Israel, Moral Values, and the Future

Israel, Moral Values, and The Future

More than anything else, the issue of Israel’s future is a moral one. Prior to the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948, a date that Palestinians call “The Nakba” (Catastrophe), Israel’s founders made the decision to cleanse Palestine of its non-Jewish indigenous population and replace it with Jews, most of whom came from Europe. More than 10,000 Palestinians were killed and 750,000 fled to nearby countries. Israeli forces (The Stern Gang, Irgun and other Jewish terrorist groups) justified the slaughter by claiming they were attacked first, (as if Palestinians should have simply given up when they were attacked).

It is a familiar scenario: an invading group steals the land of a people they regard as subhuman, sets out to destroy them, then blames the violence on the victims. The invaders are rewarded with a new state called Israel, within specific borders. The plight of the Palestinian people was conveniently ignored. The invaders are portrayed as heroes, the Palestinian victims as the enemy, and the world conveniently shrugs its shoulders and moves on, leaving the invaders to construct a nation on stolen property. The Palestinian people? They are treated with contempt and portrayed as terrorists whenever they resist. Moral issues? The world pretends they don’t exist. But like it or not, they do.

On the issue of Israel and the Palestinian people, Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu recently repeated his assertion that the only acceptable agreement with Palestinians is that Israel will keep all of Jerusalem and control a large part of the West Bank, justifying himself by saying that the core of the dispute is not land claims, but a Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish people’s ancient connection to the land. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman agreed, saying that “We are fighting for the lands of the Jewish people and there are those who would intentionally try to rob and seize them. It’s not a social problem, or housing crisis, it’s a fight for land, ever since the 19th century.” The claim that the Jewish people have an ancient connection to the land, and because of that, have a right to take back the land as theirs, is both obnoxious and absurd.

If true, as a descendant of my French immigrant great-grandfather Martin Gerard, I have a right to go to the small French village of Hartzviller, France, a village of some 900 residents in The Lorraine, and lay claim to any piece of property that I want. You can imagine the response: the gendarmes are called, I am arrested, given a mental exam, and deported to the United States. An ancient connection to Palestine, real or imaginary, does not bring with it the right to attack a people, kill as many of them as possible, steal their land, then persecute them, treating them as if they are subhuman, nothing more than cockroaches. Is this an extreme picture of reality? I don’t think so.

In a museum at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, tombstones cover the walls of a series of rooms, each one commemorating a single Jewish community destroyed by Hitler’s Nazis. Where is the museum commemorating the Palestinian communities destroyed by Israel?

 * * *

Thirty-two years after the atrocity of Kristallnacht, West German Foreign Minister Walter Scheel toured Auschwitz, accompanied by two other West German officials. At the conclusion of his visit, he wrote this in the camp’s guest book: “In the face of this horror, of this inhumanity, it will be our duty to safeguard these highest values — the dignity of man, peace among peoples.”

* * *

A woman and her husband sit on the balcony of their home late one afternoon. The husband sips a cup of coffee while his wife embroiders a gift for a granddaughter. Suddenly a shot rings out. The grandmother slumps in her chair, a sniper’s bullet in her head.

A fourteen year old boy walks home from school. A shot rings out, and he falls dead, shot in the back by a sniper standing in front of his school. In both cases, the snipers are pleased with themselves.

In the Galilee, Israel’s government plans to create new Jewish communities in an attempt to “Judaize” the Galilee which, according to the government, has too many Palestinians living in it. If you’re wondering where the government will get the land to create these new communities, it will be from land appropriated (confiscated) from Palestinian citizens. This has gone on from the beginning.

Israeli Occupation Forces of the IDF, once advertised by the Israeli government as “the world’s most moral army”, demolish the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev for the 82nd time since 2010. It is one of some 40 villages unrecognized by Israel, some of them older than Israel itself. The Negev constitutes roughly 40% of historic Palestine, and is home to nearly two hundred thousand Palestinians. If the controversial Prawer Plan becomes law, which it is likely to do, between 40,000 and 70,000 of the Negev’s Bedouins will be forced into crowded cities.

Richard Forer, one time AIPAC supporter, reported this from a friend in Khan Younis: “Gaza Dying. It is zero degrees right now with a new storm forecast for later in the week. Many of Rana’s neighbors are in the hospital. The streets are filled with sewage. Israel let loose a couple of dams, the sole purpose apparently to make life harder than it already is for the people. . . Electricity is available only a few hours per day. People are freezing to death and starving.

