Friday, October 21, 2011

Dying of Shmaltz

While uneasy about the asymmetry of the Shalit deal between Israel and Hamas--a thousand Palestinian prisoners ( invariably described in Israel as “terrorists”) for one Israeli--the Israeli and the American Jewish media are also full of hymns of self-praise for us wonderful Jews: the “price” we paid was “a moral victory for Israel,” demonstrates our adherence to “profound Jewish values” such as “the pride in the value we place on every single human life,” is “a sign of humanity” that is “sadly absent in large parts of the world, especially in this region,” and the like. The implication is unmistakable: we are different from them, the parents of the 1000 Palestinians, and the nation they represent, either did not grieve or had no right to grieve over their “children” in Israeli prisons, nor rejoice over their release.

The blatant racism and infuriating claims of moral superiority aside, there are indeed significant differences between the Israeli and Palestinian prisoner situations. While some of the Palestinian prisoners were truly terrorists seeking the unjust cause of the destruction of Israel, surely many others were essentially soldiers in a just cause, national liberation and the creation of an independent state in a small part of Palestine. On the other hand, Shalit was a soldier of a nation whose real cause (continuing the de facto occupation of the Palestinians and Jewish expansion into what remains of their territory) is unjust and whose “profound Jewish values” and “adherence to the dignity of all human lives” does not prevent it—stop me when you think I’m misstating the facts—from occupying, killing, repressing, imprisoning, blockading, and deliberately inflicting deep economic as well as psychological pain on another people.

Who are these people, anyway? Never mind our supposed Jewish moral values, how about our celebrated commitment to reason? Or even self-preservation? Are they quite mad?


Anonymous said...

Lovely brief essay except for the sentence beginning: "While some of the Palestinian prisoners were truly terrorists seeking the unjust cause of the destruction of Israel, surely many others were essentially..." If Jerome Slater thinks that the state of Israel is not established on land stolen --through brutal aggression & ethnic cleansing-- from another people, on what grounds does he justify that "expropriation" of Palestine? The truth is the Zionists have no moral or legal right to a single inch of that stolen Palestinian homeland & the Palestinian people have every right to insist that the state of Israel has no right to exist. Jerome, that land was stolen! Its rightful owners are the Palestinianj people. Israel has no legitimacy whatsoever. Surely some day you are going to have to own up to that discomforting fact.

Jerome Slater said...

The moral issues involved in the creation of the state of Israel are a lot more complex than suggested by this comment. In any case, no people deserve to be destroyed, or their state to cease to exist, regardless of how that state was established many decades ago.

Much of the United States was also stolen from its previous inhabitants, the Native Americans, who were then ruthlessly repressed when they resisted. Does that mean that the United States has no right to exist?

Jeff K said...

When the Jewish State can kill one hundred to one of the indigenous and justify this as "defense", why not swap a thousand nobodies for one? Think of the propaganda value among Israelis that a move like this gives to the government.

Also, while many of the one thousand no doubt have met violent colonization with a violent defense, these are not terrorists. Besides the children detainees most of the other prisoners in this swap are just innocent people and not active resistance fighters, they are political prisoners.

Anonymous said...

Were the indigenous Americans in a position today
to fight the Europeans who genocided them and stole their land, I would be fighting with them. Wouldn't you? That is of course the only ethical position to take. The Palestinians are in that position: they are fighting against those who stole their land thru a brutal war of aggression and genocide (ethnic cleansing is defined as a form of genocide--the destruction of a people). To suggest that when a man successfully steals someone else's truck that truck then becomes the legitimate property of the thief is a highly appealing notion-- but only if one happens to be a car thief! It is an argument favored by Zionists who dare not tell themselves the full truth about the theft of Palestine. No,Hitler's Third Reich did not have legitimate ownership of Poland or France and that would be true even had Germany won the war! Israel is not the legitimate owner of that stolen Palestinian land and the correct ethical position is for the World Community to insist they give the land back to its rightful owner. That is what has happened in South Africa and that is what must happen eventually in Occupied Palestine. The right of return and significant compensation to the families of Ben Gurion's Zionist holocaust would mean a Palestinian state with a large Jewish minority. I'm certain that if I stole Jerome Slater's car he would not concede that the car now legitimately belongs to me.

Sanych said...

Mr. Slater,

I am quite puzzled by your questions, as the identity of some of the people released by Israel were well publicized.

Since, apparently, you can't do a simple Google search here is a brief description of some people:

- Ahlam al-Tamimi, who was one of the masterminds of the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem

- Muna Amna who lured a 16-year-old boy from Ashkelon to Ramallah, where he was then murdered by two Fatah terrorists

- Yehia Sanwar and Jihad Yaghmur were involved in the kidnapping and murder of Nachshon Wachsman

- Mohammed Shratkha, serving three life sentences, was the leader of a terrorist cell that captured and murdered Ilan Sa’adon and Avi Sasportas

- Walid Anajas, sentenced to 36 life sentences, was involved in the Cafe Moment bombing in Jerusalem in 2002 and in another terror attack in Rishon Lezion

- several perpetrators involved in the violent and videotaped October 2000 lynch of IDF reservists Vadim Nurzhitz and Yossi Avrahami in Ramallah

- and so on...

What kind of a professor are you that you have to ask these stupid questions?

Jerome Slater said...

Since, apparently, you can't read,here is what I said:

"While some of the Palestinian prisoners were truly terrorists seeking the unjust cause of the destruction of Israel, surely many others were essentially soldiers in a just cause, national liberation and the creation of an independent state in a small part of Palestine."

Also, when you were in school, did you miss the history class when the Zionist use of terrorism in the 1930s, on behalf of the creation of a Jewish state, was taught? Or perhaps that is no longer taught in Israel?