A letter to friends who want to understand what is happening in Gaza
A letter to friends who want to understand what is happening in Gaza
By Mordecai Finley / blogs.timesofisrael.com

I want to say a few words to my friends who are not particularly biased one way or the other (and perhaps somewhat uninformed) about what is happening in Gaza. First, I am in favor of a Palestinian State. The question of the borders and militarization of the future Palestine is a thorny one, but I think it can be resolved. Second, I don’t hate Arabs, Muslims or Palestinians. Over my life, I have talked, had meals with or wrestled (literally, on the mat) with many. I can’t remember one bad moment. I love the conversation, the food and they are talented and dedicated fighters.

The problem is that a sizable number of Palestinians are opposed to the existence of the state of Israel. Hamas is an example of this opposition to Israel’s existence. This is not just my opinion. You can check this out by reading the Hamas charter.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp

If Hamas, backed and armed mostly by Iran, had the power, they would destroy the state of Israel and kill every Jew there – including my son and daughter, who live there, and my wife, who is visiting, and all her family as well. 

Admittedly, this is personal for me. Every missile that flies into Israel is an attempt to kill my family, not a metaphorical family. My wife and kids.

This is not to say I don’t understand Hamas. They have their very publicly expressed reasons for not recognizing Israel’s right to exist and to kill every Jewish Israeli. Wars of annihilation have always been a part of human history. We Jews were targeted in World War II by the Nazis, and they got six million of us. The world commemorated recently the 20th year of the genocidal wars in the Balkans against Muslims and in Rwanda against Tutsis. I have friends who are Muslim Croats or Bosnians. In fact, I just officiated at the wedding of a Muslim Bosnian. If certain Serbian forces had had their way (not all Serbians), these Muslim friends of mine would be dead. I used to teach Holocaust at USC, and I expanded the course into teaching about wars of annihilation in general,
 especially in the 20th century. Unless you are very familiar with 20th century history, you would be amazed at how many wars of annihilation there were. Ask any Armenian friend, for example.

I am not shocked by the desire of Hamas and Hizbollah, or Iran, to annihilate Israel. Wars of annihilation are a part of history. I am not shocked by the tactic of Hamas to bomb civilian targets. Japan conducted a war of mass slaughter of civilians in their war against China, mostly 1937 to 1945. Millions of Chinese civilians were slaughtered. The Germans used slaughter of civilians as a military tactic, mostly on their eastern front (ask anyone with Polish, Ukrainian or Russian background). My mother lived in London during the German indiscriminate bombing of civilians in England.

The Allies used the same tactics in their air war, certainly as retaliation. The United States, Britain and the Soviet Union slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Germans and Japanese from aerial bombardment of cities. The atom bombs were not the worst of it. If the intentional killing of civilians in war is a war crime, then Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, along with Churchill and Stalin, stand as some of the greatest war criminals in history.

Since World War II, there has been general worldwide repugnance against wars of annihilation and the intentional slaughter of civilians. This does not mean it does not occur, but those who do it, typically lie about it.

Hamas wants to destroy Israel. Intentional slaughter of civilians is a tactic. I am shocked by neither. It scares and outrages me that they are after my wife and kids, and my people as a whole, but I am not shocked by it.

I am not shocked that Hamas went to war with Israel. I am embedding a link to an article that shows that the desire of Hamas to go to war with Israel was a rational and calculated decision, not perhaps the one that you or I would make, but rational nonetheless.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3181393/posts

Here is really the only thing that bothers me, aside from the fact that people are trying to kill my family and want to eradicate my people.

They are using the press as a tactic of war, and people are falling for it.

Every article you read that talks about Palestinian suffering (my heart goes out to them) that does not remind you that a terror network that has become expert in building tunnels and does not build bomb shelters, means that someone has fallen for a Hamas tactic.

Think about it. They imported thousands of rockets, some of them huge, and other armaments, but they complain about a blockade. Have you read an article that complained about the blockade of Gaza, that also mentions they have succeeded in smuggling in thousands of rockets, missiles and other armaments? Ask why.

When you read an article about civilian casualties, does the article mention that Hamas chose this war by targeting Israeli civilians? Does the article ask why Hamas places their rocket launchers in civilian areas, and store their rockets in schools and hospitals? If not, ask why.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand why Hamas does this. They know the press will cover the perfectly avoidable civilian casualties, but will not give you much background. They will not remind you that Hamas chose this war, and conducts it by ceaseless attacks on Israeli civilians. They will not remind you that Hamas places its rockets in civilian areas. They will not remind you that Hamas can build military bunkers, but won’t build bomb shelters. They will not remind you that Israel targets missiles but unintentionally hit civilians, while Hamas uses civilians to protect their missiles.

