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Words can kill so let's recognize it for what it is

                The bodies of our three boys were just discovered. Words could not begin to describe my sorrow. My mind naturally drifts to, “What if I was sitting at home and I got a call….” And my brain freezes up. I am not built for that. I don’t think anyone is, but I am really not. And then I saw the headlines declaring that the bodies of the three terror victims were discovered, and something didn’t sit well in my mind.
                The criminal disgrace called the Peace Process has been a crime from which several Israeli and US public servants have made huge sums of money. Shimon Peres took in thirty eight million dollars last year for his selfless pursuit of peace. He received the Nobel Peace prize, a prize named after the inventor of dynamite. I remember that night; Shimon standing there embarrassed while Arafat, in military uniform refused to shake his hand.
But as a writer, the most painful aspect of witnessing this historic debacle was the disrespect paid to the English language and language in general. It could be argued that peace is not a process. It is a state of being. When the killing continued despite the signed documents, Peres, the master of the oxymoron, called the victims “sacrifices for peace”. Strange indeed since I thought that one of the byproducts of peace was an absence of human sacrifice. We’ve also been provided with such language challenging beauties like unilateral ceasefire, which seems like volunteering to help the enemy practice their marksmanship. Also, what are negotiations with pre-conditions? If I got what I wanted, I would have no reason to negotiate.
Directly after the Oslo accords, the Arab nations got together and tried to define terrorism. I thought that was strange. Defining an act as terror is like defining kindness; it is possible to define it but it is a thing that should be immediately recognized by any person with a reasonably well-adjusted psyche. Before Oslo, there was never any need to define ‘terror’. The Arabs had to do it in order to present themselves as being innocent of acts of terror and make the Israelis guilty of terror. I read articles today that refer to IDF actions as acts of terror, which is absurd since violence perpetrated by soldiers cannot be terror. It is an act of war. You can dispute the war, but not its definition.
                But undoubtedly the most inhuman, disgusting, criminal misuse of language is the term suicide bomber. It turns it into a tragedy that the poor Moslem has been forced to kill himself in order to shed Jewish blood. It is a horrific term.
                This is all old hat and we have learned to live with it. I reiterate it to strengthen my own resolve not to get sucked into the word game. To my surprise, calling the three boys terror victims did not sit well. After some introspection, I realized it was because an act of terror is meant to create terror, to influence the masses, and to create a political reality. Arabs killing Jews is no longer terror. It is plainly clear to them and the entire world that we aren’t going to leave. After 2000 years of exile, we have returned for good. They are not going to create any reaction other than grief and anger. The ability to feel enough terror that would make us leave our land ended with the Nazis.
                The only reason to kill those three boys was thirst for Jewish blood, something that still remains strong in the world, hidden behind polite political discussions, termed in love of the Palestinians and their plight.

                Bullshit. The only time anyone cares if Palestinians suffer is when Israel is involved. These people thirst for Jewish blood and the Palestinians are the most convenient tool, willing to die to kill our children. This is not terrorism. This is Jew killing in its twenty first century incarnation. See it for what it is.
                     If I can offer a few words of comfort, then I must bring the words of the Piasetzner Rebbe, Rav Kalonymous Kalman Shapira. While he was hiding from the Nazis during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, he wrote Aish Halkodesh, Holy Fire. He did not survive but the manuscript did. He wrote about his own son’s murder which he witnessed with his own eyes. He said that the water libation begins in the Temple on the second day, the day of Yitzchak, which is confusing since Yitzchak is gvura, judgement, and water is chesed, loving kindness. He said that this is because the actions of the father are a sing for the children and in the future, judgement will become loving kindness. This was done because the binding of Isaac was intention whose action did not come to fruition. In the future, Jews who die for no reason or no other reason than they were Jews, are the completion of the act Avraham intended to do , an act without intention. Any Jew who is killed because he is a Jew is the completion of the sacrificing of Isaac. Avraham Avinu raised the knife and those dogs that walk on two legs brought the knife down. Our three dear children were on the level of Isaac, lying there next to him on the altar of stone

Why I Hate Secular Zionism, or Could I Have the Broccoli Quiche Instead?

