By William A. Cook
‘I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.’ — Exodus 23:27
During this interlude in Israel’s second unprovoked incursion of Gaza, we might pause to reflect on what is, arguably, the real reasons for Netanyahu and Lieberman to execute their victims corralled in the walled prison of Gaza. This incursion, (curious the word incursion which means a “temporary invasion,”) reflects the will of the ancient G-d of the Israelites as the above quote from Exodus suggests, especially if we continue to read from Chapter 23: “…I will drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites; … I will drive them out little by little before you, until you have grown numerous enough to take possession of their land.” Then does this G-d draw the boundaries of Israel: “I will set your boundaries from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River” (i.e.to the sea, Mediterranean, to the river, Euphrates). Reflect now if you will on how these words of the ancient G-d of the ancient tribes of Israelites captures the reality of Israel’s present gift to the people of Gaza: “…all who dwell in this land I will hand over to you to be driven out of your way. You shall not make a covenant with them or their gods.”
Certainly the Israeli military together with the Prime Minister chose to lead the Israeli IDF into this latest “incursion” of Gaza with the announcement beforehand that the ancient G-d of the tribes would be visible as a pillar of clouds by day and a pillar of fire by night. This is an appeal to the religious parties and the rigid right wing “settlers” who accept the word of their bible that G-d has defined the true borders of Israel and determined how that “historical” land should be regained. No doubt this is also the reason that the State of Israel has not declared its borders nor created a constitution to guide this purported “democratic state.” It is also a testament to the power of the religious parties and the settlers that they can control the government of Israel because no government can be formed now without their inclusion. Reflect now if you will on what this means in the 21st century.
Recent scholarship like that of Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman (The Bible Unearthed, 2001) suggests that the Biblical narrative of the Exodus did not happen. They conclude rather that both Egypt and Judah during the seventh century BCE was a time of great revival. “It was a time when Josiah embarked on an ambitious attempt to take advantage of the Assyrian collapse and unite all Israelites under his rule. His program was to expand to the north of Judah, to the territories where Israelites were still living a century after the fall of the kingdom of Israel, and to realize the dream of a glorious united monarchy: a large and powerful state of all Israelites worshipping one God in one Temple in one capital—Jerusalem—and ruled by one king of Davidic lineage.” Instead of the Exodus happening in the 13th century, when the estimated population of the Israelites numbered somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000, it never happened as told about the Israelites. It was recorded in the 7th century using ancient stories gathered together into a “history” of the Israelites to aid Josiah in creating his dream kingdom. “The conclusion—that the Exodus did not happen at the time and in the manner described in the Bible—seems irrefutable when we examine the evidence …” (see also Doug’s Biblical Chronology, Dr. Aardsma’s Chronology of Exodus, and www.accuracyinggenesis.com).
These conclusions would suggest that the Bible as the word of God is rather a fabrication created for the masses for political, religious and cultural reasons. That the words of that God could mobilize another gathering of people from around the world in 2012 to accomplish the same end, including the conquering of lands inhabited by millions of people for over twenty five hundred years, seems preposterous.
Yet recent commentators have suggested that many religious leaders claim that Jewish religious laws justify killing of civilians during war time; statements made in 1974 following the Yom Kippur war and later in 2004 when Israel invaded the West Bank and Gaza, and again in 2006 when Israel invaded Lebanon, support this observation. More recently, Dr. Noam Chomsky has noted the increasing role played by Rabbis in sanctioning military wars:
”[Israel’s Supreme Rabbinical Council] gave their endorsement to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, declaring that it conformed to the Halachi (religious) law and that participation in the war ‘in all its aspects’ is a religious duty. The military Rabbinate meanwhile distributed a document to soldiers containing a map of Lebanon with the names of cities replaced by alleged Hebrew names taken from the Bible…. A military Rabbi in Lebanon explained the biblical sources that justify ‘our being here and our opening the war; we do our Jewish religious duty by being here.’”
In an article titled “Views of Violence in Judaism” published in Wikileaks, the following points are made:
“In 2007, Mordechai Eliyahu, the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel wrote that “there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings”. His son, Shmuel Eliyahu chief rabbi of Safed, called for the “carpet bombing” of the general area from which the Kassams were launched, to stop rocket attacks on Israel, saying “This is a message to all leaders of the Jewish people not to be compassionate with those who shoot [rockets] at civilians in their houses.” he continued, “If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill 1,000. And if they don’t stop after 1,000, then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000. Even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop.”
An influential Chabad Lubavitch Hassid rabbi Manis Friedman in 2009 was quoted as saying: “I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral. The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men.”
Finally, Gilad Sharon, the son of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the “Butcher of Beirut, offered the following observations, perhaps more properly declarations of genocide, on November 18, the Sunday of this last incursion:
“There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip.
“The desire to prevent harm to innocent civilians in Gaza will ultimately lead to harming the truly innocent: the residents of southern Israel. The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren’t hostages; they chose this freely, and must live with the consequences.
“The Gaza Strip functions as a state – it has a government and conducts foreign relations, there are schools, medical facilities, there are armed forces and all the other trappings of statehood. We have no territorial conflict with “Gaza State,” and it is not under Israeli siege – it shares a border with Egypt. Despite this, it fires on our citizens without restraint.
