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A culture of death?

This morning's Boston Globe has another sob story about how horrid things are for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

But every time I start feeling sympathetic towards the Palestinians, they find a way to remind me that they don't really want sympathy, and certainly don't deserve much.

The article discusses how Israel has proven to be a bit of an obstacle in helping the Palestinians. Not only has Israel cut off all assistance, but has put up roadblocks (often literal ones) towards others doing so.

The proper response to this is not suprise or dismay, but "well, duh." The Palestinians freely chose to elect Hamas as their legitimate government, and Hamas is at war with Israel. There are terms for giving aid and comfort to a declared enemy of your nation. When it's an individual, it's "treason." When it's a government, it's "suicide."

There are those who say that the Palestinian culture is a "death cult," far more obsessed with death and killing and revenge than in survival and growth and progress and life. I've often thought that a bit extreme, but I'm starting to wonder if it has more than a grain of truth.

When Israel completed its pullout from the Gaza Strip, they left a lot of things behind. The most notable was a set of high-tech greenhouses. The original owners had intended to take them down and bring them back into Israel, but a group of philanthropists (including Bill Gates) bought the greenhouses and turned them over to the Palestinians, without any strings or conditions.

And what happened to these greenhouses, these buildings made for growing food, these high-tech shrines to life?

The Palestinians promptly attacked them, looting and destroying them.

And now they have completed the perversion, converting them fully into shrines of death.

I've often denounced aid to the Palestinians, saying that it would be wasted at best and converted into more and more deaths at worst. These photos show that, if anything, I was too optimistic.


Comments (12)

I agree that the Palestinia... (Below threshold)
tpaine:

I agree that the Palestinians, and their jihadist national sponsors, are a death cult.
This is WW4 (Cold War was 3) and the rules have changed. And we're still fighting the last war and playing by its rules - Geneva conventions, etc.
But the new war has historical precedent - documented in the Jewish sacred writings/Christian Old Testament. Today we call it "genocide."
Previous world wars were waged for land, wealth, and power. WW4 is a war of religion, and the aggressors worship Death.
Our own immune systems know better than to negotiate with death. That's why we have killer T-cells and so forth. Our bodies understand that genocide is the only solution when the alternative is death.
War is hell, and I choose to live.

I read the Globe article. I... (Below threshold)
GeminiChuck:

I read the Globe article. It's not at all surprising to see they didn't mention what the Arab states are doing for the Palestinians - which is absolutely nothing. Here is a golden opportunity to create a true Palestinian state for a people that have been in refugi camps for 50 years - all they need is for their Arab and Muslims brothers in the Middle East to put up some of all that oil money they get to establish a functioning civilization in Gaza. Guess we know what they would rather do with the Arab oil money - and, of course, what they really want to use the Palestinians for.

The best thing that could h... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

The best thing that could have happened for the Palestinians, ironically enough, is if Israel had utterly defeated the nihilistic movements, obliterated the terrorists among them, and wiped the slate clean for a more moderate approach to government, and Islam.

But, it all ended in the stalemate that will plague them to the end.

Palestinians never miss an ... (Below threshold)

Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

They and their leaders are so hellbent on blaming Israel for all of their failings that they cannot see what they have to do to pick themselves up and move on. Kind of reminds me of the sore losers in the Democratic party.

Its doesn't look like you r... (Below threshold)
Brad:

Its doesn't look like you require much of a push to lose what little sympathy you have, only to shift back to the emotional terrain you feel most comfortable with when it comes to the occupation and oppression of the Palestinians by Israel.

The proper response to Israeli actions and decisions is to recognize them as a continuance of an Israeli policy that aimed to forgo the expense and difficulty of maintaining and protecting settlements in Gaza in favour of consolidating the theft of land and resources in the West Bank and East Jerusalem including increasing the colonization (settlement) of this territory.

The Palestinians conducted fair elections making a choice for Hamas and against the endemic corruption of the Fatah party and its tendency to sell out or be co-opted by Israel's divisive interference in Palestinian politics. Hamas was an honest election choice, a choice for Palestine and Palestinians and in opposition to Israel's ongoing exploitation of the land and resources it has occupied for forty years. The message to Israel, was enough. Israel got the message. It disagrees. It hasn't yet stolen enough. The project to destroy the possibility of a viable Palestinian state is still a go and hence the Israeli response is what one would expect given that Hamas represents a movement that has learned too well how Israel cannot be trusted to live up to its agreements - the theft in/of the West Bank and East Jerusalem being the most naked example of Israel's lack of peaceful intentions. So Hamas refuses to offer the words that Israel insists on because when Fatah recognized Israel, Israel continued to colonize Palestine.

