Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rabbinate publication: Show No Mercy

I just want to say- for those who keep asking "what can we do", I promise I have a post in the works (its even in my "draft" section!) but just haven't finished yet.

I really would like to offer a more thoughtful post.

In the meantime, I'd like to share this article I came across in Haaretz, which once again lends credence to what I have argued is the morally bankrupt way the Israeli occupying army was acting in Gaza, with no impunity whatsoever.

The article exposes racist, propagandistic materials (which Haaretz obtained from Breaking the Silence, a group of veteran Israeli soldiers demanding accountability for what their army is doing in teh Occupied Territories), provided to Israeli soldiers terrorizing the people of Gaza. It explains that for the first time, there was a significant presence of Rabbis "to fill them with yiddishkeit and a fighting spirit."

The article found that:

"an overview of some of the army rabbinate's publications made available during the fighting reflects the tone of nationalist propaganda that steps blatantly into politics, sounds racist and can be interpreted as a call to challenge international law when it comes to dealing with enemy civilians.

"[There is] a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter of it [the Land of Israel] to gentiles, though all sorts of impure distortions and foolishness of autonomy, enclaves and other national weaknesses. We will not abandon it to the hands of another nation, not a finger, not a nail of it."

"The Palestinians claim they deserve a state here, when in reality there was never a Palestinian or Arab state within the borders of our country."

The IDF rabbinate also advised the soldiers, according to the article, on the proper "code of conduct", telling them to "show no mercy to a cruel enemy. This is a war against murderers."

Another publication calls on "soldiers of Israel to spare your lives and the lives of your friends and not to show concern for a population that surrounds us and harms us. We call on you ... to function according to the law 'kill the one who comes to kill you.' As for the population, it is not innocent ... We call on you to ignore any strange doctrines and orders that confuse the logical way of fighting the enemy."

21 Comments:

Blogger nindee said...

Dear Laila,
the rabbi is another example of extreemist preacher who use religion to spread hatreds. I think we have that in every religion.
Breaking the silence is really a great effort by some Israeli. This guys provide the education and reality of occupation for Israeli and foreigner, if I'm not mistaken.
In my country, I first learned about them on national geographics channel, on daniel bunuel's "don't tell my mom i'm in holy land".
Now these people really want peace and know what it takes to achieve it.
Not like others who just being ignorant, playing the victim role and blaming everyone but themselves for every crime they've done.
You may want to check this site too : www.couragetorefuse.org

Take care, sist.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Elrig Ciles said...

Hi Laila.
I'm also working on an analysis of the rhetoric used to justify the war and what this imposes on us for the future. I'm catching some "heat" on my blog, so I figure it must be disturbing someone. Breaking the Silence and Courage to Refuse are great people. Arabs, Israelis, Palestinians, Muslim, Jews, Christians, Hindus and non-believers can live side by side and together. But religious-fascists of any kind are those we will continue to oppose.
Elrig (livingbetweenworlds.blogspot.com)

7:00 PM  
Blogger Chrystal Ocean said...

Laila, in answer to "What can we do?" I can answer what I do.

Income and disabilities limit what I can do, which occasionally gets me down. But I can and do write on the issues in my blog and to politicians and newspapers, both online and in print. I also recently acquired a Palestinian scarf, which I intend to wear everywhere I go. Reactions will no doubt be interesting.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Faroha said...

Such extremists are every where but in Judaism, this behavior is not uncommon. Some 20 or more centuries back, there was a Jewish doctrine that called for all land to be freed of Gentiles, that stopped Israelis from marrying into Gentiles, that thought only the Jews as the chosen people and the whole of Judea as well as Israel as their holy land. These same sentiments echo today. These rabbis forget that Jews were pushed out of this land by the BYzantines, but allowed again inside by the Muslims, after Caliph Umar conquered Jerusalem. Again, Saladin allowed Jews inside Jerusalem. Jews have always lived under Muslim rule there for centuries. It is an irony, as Karen Armstrong writes, that Jews think Muslims as their biggest enemies when it were Muslims who have historically treated Jews best in the holy land.

11:13 PM  
Blogger sw said...

And the publication is one hundred percent right ... but i don't think that you will post this, so whats the point.

Gaza should be reconquered, and Israel should restore its rightful borders

11:55 PM  
Blogger @bdul muHib said...

Someone needs to tell the IDF what the definition of the verb "surround" is. I do not think it means what they think it means.

12:00 AM  
Blogger ChaiTime said...

Laila
I have a question. How many of these rabbis believe in this kind of nonsense? (Likely a majority given what happened in Gaza)
And also,can we hold the rabbis responsible when *some* mullahs are known to spread hate speeches themselves.

I accept that the rabbis do accelerate the hatred and violence that led to the genocide and mindless tortures but, to what extent is that versus the mullahs who urge these kids in Palestine (kids who really the Israeli govt have made homeless, orphan and uneducated by their campaign of extermination) to go as suicide bombers?

I am wondering if there is any difference between the mindset of the rabbis in the IDF (vomit!) versus those of the militant wings of Hamas.

Don't know what Hamas preaches but I am wondering.