            I’ll call this the broccoli blog. Blogging used to be about people writing about things they were passionate about. Some people were passionate about cars, some people were passionate about politics, and some people were passionate about broccoli. Some people are ambivalent about broccoli and some people even hate broccoli. I have seen a feedback conversation in which one person extols broccoli quiche while the other describes how much he hates broccoli quiche. I suspect that most people didn’t care.
            I like broccoli. I like chocolate more, but broccoli is okay. I hate artichokes. But way more than artichokes, I hate Shimon Peres. On a scale of one to ten, broccoli being 2, artichokes being 7, I still hate Shimon Peres. Irrational hatred is a fact of life and I only appreciate it when it brings good into the world. The reason I am permitting my irrational hatred to express itself now is because I just read an article, proudly proclaiming that Shimon Peres was just awarded the United States Congressional Medal of Honor. I feel this is horrendous and I need to express why. My one disclaimer is that I am not a historian, though in this age when objective opinions are accepted as facts more than facts themselves, my inexperience and lack of accreditation might be a form of validation.
            I have many reasons to dislike Shimon Peres, not the least of which is his disturbing likeness to the evil Jedi master, Emperor Palpatine, from Star Wars. Shimon Peres is a holdover, perhaps the last surviving one, from a previous era of secular Zionism. To understand what I don’t like about Shimon Peres, we need to understand what I don’t like about secular Zionism and Peres’ mentor, Ben Gurion.
 Early secular Zionism, in the shadow of the Holocaust, received carte blanche, no questions asked, adulation and (monetary) support from the American secular Jewish community. Their sins were overlooked because they were the beacon of hope. The image of the muscled Kibbutznik jumping from his tractor into a tank appealed strongly to the Jews in America suffering from survivors’ guilt. It was so different than the hunchbacked hooknose money lending shtetl Jew of Poland who meekly walked into the ovens without fighting back. The Americans united with the European secular Zionists, though the feeling was far from mutual. The European secular Zionists were forgiven their sins, of which there were more than a few, because they were on a mission of epic proportions.  And their agenda was never questioned.
The Ben Gurion agenda was to create a refuge for the Jews and to remove the rule of the Torah from the Jewish people since the non-Jews hated us because of it. This, despite all evidence to the contrary. The Nazis killed all Jews, secular and religious. I might argue that Ben Gurion disliked Torah Judaism because it accepted an authority that little David could never usurp. I believe this also explains his absolute hatred of Menachem Begin. Menachem Begin also believed in a secular Jewish state, but he believed that the essence of the Jewish people was the torah and the essence of anti-Semitism was not a reaction to Torah. This was a challenge David Ben Gurion could not tolerate.
Ben Gurion and the secular Zionists that came later, were so attached to this agenda that making alliances with Jew-haters and Jew-killers became a part of their foreign policy.  Ben Gurion joined the British to fight against the Ottomans despite the Ottoman Empire being friendly towards Jews. The British, in return, did not vote for the Jews in the League of Nations and they were decidedly pro-Arab during their mandate. He also developed a warm relationship with West Germany, something that should be, at best, questionable, in the light of this being less than ten years after the holocaust.  Moshe Dayan was popular with the Zionists because he was an Arabist, glorifying Arab culture and having a policy of negotiating with Arab leaders during war. That legacy of befriending Jew-killers and haters is still vibrant to this day and an essential part of left wing Israeli foreign policy. It is a trait that I cannot respect. The Arabs themselves say “The friend of your enemy is your enemy”.
Another example of this policy was Rudolf Kastner. He worked during World War II for the Jewish Aid and Rescue Committee, helping Jews of Budapest and Hungary. After the war, he became part of Ben Gurion’s political machine. He achieved his goals by negotiating with high Nazi officials, including Adolf Eichmann. He was later accused of making a deal with the Nazis in which secular Zionists were released in exchange for his persuading other Jews to board the trains to the death camps. He sued his accuser for libel but the story was found to be accurate. He also helped a high ranking Nazi officer to escape prosecution after the war. Kastner was posthumously exonerated. Unfortunately, the book that I found to be most informative on the subject, Perfidy, is blacklisted, illegal in Israel.
Sweet Papa Ben Gurion with his grandfather image, a silly old man performing handstands on the beach, could do no wrong. He was not evil. Let’s look at history. Ben Gurion made a deal with Menachem Begin to allow the Irgun to bring a ship load of weapons, The Altalena, into the soon-to-be State of Israel. Ben Gurion then sent Yitzchak Rabin to sink the ship, forfeiting dearly needed weapons at a critical time, and to murder Begin and any of his supporters while they struggled ashore. This came after a history of turning over Irgun Jews to the British who would execute them. Ben Gurion was, and still is, forgiven because he was on a greater mission and, after all, with so much at stake, who could possibly judge him. He was busy saving all of world Jewry from the Evil Nazis.  I am often shocked at how many young Israelis know nothing of the Altalena or of any of the other historical events I will describe.
If you were to ask the average secular Israeli ‘How many assassinations have there been in modern Israeli history?’ they would say that there have been two and that both were perpetrated by right-wing elements. They might even say that the first is proof that the right-wing was guilty of the second, or vice versa. The first assassination was Haim Arsolov who was a leader in the Mapai (left-wing). He was believed to be murdered by revisionists (right-wing) elements. This helped cement Ben Gurion’s position of power. It was much later discovered to be an act of subterfuge and , at best, the right-wing was not guilty. There is even reasonable room to suspect the left-wing. Again, the secular Zionists are above suspicion.
Most people will say Ben Gurion had to solidify his power base in order to bring about the Jewish State. He could not be a power monger since he created the democratic state we are so proud of. I think this argument gets a bit sticky when you realize that Ben Gurion served as the first prime minister of Israel despite not being elected. Nor was the first kenesset elected. They were chosen by Ben Gurion. This was only possible because Ben Gurion had, quite ruthlessly, eliminated anyone else who was working towards bringing about a Jewish state. It should come as no surprise that his efforts at eliminating any opposition were so effective that a left-wing, i.e. Ben Gurion, government ruled in Israel for the next forty years. I think it is fitting that Ben Gurion became prime minister without being elected and so did his protégé, Shimon Peres.
I should explain at this point that there are two types of left-wing in Israel and they do not correlate to left-wing as it is referred to in any other country in the world. Left-wing usually refers to social minded, spiritual and idealistic, anti-laissez faire people. That is true in Israel, but that branch of the left-wing, oddly enough, supports and serves the other left-wing, which is elitist, power based, and no-holds-barred capitalistic.  Ben Gurion was left-wing but socialism meant something very different for him. He was elitist and pro-capitalism. He hoped to build an Israel in the vision of Herzl’s second book, Alneulant (Old-New Land), a mulit-cultural, technocracy. I have noticed that this is becoming true in the United States today, which also has two corresponding types of right-wing and left-wing.
Next week, I talk about Peres and his Congressional Medal of Honor.


