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A Pre-Passover Analysis on Events in Israel From the Samarian Mountains

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This writer has been relatively quiet on events occurring here in Israel. The new Netanyahu government installed here a few days ago did not seem very different from the old one that just left. Terms like "right-wing" or "hard-line" found in the mass media are just not accurate in describing the new Netanyahu regime. The Likud party that Bibi Netanyahu wants to head is really "Labor Lite", a point underlined by the fact that Netanyahu aggressively courted Ehud Barak of the real Labor Party to join the government. The real Jewish nationalists in the new Knesset — members of the National Union Party of Ya'acov Katz — were carefully excluded.

There are serious differences between Netanyahu and Barak. Netanyahu is indeed a "right-winger" when it comes to economic policy. In attempting to run Israel according to this "right-wing" economic philosophy, Netanyahu will encounter real opposition not only from Labor, but from SHAS, the political party that seeks to represent MizraHi Jews in Israel. But these upcoming clashes are not that important just yet, though they will dominate the Hebrew press after the Passover holiday.

The pressure points that the opposition might have levied on Netanyahu immediately, motions of no-confidence, and stalling the budget, are being thwarted by two measures.

One is a bill that will push off for 45 days the final deadline for the adoption of a national budget, a budget that was not adopted because of the elections leading up to Netanyahu's accession to the prime minister's chair. Adoption of the budget (or rather failure to adopt a budget) is a government-busting event. If the Knesset fails to adopt a budget on time the prime minister can be forced to resign. By pushing off the deadline for 45 days, Netanyahu gets time to try to re-rig the budget to fit his right-wing views. In addition, the Netanyahu cabinet will attempt to pass a budget for two years, Fiscal 2009, and Fiscal 2010, and thus remove this possible "killer arrow" from the opposition's quiver for a while.

The second measure is a series of electoral reforms that will make it harder to unseat a sitting regime with motions of no-confidence. Some explanation is needed here for those who do not live under parliamentary type regimes. The Germans were the first to adopt a "positive vote of no-confidence" which requires those seeking to replace the Bundeskanzler the federal prime minister, with an absolute majority of the votes in the Bundestag the German equivalent of the British House of Commons. In addition, those seeking to replace the Bundeskanzler had to have another candidate in mind, named in the motion of no-confidence. The Israelis copied this German technique for ensuring greater stability of a cabinet. Netanyahu wants to strengthen these copycat measures by requiring a majority of 80 members to overthrow a government (there are 120 Knesset members, and so 80 votes amounts to a ⅔ majority – something very difficult to attain in any legislative chamber). In addition, he wants to raise the bar for parties seeking entry into the Knesset from the present 2½% of the votes cast – effectively kicking out the National Union Party from the Knesset next time round unless it can double its vote totals. Theoretically, these measures can be seen as "good governance" – but in reality, they reduce the possible choices the Israeli voter faces to "the lesser of a few evils", effectively shutting out the voices of many Israelis from government. The technique is different but the end result is the same. Look familiar?

As I point out, these issues are not the immediate ones that need to be looked at. The immediate issues that need to be looked at are found at Debkafiles. In today's (5 April 2009) lead article, US, Japan, S. Korea, Russia fail to intercept North Korean ballistic rocket launch, we find this money line: "And North Korea showed Israel that it was dangerous to rely on Washington and the rest of the international community and their diplomacy to put a stop to Iran's drive for a nuclear weapon."

It's important to remember the real source of this information – the Israeli Mossad. Debkafiles is the back door of the Israeli Mossad, and they almost brag about this at their site. These are spies or former spies who want very much to believe that America is an ally of Israel. They are admitting that this belief – the wet dream of nearly every Israeli leader – just ain't so. So, as this writer has been telling you and everyone else who could read his words, Israel is on its own. We are alone, and if we want to prevent Iran from attacking us, we will have to do it alone. End of discussion.

The second important issue found at Debkafiles is the result of a poll of Arabs living in Judea and Samaria. According to an Independent Norwegian poll: Palestinian majority opposes two states. Here's the money line: Its main discovery was that a majority, 53 percent, of Palestinians (like Israelis), is against two states. Both Jews and Arabs living here oppose this two-state solution garbage pushed by the great powers and the establishment media here and throughout the world. So, to put it bluntly, it is time to abandon a bad solution that will never pass muster with the 10 million inhabitants of the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. It is time to finally listen to what they have both been saying for quite some time "we want one country here!"

