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  • stephen schecter

Jerking Off in Gaza (2): Jewish complicity, Jewish history

I am too old to masturbate, but not too old to recognize when jerking off is going on. And that of course is exactly what went on in this umpteenth round of attacks Israel has had to endure not only from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority, but this time from Israeli Arabs as well. It was the familiar cry. First, the Al-Aksa mosque is in danger, then Jerusalem, riots on the Temple Mount and protests against a legal proceeding in the Sheikh Jarrah or Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood, then a barrage of rockets from Gaza more deadly and hitting deeper into Israel than ever before. The Israeli response was crowd control inside Israel, Iron Dome defense, and retaliatory strikes pinpointing Hamas military installations placed in the civilian neighborhoods the Gaza leadership favors. Although Israel announced that this time it would determine the end of hostilities that Hamas began, international pressure led the Israeli government to agree to a truce, accompanied by claims that the iDF had degraded Hamas’ military capabilities significantly. To which Hamas commanders brazenly responded when they came out of hiding: we will rebuild, rearm and attack Israel until we liberate Jerusalem, the vows affirmed by its leader as he held aloft a five year old child dressed in Hamas battle fatigues holding an automatic rifle. Let us also not forget the outpouring of international lamentations about the deaths of innocent Palestinian children and the corresponding protests of Israel and her defenders about Israel’s precision bombing designed to avoid such deaths. It is all of a piece, and as poor an orgasm as the actors involved could muster given their inability to achieve real coitus. For those who get off on it, from the UN to the Israeli left and even the Israeli right – so the designations go – I suppose it afforded some relief from the tedium of daily life. For those of us who think our earthly existence ought to consist of more exciting and happier moments, among which real Jews count real orgasms on Shabbat with people we love, the circus of this round of riots and fighting was as disappointing as bad sexual congress.


So what do you propose? comes the inevitable question. And this is the answer: the Jews have to reclaim and exercise sovereignty over the land of Israel from the river to the sea, from Judea and Samaria to Gaza, and expel the Arab Muslims who live within those boundaries. Where will they go? you may ask. Anywhere as long as they go. There is a wide wide world out there. Let them go to Syria, of which they form, to cite their own words, the southern part. Or Qatar and Turkey and Iran, all countries that champion them and proclaim them their brothers. Or Europe, which loves to finance them and bemoan their fate. Cuba or Venezuela. Russia or China. Canada or Antarctica. It is ethnic cleansing, you will say. If you say so, I say, but better than the wholesale shooting of 3.5 million people. And how will you do that? you will ask. Ask Kuwait, I say, who got rid of 350,000 Palestinians for dancing in the streets when Saddam invaded the country. Take away their drivers’ licences and their business permits. Close all the mosques as sites of sedition. Impose a permanent curfew on Arab cities and towns. Forbid any Arab Muslim access to the Temple Mount. Demand an oath of loyalty to Israel from every Arab who protests his or her innocence, accompanied by the singing of Hatikva until they sing with gusto and proper enunciation. Offer them, because Jews are always generous, fair market value for their property, which is more than they offered the 850,000 Jews dispossessed by the Arab states following Israel’s proclamation of independence in 1948. And when they are all gone, demolish the Al-Aksa mosque and the Dome of the Rock so we can rebuild the Temple under my supervision. For I will take care of the rabbinical ruckus that is bound to arise when that project is announced.


All this I write not in jest, but deadly earnestness. The murderous participation of Israeli Arabs in riots against Jews and Jewish property while rockets were being rained down on the country from Gaza was the final straw in any delusional strategy that Israel can achieve peace with the people who claim to be Palestinians. Of course, they can call themselves what they want, just as people in modern societies can ascribe to themselves weird gender names, but that does not mean others have to accept their self-designations as valid. The Palestinians have lied and rioted, murdered and maimed, for over a century now. For over seventy years some of them have lived as Israeli citizens, benefiting from the good life and liberty Israel has enabled them to enjoy. But when the chips are down and the country is threatened they have shown themselves to be traitors, the Jew hatred of their ethnic compatriots deep in their hearts, ready to slit the throats of Jews wherever they can find them. Jaffa. Lod. Ramle. Ethnic cleansing Arab Muslim style. As the secretary-general of the Arab League promised the Jews when the Arabs invaded the nascent Jewish state in 1948, threatening to make the Crusades seem like a Sunday school bloodbath.


