Gary Epstein
And now for something completely different . . .

One For The Jihadis In The Audience


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I would like to depart from customary Times of Israel (and my own) practice of speaking only to those who may be presumed to agree with me.  Instead, I am reaching out to the jihadis and Hamas-supporters in the TOI audience, an underserved community if ever one existed. You know who you are, and what a guilty pleasure reading TOI must be for you.

That’s about to change.

Dear jihadi TOI reader:  You don’t come here to be told that you are an unenlightened, knuckle-dragging, benighted, barbaric troglodyte. 

You, like the rest of us, already know that.

You come here to be entertained by some of the sharpest, most eloquent, articulate voices in contemporary journalism. Also by me. However, perhaps some constructive criticism might not be out of place. Maybe it will allow you to escape the cycle of violence you are perpetuating. Maybe it will help restore to you some last vestige of humanity, a characteristic that appears to have been stripped from you and your cohorts. Maybe, after some self-reflection, the next time you are ordered or encouraged to murder, torture, rape, kidnap, or mutilate innocent civilians, including women and children, you will look at your depraved masters, stand up on your hind legs, and say, “There is some s— I will not do.”

Wouldn’t that make you feel better about yourself?

As you can see, I, for one, would like to reach out to you and touch your soul.  Or maybe your heart?  Intellect?  Hmmm.  I see that I am batting a big zero.  0-for-3. Hard to touch a corrupted soul, a withered heart, a deformed intellect.

Well, then, let me reach out and touch the two greatest motivating forces within you:  your shame and your anger.  I would aim for your guilt, that other spur to corrective action in a normal human being, if only you had reached the level of human awareness and sensibility that could sustain such an emotion.  Maybe the goal here should be to raise your consciousness to the point where you can experience guilt, look at the carnage your actions have created, and say, “This is all my fault.  Every death.  All the destruction.  All the violence.  My fault.”

But we are not there yet.  So . . . let’s start with shame.  How mortifying it must be for you to see the advances that the Jewish State and its citizens have made while you sit in your UN-provided abode, watching your UN-provided TV and eating your UN-provided meal.  How embarrassing to be a member of a formerly proud people reduced to beggary and sustained by the world’s charity.  How crushing to realize that you are descended from a historically robust culture that made advances in philosophy, and medicine, and mathematics, and has now, intentionally, consigned itself to ignorance, brutality, and indigence.  How humiliating to continue to claim refugee status when it derives only, if at all, from the status of your grandparents, as if “refugee” was a genetic trait.

The Golden Age of the Arab communities extended from the 8th to the 13th centuries. Yup. About 800 years since you’ve done anything worthwhile.  Now, you are known as the people who invented blowing up babies in pizza shops.  Of course you are ashamed.

You account for 5% percent of the world’s population, about 1.5% of the world’s GDP–and about 0.2% of articles in top scientific journals. You watch the Jews winning Nobel Prizes, building a modern society, and caring for others, and you are ashamed, because your people have become identified with lowlifes wandering around with kitchen knives, hoping to become martyrs or prison inmates so they or their families can receive a stipend from a “government” whose primary activity is being accessory to murder. Your heroes blow off their fingers manufacturing explosive devices designed to kill women and children.  The result:  fewer fingers and even more significantly impaired computational ability.

Since 1947, 800,000 Jews have been expelled, their property expropriated, from Arab States.  Their descendants now form the backbone of the Jewish State.  Since 1947, about 700,000 or so Arabs voluntarily left or were driven from Israel.  Their descendants still claim that they are refugees, and use that excuse to avoid any and all responsibility for the violence and brutality they espouse.

The Quran is clear:  “The scholar’s ink is more sacred than the blood of martyrs.”  And yet, the only verses you remember or were taught are the ones about Jews being apes and pigs, hiding behind rocks on the Day of Judgment.  How’s that working out for you?

Doesn’t it trouble you that Palestinians and tropical fish are the only species in which mothers celebrate the deaths of their children?  And at least the tropical fish get a meal out of it.  Wouldn’t you like to live in a society in which your mother could be proud of you for something other than killing innocents, or being killed?

Of course you are ashamed.  We get it. We feel for you.  You are told to be proud of “heroes” who terrorize women and children.  You must wear masks to hide your face from civilized society.  Your role models are deviants who target unarmed, defenseless passengers waiting at a bus station.

There is no pride, or glory, or honor, or dignity, or esteem, or distinction, or prestige.

Only shame.

So, naturally, you are angry.  You assume that if you have fallen to such depths, it must be the fault of those who have more, achieve more, live better lives.  Because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate: If it isn’t their fault, then–the horror–it can only be your fault, and your Imams and your UNRWA masters have taught you that, as perpetual victims, you can never be at fault. If it isn’t the fault of the Jews, then your leaders have lied to you, and misled you, and failed to educate you, and turned you into the hateful, vengeful, dissatisfied victim that you are today.

And the only thing that remains for you is the desire to victimize others, to share your miserable fate with them, to punish them for succeeding and wanting to build better lives.  

You joyfully kill them.  How sad.  Look at what your leaders and teachers have done to you.  Robbed you of hope and self-esteem.  Filled you with despair and anger.  And directed that horrible, corrosive, gut-wrenching anger toward good people who just want to live, who love life, who love people.  Who wanted to be, and could have been, good neighbors to you.

Of course you are ashamed.  Of course you are angry.  You see Israeli Arabs living in a democracy, learning skills, earning a living, reading and writing books.  You molder in a tunnel, like a rat, a subterranean creature who makes the flesh of decent human beings crawl.

And instead of blaming your kleptocratic leaders, and your hate-mongering Imams, and the educators who filled your head with fear and loathing, you blame the Jews.  Because you just don’t know any better.

If you hadn’t become so hateful, you would be pitiful.

But, more’s the pity, you have become that hateful and, what’s even worse, contemptible.

If you don’t want to read any more of my blogs, I will understand.  But wouldn’t it be a miraculous turn of events if you could read these words, realize their truth, recognize yourself and what you have become, and think about doing better?

The Germans did it.  The Japanese did it.  Even some of your cousins in the Gulf have seen that there may be an alternative to the endless hate and violence.

Release the hostages.  Surrender. Stop teaching hate.  Stop dreaming of a Jew-free state from the river to the sea.  Think of accepting the fact that the Jews are not going away, and imagine living with them as peaceful, cooperative neighbors.

Things can’t get much worse for you.  Try it.

About the Author
Gary Epstein is a retired teacher and lawyer residing in Modi'in, Israel. He was formerly the Head of the Global Corporate and Securities Department of Greenberg Traurig, a global law firm with an office in Tel Aviv, which he founded and of which he was the first Managing Partner. He and his wife Ahuva are blessed with18 grandchildren, ka"h, all of whom he believes are well above average. He currently does nothing. He believes he does it well.