Dear Family and Friends: (please feel free to pass around
— If you are new and want my first two updates, please let me know — also if you want off the list)
If you live in Israel you are totally glued to the news. It is an overwhelming feeling of pensiveness — not gloom, but a subdued pensiveness (it is perfectly described in this op-ed: http://www.timesofisrael.com/hushed-determined-israel-in-a-war-for-our-home/
). There is a quiet respect as people go about their business for those in our thoughts in the midst of battle defending our country. Whom else will fall in battle? Calling friends with family in the IDF to check on them. Looking at pictures of our fallen heroes and seeing if you recognize a face or name. One death just announced is from my friend’s community, Hosahya — they have known many losses since this is a very Zionist village in the Lower Galilee and many go into fighting units — and he has the same name as our son, Oren. I even checked to see if I knew one of the fallen on Linked-in: he looked like many of my high-tech colleagues. I was relieved he was not in my network and then felt guilty for that feeling. I just heard that one soldier is MIA and knowing the disregard for human life that characterizes Hamas towards their own population, I worry deeply for him. The IDF sets up a field hospital for wounded Gaza-ins — I doubt the same is accorded our citizens.
As I wrote one of my Christian friends in Texas: “I am quite sad right now. the whole country is very subdued losing so many brave young men. Because we are a citizen’s army defending ourselves close to home (the war is a 3 hour drive from my house though I live “far away”) everyone feels it. And the sense of worldwide antisemitism is scary — it is a herpes-like virus that is always present though not necessarily manifest (what does chanting “kill the Jews” have to do with a war in Israel). The level of antisemitism in the Arab Muslim community is extraordinary but not unexpected. A poorly publicized fact is that many Arab states sided with the Nazi’s during WW II and the head (Grand Mufti) of the Palestinian community lived with Hitler in Berlin and recruited Bosnian Muslims as SS soldiers. He was also planning concentration camps in Israel after, he thought, the Nazi’s would win.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relations_between_Nazi_Germany_and_the_Arab_world
) I forgot to mention to my friend that this anti-Semitic leader of the Palestinians, Haj Amin al-Husseini is today lauded by Palestinians as a national hero.
We have a concept here called “lone soldiers”. They are people (not all necessarily Jews, though many are) who come to serve 3 years in the IDF. They have no family here so the IDF has a special program to create a support network and “family” for them. It is a great example of the human quality to our Army. One lone soldier just died in battle and there was a fear expressed by his family in the States that few would come to his funeral since he is alone. Get this: over 20,000 people showed up to his funeral due to a quick notice on Facebook and a connection to the fact it became known he was a fan of a certain soccer team. Amazing. (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4547994,00.html
For a very powerful first person account of what is going on from the former President of the Weizmann Institute of Science, I have attached his letter below.
Let me give you some of my most recent observations:
We also feel that the playbook used by Hamas, as I described in my last email, to place their civilians in harms way as a religious and social imperative puts Israel at a great disadvantage. (http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/21/opinion/oren-hamas-media-strategy/) ( I have also attached a WSJ the article since it needs a subscription to access on-line). You may also see this from Palestinian Media Watch: http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=12117. And the press is totally complicit in this farce and give strength to the efforts by Hamas to risk civilians. Constant quoting from “Palestinian Health Sources in Gaza” — of numbers of Palestinians killed or quoting from the “unbiased” U.N. that 70% are civilian is a total lie and you need to write to your local papers to start contextualizing that these numbers are completely biased in order to put pressure on Israel to stop defending itself. Here are some relevant analysis: http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/07/21/al-jazeera-publishes-updated-list-of-gaza-dead-analysis-confirms-israel-tageting-combatants/ and
And the pièce de résistance are instructions that Hamas openly publish on how to up the civilian numbers: (http://www.truthrevolt.org/israel-revolt/hamas-instructing-people-how-lie-about-civilian-casualties
I just checked on Wikipedia how many civilians were killed in just the first month of the U.S. invasion in Iraq (March 2003) – it was 3,977!, and April it was 3,437 (I attached the table of civilian casualties by month throughout the Iraqi war). This was just for starters. And the level of civilian casualties due to NATO bombing during the Bosnian crisis, between 1,200 and 5,700, were described as a necessary evil by NATO spokespeople at the time. I can’t help but feel the anti-Semitic aspect of what is going on with Israel on this score. Between the misrepresentation of civilian casualties in Gaza, the participation of the press in this fraud (even if they are not biased, which many are, against Israel, they need to offer the Hamas party line as fact) and the sheer effort on the IDF’s part to keep civilian casualties down in spite of the use of civilians as human shields — you have to ask yourself what is really going on. But each of you can make a difference by being a messenger of the facts and shed light to your friends and colleagues on what is really going on and write letters to the press — constantly.