4:14 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

Hi Laila,
I'm looking forward to your post about things I can do to help make a difference. The immediate future doesn't look at all rosy what with the crossings now sealed, even to humanitarian aid, and Israeli politicians talking about armed "responses" and expanding settlements in the West Bank.
(http://thescrapbag.blogspot.com)

4:16 AM  
Blogger Dragonfly said...

As for Obama. . .
He questions Hamas - have Hamas improved education for children in Gaza, have they improved poverty blah blah blah.

My question is HOW can they or any governing body withing Gaza change anything for the better when Israel has a stranglehold on all goods, services, aid, mobility etc etc.?

It is Israel that is halting advancement, and worse, causing more and more heartship . . . and still Obama expects Hamas to justify themselves. From what I've read Hamas has done more for Gaza than anyone before them. They may have got to where they are with bloodshed, but hey, reality check!, they pre-empted the brutal plan of USA and Israel to be rid of them - even though they were democratically voted in.

And Aside from all of this, Obama himself doesn't seem to realise that Israel is using Hamas as a means to further their own cause of ridding themselves of Palestine and Palestinians. Heck, even the most non-observant dummy can see what's going on there, but not Obama.
I have an imaginary wall of SHAME and wall of FAME. Obama remains on the wall of SHAME for now. I hope I can eventually move him to the other wall. Not looking good so far.

5:48 AM  
Blogger liesadjeng said...

Salam Laila, I really hope to come back here again, and read your writing more.... would you mind if I link you to my blog?

tnx before.

Salam,
Lis, from Indonesia.

6:44 AM  
Blogger American 6103 said...

what does shukran mean. (at the end of your how to comment instructions)Sorry, me no, know, no, arabic or whichever language that is.

4:57 PM  
Blogger coco said...

@ American
it means thank you ;). I don#T know arabic too, but it was writtn in normal letter and than i can use google :)

6:23 PM  
Blogger Dragonfly said...

heartship? did i really type that? HARDSHIP.

7:10 AM  
Blogger brooke said...

Shukran = thank you.

laila,
thanks for posting that. as a christian it always disturbs me when rabbis, pastors, and imams use their place in religion, and God, to try to influence people to commit acts of violence, oppression and war. the God that i believe in (and correct me if i am wrong - but don't muslims, christians and jews all believe in the same God, or G_d, or Allah?) doesn't want us to commit these acts of sin (note lower case sin = imperfection, not upper case). the God that i believe in is a God of justice and peace. *sigh* it just doesn't make sense to me and i wish that religion could be used for the positive purpose that it is supposed to be, that God could be worshipped in peace.

i'm rambling. thanks for continuing to write. i have the idea that you do it less out of service and more out of love for your country.

salam,
brooke, in utah, usa.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Stephanie Frieze said...

I believe that evil will disguise itself as religion in order to do evil. It is sad that people will twist spiritual texts to justify the hate in their hearts. It happens in all religions.

As to Obama, American's have suffered eight years of the Bush "policy." Let's give President Obama some time as he begins to sort out the mess he's been left with. If we lose hope, we've lost everything.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Yonit said...

Someone forwarded me this interview. It's in Arabic but has English subtitles. This guy has some real intereting views, and is really brave, IMO for doing an interview like this. He is one that can show all those who think that ALL Muslims are terrorists that it is not so.

http://switch5.castup.net/frames/20041020_MemriTV_Popup/video_480x360.asp?ai=214&ar=1363wmv&ak=null

4:49 AM  
Blogger American 6103 said...

thanks ya'll. Yes, google would have been easier but I have found you can't always trust their translations especially if it's more than one word.

6:28 AM  
Blogger Annie's Blog said...

Hi,

I would appreciate if you put things into context when posting your news.

The Rabbi you quoted is a military rabbi with a long past as a commander in the IDF in combat units.

Yes he is now a military rabbi and no longer a combatant, however, his words were not coming from a religious standpoint but as a former commander who is well versed in the language of war. And yes, soldiers should show no mercy to those that come to kill them.

1:15 PM  
Blogger American 6103 said...

A question, do you find pal(s) offensive, I use it as a shorthand for palestinian because it is easier and faster for me to type but I have heard some find it racist or whatever.

(note I also commanly refer to israelis as jews for the same reasons)

10:43 PM  
Blogger Stephanie Frieze said...

I don't know about Laila (by-the-way that would have been my son's name), but "Pal"(s) sounds a lot like "Japs" and offends me who is none of the above. Not all Jews are Israelis or even Zionists and let's not call them "Hebs." When discussing a situation as charged as the Israeli-Palestinian one is, being as precise as possible would seem to be the least offensive.

American writings skills are abismal because of texting and email. We may not be engaging in high art here, but resorting to shorthand indicates less thoughtfulness than this public forum deserves. Reconciling cultural differences is tricky enough without resorting to nicknames that are perhaps convenient to some, offensive to others, and do nothing to raise the level of discussion.

1:48 AM  
Blogger Mick said...

Just wanted to state that I (and all of my friends), as (secular-Jewish) Israelis, wholeheartedly resent this kind of fascist-racist rhetoric, in the army or otherwise.
I mourn Israel's turn to racism and complete loss of ethics.

I hope that although in Israel we are outnumbered, our voices will be heard: The occupation must end!
A just solution must be found for all.

Salaam and Shalom

2:37 PM  

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