The suggestion of Palestinians as a death cult inverts the nature of the Palestinian/Israeli relationship. The Palestinians demonstrate over and over a will to exist as a people, and as a state. They demonstrate a will to survive. Israel, alternatively, demonstrates the will to destroy and kill this will wanting nothing remotely approximating a Palestinian state. Israel is thus a better exemplar of a death cult but in the changed sense of wishing death for a viable Palestinian state as all its violations of agreements, stealing of land and resources attests to.

The example of the destruction of a greenhouse (of which I could not trace back to a source article through your links but only to two photographs and an assertion) would offer a sad comment on the state of Gaza but it would still pale beside Israel's massive and deliberate project of land expropriation, expropriation of resources (including water resources), and the destruction of property on an ongoing basis in all the occupied regions.

Brad.........Your co... (Below threshold)
Thor-Zone:

Brad.........
Your comment above is delusional, and completely ignores the facts in this case. Israel wants nothing more than to be left alone. When they turned the Gaza Strip over to the PA, the Palestinian "people" responded with rocket attacks on Israel. These rocket attacks targeted civilian institutions like schools and housing areas, not the IDF.

Israel asked them to stop this un-neighborly behavior, but the Palestinian Authority (the government supposedly in control of this area) turned a deaf ear to Israel's reasonable requests. After MONTHS of rocket attacks, kidnappings of Israeli citizens (soldiers and others) while on Israeli soil and other anti-social behavior by the people in the Gaza Strip, Israel had no choice but to respond militarily.

Brad, you really need to bone up on the facts. Your rant above does not take into account any level of reality.

I suppose Brad doesn't mind... (Below threshold)
cubanbob1956:

I suppose Brad doesn't mind the continuing 1400 year Arab land theft of Zion and the rest of the Middle East and North Africa. Perhaps he ought to ask the Kurds, the Copts among the other whose lands have been stolen by Arabs. Taking back from a thief was was yours to begin with isn't consider theft.

I suspect Brad doesn't have a problem with land theft as such, but only with thieves he doesn't approve of.

They can have whatever kind... (Below threshold)

They can have whatever kind of nation they want. Who is stopping them from building a prosperous, happy nation? Nobody - except their leadership.

Israel left Gaza. IT IS THE... (Below threshold)
Elmo:

Israel left Gaza. IT IS THEIRS. Instead of joining the world's civilized nations, they spend all their waking moments devising more ways to kill the Jew.

This hate is not human. It is not of this earth. It will consume the insect horde at last, until nothing remains.

We shall endure. We shall continue in our existences. They will never destroy us. They are not even worthy of our hate.

The "Palestinians" have suf... (Below threshold)
OregonMuse:

The "Palestinians" have suffered more at the hands of their brother Arabs than they ever have from Israel.

Very Well Put Chris, Thank ... (Below threshold)
David:

Very Well Put Chris, Thank you


Chris Hedges: Coveting the Holocaust

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/200601023_chris_hedges_coveting_the_holocaust/

Posted on Oct 23, 2006

By Chris Hedges

Editor's Note: The former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times and author of the bestseller "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" takes a hard look at the political capital of suffering.

I sent my New York University journalism students out to write stories based on any one of the themes in the Ten Commandments. A woman of Armenian descent came back with an article about how Armenians she had interviewed were covetous of the Jewish Holocaust. The idea that one people who suffered near decimation could be covetous of another that also suffered near decimation was, to say the least, different. And when the French lower house of parliament approved a bill earlier this month making it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide I began to wonder what it was she, and those she had interviewed, actually coveted.

She was not writing about the Holocaust itself--no one covets the suffering of another--but how it has become a potent political and ideological weapon in the hands of the Israeli government and many in the American Jewish community. While Armenians are still fighting to have the genocide of some 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks accepted as historical fact, many Jews have found in the Nazi Holocaust a useful instrument to deflect criticism of Israel and the dubious actions of the pro-Israeli lobby as well as many Jewish groups in the United States.