I speak for the majority of the population here in saying that we do not want any Arab state here. Given that we are the majority, and we have the overwhelming military ability to enforce that statement — NO ARAB STATE HERE — then there should be one State from the Jordan to the sea — ISRAEL. The solution? Judea, Samaria and Gaza must be annexed to the State. End of conflict. Those Arabs who insist on dismantling the Jewish entity must be expelled, and if they actively rebel, they must be killed. But the details of living together can be worked out.

There is no reason to kick Arabs or Jews out of their homes here. If the king of Jordan hasn't got the foresight to give Arabs in Judea and Samaria citizenship in his kingdom, they will have to become citizens of an autonomous Arab entity in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, a self governing district that will effectively control most aspects of governance in the territory it controls. But the present "rulers" of the territory, el-FataH and Hamas, terrorist organizations both, must go. In addition all the copycat organizations, PFLP, Islamic Jihad, HizbAllah, etc. etc. etc. must also go. In short, they must leave or die. If that takes a war to establish finally who rules in Israel, then so be it. We have had wars before. But any Arab willing to live in peace in this country should be welcomed and his security on his land guaranteed. At the national level there should be several commissioners to represent this Arab entity, commissioners chosen by the Arab government of the autonomous entity. There must be in place a program to develop Gaza, Judea and Samaria, with an emphasis on expelling the UN and all of its representatives and a program to establish micro-loans to small Arab enterpreneurs, and macro loans to larger ones, a program similar to MATI, which helps Jews establish businesses here in Israel. With this kind of a mechanism, Arab refugees can be repatriated from Lebanon, which actively discriminates against them. There is no reason for Jews or Arabs whose ancestry traces to this land, to live where they are not wanted.

Would the Egyptians be happy with this? No. Would the Syrians be happy with this? No. Would the Saudis be happy with this? No Would the Iranians be happy with this? No. Would the Americans, Europeans and other imperialist powers in the world be happy with this? No. But frankly, their wishes do not matter. We live here, and we must make the best of what we have here – the rest of the world be damned.

And now a reminder for all Americans reading this article. Your president, the alleged leader of the free world Barak Hussein Obama, bowed to an Arab king at the G20 meeting a couple of days ago. So we know who is really boss, don't we? It is not your president

To my Jewish co-religionists who think they are getting the best of things by staying in Exile, remember that Passover, the holiday upon which our Redemption will be based, is coming in a day or so. There are four words at the end of the Passover Seder that can save your lives if you do what they say:

NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!

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About Ruvy

Hi!! Thanks for coming to my article! I was raised in Brooklyn, was graduated from the City University of New York in 1978 with a BA in political science and public administration there. I lived in Minnesota for a number of years. There I managed restaurants and wrote stories. We moved with our children family to Israel where we now reside. My work can be found at Ruvy's Roost, Jewish Indy,, and on Facebook under my full name, Reuven Kossover
  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Ah Ruvy, your madness is so rich and fulsome. Thanatos drinks deeply and is pleased.

    Dave

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com/ Joanne Huspek

    Scary, truly scary. That’s all I can think to say.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Now that he has a picture of himself up I can’t help but observe that he bears a striking resemblance to Wallace Shawn.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/picturethehomeless Cindy

    I LOVE Wallace Shawn! Wallace Shawn is in my favorite film, The Wife by Tom Noonan.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Take his glasses of and he could be Nalle in the 70s

  • Baronius

    Ruvy, I was waiting for you to pick up on Obama’s bow. Remember, this is the guy you voted for.

    Now, I know why you voted for him, because he’d be the worst captain for the sinking American ship. (You said that the president wouldn’t make any difference, because of our economic problems, but that’s not true; you believe that the fate of every country is tied to the fate of Israel, and by choosing the most anti-Israel candidate, you were seeking to keep America as far as possible from Israel.) So my question to you is, how can you justify keeping your American citizenship and casting votes, when you do so for the purposes of bringing America down? Where’s the honor in maintaining citizenship of a supposed enemy of Israel?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Joanne,

    It gets scarier than this. That’s the article I’m working on now – and then there is another one after that.

