Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Another bomb, another day
Church of the Absurdity
Biblical images were powerful weapons because they were so deeply embedded in German culture. But that same familiarity also led German gentiles to appropriate Bible stories in asserting their own claims to superiority. In doing so, they often showed resentment that the Jews had been God's first favorites, that they had occupied the center of a story whose focus Christian Germans longed to be. Thus Hitler's derision of the Jewish "Chosen People" revealed a claim that it was the "Aryan" Germans who really merited that title. And by the end of Mein Kampf, Hitler had seized the role. He and his people, he wrote, "have been chosen by Fate to be the witnesses of a catastrophe which will be the most powerful substantiation of the correctness of the folkish theory of race."
Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do [them], that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.
Faithfully obey these laws. This will show the people of the world your wisdom and insight. When they hear about all these laws, they will say, "What wise and insightful people there are in this great nation!"
34 Has any god ever dared to go and take a people from another nation and make them his own, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt? Before your very eyes he used his great power and strength; he brought plagues and war, worked miracles and wonders, and caused terrifying things to happen. 35 The Lord has shown you this, to prove to you that he alone is God and that there is no other. 36 He let you hear his voice from heaven so that he could instruct you; and here on earth he let you see his holy fire, and he spoke to you from it. 37 Because he loved your ancestors, he chose you, and by his great power he himself brought you out of Egypt. 38 As you advanced, he drove out nations greater and more powerful than you, so that he might bring you in and give you their land, the land which still belongs to you. 39 So remember today and never forget: the Lord is God in heaven and on earth. There is no other god. 40 Obey all his laws that I have given you today, and all will go well with you and your descendants. You will continue to live in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to be yours forever.
7 They took the field against Midian, as the Lord had commanded Moses, and slew every male. 8 Along with their other victims, they slew the kings of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. They also put Balaam son of Beor to the sword. 9 The Israelites took the women and children of the Midianites captive, and seized as booty all their beasts, all their herds, and all their wealth. 10 And they destroyed by fire all the towns in which they were settled, and their encampments. 11 They gathered all the spoil and all the booty, man and beast, 12 and they brought the captives, the booty, and the spoil to Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the whole Israelite community, at the camp in the steppes of Moab, at the Jordan near Jericho. 13 Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the chieftains of the community came out to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses became angry with the commanders of the army, the officers of thousands and the officers of hundreds, who had come back from the military campaign. 15 Moses said to them, You have spared every female! 16 Yet they are the very ones who, at the bidding of Balaam, induced the Israelites to trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, so that the Lords community was struck by the plague. 17 Now, therefore, slay every male among the children, and slay also every woman who has known a man carnally; 18 but spare every young woman who has not had carnal relations with a man.
Citizens of Israel, the state of Israel is in a war, a war against terrorism. It's a war that has been imposed upon us. It's not one that we have chosen to undertake. It is a war for our home.
We have examined our options and our path, and we have chosen the path of slaughter, by acts of Jihad, Istshahad (suicide) and resistance of every form, side-by-side with our brothers in the Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and all the other Palestinian resistance groups, until the liberation of Palestine and the return of the refugees…We call upon all those supporting the foreigners to remove themselves from our occupied land. For we shall strike at any time and place… for victory or martyrdom, the eternal glory of the martyrs.
Since "choice", by definition, is the free and uninhibited assertion of will; and since the intrinsic will of the human soul is for life and well-being; the only true choice there can be is the choice of good. But we have been granted freedom of choice, which means that we can choose not to choose; what we call "freedom of choice" is in fact the choice to exercise choice or to abnegate choice. When we do assert our true will--when we do choose--we invariably choose good.
A woman who studied Torah receives a [Heavenly] reward but not as much as the reward of a man [who studies], because she is not commanded [to study]. And anybody who does something which they are not commanded, their reward is not the same as the reward of the one who is commanded and fulfills [the Mitzva], rather it is less. Even though she merits reward, the Rabbis commanded that a man not teach his daughter Torah. Because most women's cognitive skills are not directed towards proper learning and they corrupt the words of Torah into nonsense, according to their weak understanding.
The two sides are not morally equivalent. The Palestinians are not seeking to gain their freedom—they are unequivocal enemies of freedom. They, along with the rest of the Arab world, reject the whole concept of rights. Virtually every Arab country is a monarchy, theocracy or military dictatorship. Freedom of speech, property rights, free elections, and the separation of church and state are almost non-existent. Speaking out against the rulers or against the Moslem religion leads to imprisonment or death. All attempts to start competing political parties are ruthlessly crushed…When a person sees that a different culture can produce a much better life—greater knowledge, greater mastery over nature, greater comfort and security, greater respect for the individual—than his own, he has two choices. He can adopt the new culture as a blessing, or he can seek to destroy it—and himself—because it stands as a reproach to his irrational form of existence. The Palestinians have chosen the latter. They are guilty of what Ayn Rand called "hatred of the good for being the good." They hate the Israelis not because of their vices, but because of their virtues—their ability to better their lives by embracing reason, science, technology and individual rights. Israel (despite its own, growing crop of religious mystics) represents the triumph of secularism and freedom in the Middle East. Israel stands for the principle of . . . life.
The Palestinian people have no grudge against the American public. We never did. As a matter of fact, if one resists the media spin and takes a closer look at what the Palestinians have been struggling for, it will be revealed that the Palestinian intifada is a very American struggle. After all, it is a struggle for national independence, civil liberties, human rights, as well as a struggle to establish an open market in an independent economy, free to market forces and free from Israeli domination. The Palestinians are doing what any American citizen would do: We are fighting for our rights. At times, some Palestinian individuals and organizations reach a point of equating life under Israeli occupation to death and unfortunately choose to take Israeli civilian lives along with their own. This is a sad but bitter reality of the environment that a prolonged foreign military occupation creates. No matter how many times U.S. President George W. Bush or a war criminal like Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon call upon Palestinians to condemn these acts, the reality remains that taking civilian lives is definitely not the norm in the Palestinian struggle. The history of the Palestinian struggle is rich; it is something that every American can relate to.
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