Wednesday, August 29, 2007

They Don’t Want to be Like Us

A reader from Australia writes:

I have been an avid reader of your forum for over a year now. Recently, due to an injury I have been laid up in bed unable to do much more than read and surf the net from my laptop. Spending the last month reading various sites and blogs has brought me to write the attached essay in memory of Etgar Zitoune - a friend murdered by the Oslo accords. I thought it might interest your readers to hear a point of view from someone who grew up in Australia and lived in Israel for 12 years.


When I went to live in Israel during the early 1990’s, I fell in love with the country. Vibrant people, a country full of extremes, a country filled with people of passion. I loved to walk in Jerusalem. There, on the sidewalk, I met with people dressed in the manner of their religion, The Coptic priest, the Armenian priest, the orthodox Chasidic Jew, the Muslim mufti. The contrast between the Gay Parade in Tel-Aviv on the one hand, and the nation-wide observance of Yom Kippur on the other, inspired me.

The Gay Pride Parade of Tel-Aviv had all the pageantry that you would expect of such an event, a true celebration of Hedonism. And Yom Kippur embodied what you would expect in a Jewish country: the mad rush to get home before the siren sounded signifying the beginning of the holy day. Perfect silence would descend; there was not a single car on the road. Unless you have experienced it, you cannot imagine how magnificent it is that a whole country comes to a stop. Even the most irreligious of Israel respected this tradition.

I am not saying that the Orthodox did not complain and protest the Gay Pride parade; it was their religious obligation to do so, and in a free society it is their right. However, their right to protest was respected, and so was the right of free assembly of the gay community to hold their parade. The successful resolution of the tension between these two extremes are one of the features I loved about Israeli life.

Now to my point:

When the Oslo accords were signed I was ambivalent. However, I said, “who knows, maybe…” I was of the mindset that if you give a sixteen-year old boy an education and the choice between partying (and hopefully a chance of, you know, getting to second base with a girl) or blowing himself up, then this adolescent would choose life. I thought, “who knows maybe this will be the beginning of normalisation of relations with our neighbours. After all we ultimately all care about the same things - putting a roof over our family’s head, feeding them and spending time with them. The line from an old Sting song came to mind: I hope the Russians love their children too.. I knew from experience that our cousins loved their children because both in Israel and in Australia my Muslim friends showed the same devotion to their children that I have for mine.

Very quickly my “maybe” turned into “what the hell is going on here? Why are we continuing with this madness?”

My father-in-law was living with us at the time and he used to ask me why I didn’t want peace. My response was that I would chop off my right arm for peace but I was not willing to slit my throat and kill my children for the peace of the grave.

Of course, I didn’t really believe that peace would happen. My father-in-law accused me of being a pessimist, and then pronounced upon me the worst insult an Israeli can mutter: I was right wing (which was ironic as my father always accused me of being a Socialist). I asked him what he would do as a businessman if a person he went into partnership with did not fulfil a single one of his obligations as agreed upon in their contract, while he, in good faith, had begun fulfilling his part. His immediate response was that he would dissolve the partnership.

I then asked him what he would do if his partner had a “valid” excuse for not fulfilling the first criteria, saying he needed more time. My father in law said that if it was valid, he would let it slide.

I went on: what if his partner offered a valid excuse for the second and third and fourth criteria. My father-in-law said, “well at some point business is business and I should not have to carry someone who is unable to fulfil his part of the contract.” So I asked him to point out to me one thing that Palestinian leadership had done do fulfil their obligations.

“That is different,” he said.

“I know, I answered.” “In business it’s only money. Here…
- - - - - - - - -
it is people’s lives.”

I cannot tell you how often in Israel I heard the words, “How can you think like that? You are an intelligent, educated, thinking woman.” I was told that I was racist for thinking that peace with our Muslim cousins was unattainable.