    As we say in Hebrew – ézeh kef! – what fun!

    Baronius,

    What I told you all was that it was irrelevant which president you chose – no matter who it was you were screwed. And I’ve been proven right. I picked Obama because he is an honest enemy of Israel instead of a false friend like Bush and Clinton were, and like McCain would have been – and I felt he would be the target marker above those Israelis who needed to be gotten rid of.

    My choice for president was based on my estimation of what was best for the Jewish people and the State of Israel, not on who I thought was best for you. What is scaring me is that I may have underestimated the danger Obama presents. But that’s for the articles I told Joanne were in the cooker.

    In the meantime, I’m going to rub your noses in the fact that your leader bows to Arab kings and kisses their rings. I want you to clearly see that the “exceptionalism” and “supremacy” you once enjoyed is a thing of the past. Your country’s sun is setting, Baronius. That does not mean that China’s is rising, even though that is a logical conclusion to reach when looking at the world’s finances.

    I keep my citizenship because of the slim chance that there might actually be money in the Social Security Fund when I’m old enough to retire in four years or so. Having put in my forty quarters, I’m entitled, just like anyone else who has paid into the Social Security Fund. I tried to vote, but I was not able to register, so I couldn’t vote. But, yes, I supported Obama for the reasons that I cited above – reasons that you misunderstand, and therefore have misstated.

    Finally, who the hell is Wallace Shawn? If he resembles me, he has my sympathy.

  • Baronius

    Ruvy – You’ve taken the same position on this site repeatedly, and I restated it accurately. Maybe a little more accurately than you’d like.

    As I noted, you’ve said that America is in an economic collapse, which will lead to (or is already causing) a loss in power and prestige. That’s what you’ve said; that’s what I said you’ve said.

    You also believe that Israel is unique. A time is coming, you’ve said, when Israel will face off against the world, and win. You’ve said that you want Israel and America to see that the US isn’t on Israel’s side. You therefore want America’s leadership to be more explicitly, as you put it, an honest enemy. Your support for Obama was intended to increase the visible separation between the countries.

    You believe that when the conflict comes, those who stand with Israel will be protected, and those who oppose her will be defeated. You want America to be more clearly on the losing side. Again, you’ve said all this. So there it is: you remain a citizen of a country that you oppose, and you try to vote in such a way as to bring that country to ruin. Don’t you see anything dishonorable about this?

    I’ve looked this over, and the only place I may have misstated your beliefs is where I said you *want* America to be defeated. It may be more accurate to say that you believe America *will be* defeated. But doesn’t it amount to the same thing when you promote a separation between the countries? The old communists tried to position their countries on the right end of history; you’re trying to align America on the butt-end of God.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    you’re trying to align America on the butt-end of God.

    No, Baronius. Pick up the Blble and read – he who tries to divide the Land of Israel aligns himself on the “butt end” of G-d – figuratively, of course – G-d has no “butt end”. This is not my doing – this is the doing of the government of the United States of America. Every single time some American politician talks about somehow forcing Israel to surrender her sovereign territory to the Arabs (two states for two peoples and that kind of shit), they align your country on G-d’s “butt end”, so to speak. And every single time some Israeli politician agrees, he increases the price in blood we Jews will have to pay at the time of the Redemption or immediately before because he is spitting in G-d’s Face, (figuratively, of course) repeating the Sin of the Spies – the sin of lack of faith.

  • Baronius

    I understand that, Ruvy. But your interest isn’t in promoting a good relationship between the US and Israel. If it were, you’d be talking about good candidates and PAC’s, and encouraging us to support your soveriegnty. You would encourage us to go after Iran.

    No, you’re telling us that we’re doomed, that it’s too late for us to set ourselves right. You don’t show the US – a country whose citizenship you possess – the mercy that you would grant to peaceful Arab residents of the Holy Land. You’ve decided that when the mess comes, America will be your enemy.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Truth is, Baronius, I do not want to see America go down – though that is what I’m seeing. I’d like to see America do the right thing – back our sovereignty over all of the Land of Israel. But since there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening, I prefer you just stay our of our affairs. At least that way, you do not come to harm. But your government will not do that either, and has refused to really back this country since its inception. That is a hard truth for me to swallow – remember where I was born? I was once an American and proud of it.

