pride and shame


By renee bravo
January 16, 2009
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When the State of Israel was established, it was received wisdom that every Jew felt a sense of pride and walked a little bit taller. After 1967, Entebbe, the economic miracle, the absorption of immigrants, the technological and medical advances, the pride was even greater. Even people who had only a peripheral connection to the community were able to share in the feelings of achievement. So when Israel does things which may not be so commendable, should we not share in the distress? Friends are happy to share the good times. Family should share the bad times as well.

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Shtekhler

Sat, 01/17/2009 - 10:06

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As a Jew I don't feel shame I feel anger. And last weekend I felt enough anger at the wanton destruction to take the step of going on the demonstration that marched last against the war from Hyde Park to the Israeli embassy.

That was not an easy decision to make, but what was really encouraging was the number of other Jews who had taken the same decision, some holding placards in Hebrew, others with placards saying "Jews Against the War".

Friends of mine in Israel send me emails to tell me of big demonstrations there too. They are marching from Tel-Aviv to Jaffa tonight. But when they ask me whether their protest activities get any coverage in Jewish newspapers here, I have to tell them, sadly not - we're still being wrapped in cotton wool by our community leaders.


jose (not verified)

Sat, 01/17/2009 - 10:45

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"Jews against the war"

Jews have been against the war all the time. And they have been victims in all wars nevertheless.

During eight long years, civilians in Israeli south have been fearing for their lives, having 15 seconds to find a nearby shelter. Where were the "Jews against the war" and the "Non-Jews against the war" at this time when Israel needed their good-will?

It seems that some were eating their Chanuka cakes while the others were eating their Christmas cakes or whatever...

This war, and its terrible consequences, were predictable since Hamas took power in their 2007 coup and as for me, as soon as the elections in 2006 put Hamas in power.

That means that those who demonstrate against Israel had been sleeping for two years and missed some 'details' of the story.

I have one sad word for them: "hypocrits".


Shtekhler

Sat, 01/17/2009 - 12:16

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Jose,
Concern for civilians facing indiscriminate attacks is of course justified but your comment that "Jews have been against the war all the time" needs qualifying. Most Israeli citizens and supporters must crave peace rather than war, but it seems to me that israeli leaders have been without a peace strategy for many years now and that many among them have believed that there is a military solution to the conflict with the Palestinians.

Throughout the "peace process" of the last decade, and both before and during the time that Hamas, became stronger Israeli governments have continued to expand settlements in the Occupied territories providing fuel for continued opposition.


jose (not verified)

Sat, 01/17/2009 - 12:44

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Shtekhler, maybe you missed some episodes but most Israelis support this action to stop Hamas' war crimes. It was justified by eight long years of attacks against Israeli civilans.
A democratic government has the duty to protect its citizens. What did the Hamas to protect its civilians in Gaza, exactly? Import rockets from Iran and shoot them on Israeli civilians. Israelis built security systems, shelters. But it was not enough. So the next phase was to stop the weapons' smuggling and weaken the Hamas.
Since the population voted for them, they are collectively responsible for the troubles their elected leaders provoked.
Gaza was free to choose a peaceful destiny since 2005. They have chosen the hardships of war. Let's hope they will surrender soon and avoid more collateral damages.


Shtekhler

Sat, 01/17/2009 - 23:45

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Jose,
Your comments seem to imply that the people of Gaza courted or deserved collective punishment for voting for Hamas. I don't understand how any Jew, given our history can support collective punishment.

As welll as being morally wrong, the whole adventure seems incredibly shortsighted. Do you think the brothers and sisters and parents of those who have been slaughtered at a rate of 400 per week (mainly civilians) over three weeks are going to accept the wisdom of the economic blockade that has been placed on them for the last two years, and seek peace on Israel's terms or have the Israeli forces just recruited the next generation of suicide bombers.

A small but significant minority of Sderot residents (500) signed a petition to the government before the recent war started calling on the Israeli government not to escalate the conflict but seek an alternative path. Perhaps another lesson of our history is that majorities are not always right.


jose (not verified)

Sun, 01/18/2009 - 15:32

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Shtekhler,
My comment says exactly what it says: that people in democratic countries are responsible for the actions of their leaders. Case of Hitler's election comes immediately to mind.
None of your caricatural distorsions of what I wrote can change that.
What is morally wrong it to sit by watching Sderot being bombed every day for three years and get up against war when a responsible democratic country defends its citizens...

While Hamas was elected by a relative majority, they seized executive power by force and are not, by far, a democratic regime. They are murderers and war criminals. But that does not disturb you, apparently.

Most victims of this war, as investigations would certainly show if they were allowed by Hamas, are not civilians as more than 700 were Hamas fighters. So civilians are less than 50% of victims and you could certainly do better in such a crowded place... I suggest you give your good advices to the IDF: they may be interested in your expert tactics.
And if it was a slaughter of civilians, as you seem to imply, how come there was so LITTLE civilian casualties? I remind you that these correspond to the total destruction of a square of 100-yard side.

As for the rest, Israel is a country where people can have an opinion, including in Sderot. The overwhelming majority of Israelis supported the operation. There are also some anti-semitic Jews, some anti-zionist Jews, communist Jews.
On the other side, there are also pro-Israeli Arabs.

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