I find this is a very dangerous way to think. Don’t you think so? I know it is Survival Think, but…
What if…North Korea decides to think that way?
I think that they already do.
What does it take to feel safe? Is there a point at which we lose our humanity in that elimination of what threatens our feeling of safety?
That is why I suggested the idea Rami threw out, and that was find a way to humanize our global community.
It is no “skin off your nose”, really, Noggin, none at all, that the innocent must die for you—for us—to feel safe? Children are dying. Does this not sadden you in any way? If it was your child, then it would be different?
I think I am one of the more bleeding hearts on this forum. To a fault. I write poetry about how this world is vicious and barbaric, I recently came out of about a three month long period where, after waking up to the fact that there is no god, this world is truly a twisted, yet beautiful place.
I posted about the various massacres at Angola Africa in the mid 1990’s, and Nanking. I don’t know why I feel compelled to explain this. Probably because I came off calloused.
And you know…. it is a very thin line to walk. On one hand I feel like there must be a measure of pro active defense so that I can sleep at night knowing the “bad guys” are held at bay by whatever means that requires… and on the other hand, barbaric and viciousness is often employed to achieve that end and as you point out, these people dying on the other end are other human’s offspring.
Fascinating stuff, annalise.
You do not know these children. They do not speak your language. They are, in fact, quite removed from your daily reality. You might never think of them at all. That is why it’s easier. A general knows one must never put a human face on one’s enemy, else all is lost.
I have to ask. Did you happen to catch the front page article of this past Sunday’s New York Times? It was a well written article on Ghana, Africa’s forced slave labor trade.
I was deeply affected as I read captions to my wife about a little 6 year old boy, Mark, sold into slavery by his family for about $20 per year… under promises that their son would eventually have an education but more real was the need to eat. Farm your children out for years so that you can eat! Mark was routinely beaten by his master because he could not paddle hard enough (I have a 4 year old, so I was picturing this vividly). When the journalist asked Mark why he was there the boy responds
Because my parents don’t like me anymore.
He also confessed that he thought about running away. And that he could not paddle hard because he could barely lift the paddle’s weight.
And that breaks my heart. Immediately, I contacted the Ghana, Accra office for Unicef. Something had to be done.
There is a cost that must be paid for the elimination of a clear and present danger, and let me not in any way say that I would not pay it. BUT I did not believe, and still do not believe, that Iraq was in any way a clear and present danger to the interests of the United States. That case has still not been made to the satisfaction of anyone other than those who wholeheartedly, unquestioningly, follow Bush.
I think my comments were more along the lines, annalise, of the US soldier fending daily for his right to live amidst the chaos over there… regardless of the ideological machinations as to why he was there.
there is that fine line again. My country’s men have a right to live and if that means killing another human being so that he can live, so be it. And I present myself as calloused. Look. I can only hope that the opposition understands that he/she can choose to not die by not trying to harm the american soldier. If he/she knows this, and continues to risk their life for their ideals, then he has made his choice in pittance. Both sides of the fight have a chance to live or die.
I think I am one of the more bleeding hearts on this forum. To a fault.
You made me smile when I read that. There is a point at which empathy becomes a fault? I cannot think that. I think empathy or love can never be faulted, only what we do or do not do because of them. But to love deeply or empathize with your whole heart ought not be touched by a judgment of “fault”.
I don’t know why I feel compelled to explain this. Probably because I came off calloused.
That was why I asked. Perhaps you really meant to sound as you did, though I did not think so. I find that most people are inherently good and caring. It is only that they are caught up in their own reality and are unaware of the things that are around them.
And you know…. it is a very thin line to walk.
I have to ask. Did you happen to catch the front page article of this past Sunday’s New York Times?
No, I did not catch that one in particular [thank you, btw, for providing the link. I read it all.]. I am not unfamiliar with the situation in Africa. It was once a dream of mine to work for Medicins Sans Frontier [Doctors Without Borders]. I am learning French right now with the thought that I will one day go to Africa in some capacity.
