Posts Tagged ‘JERUSALEM’


In Bureaucracy, History, Politics, Social commentary on November 26, 2014 at 12:02 am

Screaming “Allah akbar!”–the Islamic battlecry, “God is Great!”–two Palestinians wielding meat cleavers and a gun slaughtered five worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue.

Three of the dead were Americans holding Israeli citizenship.  Four of them were rabbis.

Eight people were injured–and one later died–before the attackers were killed in a shootout with police.

Aftermath of the attack on unarmed rabbis in a Jerusalem synagogue

The attack–launched on November 18–was the deadliest in Israel’s capital since 2008, when a Palestinian gunman shot eight people in a religious seminary school.

And how did Palestinians react to the grisly murders of five unarmed worshippers?

They celebrated:

  • Revelers in the Gazan city of Rafah handed out candy and brandished axes and posters of the suspects in praise of the deadly attack.
  • Hamas-affiliated social media circulated violent and anti-Semitic cartoons hailing the killings.
  • Students in Bethlehem joined in the festivities by sharing candy.

Palestinians celebrating the attack 

  • The parents of the two terrorists joyfully declared: “They are both Shahids (martyrs) and heroes.”
  • A resident of the terrorists’ neighborhood stated: “We have many more youngsters and nothing to lose. They are willing to harm Jews, anything for al-Aqsa.”
  • Another resident said: “People here won’t sit quietly, they will continue to respond. We will make the lives of the Jews difficult everywhere.”

And how have Israelis responded to this latest atrocity?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the demolitions of the homes of the attackers.

The blunt truth is that Palestinians have no interest in preventing such attacks on Israeli citizens–because Israel hasn’t given them any.

Blowing up houses only takes out anger on lifeless buildings.  Those who lived there are still alive–and able to seek revenge in the future.

As Niccolo Machiavelli once warned:  But above all [a ruler] must abstain from taking the property of others, for men forget more easily the death of their father than the loss of their inheritance.

But there is an alternative which Israelis must almost certainly be considering at this time.

Its purpose: To instill a sense of civic responsibility–however begrudgingly–in their Islamic citizens.

Every time such an atrocity occurs, Israel could deport at least 10,000 Arabs from its territory.

Suddenly, Arabs living in Israel would have real incentive for preventing such attacks against Israelis.  Or at least for reporting to police the intentions of those they knew were planning such attacks.

“Hey,” they would think, “if Abdul blows up that police station like he said he wants to, I could get sent to a refugee camp.”

The odds are there would be s sudden influx of Arab informants to Israeli police stations.

Machiavelli, the 15th century Florentine statesmen, carefully studied both war and politics.  In his most famous–or infamous–work, The Prince, he advises:

Niccolo Machiavelli

From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved than feared, or feared more than loved.  The reply is, that one ought to be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved. 

For it may be said of men in general that they are ungrateful, voluble,dissemblers, anxious to avoid danger and covetous of gain; as long as you benefit them, they are entirely yours: they offer you their blood, their goods, their life and their children, when the necessity is remote, but when it approaches, they revolt.

And the prince who has relied solely on their words, without making other preparations, is ruined; for the friendship which is gained by purchase and not through grandeur and nobility of spirit is bought but not secured, and at a pinch is not to be expended in your service. 

And men have less scruple in offending one who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared; for love is held by a chain of obligations which, men being selfish, is broken whenever it serves their purpose; but fear is maintained by a dread of punishment which never fails.

Machiavelli knew–and warned–that while it was useful to avoid hatred, it was fatal to be despised.  And he also warned that humility toward insolent enemies  only encourages their hatred.

Accompanying this is the advice of perhaps the greatest general of the American Civil War: William Tecumseh Sherman.

Sherman, whose army cut a swath of destruction through the South in 1864, said it best.  Speaking of the Southern Confederacy, he advised: “They cannot be made to love us, but they may be made to fear us.”

Israelis will never be able to make its sworn Islamic enemies love them.  But they can instill such a healthy fear in most of them that such atrocities as the recent synagogue butchery will become a rarity.


