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Now that the Goldstone Commission has released their report on alleged war crimes by Israel (note: the U.N. Human Rights Council‘s original mandate on this was to investigate Israel’s conduct of the war and not Hamas’ or the Palestinians…wonder why?) during the recent Gaza offensive, Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak has finally responded with an excellentopinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Where has common sense gone to in this day and age? Israel suffers for 8 years the ceaseless rocket attacks (aimed specifically at civilian targets) by terrorist organizations (one of whom then takes control of the Gaza strip) and, when Israel responds to the attacks, it is chastised and demonized. This from a group (the UNHRC) which seems to be fixated and obsessed with condemning and demonizing Israel while ignoring and only expressing “deep concern” for human rights abuses in places like Somalia and Burma.

It never seems to fail that at some point history gets reworked into something other than what happened. It happens with current events — like the recent war in Gaza — but also with more distant events. Take the Arab-Israel war of 1967 — the Six Day War in which Israel roundly defeated the armies of Jordan, Egypt and Syria and captured the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights. In his most recent commentary in the British paper, The Independent, Bruce Andeson gets things completely wrong. In this piece, “Israel is trapped, and the chance of peace is ever more remote” he essentially blames Israel for the failure of the peace process and revises history to fit that blame.

With regards to the recent war in Gaza, Anderson states

It is easy to understand why the Israelis reacted as they did. Once you have suffered a Holocaust at the hands of the race which produced Beethoven, Goethe and Mozart, you lose trust in mankind’s benevolence: lose faith in everything except your own soldiers and weaponry.

(Anderson, Bruce, “Israel is trapped, and the chance of peace is ever more remote“, The Independent, February 16, 2009)

He portrays Israelis as losing faith in “everything except [their] own soldiers and weaponry.” Really, then what was the Oslo Accords and the Oslo II processes about? Or the Wye River Memorandum? Or the 2000 Camp David Summit? Or the Road map for Peace? Or the Annapolis Conference? He never considers the possibility that Israelis are right to lose their faith in the process when the other side does not keep its obligations or when the other side continues to send homicide bombers into and rains rockets onto its cities. No that doesn’t enter into Mr. Anderson’s analysis at all.

He continues in his tirade against Israel’s quest for peace and security by saying

Because of the circumstances in which their Jewish state was created, most Israelis believe that they have two existential necessities, and entitlements. They want to enjoy security and they insist that their neighbours recognise their rights to do so. That does not seem unreasonable. But it is. It fails the highest test of political rationality. It is not realistic.

(Anderson, Bruce, “Israel is trapped, and the chance of peace is ever more remote“, The Independent, February 16, 2009)

Why is it not realistic (not just reasonable) for Israel to expect to live in secure borders and for her right to exist be recognized? Israel is the return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland (something that appears to be happening more and more these days among everyone else — why are the Jews to be singled out and denied this right?). The ties of the Jewish people to that land run uninterrupted for thousands of years and yet in today’s world Mr. Anderson argues that we should not expect to have these ties and our rights recognized by our Arab neighbors. Other countries, other peoples are seeing their rights recognized…why not the Jews? Why not the Israelis?

Then Mr. Anderson makes the most eggregious error in his commentary. He rewrites history and turns the 1967 Six Day War from a war of survival (where Israel is attacked first) to a war in which Israel sought out territorial gains

The first act of the current tragedy began in 1967, after the Six-Day War. Plucky little Israel was master of the battlefield. She had overrun a vast acreage of Arab territory. Almost immediately, even by those who had never been enthusiastic about the State of Israel, distinctions began to be drawn between the pre-’67 boundaries and the 1967 conquests. Israel had a tremendous hand of cards, strategic and moral. There was never a better moment for “in victory, magnanimity”.

