Written in 2021, this is the second in a series of posts written after increases in Israeli-Hamas combat activity.
Casual observers, including essentially all journalists, of the short war of May 2021 between Gaza (Hamas) and Israel have suggested that the issues were the potential eviction of a few Palestinian renters and a police raid on the Temple Mount. Neither issue was decided by the conflict and neither issue has historical significance as the justification for almost a century of Arabs and Jews killing each other in that general area. Much more insight is provided by considering the phrases chanted by the warriors on the two sides.
Allahu Akbar, God is most great, might seem a curious reason to justify attacks on Jews, but it is simply the continuation of an almost two millennia tradition of some members of the other two Abrahamic religions, Islam and Christianity, of killing or expelling Jews because it is God’s Will to do so. The rejectors of the Prophet or the killers of the Son of God defile Jerusalem and the land given to the true inheritors of Abraham, and the defilers must be killed or expelled.
עם ישראל חי
Am Yisrael chai, the people of Israel live, might seem a curious reason to justify attacks by Jews, except perhaps on Arabs or others who seem to wish to continue the two millennia tradition of expulsion or genocide.
Both these phrases, and the beliefs they represent, are deeply held and have justified the killing and expulsion of thousands on both sides. The suggested causes of the May 2021 conflict are almost trivial since the clear reason for continued conflict will persist until at least one of the persistent and basic beliefs is eradicated. The stark lesson of history is that total defeat in war is the most efficient method of eradicating a belief that justifies war.
Following the extermination of 6 million Jews, approximately the same number now live in the small sliver of land they call Israel with their backs to the Mediterranean. Surrounded by Islamic populations that would much prefer that they leave on the same damn boats that delivered them, these six million have become a nuclear armed modern military power capable of essentially annihilating opposing populations. Israel has not yet done so because it is bounded by the value set of rabbinic Judaism.
Diaspora Jews and Western liberals mistake this for a decent respect for the opinions of mankind, but as those opinions drift ever closer to views that will have the same outcomes as two millennia of antisemitism, Israeli Jews may well abandon the value sets of Rabbinic Judaism and revert to the bloody conquest value set attributed to Joshua.
The issue will not be decided by public opinion about victims or oppressors because that public is not willing to kill or be killed. The issue will not be decided by protests or thrown rocks. The land of Israel has always been taken by the sword, and the progressive world is fast convincing the Israeli Jews that good guys finish last, and they might be better served by following a Joshua.
Progressive preferences notwithstanding, these deadly conflicts have persisted for almost a century and diplomatic attempts to reconcile the two opposing beliefs have failed for almost three quarters of a century. Progressive groups, such as Black Lives Matter, might think about the likely outcome of pushing a nuclear armed killing machine into a corner. The IDF don’t play.