Africa is our [the industrialized world] great shame. I think the measure of who we are as human beings will be gauged by future generations on how we help to resolve the problems of Africa. It is a human rights nightmare. It is a health crisis of unimaginable proportions. In some countries, there is one doctor for 10,000 people. Think of that. Just imagine sitting in a hut with the dusty wind blowing through the holes in the walls, and you are cradling your feverish child in your arms. You are very frightened, because the other children in your village have been dying of this same sickness your child now has. You cannot walk the two hundred miles to get to the hospital, because you are sure that your child will die along the way. Perhaps, if you sit there, in your hut that is empty of anything but windblown dust, your child might have a whisper of a chance.
It is enough to break the heart of anyone.
My country’s men have a right to live and if that means killing another human being so that he can live, so be it. And I present myself as calloused.
It is different on the battlefield. On the battlefield, that view is the difference between life and death, it is survival. It is not calloused. And we at home have very little say ultimately in what happens there. I think we can only hope that those making the decisions do so with the hope of doing as little harm as is possible. I was very moved in Munich when Avner and his assassins repeatedly protected the innocent. It was a specific, direct target that they were after, with no wish for collateral damage. I wish that it were tactically more feasible to do on the larger scale. The U.S. attempts that sort of pinpoint accuracy from time to time, though I think it is with limited success and very difficult.
I did not mean to sound preachy or accuse you of callousness by inference. It was only that I felt saddened by the detached tone of your comment. If people are dying for our safety, we ought to at the very least try to find some value in them because of their sacrifice. It might not be skin off our nose, half a world away, listening to music in our fancy air conditioned cars and paying the restaurant bill that filled our tummies, the money paid for that one meal which would feed a family in Mali for months, or pay for the food that an Iraqi woman is going to the marketplace to get for her family, risking her life to do it. It might be not be skin off our nose. But it might be skin off our soul.
first of all I must say that this is the first time I wrote in a forum so I am not even sure you will recieve this message correctly.
In any case, I want to tell you as a jew and an Israeli, that Assaline wrote very well and very accurate answers (at least on the first topics, I didn’t read the entire forum). But I would like to give you more information anyway.
Forgive me if I write unclearly, it is hard to decide with what to start.
First, as I think you know by now, Israel is a very secular country. I would exaderate if I would say that more than 20% of the Israelis are religious. And I am not talking about the guys with the black suits and hats (known in Israel as Haridim). I am also talking about guys with sewn yamakas, known to be much more tolerable than the Haridim.
Second, as I also think you know by now, Israeli’s don’t believe in “an eye for an eye” literaly, but more as money compinsation.
Third, as a result of these two points, I think it is clear that the Munich “revenge” (I do not fear calling it that, but I am afraid that some people will interperet it incorrectly), is not at all a religious one or has to do anything with god.
But now I come to a point where I think I disagree with some of the things I read in the forum (I am not sure who wrote them and where, I just scrolled through and found some statments).
I am sorry to tell you or Assaline or whoever wrote it, but if you ask any Israeli (and remember there is no connection or imagination between Israelis and American jews, two totaly different spicies), if he could have a chance to seek out a Nazi, and kill him and torture him for what he had done to the jews (and most likely his grandparents) in Europe, the Israeli would take the chance and do it. You may not know, but Israel has already done this. We hunted down a Nazi named Eichman (in 1960) who was very much involved in the “Final solution”, and we hung him and burned his corpse (note that this is the only Israeli execution in history, the state of Israel did not and does not allow the death penalty in any other case and to any other person).
Now I would like to tell you a little about jewish history (in very short) and make it easier to answer the question - why the Israelis did what they did in the Munich “revenge”. To make it as short as possible, I will only start from the babelonion time when the jews were alredy in the LAND of Israel. Once we had conquered the land (justified or not) we were conquered by many other countries many other times (Persians, Greeks, Romans, Babelonians). And each conquerer did not want the jews to practice their traditions and religions for various reasons, and would kill the jews who defied him. After being exilled and returning many times through history, one time the jews got exiled to Spain, which is known simply as “The exile to Spain” (this was the last one and an important one). I can’t find the exact date but this is about the time that the Inqusition is going on. The jews of Spain (and Europe) are forced to renounce their judiasm or be tortured. Many chose both ways. Note again that these are only religious persecutions. Then after many years (around 1900), the jews of Europe realize the anti-semitism is still there and in order for the jews to survive, we must either renounce our religion, or form our own country where we can live peacfully (note, Israel was not the first suggestion for this country, but rather Uganda in Africa). But even then there was nothing we could, because the Arabs (the Turks) and in later years the British (after WW1) were in control of Israel (known then as Palestine) and did not allow many jews to enter. The jews that did enter however, flurished in Israel and always tried getting more in. Meanwhile back in Europe a new regime is rising in Germany, a Nazi one. Now the jews are in even more truble, because renouncing your religion doesn’t work anymore, if one of your grandparents is jewish, then you are a jew. Now the jews started fleeing Europe (and don’t get me wrong, the majority stayed), but they found an awful truth, no country is willing to exept them: not Britan, not the USA, not Canada, not Palestine (which is controled by British and Arabs) not no one. I don’t think I need to tell you what happend in the next years. But finally after those horrors, in the year 1948, the state of Israel was recognized, and the surviving jews of Europe and Africa have a place to go to. Now we are in our own country, we are bothering no one, and can live in peace. Don’t kid yourself to believe that the Arabs left us alone, but that was between our military and theirs.