Israel should have announced that unlike almost every previous military victor, she did not seek territorial gains; her sole war aims were peace and justice. [emphasis added] To secure them, she was prepared to trade her conquests, with the obvious exception of the Holy Places in old Jerusalem. On such a basis, and with huge international support, a deal would have been possible. But there were problems. At its narrowest point, pre-’67 Israel was only 12 miles wide. A tank thrust from the West Bank could have cut the country in two. Although the generals cannot be blamed for failing to predict the era of asymmetric warfare in which tank thrusts would only occur in war movies, their insistence on a demilitarised West Bank complicated matters. Then a temptation emerged, like the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

(Anderson, Bruce, “Israel is trapped, and the chance of peace is ever more remote“, The Independent, February 16, 2009)

And here he is completely wrong and exposes his ignorance and naivete. Apparently Mr. Anderson did not read the aftermath of the Six Day War. According to former Israeli President Chaim Herzog,

On June 19, 1967, the National Unity Government [of Israel] voted unanimously to return the Sinai to Egypt and the Golan Heights to Syria in return for peace agreements. The Golans would have to be demilitarized and special arrangement would be negotiated for the Straits of Tiran. The government also resolved to open negotiations with King Hussein of Jordan regarding the Eastern border.

(Herzon, Chaim, Heroes of Israel: Profiles of Jewish Courage, Little Brown and Co., Boston, 1989, p. 253)

Israel offered to return the territories in return for peace with her Arab neighbors. The response from the Arabs was the Khartoum Resolution of 1967 which incorporated the, now famous, three “No”s:

  • No peace with Israel
  • No recognition of Israel
  • No negotiation with Isreal

Even when Israel has acted to further peace she is met with an Arab response that demands more. Israel gave Egypt the Sinai peninsula in return for peace — a cold peace but at least peace. Israel made peace with Jordan in 1994 — perhaps the most amicable peace to date between former enemies in that area. And it has attempted, time and time again, to make peace with the Palestinians to no avail. It is not for lack of trying. Even when Israel unilaterally relinquishes territory as it did with Gaza the response from the other side is more terror. To be sure, Israel has made missteps in its pursuit of peace with the Palestinians — some considerably large missteps, others smaller. But Israelis have longed for peace since the beginning. They have longed to be allowed to live in peace in their ancestral homeland. And it is that longing that drives them to continue to pursue peace with their neighbors and the Palestinians.

Mr. Anderson ends his tirade by claiming

The country [Isreal] emerged out of tragedy. It would be heart-rending if its heroic journey ended in tragedy. Yet that is the likeliest outcome, and it would be Israel’s fault.

(Anderson, Bruce, “Israel is trapped, and the chance of peace is ever more remote“, The Independent, February 16, 2009)

No Mr. Anderson…that is not the likeliest outcome…and whatever happens it will not be Israel’s fault.

I found this post on another blog (thanks to Monique Lester for posting this on her blog). It is written by a Dr. Rami Kaminski (the bio is at the end) and I think it speaks for itself:

Why I Am a Bad Jew

For centuries, we lived in Berdichev. In the brutal Ukrainian winter of 1941, SS soldiers arrived there and rounded up eighty-seven members of my family – babies, young adults, octogenarians – stripped them naked, marched them to a nearby ditch, and executed them.

Their lifeless bodies fell silently into a mass grave. Like most Jews in Europe, my family “cooperated” with the Final Solution. They did not resist or fight back. Six million Jews were slaughtered in a period of four years. They received little sympathy while they were still alive and hunted down like animals. There was no public outcry because the Holocaust fit the world’s narrative for Jews during the past 2000 years: a people destined to be persecuted and slaughtered. During their two millennia in the Diaspora, Jews were not known to resist.

There are few recorded instances in which Jews turned against their host nations or retaliated against their murderers. Instead, the survivors – if there were any – were expelled or left for another place. The murdered were regarded as “good” Jews. They accepted their fate helplessly, without resistance. This narrative of the Jews has played out on the historical stage with boring monotony: Jews get killed because they are Jews. Nothing novel about it. After the Holocaust, however, the world, disgusted by this particularly ghoulish period of history, accorded some sympathy for the Jews. Media commentary about the ongoing Gaza War reveals the world has now reverted to its pre-Holocaust perspective.

