The Other I

July 19, 2014

“Those who live by the sword…”

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 1:59 pm

As readers of this blog know, I have understood for many years that violence only breeds more violence.  And I have been disturbed by Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians for a very long time, and have reflected that even the Israelis who suffered the awful brutality of Hitler’s ethnic cleansing did not seem to fully understand that peace will never be established in the Middle East through military means.

But I was not prepared for the shock and almost physical revulsion I have felt since I read the details of a Face Book posting by an Israeli MP saying that “Mothers of all Palestinians should be killed.”   All the Palestinian people are our enemy, she wrote, and even the mothers ” have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists.”

A two-state solution is the only possible resolution of this conflict which – let us not forget – displaced tens of thousands of Palestinians in the first place from the lands in which they had lived for hundreds of years in order to create an Israeli state.

How can the United States and Britain simply maintain the position reiterated by President Obama that the Israelis have a right to defend themselves?  As of today, the Israelis have killed 333 Palestinians.  Palestinians rockets have killed one Israeli.



  1. A really bad thing that’s happening as result of Israel’s latest actions in Gaza is the way good, decent people who identify as Jews feel they must either support the behavior of that state against what their conscience is telling them or to criticize that behavior and run the risk of encouraging anti-Semitism. They are, though, more and more drawing a line beyond which they can no longer offer that support, silent or otherwise.


    Comment by Thomas J. Hubschman — July 19, 2014 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

  2. Tom – thank you for this insight. It seems such a likely explanation now that you mention it. The Muslims here in Britain I think may have a similar problem in standing up against FGM or forced marriage, even honor killings. And so their objections often tend to seem muted to us outsiders. Perhaps it also helps explain the policy of the RC Church in relation to sexual abuse by priests — just move them on, and don’t cause a public scandal.

    I am familiar with, among others,, and in my posts I have tried to distinguish between “Israelis” and “Jews.” That is hardly an accurate distinction reflecting the different attitudes toward the Palestinians, but my intention is at least to suggest that not all Jews are in favor of everything the Israeli government does.

    Again, thank you for sharing your insight in relation to this extremely difficult situation. It adds a perspective I hadn’t appreciated before.


    Comment by theotheri — July 20, 2014 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

  3. I’ve also noticed a sense of urgency among some of my friends on FB who identify as Jewish — posting articles that justify Israeli actions or report rallies that use the word “Jews” rather than “Israelis” in their speeches and banners and may indeed be antisemitic at heart. Plus expressions of anger toward Israel by non-Jews that would not have been expressed before.

    There has been a long campaign to make Jews identify with Israel, something they did not generally do before 1967, when the US decided it was in its interests to take on Israel as a client state. The campaign, has involved a good deal of fear-mongering, sometimes to the point of absurdity (The Holocaust in American Life, by Richard Novick, documents this), but always with a growing sense of insecurity if not anxiety on the part of those at whom the campaign was directed, and still is. I get frequent mailings from these organizations.

    Now it’s come to the point that not just Jews but non-Jews identify being Jewish with being responsible for the actions of a foreign government most Jews know little about but are afraid not to support. That’s the awful pickle these people are in, Terry. Meanwhile, real Judeophobes, however much their numbers are inflated, are having a field day.


    Comment by Thomas J. Hubschman — July 21, 2014 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

    • I did not know that it was in 1967 that the United States started to back Israel so unequivocally. But I do know that in the real world, moral decisions are a lot less black-and-white than I was taught in catechism class. The good guys just aren’t all lined up on one side facing all the bad guys on the other side, are they? Even WWII doesn’t look as obviously simple as I used to think. Should we should have dropped those atom bombs, do you think? Or bombed Dresden? And then there’s the silence of Pope Pius XII. Etc.

      On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 5:09 PM, The Other I wrote:



      Comment by Terry Sissons — July 24, 2014 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  4. Those Diaries 1933-45 of Viktor Klemperer are an eye-opener when it comes to showing the complexity of situations, and all the more compelling because they were written on the spot (albeit with some editing many years later). Too much complexity for what we call History.


    Comment by Thomas J. Hubschman — July 27, 2014 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

    • I agree, Tom: too much complexity for what we call History. The more I read these days about the history of Palestine, the more convinced I become that History cannot give us the answers. The land has been too many times promised, both by god and man, and the legitimate, deep-seated grievances and injustices from both sides are too deep-seated to resolve by appealing to historical “rights.”

      Even today, I cannot find myself siding solely with either the Palestinians or the Israelis. The only place to begin, it seems to me, is in the present, and for both peoples to ask “how can we go forward? how can we live together?” Hamas even today is committed to the utter destruction of Israel. Israel on the other hand has basically turned Gaza into a prison for 1.6 million Palestinians. How can one carry a banner for either of these positions?

      Do we as human beings anywhere in the world have the wisdom and the greatness of heart to make the compromises necessary? to forgive past grievances of such gigantic proportion? to give up the determination to exact revenge? Would I, under similar circumstances? I do not know. But I can’t see any other way.

      It’s a painful time of great anguish, isn’t it? But perhaps also a time that calls for the courage of great hope. It’s certainly worth a fight worth fighting — even if it results in continuing failure for as far as the eye can see.

      I am, as always, interested in your thoughts on this profound question.


      Comment by theotheri — July 27, 2014 @ 8:35 pm | Reply

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