    No more. I’m being painfully honest with you as well as with myself. I do not like to write what I do. But to lie to you does me no good at all.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com/parodieslost/ Mark Schannon

    Ruvy,

    Have you noticed that one of the ads on this page is for Sexy Jewish Singles! Look what you’ve done. No Yentas!

    More scary in that poll is that 1/3 of the Palestinians want to see Israel destroyed. Hard to negotiate a peaceful solution under those conditions.

    However, I do wish you’d moderate your rhetoric because your moderation gets lost. I don’t know if you’re trying to convince anyone here or just stir up a hornet’s nest, but you raise serious issues that never get addressed because the temperature of the debate gets raised too quickly.

    We’ve agreed to disagree about our hopes for Israel, but just as I can’t see a clear path for your future, I despair over any path towards a two-state solution that leaves Israel secure.

    So if the Arabs won’t help, the Palestinians are fractured and anti-Israel, one must consider the alternatives. You’re not helping raise those alternatives when your rhetoric is inflammatory.

    The question of what to do if a two-state solution fails is serious and has global implications. We should be talking about that–as dispassionately as possible.

    So there (sticking tongue out.)

    Oh, and I checked out the video of Obama bowing and scraping before the Saudi Thug (oops…inflammatory rhetoric alert) and I wanted to pretend he just slipped. I found it offensive that he’d do that. Not sure what to think. Rats.

    Have a great Passover. (I talked to the bride about next year in Jerusalem & she threatened to have me committed for psychiatric evaluation. Oh well…maybe next year.)

    In Jameson Veritas

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    You’ve decided that when the mess comes, America will be your enemy.

    No, Baronius. The record speaks for itself. The American government has made itself the enemy over a 74 year period of time, first refusing to take in refugees from Europe, then refusing to bomb concentration camps – even after the invasion of Normandy – then embargoing arms to Mandate Palestine, then embargoing arms to the State of Israel, then forcing the Israeli army to withdraw from el-Arish, then threatening Israel that they would be all alone if they attacked Egypt in 1967, then passing information to the Egyptians as to Israeli tank movements in the Sinai – (the USS Liberty), setting up a task force to attempt to force Israel back out of the Sinai in 1967 (I know soldiers in the American Army who were part of that task force), then bullying Israel into not attacking first in 1973, fucking her over with the arms they promised to replace in the Yom Kippur War, (until Defense Sec’ty Schlesinger forced the issue) forcing Israel to withdraw from el-Quneitra in 1973…. Should I keep on going, Baronius? I can, you know, reciting betrayal after betrayal after betrayal up until the last week or so.

    Your government has written its own indictment, in my own view, and in my own view deserves to fall. While you are not my enemy, your government is.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Mark writes,

    you raise serious issues that never get addressed because the temperature of the debate gets raised too quickly…..

    So if the Arabs won’t help, the Palestinians are fractured and anti-Israel, one must consider the alternatives. You’re not helping raise those alternatives when your rhetoric is inflammatory.

    The question of what to do if a two-state solution fails is serious and has global implications. We should be talking about that–as dispassionately as possible.

    NU? I’ve put forward a solution I think can work. Looked at dispassionately, it gives Arabs in the Land of Israel autonomy over (most of) the territory they control and the opportunity to close the Lebanese refugee camps and repatriate Arab refugees there from Lebanese discriminatory treatment. It gives Jews the unlimited right to settle in Judea and Samaria and to resettle Gaza. It creates mechanisms for economic stability in the Land of Israel that will not rely on the sinking economies of the USA, Europe and the world at large. It’s framed in the terminology of a Jewish nationalist, but it is a solution with moderation and peace in mind.

    So NU, Mr. Crisis Manager? Talk dispassionately.

    Oh, and by the way, have a great Passover; and if I can’t talk you into coming home, may the spirit of Elijah the prophet bang on your door and drag you (and your bride) home – by the scruffs of your necks if necessary. May G-d judge you as he judged Jacob – a man of righteousness who has struggled with his faith – and who needs a swift kick in the rear end to get him going in the right direction from time to time.

    Happy Holiday,
    Reuven

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    So if the Arabs won’t help, the Palestinians are fractured and anti-Israel, one must consider the alternatives. You’re not helping raise those alternatives when your rhetoric is inflammatory.