I like slavery (Sort of)

                        I believe that everything should be brought into the light of truth and the only way to do that is to question everything, even our most basic beliefs. For example, we are all taught that slavery is evil and should be eradicated from the world. I am going to question that belief and I can already hear the collective gasp of indignation.
            I actually believe in slavery as it is proposed by the bible. In today’s “enlightened” system of crime and punishment, this is the way things work. Let’s say, one day I wake up and my car is gone. I call the police, they show up and file a report. If I have been paying theft on my auto, I get at least some of the money back, but probably not the full worth. I am left without a car until I buy a replacement. If, by some miracle, the police catch the thief, my car is probably gone, chopped for parts or abandoned somewhere. It is actually worse if they catch the thief because now I will have to pay taxes to support his incarceration. His family will probably require some form of social service because of the stigma and the lack of income. After this episode, his children have a greater likelihood of following in their father’s footsteps. It is unclear to me what benefit is derived from prison. It has become a form of graduate school for prisoners.
            I prefer slavery. Allow me to explain. In a biblical framework, in the same episode, if the police capture the criminal, he has to pay for my car AND pay a fine. If he cannot, he is sold as a slave. Slavery in biblical terms is for a limited period of time and the slave retains many rights. The owner of the slave also is responsible for the welfare of the slave’s family. I get my car back. I even get paid for the inconvenience. When the period of slavery ends, the master sends the slave away with a party and presents. There is no stigma. He has, quite literally paid his debt. And not to society. He has paid his debt to the person to whom he has incurred the damages.
            The USA has the highest per capita prison population in the world. American troops are fighting to liberate Afghanistan, which has one tenth the per capita prison population. Prison does not serve the victims. It rarely rehabilitates the criminals. Norway has an interesting approach. According to Wikipedia, “the maximum determinate penalty (civilian penal code) is 21 years' imprisonment, but only a small percentage of prisoners serve more than 14 years. Prisoners will typically get unsupervised parole for weekends, etc. after serving a third of their sentence (a maximum of 7 years), and can receive early release after serving two thirds of their sentence (a maximum of 14 years). In 2008, to fulfill its requirements under the Rome Statute, Norway created a new maximal penalty of 30 years for crimes against humanity.Norway has a per capita prison population of 71 per 100,000, one tenth of that in the US. The Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service has a “reintegration guarantee for those who have served their sentence. They shall – if relevant – have an offer of employment, education, suitable housing accommodation, some type of income, medical services, addiction treatment services and debt counseling. Relevant services will be identified and included in such a way as to optimize their effect by reintegration coordinators employed by the correctional services. The guarantee is political in character and not legal. It represents the intentions of the whole government and its underlying public institutions to cooperate around this issue.
            I prefer slavery to prison. It works. It is fair. I should stipulate that slavery does exist in the modern world, almost exclusively in Islamic countries. It would be more accurate to say that I believe in slavery but not in the ownership of humans. Slavery can even be an alternative to bankruptcy. A person can sel himself into slavery in order to pay off debts. Aaah, you say, a debt should not limit a person’ freedom. Actually, in any case it does. And what is the difference between slavery and the situation that so many college students find themselves in upon graduation? They have been compelled by the reality of the workplace to relinquish their freedom. Slavery takes many forms. I prefer the biblical variety.