Ha'aretz Blog: Kufr Qana as a Kitch of Oy-Oy-Oy
Essential reading this from one of the very few sane Israelis writing at the moment. Check it out. Hebrew original here.
Kufr Qana as a Kitch of Oy-Oy-Oy
By Benny Tsiper
Kufr Qana doesn't make us less right, simply because from the beginning we were not right. As opposed to all sorts of blockheads from the left and the right as one, who are walking around mortified after the bombing of Kufr Qana, amazed at how can it be that such a screw-up that presents us as monsters in the eyes of the world could happen, I'm not at all impressed. Because one has to be a complete idiot in order to not know that a war doesn't become more or less justified to the number of civilians killed in it. By that scale - and Netanyahu said as much yesterday on CNN, justifiably - that the Allies were less justified than Nazi Germany during the Second World War, since they bombed Dresden and killed hundreds of thousands of citizens, to not even mention that they dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Of course, the fact that the Allies did so does not in any way change the fact that they were in the absolute right in the war.
So all these kitchy arguments such as 'oh no, what have we done', and 'how do we look to the world' are absurd. What I think is that this war in Lebanon is not justified, not because of Kana, but because it wasn't just in the first place, because it is not justifiable to go to war because of two kidnapped soldiers, and that this is the behaviour of a neighborhood bully and not a proper state.
By the same measure, by the way, I don't accept that what is called 'terrorism' is unjustified just because it hurts civilians. Of course it will hurt civilians. But in what other way can oppressed peoples rise up and attempt to change their fate if not by hurting civilians? Sartre justified terror in his time, and so did Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Where would South Africa be today without terror? Also this business that everyone jumps up and shouts 'oy oy oy' when they hear the word terror is ridiculous. And anyway, what is the big difference between Palestinian terror and the acts of our army?
In short, enough with this mantra of 'oy-oy-oy', and let's start to understand that the one who acted like a terrorist in this war in Lebanon was none other than Israel, and that we were just pretending to be worried about the re-armament of Hizb'Allah, and that we are pretending that that gives us the right to destroy Lebanon: OK, so we were also re-arming in the recent past, so by the same logic, we deserve to be destroyed too.
I am so angry because it seems to me that Israeli are mostly blind, including what is called the 'left', and refuse to see things as they really are, so angry that yesterday I got into a pointless argument with a collegue, who signed a petition on YNet against the war in Lebanon, and who walked around all proud about the great deed he had done, as if he was at the very least a member of a resistence group. His assertion that was that sometimes signing petitions is very powerful, and brought up the example of the signatures of the founders of the Whole Israel movement that had serious consequences for Israeli history in their time. Long live small differences: I guarantee that the petition on YNet, even if Shai Agnon and Natan Alterman signed it, won't move a single hair on Peretz's mustache, simply because the entire mood in Israel, including within those falsely called the 'intellectuals' and the 'leftists', is that the war in Lebanon is completely justified, and that Israel had all the right in the world to extert all its destructive force against Hizb'Allah. And no petition will change that mood.
It's enough to watch the television in the last few days to see that while many anti-war representatives are invited to express their angry opinion in the various TV studios, their visits are always seen as comic relief, and to serve as an opportunity for some general in retirement to sigh and say: "so, that's our nation, there will always be some people in it who shame us".
In the end, the only influence of these refined war objectors, who express their soft objections with petitions or sad and thin demonstrations, will be in twenty years, when the TV will want to put out a special broadcast on the 2006 Lebanon war, someone will dig up the text of the petition in some archive and find a small piece of a video from the demonstration, and this future director will use these to decide that the Tel Aviv intellectual left was against the war. And if someone will come and assert that that was not the way it was, and that the protest in summer 2006 was totally marginal, if not ridiculous, they will say of him that he is senile or has Alzheimer's.
I think that signing a petition against the war is a banal and obvious thing to do, and thus a bit useless. I would like to see that same petition-signer forcing himself to get up on Saturday [sic] morning and to go demonstrate against the wall in Bil'in and to really confront the army there, or to stand at checkpoints and watch over - as the people of Machsom Watch do - the daily humiliations of OPT Palestinians. I would also like him to admit the connection between what is happenning in Lebanon and the Occupation. As for me, I was amazed to hear a well-respected author tell me with all seriousness that she doesn't understand the connection between Hizb'Allah, the OPT and the Palestinians. If only I could have slapped her at that moment so she would wake up. How did this whole business in Lebanon start if not by a response of Hizb'Allah on the horrors that the Israeli army perpertrates - and continues to perpertrate - in Gaza? We prefer to completely ignore that, and that includes people like Amos Oz ['left-wing' Israeli writer], who wrote an English article I was forwarded by email yesterday about how the war in Lebanon is just and all that bullshit.
I want to throw up, in all seriousness, from the fact that we always present ourselves as wretched, exactly when the exact opposite is true. Woaaaaaah! The Hizb'Allah re-armed in the last few years. So what? One could think that we didn't re-arm. And then, the kidnapping of the soldiers lands on us like lightning on a cloudless day, as if we are innocent saints that never did anything bad to anyone, and everyone is just picking on us. People, we have an oppressed people to our side, that we wear it down non-stop, and we use any excuse of the tail of a Qassam rocket to to continue to repress it and kill its people, and then we are surprised that someone steps forward to help this same oppressed people and to fight against us in its name. Immediately we assert that that someone is in fact an arm of Iran and Syria and forget the real reason behind this, that is the Palestinian reason.
But what will it help me to shout? And you know what? The truth is that I am fed up with being a fixer of the world. Whoever wants to sign petitions, all health be to him, who whoever wants to just cry about the misfortune of the Israeli nation, that Hizb'Allah has risen to annihilate us, let him cry to his health. I have a family to fund and children (grown-up, it has to be said) to feed and to take care of their neers. And sometimes I dream of having a spare moment to write my next book. To tell the truth, I started it a few times and stopped, perhaps because my blog is taking up all my energies. But I don't care, at least I feel I have some influence, that I am giving my all to something that is not literary and won't remain long after me, but rather something that wants to play on the strings of readers' awareness here and now. In my view, this is preferable over those who play the role of silent and passive protestors but who give very little of themselves for their lofy ideas.
Another small confession: last night I dreamt, probably influeced by the sights on the TV, that Ra'anana was being attacked by an Arab army. My wife and I hide in the basement and feel the vehicles of war coming closer and closer to us. My wife says to me "we cannot do anything, at least we will die together", and then we kiss and the bomb that is supposed to fall on our house is about to fall. And then I woke up and smiled to myself when I understood it was only a dream. But I thought about it, that if planes were really dropping leaflets from the sky telling us to leave our houses - just as the Israeli army did in South Lebanon - I would stay at home and not move. And by the way, I don't think that dropping such leaflets makes us any more humanistic, but rather more barbaric.