    Let’s talk about inflammatory rhetoric, boys and girls! This story came from Ma’ariv today courtesy of Arutz Sheva. From the article:

    (IsraelNN.com) The Palestinian Authority has set three conditions for any further diplomatic contact with Israel, according to senior PA sources quoted in a report published Tuesday by the Hebrew-language newspaper Ma’ariv.

    The ultimatum by the PA demands that Israel freeze all Jewish development in Judea and Samaria, recognize all past signed agreements with the PA and formally recognize “two states for two peoples” – a reference to the establishment of a new PA state.

    The move parallels a freeze imposed by the Quartet of peacekeeping nations on international funding to the then-cash-strapped entity after the Hamas terrorist group won PA government elections in 2006. At the time, the Quartet, comprised by the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, set three conditions for resumption of funding and normal relations with the PA.

    Uh huh. Sure. The terrorists have made it easy for us to ignore them. All we have to do is – nothing!

    The result? no diplomatic contact, no contact regarding infrastructure (i.e. No maintenance of roads, bridges, electrical lines, sewer systems, etc.), and no contact regarding trade or finances.

    They can eat what they grow. No Israeli produce, meat, or other trade.

    They can do without infusions of cash from Israel. They can go without water, electricity, gas, or sewer service. NO CONTACT!

    If they want to live in the 12th century, let them live in the 12th century. Sounds good to me.

    You see, boys and girls, in 1974 (or was it 1975?) the kid fucker, Yassir Arafat, stood in front of the General assembly saying, “I have a pistol in one hand and an olive branch in the other” – two can play at that game.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com/parodieslost/ Mark Schannon

    Baronius, Ruvy’s right about America’s history of, well, less than humane support for Jews. I’m in the middle of a book on FDR & they knew about the camps, they did refuse to help refugees–anti-semitism was alive and well in the White House (except for Eleanor, but her influence on that issue was nil.)

    If I were Israeli, I’d be pretty nervous any time a U.S. president talked about peace in the Middle East. Sure, the U.S. has been a strong financial & military supporter, but that was based on Cold War politics, not some altruistic goals. Today the U.S. needs Mossad’s intelligence on the…wait can’t use “terrorists” anymore…the people of explosive intentions.

    I’ve never understood anti-semitism, as much as I’ve read about it, but it’s an ongoing, pervasive, insidious disease.

    So, Ruvy, where is this land for the Palestinians if Israelis take over Gaza & the West Bank? Are you talking the Jordan solution? While historically reasonable, I can’t imagine how it could be pulled off politically. The Hashemites are never going to give Palestinians a break–they never have.

    And the fact that the Palestinians are on a self-destructive, irrational, irresponsible path to…who knows where…with inflammatory and absurd rhetoric only makes it more important that Israelis with a radical solution speak in soft, measured tones.

    Phrases like “accept it, leave, or die” don’t add much to the discussion.

    And cool it with those prayers–who needs that kind of help. (Remember, the bride is a shiksa–is that the right word or did I just insult her badly?–so I don’t think Elijah would drag her along, which would be a very bad thing since we’re soul mates & cannot be separated in this or the next world.)

    Speaking of faith, did Lot really give his two virgin daughters to some mob to prevent them from raping other girls in Sodom? Oy, it seems there’s a lot more in the Bible for me to do another “I’m confused about…Jews” article, LOL.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Baronius

    Mark, anti-Semitism is easy to understand, once you allow for the existence of the devil. There’s no more rational explanation for the continuous opposition to a particular tribe of people across times and cultures. The one thing that sets them apart is that they are favored of G-d. And the one thing that unites every evil movement, every good idea gone wrong, every corruption of humanity, is an otherwise-inexplicable hatred of the Jews.

    As for America in WWII, I’ve never seen any evidence that we understood the scope of what was happening. Certainly it wasn’t common knowledge. The scope of it was hardly perceived in Europe.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Mark,

    I live in a gated community on top of a small mountain. This doesn’t mean I’m rich. The gate is to keep out terrorists – those folks with explosive ambitions. The land around this community is owned and farmed by Arabs. My solution leaves them where they are, and allows us to expand our village (within that gate) with an industrial area to take advantage of possible ways to make money.

