like shots was heard by multiple people, and then then announcement that everybody should close their office doors, barricade themselves in, then wait for the all clear.

Well, like most modern businesses, few people actually have doors, so employees, including my daughter-in-law, hustled into conference rooms and barricaded those doors. Again, this was the safe thing to do and no one will argue the wisdom of being safe rather than sorry even though the sounds turned out to be a worker using some sort of pneumatic tool (think nail gun) near an air vent and yes, it sounded pretty much like gunfire.

I was blissfully unaware of any of this when my daughter-in-law called to tell me she was okay. “Is there some reason you wouldn’t be okay?” I asked cautiously. She told me what happened, adding she thought it was odd that I hadn’t tried to call her. We laughed the relieved-it-was-all-a-big-nothing laugh, and then I said, “Let’s play a game.” 

"Okay." I suspect she knew where I was going.

“What if," I asked, "you lived in Tel Aviv?” 

“I’m ahead of you; I already thought about that. This would’ve been part of my reality.”

That lockdown was about 3 hours. Israeli civilians have been under a non-stop rocket barrage for several years. In 2011, over 680 missiles and rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. In 2012, thousands have been fired….more than 100 today, November 18th, alone. These missiles and rockets are not aimed military targets; they are aimed at schools and parks and apartment buildings. But until the past week, Israel’s response has largely been silent.

No other nation on the planet would be expected, requested, demanded to stand silently by while they are under attack. Did the British just stand around during the Blitz with all the lights on waiting for more? Did Paris just throw open the gates to the Germans and welcome them with, "Entrez, mon gars! We'll just conveniently line up so you can shoot us!"  Why is Israel expected to do nothing?

There are those who claim settlements are the obstacles to peace, but let’s just be clear about that particular fiction:
·         In 1948 there were NO settlements and NO peace
·         In 1967 there were NO settlements and NO peace
·        In Gaza today, there are NO settlements, not a single Jew, and there is NO peace.

As long as the Palestinian charter states Israel is an illegal entity and teaches its children that the destruction of Israel is their primary goal, Israel will continue to question Palestinian commitment to the peace process.

According to the NY Times:
The onslaught continued despite talks in Cairo that President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt said Saturday night could soon result in a cease-fire. Mr. Netanyahu said he would consider a comprehensive cease-fire if the launchings from Gaza stopped.

There has been no let up to the missile and rocket launching, no indication that Hamas is going to stop lobbing bombs at Israel. In fact, the Hamas propaganda machine today announced that they “missed” suicide bombings and that they would resume them.

And what exactly do they think is going to happen?

Let’s be real clear about a few item:
1.   Jerusalem and the country around it has been the heart and soul of Judaism for almost 3000 years. Text references in Torah, Tanach, Talmud and other contemporaneous text describe Israel as a nation and Jewish homeland.
2.    Archeological evidence supports the existence both the first and second Temples.
3.    Even during periods of exile, there were Jews who remained in the land.
4.   Israel and Judea the twin Jewish states were ruled at varying times by Egypt, the Hellenes, the Persians, the Romans, the Caliphates, varying Crusaders, the Ottomans, and the British. At no time did Jews abandon the land.
5.    By the time of the British Mandate in 1947, large tracts of land had been purchased (as in bought and paid for) by Jews and Jewish organizations returning to the land they called home. Farms and settlements were established on those tracts.
6.   Even the name isn’t Palestinian – “Herodotus wrote in c. 450 BCE in The Histories of a 'district of Syria, called Palaistinê" (whence Palaestina, from which Palestine is derived)” He went on to describe the population as predominately Jewish.
7.   Palestinians as a recognizable ethnic group did not exist until the 1834 Arab Peasants Revolt against conscription in the Egyptian army.

Let me also be perfectly clear: the Israeli government is not blameless in the ongoing  violence. They’ve have their share of the responsibility and they have brought some of this down on their own heads. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

If Hamas was serious about wanting a solution for the Palestinians, it would be part of the peace process. However, if Hamas is going to continue to launch rockets and missiles into Israel…especially from locations with the bounds of hospitals, schools, and other human shield locations, they must be equally prepared for the consequences. Israel has the absolutely right to defend its populations, Arab, Christian, Baha'i,  and Jew alike, from attacks originating in Gaza. To do anything less would be gross dereliction of duty.

See the tiny speck of red? That's Israel

Oh wait. I forgot. We're talking about Jews living in their own country under their own flag.  Here's an idea. Let's build a wall around Israel and call it a ghetto. Then the rest of the world would be happy to support that plan.