This round of fighting in Gaza has shown Israeli policy to be strategically faulty. The rocket barrage was worse and more deadly than previous ones. Degradation of their military facilities is no deterrence at all. Hamas has backers all over the world, ready to resupply them with funds and weapons passed off as humanitarian aid. Israel is incapable of stopping it. On the contrary, it aids and abets this, even sending electricity to Gaza while Gaza sends rockets to Israel. How crazy is that? How expect Hamas and its sympathizers throughout the Arab world to think Israel is serious about deterring them? Perhaps the Arab states refrain from any active military involvement, but they do nothing to quell the Jew hatred whipped up as anti-Zionism so rife throughout their societies, even those that have peace treaties with Israel. The writing is on the wall. There will be no peace between Israel and the Palestinians because the latter have no interest in peace, which for them will only happen when Israel ceases to exist. That is what free Palestine from the river to the sea means: the ethnic cleansing of Israel and the extermination of its Jews. Israel has to face up to this fact and decide if it wants Jews or Arabs to live in the land of Israel, but not both. And since Jews are the aboriginal peoples of this land, a fact recognized even in the Koran, the question answers itself. Of course, there are those Jews who will refuse to recognize this situation. But then, there are many Jews for whom one Holocaust was not enough, even those Jews who mouth the slogan Never Again, which itself has become another formula for masturbation.


So much of Jewish history is wailing and lamentation that perhaps it has entered our political bloodstream. So has the tradition of the Court Jew, starting with Mordechai and running all the way to the Israeli Prime Ministers who show up periodically at the White House, Menachem Begin excepted. He knew all about weak-kneed Jews and would have none of it, even when then Senator Biden tried to tell him what Israel should do to remain alive and a democracy. But then maybe Begin, like his mentor Jabotinsky, read the Hebrew Bible and saw in it, as I do, the clues to our destiny as a people. A stubborn and stiff-necked people, God called us, and rightly so, for nothing do we ever believe unless it happens twice. Two versions of Genesis, multiple reruns of Cain and Abel, two dreams for Pharaoh – so that Pharaoh will know that what God has sent him in cryptic form is true and will come to pass, the Torah says – and of course two versions of the Ten Commandments, including a second pair of tablets the first time round because the Jews, having said they will do and obey all that God lays out for them, proceeded at once to break the very first commandment from which all the others flow. In short, from the very outset Jews have been ambiguous about signing onto the covenant. The exodus from Egypt had a purpose: to take the tribes of Israel and weld them into a nation. For that they needed the law and the land, Torah and Israel. But the Israelites preferred a molten calf and forty years wandering in the desert. To conquer the land and rid it of idolatry was no easy task and the ancient Israelites did their fair share of backsliding, even though God had warned them that if they allow the idolaters to remain in the land, the latter shall corrupt them, and they shall eventually lose the land He has given them. Then as now the story remains the same. The Palestinians are idolaters, Moloch worshippers who cast their children into the fire, raising them on a diet of Jew hatred, suicide bombing, and assassination. Can we not finally learn from our story? Do we need to lose the Third Hebrew Commonwealth?