    In other words, we stay and they stay. They govern their territory pretty much autonomously (no PLO flags though), and the only things they do not control are defense, foreign affairs, and water and land management, which has to be a joint venture. This stuff is not as complicated as outsiders (piecenik schmucks from Tel Aviv are also outsiders in this instance) make it. We keep sheep and goats – they keep sheep and goats. We grow fruit – they grow fruit. We manufacture and sell – they manufacture and sell. For example, Turmus Aiye, an Arab village near here, has a paint manufacturing company. Shilo, a Jewish village, has two companies that manufacture olive oil. Arabs run schools – we run schools. Are you getting the idea?

    There is a list somewhere of about 20 thousand Jews who want to move to Hebron. So, instead of screaming that Arabs should get out, we just build the apartments or homes on land that is not owned and in use by Arabs – and make Hebron bigger with Jewish Hebron governed separately from Arab Hebron. Why should Arabs be forced from their homes, Mark? Have you been reading what I’ve written here and elsewhere?

    It would make it easier if the Arabs living here were granted Jordanian citizenship, and could vote for MP’s in the Jordanian parliament. But if the king is not far-sighted enough to do this it is his loss; the Arabs will have a council that they elect here to run their territory, and this council will appoint commissioners to deal with the Israeli government to handle affairs of concern to both Arabs and Jews in the country. Arrangements can be made for a judiciary system that allows appeals to the Israel High Court of Justice only after all judicial remedies in the Arab entity have been exhausted. I wouldn’t expect Arabs to admit that the territory they live in is under Israeli sovereignty to themselves – but the passport would have State of Israel on it.

    However, in the final analysis, no terrorists can be allowed to remain here, and the UN funded propaganda organs that enables this terror network to remain must be dismantled. The UN must be kicked out, the peace-nik troublemakers from Europe and America must be kicked out and kept out permanently; the assholes from Oxfam, Amnesty International, Médécins sans Frontières, Human Rights Watch, the Red Cross, etc., etc., etc. None of these organizations do any good here and must be thrown out. As for the terrorist organizations, they must leave or die. I prefer them dead. Dead people can’t agitate against you from abroad (remember Khomeini from France).

    You will rapidly discover that the United States is no longer really your country, Mark – so best you get out. You and your bride have a place to run to. That puts you at a distinct advantage over others in the States, who do not.

    Your other concerns I can answer some other time. This comment is getting long.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    anti-Semitism is easy to understand, once you allow for the existence of the devil….

    De debbil made me do it! (I got a kode in my node).

    Sometime, Baronius, I’ll have to write about hayétzer ha’rá – “the evil inclination”. At the rate things are going, it may have to be soon….

  • Baronius

    Ruvy, are you making fun of me? To me, an acknowledgement of the existence of evil is a prerequisite for any serious conversation about spiritual things. Likewise, the recognition of a personal or sentient evil is basic for any assent to scripture.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t see how Ruvy can disagree. “Wickedness” and “the wicked” are all over the Hebrew writings – our equivalent of “evil.”

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com/parodieslost/ Mark Schannon

    Baronius, it’s hard for me to accept the devil when I’m still struggling to make that leap of faith & believe in God. And I’m getting a little long in the tooth, so I’ll probably expire with the mystery still unsolved.

    But you don’t need a real devil–I’m sorry, no God I can imagine would ever allow that, but that’s another discussion–you don’t need one to believe that the is evil in the world. It goes back to my contention that we are but “three steps from the caves.” Within all of us are irrational, violent, aggressive urges, vestiges of a more dangerous time.

    Yeah, God favors the Jews. Frankly I wish he’d shower those gifts on someone else. But you’re right, I think, that whatever that means, it feeds antisemitism.

    As for the WWI stuff, “No Ordinary Time” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, p. 396 (paperback version). It’s too long to quote, but in 1942, after knowing for months that Jews were being rounded up by the Nazi’s, there were a number of reports of mass killings and a plan to deport all the German Jews to occupied countries for extermination. Eleanor Roosevelt met with numerous Jewish leaders & appealed to FDR to issue a warning about war crimes. Nothing happened.

    When FDR asked for new authority that would have facilitated the movement of allied military consultants in and out of the U.S., Congress killed it when they realized that it would have opened the gates to Jewish immigration. According to Newsweek, “The ugly truth is that anti-Semitism was a definite factor in the bitter opposition to the President’s request.”