Today, the only good Jew is a powerless Jew willing to become a dead one. The Zionist Revolution is to blame. It changed everything. Jews re-created their own country. The Arabs attacked the new Jewish state the day after independence and promised to complete Hitler’s genocide. In succeeding decades, the Arabs attacked again and again. Strangely, the Jews, many of them refugees from Arab nations, adopted a surprising, new tactic: they fought back.With Zionism, the Jews stubbornly refused to follow the centuries-old script. They refuse to be killed without resistance. As a result, the world has become increasingly enraged at their impertinence.

The recent events in Gaza and Mumbai make this plain. In 2005, Israel eliminated all Jewish presence in Gaza making it “Judenrein,” and handed it over to the Palestinians. Left behind were synagogues and thriving green houses. The Arabs looted and destroyed them literally the day after Israel’s withdrawal was complete. Where these structures once stood, the Palestinians built military bases and installed rocket launchers to shell Israeli civilians. To date, some 7,000 missiles have fallen on Israeli cities and towns, killing and maiming dozens, and sowing widespread terror. Medical studies reveal nearly all Jewish children in the communities bordering Gaza suffer from serious, trauma-induced illness. The Gazan Palestinians then elected Hamas to lead them.

Hamas proceeded to kill or imprison their political rivals, and its leaders, true to the Hamas charter, were unabashed in clearly stating their aims: they will not stop until they achieve their Final Solution, kill all the Jews, take over the land of Israel, and establish a theocracy governed by Islamic law. As killing Jews for being Jews has been a national sport for centuries, Islamic militants are justified in believing they are merely fulfilling historical tradition in Argentina, India and Gaza. Surely the Jews in Mumbai did not occupy Gaza. They were tortured and killed just for being Jews.

And predictably, in the eyes of the world, they immediately became good Jews, just like my murdered family in Bertishev. Good Jews would wait until Hamas has weapons enabling its members to achieve their ultimate goal of absolute mass murder. Those enraged by Israel’s defensive military action insist Hamas uses only “crude” rockets, as if Qassams were BB guns, and military inferiority were somehow equivalent with moral superiority. In fact, Hamas now has Iranian-supplied Grad missiles which have landed on Be’er Sheva and the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Westerners have had only sporadic exposure to the indiscriminant killing in the name of “holy war” which Israel has lived with for years. Memories of 9-11, Madrid, and London have dimmed.

This is not because the Islamic militants made a careful choice of weapons. They simply have not yet acquired nuclear bombs. Once they do, the West will develop a less detached view about the Islamists’ professed intentions for the “infidels.”The only enlightened people in the civilized world who actually get it are the Israelis. They’ve not had time for detached philosophical ponderings. They’ve been too busy confronting the reality of Islamic fundamentalism. Soon, Iran will have nuclear weapons. It will give them to Hezbollah and Hamas. Today, Jews must take a position: either be “good” Jews willing to be slaughtered without resistance, or be “bad” Jews who defend themselves at the cost of being pariahs of our enlightened world. Good Jews would wait for another six million to be murdered, and pick up to leave for another country to start the cycle again. The bad ones refuse to go calmly into the ditch.

I confess: I’m a bad Jew.

Rami Kaminski, MD, is Director and Founder of the Institute for Integrative Psychiatry in New York, a not-for-profit organization aimed at evaluating current psychiatric services and how they integrate with medicine, such as the mutual effects between medical and psychiatric conditions. Prior to that, Dr. Kaminkski was the Commissioner’s Liaison to Families and Community and Medical Director of Operations at the New York State Office of Mental Health. Dr. Kaminski also holds an academic position as Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University. He earned recognition in 1990 from Mt. Sinai Hospital as Physician of the Year, and received the Exemplary Psychiatrist Awards from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Dr. Kaminski’s research explores neuropsychiatric aspects of brain disorders, such as Alzheimer and Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders, as well as psychopharmacology of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. He was for many years Director of The Schizophrenia research Unit at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. Dr. Kaminiski also served as the Medical Director of the PMHP and consultant to the committee in charge of developing the Special Needs Program.

And I am a bad Jew as well!

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