One of my best friends, a beautiful gentle soul who also happened to be gay, was the most confused by my attitude. Here I was a believing Jewess, fighting for animal rights, chaining myself to trees, fighting for honesty in Government and so on. He could not reconcile my general humanistic demeanour (which, by the way, is very much in keeping with Jewish law) and my adamant stance that Israel was committing suicide in its policy of appeasement and rewarding terror with more concessions. He was constantly trying to explain to me the error of my ways.

I would tell him, “ I am not judging Islam, I am just stating facts. They do things differently to us. If their daughters act in a manner they feel is inappropriate, they kill them. We tell our daughters off and maybe we send them to their room.” I was not judging, I was stating a fact. “They have a problem with a neighbour, they kill them. We will go to the police or make faces at them if we happen to see them in the street.” Again, not judging but stating a fact. “In their culture revenge killing is acceptable. In our culture it is not.”

And then my gentle friend, together with his cousin, was murdered while visiting an Arab village. An Arab friend of ours was with them and he begged the murderers to leave his guests alone as they were with him (up until that point, under the honour system that Arabs had if you visited an Arab village accompanied by an Arab you were safe). The killers placed the gun by the side of my friend’s head and shot it off. They told his Arab friend that if he didn’t shut up he would be next.

Here’s another difference between our culture and that of our Muslim cousins: in the early nineties there was a rash of terror attacks that took the form of knifings. One such attack took place in Tel-Aviv. Immediately, the attacker was set upon by angry Israelis. After they disarmed him, they began beating him. A woman - I think she may have been religious - threw herself between the mob and the terrorist. “We are a rule of law, not a bunch of thugs,” she said. They stopped. She did what she did knowing full well that the mob would not attack her.

So while my friend and his cousin were dragged out of the restaurant where they were eating, no one except for our Muslim friend moved a muscle. I do not believe their failure to react was due to indifference. I believe that those also in the restaurant did not interfere because they knew full well they would suffer the same fate if they said anything. They did indeed live under the tyrannic rule of a bunch of thugs.

Until we recognise these differences and accept them, there cannot be true dialogue and therefore no peace. Our leaders, driven by the left, display the height of arrogance by refusing to acknowledge the culture that they are trying to negotiate with is different to ours. They are patronising in the extreme when they let “our partners in peace” get away with the old mantra, “ we are unable to control the terrorists.”

What are the politically correct left really saying? I believe this is true not just of Israel but of Europe and the rest of the “enlightened West.” They are saying, “let us humour these Muslims. Eventually they’ll get it. I mean who wouldn’t want to be like us - the freethinking, enlightened, wonderful West where everyone is equal, and everyone is free to think and do what they like? Come on, you Muslims can’t really want to live in the prison of that seventh century way of thinking. We of the “enlightened West” are so evolved that we will treat you like three year olds and put up with your tantrums until you mature and grow up.” This kind of thinking is patronising; it is arrogant.

So now I know what they don’t want. They don’t want to be like us at all, and they are willing to kill their children to prevent that from happening.

8 comments:

gun-totin-wacko said...

Wonderfully written. Very touching story, which reminds me of the quote from Golda Meir that "we'll have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."

Some Muslims do, but many don't. Especially the "Palestinians". And that's the tragedy of the entire Mideast.

turn said...

There can be no peace (other than the peace of the grave) so long as Islam demands the Da'ar al Islam.

Submit or die.

AWOL Civilization said...

The Oslo Accords marked the formal adoption of the Israeli Left's cynical and idolatrous use of the word "peace." It soon became a national mantra; the population was enslaved to it. A word that is the ultimate statement of the surrender of civilized people to barbarism. There is no other word that more clearly symbolizes the slide of Europe (and the Jews along with it) into the nightmare that began in 1939--think Chamberlain. Not to mention, of course, the skillful use of "peace" in Soviet propaganda.

The modern State of Israel was founded by Socialists. Up until this day, their ideological heirs hold an iron grip on the media, adademia, the arts, and the top tier of the military. The Left built Israel, and the Left is in the process of dismantling it.