    It is true that the majority of Americans did not know the extent of the crimes, but FDR did. Kearns argues that FDR knew he had little support in Congress for action to save the Jews & feared that he’d loose political capital he needed for the war if he tried to help. Kearns notes that, “when other humanitarian needds were at issue, when refugees in Yugoslavia and Greece were in desperate straits, transportation somehow materialized, the war effort was bent, and the rescue was achieved.”

    Sorry for the long post. It’s a great book (as are all her’s); worth reading.

    Ruvy, I’ll respond to your comment later.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    No Baronius, I’m not making fun of you at all. But this concern with “the devil” just doesn’t deal with evil or wickedness or effectively define it.

    At a different article about shirking, I responded to Bliffle this way:

    the looting of the US treasury by the richest and most powerful people in the world. They can’t stop: there is no satisfying Greed. They exploit because they can.

    That, Bliffle, is the perfect explanation of the “evil inclination” hayétzer ha’rá. The rich and powerful steal – they can’t stop. They exploit because they can. Carry that concept into personal relationships and you have dealt with just about every problem in human relations that exists.

    What turns things sour in human life is not a devil – it is the inclination to exploit others. This definition applies across the board in human life.

    Think about it….

  • Baronius

    The devil is probably too heady a concept for the Politics section. In fact, this whole non-political tangent is exactly the kind of thing that I hate, but things are slow on the boards today.

    From a philosophical standpoint, I don’t care if you evil an inclination, a weakness, or a vestigial instinct. Some identification of evil is necessary if you’re going to discuss the human condition, because people are often horrible. Philosophies or ideologies that tap-dance around that fact just aren’t worth the time.

    When I say “devil”, I’m not abdicating responsibility for my actions. A person is accountable for the times he gives in to temptation. I’m just saying that even on this very windy day today, a person can tell the difference between a gust of wind and a tap on the shoulder. There’s something intentional in the tap. When I look at history, I see people doing some good things, and some bad things, and an unfailing hatred of 12 brothers from the eastern Mediterranean. That fails the null hypothesis of random human cruelty.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com/parodieslost/ Mark Schannon

    Baronius, forget what section–the most interesting people are here.

    I think we’re in agreement about evil behavior, although I’m not sure what you mean bout “fails the null hypothesis of random human cruelty.” More words, please.

    The key I think is that Ruvy and I agree that we are responsible when we give into temptation, regardless of where and how the temptation was put in front of us.

    From a theological perspective, the identification of a basis of the existence of evil is an important part of understanding the human condition. However, from a political (used broadly) perspective, we can understand the underlying human causes of evil, the reasons why some overcome the urges and others don’t, and hold those who commit evil accountable.

    Believers, unbelievers, and agnostics can all agree on how evil manifests itself in the world. The discussion about from whence evil springs is like the question about what existed before the Big Bang. It’s a great question, it’s just beyond science (well, it used to be before some of the new quantum theories, but it was a good example a few years ago, LOL.)

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Baronius

    Mark, I think we’re all on the same page philosophically. Some people deny the existence of evil; we don’t. A philosophy has to account for the most basic, apparent stuff of human experience.

    There’s a completely different question about the existence of an evil being. Let’s call him Nick. I don’t believe that Nick is responsible for all the evil in the world, or that Nick forces people to do evil. That’s not what I mean by a personification of evil. That’s Zoarastrianism, the belief in two beings, a source of all goodness and a source of all evil. No, I believe that there is a non-material realm with some good and bad beings.

    There are three reasons I believe that: Thomist philosophy, scripture, and the history of the Jewish people. I’m surprised that Ruvy doesn’t seem to believe that as well, given that we’re in agreement about two of those three reasons. Let me explain the last of those reasons.

    As someone with some Irish blood in me, I’m aware that history can be cruel to a race. (Of course, when given the opportunity, the Irish people have done some unforgivable things themselves.) If history took its toll on peoples randomly, it would read like the history of the Indian subcontinent for example – people taking a shot at each other whenever they have the chance. But no one has gotten the shaft as reliably as the Jews. Every time someone gets out of hand, the first thing they think to do is lash out at the Jews. That doesn’t make sense. It’s not fun like adultery. There’s no earthly reason that the ugliest impulses in Babylonia, Berlin, and Berkeley, from prison gangs to pulpits, would all zero in on the same target. It leads me to believe that, when men allow themselves to be corrupted, the corrupting force has something personal against G-d’s chosen ones. Scripture just fills in the blanks.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Baronius,

    Very eloquent, and I don’t really want to disagree.