It is hard to conclude other than that Jews are ambiguous about being a nation. When one Jew meets another he or she often asks: are you a member of the tribe? But the tribe is not the nation, and that all too familiar quip is testimony to the lamentable fact that the Jews have not yet exited the Book of Genesis. Because when you accept that you are a nation you do what every nation has always done: secure the land, exercise sovereignty therein, and if you are wise enough to be inspired by the Hebrew Bible, as both the founding fathers of America and the Jewish leaders of the Yishuv were, establish the rule of law within your borders. Israel has done the first and the third, but not the second of these tasks. Its electoral system of extreme proportional representation is the worst of any democracy in that it guarantees no party will win a majority. The horse-trading and personal political intrigue so typical of the way Jews run their synagogues now extend to running their country. The Attorney-General is not a member of the government. The Supreme Court is the most activist of any such juridical body in any modern democracy, usurping the power of the legislature. And large swaths of the body politic, both in the Knesset and civil society, think it is okay to undermine the Prime Minister for peccadillos rather than band together at a time of national crisis. Maybe they are like my daughter who thinks, even going on the age of fifty, that she is always in crisis. Little wonder that a legal dispute over four houses is allowed to turn into a casus belli. Little wonder too that although the Israeli government proclaims loud and clear that it defends freedom of religion, that freedom does not extend to Jews when it comes to praying at their holiest site, the Temple Mount. Why should the king of Jordan hold a sovereignty veto over the heart of what Israeli leaders never cease to repeat is the rebuilt and unified city of Jerusalem? Especially when the country over which he reigns has a committee against the normalization of ties with Israel that blackballs any Jordanian professional who collaborates in any way with his Israeli counterpart? But then Jordan’s constitution clearly asserts that Islamic law guides how the country works. Yet, when it came to dealing with his Palestinians the king of Jordan did not dither. He fought them, killed them, and drove them out of his kingdom. Where did they go? you will ask. To Lebanon. And when they ruined Lebanon they were driven out of that country to Tunis, only to be brought back to Judea and Samaria by none other than Israel because the Israelis did not want to rule over Palestinians. Just as they do not want to conquer Gaza because they do not want to rule over Palestinians there either. Being Jews bent on tikkun olam, improving the world – a heresy if ever there was one – they never consider they have another option, indeed another duty: to kick the Palestinians out because they represent a mortal danger to the country and its citizens. Only such a policy will bring peace to the land; only then will its inhabitants sit under their fig trees and not be afraid.


I know. I know. I hear all the objections because I have heard them all before. We are a small people and need the goodwill of the world. The world will punish us with boycotts. The nations of the world will send their armies against us. Containing the situation and paying the price in a small number of victims every year is worth it, the price every nation has to pay for survival. All understandable arguments, but in the end self-defeating. Tell them to the woman raped and killed by a Palestinian engineer who traveled all the way from Hebron to the Jerusalem Forest to do his dirty work. Tell them to her family. Tell them to the family of the nineteen-year-old youth shot at Tapuah junction by an Arab terrorist. Every year the list of names of those soldiers who fell in Israel’s wars and those victims of Palestinian murderous attacks grows longer. How long shall we listen and weep and mourn while idiots at home and abroad slander our name and demean our country and profit from our talents? How long, God asked Moses, will this people not hearken to My word, reject My covenant, and break the trust they have sworn to uphold? How long indeed? And then there is this to consider: others take you seriously when you show them you mean business. Even the Arab nations have little respect for the Palestinians other than to use their cause for domestic control and consumption. But they do know a firm hand when they see one, as they saw for four centuries under Ottoman rule. I cannot think of a country that will send its military to fight Israel, though they will use Israel’s self-assertion to score diplomatic brownie points. Nor do I see Cori Bush or Rashida Tlaib or Alexandria Cortez or even all their twitter followers rushing to fill Rachel Corrie’s dead boots in Gaza, although they might like to make it to the London stage and Broadway. People respect people who respect themselves and do God’s work. At least they used to. But then they knew what God’s work was. Time to remind them. Time to remind ourselves. And while we do that, Jews in the diaspora better start organizing for militant self-defence, because the left-wing Nazis are getting bolder, and no one is taking them on. Or even better, move to Israel and put down roots in Judea and Samaria, otherwise known as going home.


*


A few supplementary notes.


How to conquer Gaza: cut off their electricity, close the border crossings to all goods, maintain the naval blockade, and wait for the misery to set in. The frenzied funerals for Hamas martyrs will soon cease. The rival factions will turn on each other and the populace will turn on the leaders. Rival clans will fight for survival. Hunger and disease will take its toll. Soon the calls will be heard for the white flag of surrender to be raised. By the time the Israeli army enters the enclave there will be little left to do but raze every building to the ground and deport the population that remains. No booty, as the Torah says, for it is anathema to the Lord and contaminated by the deaths of Israelis. After the army will come the Jews expelled from Gush Katif and their allies; and the Gaza strip shall become, in their capable and talented hands, the jewel of the Mediterranean littoral Hamas refused to allow it to be.