“This is not warehoused slaughter like Nazi Germany,” he goes on to say, it is “the opportunistic use of bad weather to wear Palestinians down and let them know that their destiny is being manipulated by and is subject to the whims of a cruel and sadistic oppressor with no regard for their well being.” “Cruel and sadistic,” remember that. It is strong stuff, and it badly needs to be said.

“We have no solution…” Israeli general and hero Moshe Dayan once said; “You [Palestinians] shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads.”

* * *

What is wrong with the picture I have painted above? From the standpoint of acceptable standards of behavior and morality, everything is wrong with it. Moshe Dayan’s cruel remark is the kind of thing one expects from a leader of an abusive and sadistic nation, not a nation that represents itself as a beacon of freedom and democracy. From the beginning, Israel’s leaders have tried to build a vibrant society for Jews only, shoving Palestinians and others to the sidelines like slaves or, as Dayan said, “like dogs”. The kind of nation that results from this kind of behaviour is an abusive one, one that healthy people leave, leaving behind the sadists (“It is acceptable to kills a goyim baby.”), racists, those in denial, and violence toward people who are considered “in the way,” including African black Jews who, it seems aren’t acceptable because they’re not white.

To deny this, as the US government has done all along, and as US Secretary of State John Kerry continues to do when he presents a two-state solution as anything but farcical, is a travesty, a deliberate ignoring of the facts on the ground, and an appalling moral failure. As Richard Forer said in a recent blog post, “decent people do not support the Israeli government’s assault on the indigenous people of the land it claims exclusively for itself, nor do decent people pander to phoney claims of security by a nation whose behavior in the name of security and in the name of the Jewish people incites anti-Semitism, making Jews around the world less secure.”

The moral standard mentioned by Walter Scheel is the standard we all must work from: In the far of this inhumanity, it is our duty to safeguard these highest values: the dignity of mankind and peace among peoples. That Israel fails the test so blatantly is no longer a secret. If it is allowed to continue along its path, it will become even more violent, abusive and sadistic.

Nelson Mandela once said “You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.” Abusive people neither accept nor understand this. If Israel’s leadership does not change, I do not see Israel having a viable future at all. Where things are at present, it is careening toward a precipice. That is what dysfunctional, abusive systems ultimately do.

* * *

In the face of this horror, of this inhumanity, what questions should we be asking of ourselves, our friends, our representatives in government, and Israel? The questions, I think, are at the very least these:

l. Does our support of Israel support the dignity of man and peace among peoples? If it doesn’t, what does it support?
2. When the evidence is so clear that Israel’s behavior toward the Palestinian people is an act of persistent ethnic cleansing, why does our government turn a blind eye at the evidence and continue supporting Israel?
3. What am I willing to do to help right this wrong and support the dignity of man and peace among peoples?
4. What is my first step going to be, and when will I take it?
“I had no epiphany,” said Nelson Mandela, “no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities and a thousand unremembered moments produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people. There was no particular day on which I said, ‘Henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people’; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.”

The Palestinian people are my people, just as they are yours. It is time to bring an end to the travesty in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights. If we wish peace among peoples, this is a good place to begin.

The only future Israel has, as I see it, is as a nation for all its people, not just the Jewish ones. We the people must keep pressing until they make this change. If we do not, then the results are on our shoulders. My hat is off to all of those good people who stand on the principles of the dignity of mankind and peace among peoples and in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their fight for the right to be treated with respect and dignity and allowed to return to their homeland.

As for Israel, it will become a nation of all its people, a nation in which all its people enjoy the same rights, or it will disappear.

About gwpj

Originally from Seattle, I now live in Sapporo, Japan, where I write, explore this city, read widely, and ask questions about things that i see as important. I'm also an author, with three novels published ("The Old Man and The Monkey", "Grandfather and The Raven", and "Bear: a story about a boy and his unusual dog"). For more information about my writing, drop by my website, at
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6 Responses to Israel, Moral Values, and the Future