Norman Finkelstein, who for his writings has been virtually blacklisted, noted in "The Holocaust Industry" that the Jewish Holocaust has allowed Israel to cast itself and "the most successful ethnic group in the United States" as eternal victims. Finkelstein, the son of Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, goes on to argue that this status has enabled Israel, which has "a horrendous human rights record," to play the victim as it oppresses Palestinians or destroys Lebanon. This victim status has permitted U.S. Jewish organizations (the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress and others) to get their hands on billions of dollars in reparations, much of which never finds its way to the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors. Finkelstein's mother, who was in the Warsaw ghetto, received $3,500, while the World Jewish Congress walked away with roughly $7 billion in compensation moneys. The organization pays lavish salaries to its employees and uses the funds to fuel its own empire. For many the Nazi Holocaust is not used to understand and deal with the past, and more importantly the universal human capacity for evil, but to manipulate the present. Finkelstein correctly writes that the fictitious notion of unique suffering leads to feelings of unique entitlement.
And so what this student, and those she had interviewed, coveted was not the actual experience of the Holocaust, not the suffering of Jews in the death camps, but the political capital that Israel and many of its supporters have successfully gleaned from the Holocaust. And while I sympathize with the Armenians, while I understand their rage toward Turkey, I do not wish to see them, or anyone else, wield their own genocide as a political weapon.
There is a fine and dangerous line between the need for historical truth and public apology, in this case by the Turks, and the gross misuse of human tragedy. French President Jacques Chirac and his interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, said this month that Turkey will have to recognize the genocide before Turkey is allowed to join the European Union. Most European nations turned their backs on the French, with the EU issuing a statement saying that the French bill will "prohibit dialogue." But the French move is salutary, not only for the Armenians who have been humiliated and defamed by successive waves of Turkish governments but for the Turks as well. Historical amnesia, as anyone who has lived in the Middle East or the Balkans knows, makes reconciliation and healing impossible. It fosters a dangerous sense of grievance and rage. It makes any real dialogue impossible. Nearly 100 years after the murderous rampage by the Turks it can still be a crime to name the Armenian holocaust under Law 301, which prohibits anyone from defaming Turkey. One of the most courageous violators of that law is the writer Orhan Pamuk, who has criticized his country's refusal to confront its past, and who just won the Nobel Prize for Literature. But he is a solitary figure in Turkey.
Historical black holes also empower those who insist that the Nazi Holocaust is unique, that it is somehow beyond human comprehension and stands apart from other human activity. These silences make it easier to minimize, misunderstand and ignore the reality of other genocides, how they work and how they are carried out. They make it easier to turn tragedy into myth. They make it easier to misread the real lesson of the Holocaust, which, as Christopher Browning illustrated in his book "Ordinary Men," is that the line between the victim and the victimizer is razor-thin. Most of us, as Browning correctly argues, can be seduced and manipulated into killing our neighbors. Few are immune.
The communists, not the Jews, were the Nazis' first victims, and the handicapped were the first to be gassed in the German death factories. This is not to minimize the suffering of the Jews, but these victims too deserve attention. And what about Gypsies, homosexuals, prisoners of war and German political dissidents? What, on a wider scale, about the Cambodians, the Rwandans, and the millions more who have been slaughtered by utopian idealists who believe the eradication of other human beings will cleanse the world?

When I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington I looked in vain for these other victims. I did not see explained in detail the awful reality that Jewish officials in the ghettos--Judenrat--worked closely with the Nazis to herd their own off to the death camps. And was the happy resolution of the Holocaust, as we saw in images at the end of the exhibits, the disembarking of European Jews on the shores of Palestine? What about the Palestinians who lived in Palestine and were soon to be pushed off their land? And, as importantly, what about African-Americans and Native Americans? Why is the Nazi genocide, which we did not perpetrate, displayed on the Mall in Washington and the brutal extermination of Native Americans ignored? Why should billions in reparations be paid to Jewish slave laborers and not a dime to those enslaved by our own country?

These questions circle back to the dangerous sanctification of any genocide, the belief that one ethnic group can represent goodness, solely because its members are the victims, and another evil because from its ranks come the thugs who carry out mass slaughter. Once these demented killing machines begin their work the only thing unique is the method of murder. The lesson of any genocide is not that one group of human beings is better than another, but that in the intoxication of the moment, gripped by the mass hypnosis of state propaganda and the lust for violence, we can all become killers. All the victims must be heard. None are unique. And all of us have to be on guard lest we be seduced. We carry within us--German, Jew, Armenian or Christian--dark and dangerous lusts that must be held in check. I applaud the French. I hope the French action pushes the Turks toward contrition and honesty. But I do not wish for the Armenians to covet the Holocaust, to begin the process of sanctifying their own suffering. When we sanctify ourselves we do so at the expense of others.

David, while I share some o... (Below threshold)
epador:

David, while I share some of your sentiments about the political use of tragedy, I really can't find that congruous with your support of the French for the political use of the Armenian/Turkish situation in a blatant election driven proclamation.

I think your naiveté is showing.




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