Then the Olympics come and the Munich killing happens. Now I am explaining why we did what we did. At this point we had enough, you didn’t want us in the LAND of Israel, we went to europe. You didn’t want us in Europe, we renounced our religions or lived in fear. You made it impossible for us to live in Europe (the hollocost), we tried going to different countries, but you didn’t let us in. Finally we have our own land, and yet you continue killing us with acts of terror, well thats when Israel said “NO MORE!”. If the world thinks it can push the Jews and the Israelis around, think again. Thats what the “revenge” in Munich was about. We will prove to you that we are a strong country and that our Mossad is just as good as your CIA. And now Noggin to dissapoint you even more. If you think that in real life (and not the hollywood fairytale), that a Mossad agent would think twice about killing an Arab terrorist, think again. Speilberg had to show a conflict, in order to make the charecter more sympathetic for his boxoffice hit. But in real life, no Israeli, not even me (and I hope you believe me when I say that I am one of the most nonviolent people in my class, and I beleive in patience and tolerance) would ever think twice before killing an Arab terrorist. We do it every day, and we did back then. And if the man would have any doubts, the Mossad would not have hired him.
I hope this helps you in understanding the Israeli ways and what Munich was all about.
I am glad you took the time to break into the forum and add your comments on this thread. I enjoyed reading your perspective.
You stated that Israelis are more monetary compensation oriented rather than “eye for and eye”
Israeli’s don’t believe in “an eye for an eye” literaly, but more as money compinsation.
yet you further explained how:
if you ask any Israeli (and remember there is no connection or imagination between Israelis and American jews, two totaly different spicies), if he could have a chance to seek out a Nazi, and kill him and torture him for what he had done to the jews (and most likely his grandparents) in Europe, the Israeli would take the chance and do it.
Then the Olympics come and the Munich killing happens. Now I am explaining why we did what we did. At this point we had enough, you didn’t want us in the LAND of Israel, we went to europe.
Those occupying the land of Israel didn’t want you. I thought they were the ones who exiled you.
You didn’t want us in Europe, we renounced our religions or lived in fear.
That was Germany.
You made it impossible for us to live in Europe (the hollocost),
Not me, Germany
we tried going to different countries, but you didn’t let us in.
America did not let… Okay, you are speaking in terms of where
“you” equates to “the rest of the non Israeli/jewish world”
Finally we have our own land, and yet you continue killing us with acts of terror, well thats when Israel said “NO MORE!”.
But American politics completely stands behind Israel in funding and military.
If the world thinks it can push the Jews and the Israelis around, think again. Thats what the “revenge” in Munich was about.
I don’t know. You said that the eye for an eye business is not literal any more. The Munich revenge appears very eye for an eye.
We will prove to you that we are a strong country and that our Mossad is just as good as your CIA.
Huh? Would you be so strong, though without the backing of America et al? And why the throw down quasi challenge that your Mossad is just as good as the CIA? I haven’t belittled the Mossad have I? I did?
And now Noggin to dissapoint you even more. If you think that in real life (and not the hollywood fairytale), that a Mossad agent would think twice about killing an Arab terrorist, think again. Speilberg had to show a conflict, in order to make the charecter more sympathetic for his boxoffice hit. But in real life, no Israeli, not even me (and I hope you believe me when I say that I am one of the most nonviolent people in my class, and I beleive in patience and tolerance) would ever think twice before killing an Arab terrorist. We do it every day, and we did back then.