I am most depressed right now regarding Obama’s and Kerry’s attempt to interfere in a way completely unhelpful to Israel. It was reflected in the bizarre comments by his Kerry’s staff last night on the way to Egypt. They were lamenting that the situation is more “complicated” than in 2012. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/21/us-palestinians-israel-kerry-idUSKBN0FQ1WF20140721
) That is code for saying, “we liked the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of Egypt” so it would be simpler to control Hamas and add to that Bibi’s abject surrender by apologizing to Turkey for their terrorism on the high seas as dictated by Obama during his visit and you get a clear sense that something is seriously amiss with Obama and the State Depart and that Obama is playing with real fire here (we should never forget what he did with his Cairo speech — this is but a continuation — by elevating the Muslim Brotherhood during his “Islam reset” speech) and that Israel needs to decide whether it needs to “out” the U.S. on the subterfuge. I have not slept in days. I am exhausted worrying about the type of pressure the U.S. exerts by suggesting that if we do not behave the U.S. will throw us to the European and U.N. wolves. This is too important and the Muslim Brotherhood must be defeated now. We MUST defeat this anti-Semitic, fascist, murderous, dictatorial regime. We may never have this window like this again and we have already paid a high price in the deaths of our son’s and brother’s to allow their memory to be sacrificed on the alter of political expediency.
This battle between Egypt and Saudi Arabia (and other Sunni countries) who know how murderous and dangerous the Muslim Brotherhood is, which includes Hamas as one of it’s off springs, and Turkey and Qatar who are the MB’s big supporters on the other side is a serious issue that the U.S is completely out of its depth to understand or control. When you add to that Iran’s desire to support arch-enemy Sunni Hamas in order to destabilize Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni countries, you realize that there is a big picture going on and that Hamas should get no support, regardless of how many pictures of dead babies (including many pictures taken from other conflicts) Hamas tries to use to influence U.S. opinion. http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/a-war-made-in-iran/ http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/07/19/irans_fingerprints_all_over_hamasisrael_conflict.html
Lastly, it is once in a while a relief to watch a show where someone tells it like it is: Bill Maher. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1zzlXleHU4. The best part of the show is when he talks about the “professional” refugee status of Palestinians towards the end of the clip. Given what is going on in Iraq, Syria and many other places in the world where refugees are be manufactured by the millions, you got to ask yourself whether antisemitism again plays a role in this one-sided story (of course it does –“that shitty little country Israel”… as a French diplomat referred to us. “Why,” he asked, “should the world be in danger of World War Three because of those people?” (http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/ShittyLittleCountry.html)). Thank you Bill.
I thought I was going to have space to discuss more about Arab/Muslim culture in the Middle East, but this email is already a little long. I just want to refer you to an acquaintance of mine who is an extraordinary ME scholar and reads/writes/speaks all the local languages: Dr. Harold Rhode (http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/biography/Harold+Rhode
). All his writings are powerful and very educational: here is just one example but you can peruse the Gatestone Institute for more information. http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3844/honor-compromise-middle-east
. This Institute has tons of information on what really happens on this side of the Globe. Another of my favorites is a Journalist who spends most of his time talking to his colleagues in the Arab world — without attribution, of course. Since he is a Palestinian Muslim who lives in Jerusalem and gets the issues big time is http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/author/Khaled+Abu+Toameh
. As you read about this culture, about honor, compromise, intimidation, strong-horse, etc., you need to understand that it’s very hard to speak the truth in that part of the world. It’s more like Russia under Stalin. It’s not just physical threats but the threat of social ostracization which is very shameful for Arabs. And Westerners just don’t get it — I was watching a BBC interview this morning and a Gaza-ian said: we would rather not go with Hamas — but that is dangerous for us. And the reporter let that pass without a comment in her summing up. Of course, she wants access and is willing to pay the price by being complicit with the dictatorship of thought and ideology.
Regardless of where you live please do your part to get the message out.