In History, Politics, Social commentary on August 24, 2012 at 1:15 am

You expect this to happen every year, starting in early November.

Even the most hard-nosed reporters–including those for major TV networks–get misty-eyed as they speak wondrously about the Three Wise Men bringing gifts to a new-born infant in Bethlehem.

And how that child would grow up to be crucified and rise from the grave three days later.  And how, having taken upon himself the sins of humanity, he would become the long-awaited Savior of mankind.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with crediting this story to its ancient source, the Bible.  As in the phrase: “According to the Book of Matthew….”

But when you report as objective fact a fantastical story that cannot be objectively verified, you leave behind the world of journalism and enter that of theology.

Such as happened during the August 20 segment of ABC World News With Diane Sawyer.

Early in the broadcast, Jonathan Karl reported that a group of House Republicans had visited Israel in summer, 2011.  The trip was supposedly a “fact-finding” tour, including visits to Jewish holy sites and meetings with top Israeli officials.

But then, one night, several members of the delegation decided to mix alcohol with swimming at the Sea of Galilee.  Some jumped in fully-clothed.  One member peeled off all his clothes before plunging in.

Sea of Galilee

That member was Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had accompanied the Congressmen to Israel but wasn’t present at the late-night frolicking.  When he was told about it, he was furious.

“The Sea of Galilee is a popular tourist vacation spot in Israel,” continued Karl, “but also a place of great religious significance for Christians.”

So far, so good–that is, for reporting objectivity.  But then came this:

“It’s where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.  It’s where he fed 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish.  It’s where he walked on water.”

Click here: GOP Reacts After Skinny Dipping Incident in Israel | Video – ABC News

That would certainly have been appropriate for a Christian Sunday school class.  But it was totally inappropriate for a reporter who is supposed to stick to what can be objectively proved.

Where, for example, is the evidence that Jesus–or anyone–was able to feed “5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish”?

How can we be factually certain that Jesus actually “walked on water”?

Karl would have been journalistically correct had he said: “According to the Bible,” Jesus performed such miracles.  Or if he had said: “Devout Christians believe” that Jesus fed 5,000 people or walked on water.

Of course, for devout Christians, such statements are those of fact.  For journalists striving for objectivity, such statements must be treated as subjective claims.

Because one man’s religious certainty can be another’s superstition.

Consider the following Q&A found at Catholic Answers Forums, which bills itself as “the largest Catholic Community on the Web.  Here you can join over 300,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic.

“Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.”

On April 18, 2008, a member posted the following:

“A few days ago I came across some very interesting news.

“Everyone knows that after Jesus arose from the dead He Ascended into Heaven shortly afterwards, marking the fulfillment of His work on earth. I was always under the impression Mohammed ascended into Heaven when he was done preaching, in a way similar to Jesus.

“The place where Mohammed ascended was in central Jerusalem at a shrine called the Dome of the Rock (the gold dome you see in pictures).

Dome of the Rock

“It TURNS OUT that I was wrong this whole time, Mohammed did ascend to Heaven at the Dome, but it was not at the end of his life.

“According to Islamic history there was a time when he was in Saudi Arabia (Mecca) and a flying horse came and they flew off to Jerusalem, and from there the horse took him to Heaven to talk with the Prophets of the past. Afterwards they flew back to Mecca. This is the ‘ascension’….

“I think the Resurrection of Jesus and His Ascension is much more inspiring.”

Of course he did!  He was, after all, a Catholic–or at least a Christian–and he had probably heard the story of Jesus’ Resurrection as a child.  It was familiar to him.  And few people question what they feel comfortable with.

But if he had grown up a Muslim, he would have heard the story of Mohammed’s Ascension, and he would have felt comfortable with that from long familiarity.

Americans often complain about the lack of objectivity in the national news media.  It’s doubtful, however, that many complained about the utter lack of it in ABC’s report about the skinny-dipping Congressman.

In an age which pundits claim is witnessing a “clash of civilizations” between Christianity and Islam, members of both faiths would do well to remember that religious truth truly lies within the heart of the believer.

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