Either way, we're gonna live in our own country, under our own flag, in the place we've called home for 3000 years. Get used to it. And every Jew in the world will retain the right to finally go home. To our own country. Under our own flag. 

We already did the crematorium thing once. We're not doing it again. Got it?

The Wifely Person's Tip O'the Week
Jews have survived as a unique people for some 3000 years.
Don't expect that to change. 


  1. I think you've laid things out nicely, here. That said, I think that any substantive, and therefore constructive, conversation about the ongoing conflict cannot disentangle the "who-did-what-to-whom-first" rhetoric. I found the blog post below to be extraordinarily laid out and stated, independent of where you stand on this issue.

    It's inaccurate to say that Jews have been the primary residents of the area uninterrupted for 3000 years. Heart and soul, yes, but for nigh unto 1000 years, the region was primarily inhabited by Muslims--hence the Crusades. Yes, Jews lived there, and yes, since at least King David's time it has psychologically been the geographic center of the Jewish peoplehood, but that is also a story that we tell ourselves. To suggest that no one else has told themselves a similar story, with equally valid historical grounding, belies the interim history.

    Personally, I blame the British for this whole problem. But then, I'm Irish: I would.

    1. Not to take issue with your _entire_ comment, but Wifely did not say Jews have been the primary inhabitants. She said, "At no time did Jews abandon the land." Big difference.

      Jerusalem and the land of Israel ARE the heart and soul of Judaism. Prayer is to that direction, burial is to that direction. Both are part and parcel of daily prayer. To intimate the others have the same story is disingenuous. Most "other" who cherish that land do so on the back of Jewish history - including Christianity and Islam. Both are dependent on the Jewish narrative for their very existence.

      There is no question historically as to whether or not this is the Israelite homeland. It is. No one has the right to question their legitimacy to be there, least of all the Johnny-Come-Lately so called Palestinians.

      But then again, you do have point about the Brits.

    2. Entirely agreed, Spinoza; particularly with the elements you've outlined in the second paragraph re: the purposeful and perpetual identification of Israel in general, and Jerusalem in particular, as the central focal point of the Jewish people.

      I'm pointing out, above, that for fairly significant portions of the regional population, they also lived in the land and called it home, for at least a couple dozen generations. That's a significant emotional narrative in and of itself, independent of the fact that other people were there before they were. Other people were here in the USA before we got here, and other people were in Canaan before we got there and made it Israel. I'm not questioning the legitimacy of Jews to be in the land. I'm questioning whether their legitimacy supersedes other co-legitimacies. I'm suggesting we need to share the sandbox, that's all.

      If others refuse to share the sandbox by trying to push us out, though, I have no problem with us pushing back.

    3. Now, nice!

      Spinoza...thank you for jumping to my defense. That was very nice. And Sean, you have your points, too, and these don't even require the usual tinfoil hat.

      Since I wrote the blog, I get to throw in my ha'penny, and that is, yes, there were people living in the land before Hebrew became Israelites became Jews became Zionists. And in Piece And Change ( I discuss that dichotomy.

      But what distinguishes us from the other groups is that our culture and religion have remained pretty much intact for few thousand years. That's uncommon. The Bedouins were there, but they never formed a government or laid claim to the land. The only Philistines you see these days are the kind running a political pac. Edomites, Moabites, Canaanites...who are they and where are they? Probably in the same place as the proto-Europeans: Gauls, Magyars, and Huns. They have descendants, but have morphed or assimilated into another ethnic identity.

      Jews didn't morph or assimilate. Whether it was a function of clinging together in exile, clinging together in ghettos, or clinging together on thway to the crematorium, Jews pretty much remained Jews since the first temple was built. Do we have "better" claim to the land? Maybe. The only claim? No. A legitimate claim? Absolutely.

      And that's my POV and I'm stickin' to it.

      Thanks for the comments, fellas! Much appreciated.

    4. "No other nation on the planet would be expected, requested, demanded to stand silently by while they are under attack."

      I know this is an old post but couldn't agree more with it. However here in the States we are under constant barrage from Islamic Fundamentalist doing what the government likes to call lone wolf attacks.

      A couple of months ago I was talking to a DHS agent who mentioned that at least one major attack on a US target is thwarted each and every week. Not to mention smaller attacks. It's all politics why these are kept out of public scrutiny. Many excuses why from avoiding panic to preventing hate crimes against Muslims, but the fact remains that these are coming from the devout followers of Mohammad.

      So not to the same degree as Israel the US and many other parts of the world are under attack to an ever increasing degree while world leaders make excuses for the enemy.

      Even the Arab countries are on fire and drenched in blood from the true believers.