ZionistYoungster said...

AWOL Civilization,

It should be noted that the Left that founded Israel isn't the Left that rules Israel today, just as the American Left now is far removed from that of FDR's day.

For more than three decades of Israel's existence, the Left was self-confident, patriotic and willing to stand Israel's ground. Leftists David Ben Gurion (Israel's George Washington), Levi Eshkol (victor of the 1967 War) and Golda Meir ("There will be peace when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us") were no concessionists, and it was right-winger Menachem Begin who conceded Sinai to Egypt. The difference between Left and Right in Israel for all that period was their views on economics. The polarity between "concessionist, dovish Left" and "hardline, hawkish Right" in Israel is a relatively recent development.

AWOL Civilization said...

Zionist Youngster,

Your points are well taken, but I would argue that the early Left already contained the seeds of its later demise. Yes, Ben-Gurion and Co. were tough, but they were Socialists. They were building a Socialist Jewish State. The Jewish national aspect per se was flimsy. Go talk to the oldest members of a Hashomer HaTsair kibbutz to get a demonstration of what I'm talking about.

Fast forward to the heirs of Ben-Gurion: Yossi Sarid, Yossi Beilin, etc. When the original emotional ferment of nation-building became depleted, all that remained was the Socialist core. On the Jewish side of things, they don't have a clue. Result: Oslo.

ZionistYoungster said...

AWOL Civilization,

Your analysis is basically right.

Jewish nationalism is based on the religion (see also my latest post for a lengthy elaboration). Ben Gurion's generation were all childhood recipients of religious (Orthodox Jewish) education. Most of them left the religion, but Jewish nationalism stayed in them as a residue.

That generation tried to pass national feeling to the next. However, without the religious basis, their attempts not only failed, they backfired. The religious basis prepares the Jew for a long haul; without it, all that is left is the notion of "being a normal nation, living a peaceful, undisturbed life like all others". Hence, by 1993, after 45 years of wars punctuated by periods of ceasefire in between, the new Israelis were yearning for a quick and negotiated way to normality. As you said, the result was Oslo.

After the seven "give peace a chance" years, 1993-2000, came the Second Intifada, erupting in October 2000, and involving the Arabs of the pre-1967 territories for the first time since 1949, and the Israeli Jewish public was abruptly jolted out of the vision it had striven to maintain in the face of all previous setbacks (the bus bombings starting in 1994, for example). The immediate result was a great rightward shift. After that, there started a process of movement toward religion. I'm part of both. A writer on Arutz Sheva whose name eludes me at the moment gave it the name, "Post-Post-Zionism".

In all the non-Muslim world, the first step to salvation will be the same: post-posting. Post-modernism, post-colonialism, post-liberalism, post-rationalism and all the other "posts" will have to be "posted" themselves, and then the self-confidence will be regained that is necessary for repulsing the Islamic threat.

The Graduate said...

One of the events that brought about the change for many of the thinking leftists (please note that in Israel Left and Right are defined only by pro concessions to the "Palestinians" and againts concessions to the "fictional entinty known as the Palestinians") I think was the Ramallah Lynchings. Up until then I had freinds talking about hiring buses and going to Gaza and throwing flowers at the rioters. I personally kept wondering if I had been somehow dropped into some sort of alternate world where everyone was nuts and I was the only normal one ... but I digress. With the lynching however, came the unerstanding for many of the thinking peacenicks that at the end of the day it was going to be a fight to the death. The images of the mob with the blood and gore on their hands and their joy at ripping apart living human beings was something that no amount of spin could erase or whitewash.

Profitsbeard said...

"Peace" with Adolf didn't turn out so well.

Muslims were Adolf's allies in WW II.

They still are.

The Koran is the Mein Kampf (My Jihad) of the Mohammedans.

I guess not enough Jews read anymore.

Except their own obituaries.

The should try "Night" by Eli Weisel, and for Nazi, substitute Jihadi.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

Or, simply, OY VEY!