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Friday, July 18, 2008

What does it mean to be 'civilized'?

When she's not writing novels for the masses, Naomi Ragen, who lives on the next mountain over from mine, writes political commentary. On Wednesday, she published this article summing up quite well what it felt like to be an Israeli and to watch mass murderer Samir al-Kuntar released in exchange for two black boxes containing the mutilated remains of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev (Hat Tip: Mrs. Carl).
Oh, you will hear the boosters of the Israeli government sigh.

What can we do? We are civilized and they are not. We care about our soldiers and their families.

No, I'm afraid you do not. If you cared, then you would have a death penalty for people like Kuntar, so that they too can be released in caskets. And if you cared, you would be intelligent enough, seeing our soldiers brought back to us dead, to have put a bullet through Kuntar and then turned him over to his friends.

Civilized is a euphemism for weak and helpless. Civilized is not a moral value, because we all know what Western civilization is capable of. Concentration camps. Civilian round-ups, the gassing of children. All this under the banner of laws and policemen and governments. On the other hand, the moral thing to do to a tried and convicted murderer like Kuntar is to spill his blood, because he has spilled the blood of others. That may not fit in with current civilized niceties, but let no one say it is immoral.

When it comes to immoral, to release Kuntar to a hero's welcome and the opportunity to murder others is on the top of the scale.

My government, the Israeli government, arranged this. They let it happen. They oversaw it and implemented it.

I am deeply ashamed to be an Israeli today. And I'm not very proud of being a Jew either, if this is how a Jewish country behaves. To lead the world in ever more despicable acts of appeasement is nothing to be proud of. The torch we always carried, the "light unto the nations" has been blown out by the hot-air of our politicians.

If we cared about our soldiers, we would not be showing our enemies that kidnapping and terrorism pay. We would not be setting the stage for the next murderous terrorist raid and hostage standoff. We would be passing laws with a mandatory death penalty for convicted terrorists with blood on their hands, as well as their accomplices. We would be making these laws retroactive. Then, we would be cutting off all water and electricity to Gaza until Gilad Shalit is released. If that didn't work, we'd begin executions within one week, increasing the number convicted terrorists facing firing squads with each passing day until Gilad is returned to us safe and sound. And if that didn't work, we would begin daily bombings of Gaza, with the same number and frequency of attacks that our own city Sderot has suffered over the past three years from the Gazans. Not civilized? Perhaps. But moral. Extremely moral.
And all I can say is read it all.


At 1:18 AM, Blogger muman613 said...

Very good posting. I am going to post about this on my blog. I too am ashamed at being Jewish because of the idiocy of the Jewish state. How can any country be so self-destructive as Israel. I apologize to all my goyim friends that Israel is so weak and pathetic.

At 2:06 AM, Blogger Harry said...

I agree wholeheartedly. I'm an American Jew, and I've written hundreds of letters to newspapers in defense of Israel. This appeasement crap makes letter writing more painful every day.

They should have forced Olmert to escort Kantar into the arms of Nasrallah.

At 2:34 AM, Blogger Don P said...

Boy, she is right on target! The death penalty is widely viewed as uncivilized, but anyone who looks honestly at Kuntar's actions knows in his heart that the death penalty is certainly moral.

At 5:18 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

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At 5:21 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

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At 5:22 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

I gave Carl the Hat Tip the other day when I found it via Steve Plaut's Zionist Conspiracy. Anyway, Naomi Ragen's right. All of this boasting about Jews being "civilized" is a euphemism for softness. In Europe, they were assimilated and cultured but that didn't matter to the Nazis - they were all hunted down and rounded up and exterminated. Being nice doesn't save you from bad guys who don't play by the rules. Israelis like to boast they're morally superior to the Arabs. I think that kind of pride gets sort of lost when you don't think the murder of a Jew is a crime serious enough to be punished by death (Whatever happened to respect for the absolute value of an innocent human life?). There's really another name for it: cowardice. Telling yourself you're better than the savage beast who wants to torture, mutilate and kill you is ultimately a way of avoiding the very unpleasant reality that ultimately he has to be killed so you can live. And the fact of matter is Israel has to kill Arab Nazis to survive and it has to shed their blood to do it. That's a form of virtue far more honest and truly civilized than the one weak and impotent Israeli government insists defines what it means to be a Jew. And those are the people, who incidentally, know nothing about Judaism. A lot to think about and I think Naomi and you and Mrs. Carl would agree with what I've said here.

At 6:07 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

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At 6:10 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

To pursue it further, I think its very important to recall that Jews are commanded to give up their lives under three circumstances: idolatry, murder and sexually immoral acts. The concept is there is a set of principles, a moral floor below which you must not go below or otherwise you're not any better than idolaters who do the kind of things G-d dreads. The mission of the Jew is to be exemplary in showing he upholds G-d's commandments even at the cost of his own life, This week Israel desecrated Hashem by upholding the pagans rejection of binding moral law - isn't the quintessential definition of idolatry that you reject G-d, the very author of moral absolutes? And she sanctified the abomination of murder by releasing a murderer to walk again upon the earth. So Israel committed the two sins every Jew is enjoined to give up his life for rather than see them be effected in his name! I've said a lot about Bialik lately, and the one thing that has stayed with me since my youth, ever since I read "The City" is that he finds fault not so much with the anti-Semites who carried out the pogroms as with the Jews, who acted like nothing could be done about it. Well, evil is not like the weather! The obligation of the Jew is never to give strength to it but on the contrary to destroy it! It is the very opposite of the flabby, morally relativist pacifism the Israeli government has drummed into the heads of generations of Israelis. It is the notion Judaism is definitely a superior civilization that comes with an absolute moral code binding at all times and in all places Which comes in the form of the recognition that right and wrong does exist and the Jew must always choose right. To be a civilized Jew, he must hold his head up high and walk with G-d and put his teachings to practice on earth. That is the essence of Judaism. That is how Israel will be a light unto the nations.

At 6:17 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel is supposed to be apart from the nations, not as secular Zionism insists, to want to become like them! In surrendering to terror, the Israeli government demonstrated two things: Israel is not any better than its neighbors in separating the holy from the profane - and indeed it indulged in chillul Hashem by doing the very things G-d forbids the Jew to absolutely do and Israel showed that it does not think the value of a Jewish life is holy when it released a murderer unpunished. That is not what it means to be civilized! A Jewish State would have done the opposite of the above actions and brought honor to G-d! That is true honor and courage. That is Jewish pride!

At 7:14 AM, Blogger Gershon said...

Norman F, he gave Mrs. Carl the hat tip because he couldn't decide whether to give it to you or me :).

At 9:36 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

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At 9:37 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Gershon, I don't really need the credit. ;-) Besides, a good man like Carl should always praise his wife first!


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