  1. shatara46 says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. The above, a well-written article, indeed, and the sentiments well expressed, but I have “seen” man in his mindset as a species, and the problem does not lie with this or that group; this or that belief in this or that god, nor in politics, but in man. In every individual, male or female, old or young. People who stand against the atrocities committed by Israel (or ISIL) today are just as likely; as prone, to commit same, and worse given a change of circumstances. That is man’s history, like it or not. What, then, needs to change before all of that horror ends, or before man destroys himself and his world? An individual must change his mind. It all rests in an individual change of mind about literally everything. It is not a matter of one group supporting another in solidarity against a current horror; that does not work, and I, for one, have no use for exercises that have no hope of ever succeeding. The lesson of history proves this saying: “To expect a different result by doing the same thing over and over is a sure sign of insanity.” Of course I realize that in this world, I’m the one who is insane for thinking the impossible, but I’ve been taught that nothing is impossible: it only seems so. I do not vote; I do not join support or protest groups; I do not engage “movements” that seek to change the world. I know what that is, I’ve tried it all and history proves beyond any doubt that every collective effort to make change only results in more of the same. Every change for good has morphed itself into a change for evil, sooner or later. Every world-changer, every way-shower has failed. Some of the best known and most popular have failed even more than others, namely, Buddha, Jesus the Christ and Mohammed. What are we to learn from them? From those who now form groups claiming to be their followers? Have they not all, or at the very least their leadership, become self-serving with whatever power their allegiance to their “lords” has given them? And now, despite overwhelming evidence against it, many who turn against their old gods are making “science” into their new god. But science is the god that has arisen from the age of plunder of the world by the “conquistadores” of western empires; science makes war easier to wage and peace much more difficult to attain because science will, first and foremost serve the oppressors and warmongers – in every case. Science makes it easier to oppress. As for politics and money, are they not the real oppressors, all of them, wherever they are to be found? You cannot plead, beg or force one political or financial hand to go against another – they are a brotherhood of blood and they will only oppose another of the brotherhood where there is rapine, profit and power to be gained. This is what life on earth has taught me. I do not expect agreement, for such is not the way of man – not yet – not for many years to come. Man, individual by individual must ultimately become an empath through compassion. Remember this: one by one. That is the only “power” that can destroy the power of collectives. Only then will there no longer be a “them versus us.”

    • gwpj says:

      The problem, I believe, is putting trust in groups that emerge from the lives of people like Gandhi, MLK, Jr., and others. The leap (or slide) from individual responsibility to change ourselves, to depending on a group, is natural and it is, as you say, destructive of individual growth and responsibility. Like you, I’m not a “joiner”, I don’t belong to entities (clubs, churches, etc.), and those I’ve joined (like a professional association) I’ve not been active in. My focus is on changing me, and helping others to do the same.

      Can we bring about change without organizations? I think we can. It’s a great topic for discussion. Thanks for your comment, Shatara46.

      • shatara46 says:

        From my (non-earth) Teachers: “Trust no one and nothing.” Ok, so they aren’t concerned about hurt feelings, they care for results, and real change, so they may not seem very diplomatic. I did ask for clarification on the trust thing. Here’s the explanation. When you put your trust in something or someone, you give a part of yourself to that thing or person and you lose personal power in the exchange. Let’s remember the first and second law of thermodynamics. You doubly lose by putting your life (in a very real sense) in someone else’s hands. Plus, if it’s a person you trust, you make a covenant with that person to remain faithful to that trust, hence you also disempower that other person by taking something of theirs for yourself. It may seem a good thing on the surface, but it’s a trap. Say the trust is violated. Now you go from, “I trust you” to “I trusted you!” and now that other has failed you. This is exactly how the God of Earthians operates. It’s always some sort of deal; some energy exchange and the Earthian always ends up with the short end of the stick, quite predictably: it can’t be any other way because it’s a setup. When we need to trust something or someone outside ourselves, we are broadcasting our lack of self-empowerment and making ourselves targets of unscrupulous “others” or if not, at least untrustworthy others and of course observation clearly shows that all “others” are by nature untrustworthy, at some point or other, in some way or other. Another thing is, to put trust in another person, a lover for example, is to put saddle them with a terrible burden which most people accept because they cannot sense their energy loss in the exchange. That trust will fail when too much energy is taken from the object the trust is put into. Trusting is a curse, not a sign of love at all. Again, self-empowerment through compassion negates the need for trusting. The above may appear to be twisted reasoning but if it is followed through, I think it can be seen how trust is a tool of disempowerment.
        Here’s a good quote, for a chuckle: “We are here on earth to do good unto others. What others are here for, I have no idea.” (W. H. Auden) Of course, using the reasoning of the Teachers, that’s the ticket: knowing why I’m here (and living it) and never mind why anyone else is, it’s none of my concern.

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