"Before There Was Terrorism
May 3, 2002 10:34 AM   Subscribe

"Before There Was Terrorism...there was land confiscation...settlements...occupation...checkpoints..."[and retreating a little further in time, the Holocaust, repeated pogroms, the Diaspora, etc.] "In late March, responding to the Seder massacre - a suicide bombing that killed 27 Israelis gathered for a Passover meal - President Bush said that 'justice and cruelty have always been at war, and God is not neutral between them.' He had used this same phrase in his speech to Congress after September 11....Bush believes justice lies entirely with Israel, cruelty with the Palestinians, and that God is therefore on Israel's side. Interestingly enough, Elie Wiesel wrote in his novella Dawn that God is a terrorist. Dawn is Wiesel's story, said to be at least partially autobiographical, about a young man who fights against British control of Palestine in the 1940s by joining the Irgun, Israel's pre-state terrorist organization led by Menachem Begin. Wiesel calls the organization a terrorist organization, without embarrassment, throughout the novella, and about midway through, by way of justifying his hero's actions, he declares that 'God is a member of the Resistance movement, a terrorist.'"

Huh? God? Has Ashcroft been notified of this? It gets so damned confusing these days to pick out the terrorists.
posted by fold_and_mutilate (16 comments total)
Myself, I'm just gonna stick with the comforting viewpoint that God is an American, and that history began September 11, 2001.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:35 AM on May 3, 2002

Why do you even bother? If you can't tell the difference between willful murder of innocents from prosecution of justice or self-defense then its time to turn of the tv and go to bed.
posted by owillis at 10:42 AM on May 3, 2002

I think that the link is worthwhile, despite owillis's implicit labeling of the post as a troll, because it highlights the difficulty of easily reducing this conflict to two discernable and separate sides. There is some justice on the sides of the Palestinians, because, like it or not, there have been disabilities imposed on them by the Israeli state. At the same time, some justice is on the side of the Israel itself, for it surely has the right to defend its citiens against violent attack.

The truth is, sometimes God is on the side of the lawful government, sometimes on the side of the resistance movement, sometimes on both, and sometimes on neither. My vote, in the present conflict, is on either both or neither.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:48 AM on May 3, 2002

Apologies, f&m, but metatalk (size of the post).
posted by liam at 10:56 AM on May 3, 2002

Seems like an awful lot of effort just to mock Ashcroft.
posted by darukaru at 11:19 AM on May 3, 2002

Actually, that's a damn fine piece, which could have benefitted from being quoted within the first comment. "It's the occupation, stupid." And it was the 'occupation' in the 1940s, also. And it was the occupation, formatively, mythically, in the first century, in Jerusalem and Masada. The article's last few grafs, especially, deserve a look.
posted by riviera at 11:28 AM on May 3, 2002

Interesting... the author worked as an analyst for the CIA for 16 years. An analysis that steps back from the day-to-day outrages and attacks and looks at the larger issues.
posted by cell divide at 11:36 AM on May 3, 2002

If God is an American, is He naturalized or was He born here? (Bethlehem, PA perhaps)

If He was naturalized, I'll bet He knows all the state capitals, and how a bill becomes law. They make you learn that stuff.
posted by anser at 12:14 PM on May 3, 2002

The fact that Israel was created partially through the use of terrorism is completely relevant, indeed required for a genuine understanding of the current situation.
posted by Ty Webb at 12:17 PM on May 3, 2002

I give the new Elvis Costello album "When I Was Cruel" a solid B.
posted by quercus at 12:20 PM on May 3, 2002

This is so interesting. I didn' realize that God could pick sides.

And it's good to know that knocking down people's houses and depriving them of civil rights can be described as "prosecution of justice."

Really, I learn so much in these discussions.
posted by Red58 at 2:25 PM on May 3, 2002

Sorry to criticize, F&M but I think you have a classic case of a great article with an awful post. This article is not about God and whether or not he's a terrorist, it's a well-reasoned argument for why Bush (well, his policy-makers really, not him, thank God!) is completely missing the issues at hand.

So Israel blew a bunch of Palestinians away... let's face it, the US population at large DOESN'T FUCKING CARE! They could be eating Palestinian babies' brains while they're still alive and no one would say there's anything wrong with it, let alone actually try to make some policies to help Palestine.

The question we should be asking is: Ok, when are you leaving, Israel? Now that you've "killed the evil-doers" and "dismantled terrorist organizations," when are you going to get the fuck out of the territories that you are illegally occupying according to the UN? There will always be some excuse to continue slowly but surely occupying the West Bank. What will happen when there are Palestinian refugees and no Palestinians? Will we make a new country for them too? I vote for Texas.
posted by zekinskia at 2:47 PM on May 3, 2002

Why did the occupation of Jorndanian land come ab out--Jordan "onwed" the land, nopt the Palestinmians. When you want land back, taken in war, you negotiate a peace accord. The state offered the arbs was conserably larger than what it will be when there is a Palestinian state because the Arabs would not accept two states back in '47.
Of course the occupation must end. And of course settlements ought to be taken down. But of course none of this will happen till Israel is given recognition (Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel) and a guarantee of peace...why give back that which you fought for to defend yourself when you are given nothing in return?
The writer is big on electronic intifada because she clearly is pro-Palestinian. This is of course ok. But why blame Israel and Bush et al for the intransigence of the Arabs?
The occupation did not begin the mess. The writer ought to reocgtnize that the occupation came about because of the need to eliminate the state of Israel...and it will end when this "need" is finally put to rest.
posted by Postroad at 2:50 PM on May 3, 2002

Owillis, things are a lot more complicated then that. Far more Palestinians die then Israelis. If you dead you’re dead, what the hell difference does it make if it was 'willful'. Forget the TV, maybe you should try opening a book and reading about the history of the region.

Israel punishes all Palestinian people for the crimes of some of them, and if you treat people like animals they will behave as such, if you treat people as terrorists they will behave as such.

Israel’s policy is totally at odds with human nature. They have not once offered a fair settlement for piece, and that is why they do not have it. When Israel treats Palestine as an equal there will be peace. Until then, there will not be.
posted by delmoi at 4:47 PM on May 3, 2002

Zekinskia: Ok, when are you leaving, Israel? The answer would appear to be: "not at all".

The front page of CounterPunch summarizes Israeli historian Prof van Creveld's recent piece in the Telegraph, in which he outlines motive and method for how Israel will expel 2,000,000 Palestinians into Jordan the moment the US strikes Iraq this summer. "Some believe that the international community will not permit such an ethnic cleansing. I would not count on it. If Mr Sharon decides to go ahead, the only country that can stop him is the United States."

US Congress has just voted unqualified support for anything Israel might do.

(Thanks f&M for a great article).
posted by RichLyon at 12:20 AM on May 4, 2002

delmoi: As I've pointed out numerous times here, I think while Israel has a right to self defense they've gone over the line quite a bit - I do more than just watch the tee-vee. That said, the Palestinians may want to chill on the whole "Yay for killing Israeli civilians with our suicide bombers" thing.

Somehow Martin Luther King and his followers were able to grasp this concept and make it possible for me to sit here today and peck away at this keyboard.
posted by owillis at 12:39 AM on May 4, 2002

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