Friday, March 3, 2006

On War Criminals, on both sides

Prof. Ruth Lapidot, who is about to receive "The Israel Award," called it "a very good judicial system":

And, here is the reality:

I know that I'm going to step on very sensitive nerves here, but I have to say this: Prof. Lapidot says that since Israel has "a very good judicial system", there is no need to prosecute Military officers in the International Court. My opinion is, that prosecuting Dan Halutz, Mofaz and other major officers is the only way that these issues will be ever addressed, just as it was done against South Africa, because of the way Israel is treating her own issued reports.
As hard as it may sound to you guys, I truly think that Israel resembles the Apartheid to a great degree...

To which my dear friend Yair responded:

Please tell me you do not support what is going on against Israeli officers in Europe. I just read about, it and about how the Hamas leaders can travel all over the world while Israeli officers can not. If you tell me you support any of this outrageous activity, it will be a new mark in our relations.
Being left wing is one thing, being anti Israeli, as you were in some events, is way way way over the limit.

So I wrote to him:

I think that once again you confuse anti-terrorism and anti-humanism with anti-Israelism. I am an Israeli who is 100% in favor of my country, and THEREFORE I think that war criminals such as Halutz and Mofaz must be punished. Yesh Gevul has tried to bring them to court in Israel, but the supreme court has not been willing to rule in the case for a few years now. Note: they didn't say "this is not a judicial issue, therefore we wont discuss it", or: "we decree that under these circumstances, it is a necessary evil to do Targeted Killing", as you would expect if there was no case - it looks like they think that there IS a case, so they don't want to rule. Yesh Gevul didn't want to take this to the ICJ, but the "good judicial system" of Israel does not do it's duty (even to dismiss the case!), so they had no choice if they didn't want to be passive supporters of these crimes. Read Akiva Eldar for yourself! Who is supposed to take care of settlements, who the government of Israel itself declared as illegal? Where is the Attorney General? Where are the judges? This has become almost exactly like South Africa, and only international pressure can be effective here.
I am writing this with goose bumps and my hands are sweating. It's very difficult for me to be against everybody, I don't like it at all. But I truly believe in that, after thinking about this every day, a few times a day, of the past 24 years.
I once asked a Jewish lawyer who is involved in this activity, why everybody is after Israeli officers and nobody says anything about the Hamas and other terrorists. He replied that we, the Israelis, are after the Hamas, and nobody is really doing anything to Israeli war criminals. I think that he is right.
I'm sorry, our friendship is precious to me but I cannot lie to you nor to myself. I will understand you if this will be the last email you''ll read from me... Sorry for the tragic situation.

Then Yair wrote:
This is the third answer I amwriting (the previous two were not sent). I envy you Avner - you always have the answers and you always know what is right.
Let's just summarize what we do not agree upon:
Haluz = Yassin
Israel = South Africa
Avner = Mother Theresa
Yair = Kadima supporter
I believe you that your hand are shaking and I also believe that when you're older and our hands really shake you'll remember these days with shame. Just like Jane Fonda members her visit to the Vietnamese base.
Shabat Shalom

I wrote:
If you don't want to talk about this, that's fine. But your reply was unfair.
I don't have all the answers. I just have an opinion. It's different then yours, sorry about that.
Halutz is not like Yassin (he is more handsome). He is like Barguti maybe.
Israel is less racist than SA, but resembles it to the extent that deserves much criticism. Not everything that is not the holocaust, is right. The holocaust was so immense, and South Africa was SO racist, that even 1/10 of that is bad enough. Sometimes what kills an elephant, can be good to kill a fly. Mishlei Esopus.
I am no Mother Theresa. Therefore I hate, and therefore I was not sad when Arafat died, and I wont be sad when Sharon will pass away, either. That's not nice to say, and that's no Mother Theresa but that's me. You can vote Kadima if you like, no hard feelings. That's a legitimate party.
Shabat Shalosh.