What to do in Judea and Samaria: expand the settlements, turn the Yesha Council into an autonomous regional government insulated from any legal challenge to its authority, confer upon it the power to raise a militia, police and border control, and assign it responsibility to deal with the Arabs living under the Palestinian Authority. This autonomous regional government will, of course, be fully backed by the IDF and Israeli Security Agencies, but it shall be the front-line body making clear to the Arab cities, towns and villages that the rules have changed. No Palestinian expansion, no Palestinian illegal seizure of land, no threats of any kind to Israeli settlements will be tolerated. Jewish settlement will no longer be a dirty word, but the continuation of the work the Lovers of Zion in the nineteenth century and the Russian and other Zionists of the twentieth century did when they first went home. Housing prices in Israel will drop dramatically as Jews from Green Line Israel flood into those areas. Jews from abroad who see the writing on the wall will make Aliyah and reinforce their ranks. The Palestinians will threaten to tear up the Oslo Accords for yet another time; this time the Israeli government will join them, making the two-state dream a reality. Only now the two states will be Green Line Israel on the one hand, and Judea and Samaria on the other, soon to be legally one, sovereign over the land promised to them by God and recognized in the San Remo Treaty of 1920. Then it will be the turn of the Palestinians to see the writing on the wall. They may, of course, choose revolt and a massacre. More likely, they will choose to leave. Either way the death spiral in which they have lived and made others live for so long will come to an end and no trace of their presence in the land will remain. But on the vacated and reclaimed territory the Jews shall again erect their altars, build their houses, plant their gardens; and work the magic they have wrought since 1948 in the partitioned part of the homeland for which they have had to fight every day of their national existence.


And the Israeli Arabs: loyalty shall be demanded and obtained when refusal leads to forfeiture of citizenship. No longer will parties advocating the end of the Jewish state be tolerated in the Knesset. No longer will textbooks promoting Palestinian irredentism be reading material in schools. Arab High Justices of the Supreme Court will sing Hatikva. Arab students at Jewish universities will be expelled if they engage in anti-Israel activities. Mosques will be closed at the slightest hint of Friday sermons calling for sedition and unrest. Who knows? Perhaps Israel will learn a lesson from Japan and ban the Koran. Arab villages will not remain de facto closed to Jewish residence. Any Israeli Arab who attacks Jews or Jewish property will be immediately deported. In the end, the Israeli Arabs who unleashed their sexualized violent impulses on their fellow Jewish citizens will also get the message and leave. In short, what Yoram Hazony called the unfinished business of Zionism will now become a reality. A truly Jewish state shall unfold in Israel, as culturally proud of its tradition as it is of its modern accomplishments, where Synagogue and State are institutionally separate, but both religious and secular, believer and non-believer will raise their eyes to the Temple Mount and be altogether happy that once again the Law comes forth from Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.


Side benefits of a national policy rooted in a realistic assessment of the situation: Jews currently living in exile will finally come home because home will hold the promise of finally being safe. Since the vast majority of them now reside in modern democracies, they will bring with them the expectations of life in a democracy. Israelis will learn to drive without honking their horns every thirty seconds. Queues will be respected. Economic transactions will not have Levantine side clauses, some understood, others in fine print. Civil servants will serve. And maybe, just maybe, representation in the Knesset will be geographically based and elections conducted according to the first past the post system. The spirit of the Maccabees will arise once again in the land, though not, it is to be hoped, the Hasmonean dynasty to which it gave birth. Hannukah, not Purim, will finally be the major national holiday. As for the Jews in the diaspora and even in Israel oblivious to the corrosive effects of having to defend Israel against constant attacks from their neighbors on Israel’s sinful existence, such a firm national response may, if not will, reinforce whatever backbone they still have and reverse the lamentable drift of Jews toward complicity in their own destruction.

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