I think Hamas is very clever in how they prosecute this war by making sure that civilians become martyrs. It makes an uninformed world hate Israel. By the way, I think that the “Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade” in Gaza should change their name to “Let-the-civilians-be-the-martyrs brigade”.

The martyring of civilians in war is not that uncommon either. Thousands of Japanese committed suicide instead of surrendering to the Americans. Civilians are often proud to die for their country. Gazans, however, are not given the opportunity to choose. By hiding rocket launchers in civilian neighborhoods, by declaring war on Israel without building bomb shelter for their people, means only one thing: Hamas wants to martyr their civilians. It makes an uninformed world blame Israel. This is a very smart tactic. Just don’t fall for it.

My heart breaks for the suffering of the Palestinian people. I pray that they get their state soon, and will live peaceably alongside Israel. There will be lots of wounds to mend in this process on both sides.

But I don’t blame Israel for the civilian suffering of Palestinians that you see. It is a deliberate tactic of war intended to make you feel exactly what you are feeling: sympathy. I feel sympathy as well, but I know who has the responsibility for this suffering: Hamas.

2.5 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 21,521 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
18 Empowering Illustrations to Remind Everyone Who's Really in Charge of Women's Bodies
Julianne Ross · 6,494 views today · When Brazilian graphic designer Carol Rossetti began posting colorful illustrations of women and their stories to Facebook, she had no idea how popular they would...
Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure
Daniel Quinn · 2,377 views today · PART ONE A fable to start with Once upon a time life evolved on a certain planet, bringing forth many different social organizations—packs, pods, flocks, troops, herds, and...
You Should Get Naked More Often. It's Good for You.
Joni Sweet · 1,063 views today · When Nelly encouraged overheated people worldwide to get naked in 2002, he was unknowingly advocating much more than just a sexy, sweaty dance party. Sunbathing, sleeping...
Lawns Are for Suckers. Plant a Garden - for the Climate!
Nathanael Johnson · 990 views today · Ripping out your lawn and planting kale and peppers won’t just lead to great stir-fry — a new study finds it could make major contributions to fighting climate change...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 984 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 747 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 686 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Gabor Maté: Why Our Culture Makes So Many Of Us Unhappy
3 min · 686 views today · Dr. Gabor Maté explains why it is that our culture makes so many of us unhappy, unkind to one another, miserable, alienated from ourselves, etc. Watch the full interview in Part 2.
It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are
Mark Wolynn · 653 views today · The past is never dead. It’s not even past. — William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 635 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
How Native Americans Managed "Wild" Land Long Before Settlers
Sami Grover · 627 views today · When European settlers first came to North America, they assumed they were looking at "untouched" nature. Sure, there were native peoples, but history tells us they didn't...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 614 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Solidarity Is About What You Do - Not Who You Are.
R.L. Stephens · 553 views today · I am Black. I capitalize Black and leave white lowercased. Sure, it’s the accepted spelling, but really I do it because it feels good. My family lived in Missouri, but my...
A New Story for Humanity (2016)
102 min · 519 views today · Inspired by the New Story Summit at the Findhorn Foundation: a sold-out multicultural, multigenerational inquiry into a new story for humanity, attended by change makers and...
Masculinity Is Killing Men: The Roots of Men and Trauma
Kali Holloway · 449 views today · We begin the damaging process of turning boys into men long before boyhood ends.
Bitter Lake (2015)
136 min · 431 views today · Adam Curtis: Politicians used to have the confidence to tell us stories that made sense of the chaos of world events. But now there are no big stories and politicians react...
Bioregional Quiz: How Well Do You Know the Place in Which You Live?
Rua Lupa · 416 views today · In the vast emptiness of space there are an unimaginable number of galaxies, each galaxy containing billions upon billions of stars. Looking at one galaxy we find an average...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 415 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Why You Should Take Your Kids Out of School
Ben Hewitt · 412 views today · We don't need no education. At least not of the traditional, compulsory, watch-the-clock-until-the-bell-rings kind. As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
A letter to friends who want to understand what is happening in Gaza