And Eye for an Eye—a Tooth for a Tooth.
Hmm…As the other Israeli, I have to put in my 2 shekels. Many of the points Maayan makes are quite true. Israel is a largely secular society, yet many people vote for the ultra-orthodox so someone else can uphold tradition, uh, Tradition. I think it is a little dangerous to write that Israelis are mostly concerned with monetary compensation. Certainly, this plays directly into very unpalatable stereotypes, which are untrue. I think many Israelis came to believe money was the only way to adequately punish certain wrongdoers- Swiss banks, for instance, who literally profited from the gold fillings removed from corpses’ teeth.
What is weird to me is the reverence for IDF and Mossad prowess that is expressed in American culture. The IDF are a civilian army - all citizens serve in some capacity. The Mossad has had a string of screw-ups that rival any of the CIA’s. Israeli newspapers (and Al-Jazeera, of course) cover them endlessly, but Americans never hear about it. Moreover, the man whose book was the main inspiration for “Munich” is not a totally credible source. I agree with Maayan that few Mossad operatives are plagued by issues of conscience, but then, neither are the operatives of MI6. Of course, the problem that results in any pseudo-law enforcement agency is the pro-forma us-versus-them type of thinking. If Munich’s message is that things ought to be different, then I can second that.
In the US, when people look at my red hair and blue eyes, they think I am Irish or Norwegian (after hearing me speak). I love to watch them crap their pants when I tell them I’m Israeli. But, I have also been called a Nazi and a murderer by many leftists (the group to which I naturally belong - having been raised on a non-religious kibbutz) here. I expect this from the propaganda wing of Hammas, but I have found this attitude especially prevalent in academia. My wife is a visiting professor in Engineering at a US university; many Arab/Asian nationals refuse to take her classes and file numerous complaints about the teaching schedule. Those who buck the trend and take her classes have nothing but good to say - since she speaks Arabic fluently and can tutor them in their own tongue. Their friends, however, view them as traitors…and so it goes. In the IDF, I was a medical paratrooper. I treated all wounded on the field, be they Israeli or not. This was not appreciated by the other side. They often shot the wounded to whom I attended for collaboration…and so it goes.
As one can see from Maayan’s writing, many Israelis feel intense disgust over gestures we have made that have been miscast and spit back into our faces (as well as the endless saga of demonization and exile). I do not argue that Israel has never done anything wrong - on the contrary - but we do many things right. We offer asylum to Palestinians under threat of death from honor killings, be they supposedly unchaste women or avowed homosexuals (no kidding!). We made peace with Egypt and withdrew from the Sinai. We unilaterally withdrew from Gaza…I could go on and on, but I won’t. It’s all been said before. In the 20’s, when the chief Rabbi of Israel (yes, before the establishment of the State of Israel), Rabbi Kook, was asked what he would do to achieve peace with the Palestinians, he replied, “Give them a job.” I think he is still correct.
As I have stated before, and as you have noticed, I did write a bit unclearly. You were correct when you understood that when I used the word “you” in all the quotes, I did not mean you or amercia, but rather the non-jewish/Israeli world/people in general.
But I would still like to make it clear, all the “revenge” that I talked about (be it to the germans, the arabs or whoever), is not a religious revenge. No Israeli would ever justify his acts of revenge by quoting that part of the bible (he might use the sentance “eye for an eye”, but just as a figure of speech, and not as a religious justification). I imagine that you too would like to seek revenge on people who have done wrong to you and your family, with no connection to a religious revenge or belief.
Also, about my whole “Mossad speech”. As I have stated, it was my first time writing, and I got a little cought up in the moment. It was more of a response to the movie and not to you. I feel, and so do my brothers and freinds, that the Mossad is portrayed in the movie as a bunch of ametures that don’t know what there doing. The guys get nervous and mixed up, the bomb guy with the glasses doesn’t know how to build bombs etc. So as I said, it was more of a “don’t think that were a bunch of idiots” comment to all the movie wachers, more than any other kind of comment or answer to you.
I don’t have much more to answer to you. If you would like to ask me any more questions, be it about my answers, Munich or any other topic, please write, and I will be more than happy to answer.