“Why do our citizens have to live with rocket fire from Gaza while we fight with our hands tied? Why are the citizens of Gaza immune? If the Syrians were to open fire on our towns, would we not attack Damascus? If the Cubans were to fire at Miami, wouldn’t Havana suffer the consequences? That’s what’s called “deterrence” – if you shoot at me, I’ll shoot at you. There is no justification for the State of Gaza being able to shoot at our towns with impunity. We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.
“There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire.
“Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant – but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared.
“If the government isn’t prepared to go all the way on this, it will mean reoccupying the entire Gaza Strip. Not a few neighborhoods in the suburbs, as with Cast Lead, but the entire Strip, like in Defensive Shield, so that rockets can no longer be fired.
“There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip. Otherwise there will be no decisive victory. And we’re running out of time – we must achieve victory quickly. The Netanyahu government is on a short international leash. Soon the pressure will start – and a million civilians can’t live under fire for long. This needs to end quickly – with a bang, not a whimper.”
Needless to say, these ragings of a fool do not refer to the biblical wording, but they reflect the guidance that Israel’s ancient God directed to His people as He led them to genocide against the tribes that inhabited His land. So let us reflect on the barbarity inherent in the biblical commands to destroy one’s enemies.
The current state of Israel uses passages from an ancient text, a series of mythological narratives, to rally its citizens to yet another “temporary” war. It resurrects the words of men who were small in number relative to the millions that inhabit today’s Palestine, who concocted these tales to unite their disparate tribes against their enemies. Today, 193 nations around the world have united to form a world governing body to monitor universal human rights and the morality that will govern just wars, a morality that is protected by all members through the UN Human Rights Council. Yet one nation, signor of the UN Charters, defies these nations with total impunity to guilt
Only the United States can achieve such total impunity through its control of the policy body of the United Nations, the Security Council. Only the US Congress passes unamimously, without deliberation, resolutions that support the religious dictates of the theocratic state of Israel. Only a controlled media could mask the reality of the invasion into Gaza once again as self-defense. Only a benumbed people made ignorant of the catastrophic atrocities being committed in the name of a God form the seventh century before the common era, atrocities paid for by their tax dollars, dollars supporting superstition and egregious acts of barbarity appropriate for the seventh century perhaps, but let’s hope not the 21st century. Only a President elected initially to stop the racist actions of this rogue state can intervene now to halt this aggression despite the mythological God that is used by the Zionists to control its citizens.
In March of 2009, shortly after the first of the invasions that destroyed Gaza, I wrote this commentary to the President of the United States, a commentary that unfortunately requires repetition now that Israel has decided to return to the slaughter:
“The will to change requires fortitude, a firmness of mind to endure pain, conviction in belief that stands against self-interest, and commitment to act regardless of consequences. To stand against the will of those with power and resources, those determined to force their ideology on a government appointed by the people, necessitates confrontation of intellect and will. It is ultimately a battle of individual rights against forces committed to destruction of those rights.
“A man that wills to effect change would not boycott what he must face; that is the coward’s way. This man knows what apartheid means; he understands what discrimination is; he has felt the blows of the white dominant elite; he can see the consequences of Israel’s policies that allow for stealing of land, for bulldozing of homes, for preventing food stuffs, medicine, fuel, water, the necessities of life to enter Gaza; he knows of their annexing of the aquifers from the Palestinians; he has heard of the plight of the people of Ramallah; he has read about the massacres in Jenin and Rafah; he realizes in his heart of hearts that what Israel has done to the people of Palestine is abominable, beyond the pale of human righteousness, inexcusable by any humane measure, unendurable if put in a position where change could be effected.
“To stand against the will of those with power and resources, those determined to force their ideology on a government appointed by the people, necessitates confrontation of intellect and will. It is ultimately a battle of individual rights against forces committed to destruction of those rights.
“This President must, on behalf of the rights of the American people, confront the Zionist ideology that governs our Congress and the government of Israel, knowing that he alone can force this issue into the open, force the government of Israel to choose friendship with the United States as it reconfirms the ideals on which it was founded – equity, integrity, equal and individual rights protected by law – or choose to remain defiant against the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and remain an isolated, alienated nation, a rogue state floundering in a sea of animosity.
“Fortitude, conviction and commitment necessitate principled action not quibbling servility, a determination of selflessness on behalf of country not self-interest to avoid pain, and recognition that what is done correctly is done forever. Change is indeed constant, but meaningful change is deliberate.”
We took this man at his word, that he wanted change, that he would guide America in new directions, away from the amoral behavior of the Bush administration, away from the chosen elite that have run the nation into the economic toilet, and toward a new vision where the security of all is put first and equity for all is the hallmark of America once again. Now, with absolutely unfathomable logic, this man determined that the United States must boycott the 2009 World Conference against Racism and today determined that the US will not initiate a world conference on ridding the world of WMD. Why? Because in 2009 Israel was threatened with being relabeled an apartheid nation, a racist nation as it has demonstrated a total disregard for the multiple resolutions issued by the United Nations for its abuse of the conventions enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that it is has signed. And today, it is Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons that has forced America to acquiesce to the Zionists lest that nation’s hypocrisy be made self-evident to the world.
– William A. Cook is a Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His books include Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East policy, The Rape of Palestine, The Chronicles of Nefaria, a novella, and The Plight of the Palestinians. Cook’s latest book is Decade of Deceit. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.