Yair wrote:
One more thing.
Behind all the racism in Israel there is one thinking. WE actually do not want the Arabs in Israel to feel at home. And you know what, I can understand this. Had the Arab countries accepted us after 1948, it would have beed different, totally different. I trully believe that Israelis (all of them) would have accepted Arabs as their neighbours, their coworkers and so on. We are pretty good people inside and I truly believe we are better than others. The war situation between Arab countries and Israel (Ahmadinajad was not the first to talk like that) caused Israelis to be very suspectful towards all Arabs. That caused the discrimination (that I admit exists). And that's why comparing us to SA is wrong. You can compare us to the Greek/Turkey situation. There is not much love there and a Greek will not feel at home in Turkey. That doesn't mean Turkey is racist toward Greeks and vice versa. In SA, blacks were slaves, in Israel Israeli Arabs are not slaves, they are not first class citizens because deep inside we suspect tht they all want to get rid of us. The fact that legally they have all the rights (voting, universities and more) proves that in a perfect situation they would have been perfect citizens.
Bottom line, we (Jews) are better then other nations and that includes our army, our judicial system and more. The reason I call you Theresa is that you don't think it's enough and ignore (I think) the global reasons why things are as they are.
Having said that, we still agree that we (Israelis) have to clean the bad and rotten apples we have and we have a lot of them (because of the situation). Halutz, in my opinion, does not deserve in any context to be called one of these apples.

To which I responded:
Here you make some very good points, which I find very difficult to argue with. I agree that the Arabs did not and do not make my task as an extreme leftist very easy, because they have screwed things up much more than necessary, for their basically right cause of getting independence. The fact that they didn't accept us here 60 years (= a long time) ago is true. I can understand that they felt that they were required to pay off for the result of the holocaust, which they had nothing to do with. It is easy to get carried away by hatred when new people take over your land, even when it's done perfectly legally, and people in this situation are very much prone to instigation. Having said that, I completely don't justify taking violent measures. But I think that we can understand them, with all the evil that they (some of them) did, at least to the extent that people expect me to understand the settlers, with all the evil that they (some of them) have done. And I still believe that basically they are no different then us, but they were instigated by some evil leaders to do that. I can realte to your feeling, that we are basically good people inside, but I think that we are not aware that the Arabs feel exactly the same about themselves, and they don't understand how we can be so evil to them. This is another example of how good people can sometimes do evil things. As you know, I think that this insight applies to all people, Jews included. Sorry, but I see a complete symmetry here. This is not because I'm more sensitive than you are, I just happen to think differently for some strange reason. But in light of your good points it is very difficult for me to back this opinion of mine. I still think so but I cannot prove it. I may be just a stupid stubborn, but I think that I'm in good company of most people who wont change their minds even if you show them day from night.

We are repeating these things over and over again, but I still find it interesting.



  1. Oi Avner Avner,

    All religions are the same, yes sure, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Budhism - all the same.

    All persecuted and killed. All are missionary religions.

    Ma Yihye Itcha ???????

    I was watching today Israelis who went to plant olive trees in Kfar Salem to compensate for the terrible deeds of their brothers and I actually thought of you, I kind of don't see that happening (the latter event) on the other side.

    And, again, Dan Halutz as a terrorist, come on (but you probably will not come on, "Ish Beemunato Yichye".

    Bye for now

  2. Yair my friend,

    Not all religions are the same, but all people (on average) are the same. Given the same circumstances, I believe that when SOME Jews will feel in power, and gain confidence, they will start doing the same (Hevron, Goldstein, Etze"l and Lech"i etc. are just the start). Yes, we haven't got as far as massive genocide, but that's not because our religion prohibits it. Here is why I think so:
    1. Our religion allows killing people for just collecting wood for the fire in Shabbat. True, we don't actually do that, again - because of different circumstances. But it's the law! So we may start doing it one day.
    2. Our religion doesn't allow many horrible things, which religious people actually DO, without any shame.

    It's not our religion that prevents us from doing it! It's our values!! And our values are deteriorating.

    Yes, Halutz is a terrorist although he looks like Yefe Ha-Blorit Ve-Hato'ar, a good looking pilot and "salt of the land" and all that. He is responsible for the deaths of tens of innocent people, and that's terror. Defending his country you say? Yeah, right, so were the Shahids may they burn in hell.


  3. Did you read this? -

    Khaled Mash'al (Head of Hamas in Damascus), as quoted in Newsweek recently:

    "Even if all die here, we will never recognize agree to recognize Israel."

    See? The problem is not Territorial, it's Principal. They just don't want us here, and that includes Tel-Aviv, Haifa, and every other part of the Land.

  4. "They" = Hamas; have been voted for by the majority of Palestinian

  5. Khaled Mash'al doesn't represent all the Hamas. It's easy for him to preach to die when he is sitting in damascus. Most Hamas leaders don't want to die for this cause. They are declaring that they want all of Israel, just like our criminal politicians that declare one thing, and do the opposite. But in reality they are very pragmatic.
    Plus, most palestinians don't agree with Hamas agenda, they voted for them just like 600,000 israelis voted for Sha"s. But it's very easy for us to say that "all palestinians are Hamas" because then we don't have to talk to anybody and we can continue the occupation, which is really what we want (the majority of us, that is).