    Let me field you a question, however. As a Christian, wouldn’t you agree that the “chosen people” status has been forfeited so to speak. The disciples for the most part refused to spread the gospel to the Gentiles, and it fell upon Paul (or St. Paul, to you) to do so. So isn’t it the case that according to the Christian doctrine, the original designation of the Jews as the chosen people (as per the Covenant) no longer applies because accepting Christ as the Savior because the decisive matter when it comes to salvation – which means the equivalence between the Jews and the Gentiles in the eyes of God, because it all turns around Christ.

    Your comments, please.

  • leighann

    As a Christian, I believe the the Jews are still God’s chosen people. When we accept the blood of Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins, we are adopted in but the Jews are still His chosen ones.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t disagree that this was so originally. The question is: What’s the cash value of this proposition?

  • Irene Wagner

    Yes, Leighann, what do you mean by “chosen ones?”
    Are Jews chosen to RECEIVE something, or chosen to GIVE something?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thanks, Irene. I don’t want to be a lone ranger either.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Are Jews chosen to RECEIVE something, or chosen to GIVE something?

    Irene, you remember my “welcome” to you on this list, don’t you? That empty-headed preacher of happiness who supports Obama’s “peace” initiative got the same welcome you did. In Turkey, the “Blessed of Hussein” talked of forcing a solution of “2 states for 2 peoples” – offering up MY land for HIS peace – something that this dim-wit writer ignored altogether, while quoting a book he does not understand at all – the Tana”kh. If that empty barrel wants to hand over his house in Seattle to Arab terrorists, that’s okay with me. If Obama wants to offer up Chicago, or Illinois, fine, let him. If he wants to hand over the whole of the United States in reaching out to the Moslems, let him. I don’t care. It’s your job to stop the criminal.

    BUT WE WILL NOT GIVE JACK SHIT TO SATISFY OBAMA’S BULLSHIT AMBITION.

    But to get to your real underlying question, we were chosen not to receive (we already RECEIVED – The Torah, a guide to keep us holy), but to GIVE guidance in how to properly obey the Seven Laws of Noah – when the time comes.

    Now to get to Baronius’ seeming inablity to comprehend the importance of hayétzer ha’rá.

    In a Redeemed World, the World of Truth, where the messiah is the ruler, there will no exploitation. But there will be no “free will” either.

    Presently, you have the option to do good – hayétzer hatóv, and the option to do evil – hayétzer ha’rá. In order to get credit for doing good, you have to have the option not to do good. Your resistance to doing evil is what gets you the credit upstairs. Otherwise what’s the point?

    At some point, the messiah will get rid of hayétzer ha’rá in human beings. How, I do not know, but that will be his first really big change in the world. At that point, the “game” of getting merits and demerits for Judgment Day will end and the whistle (or shofar) ending it will blow. Whether Judgment Day will follow on immediately is doubtful. The planet is a mess, and needs cleaning up. We humans have really trashed this planet good. So there will be tikkún ha’olám – repair of the world. Looking at things, it may take a while.

    In that world, there will be peace; there will be no exploitation; each man will sit under his fig tree and not be afraid. And there will be plenty of work to do.

    But the events leading up to that world will not be peaceful. There will be war, death, plagues and all sorts of terrible things predicted in prophecy, but the extra religions running around will disappear as the world shakes under disaster, and the realities supporting them disappear. This economic breakdown looks to be the beginning of that disaster. At the end of this period, you non-Jews will be seeking us out for us to guide you in the Seven Laws of Noah – which most of your religions have anyway. This is in Isaiah. That is why the theological questions you Christians raise here scarcely interest me.

    If it seems like I’m running out of steam writing this – I am. I think I may have pneumonia and will have to see a doctor Friday or Sunday about it….

    This will be the first Seder I remember in decades that I will not have participated in – I’ll be too sick to. So my oldest boy will lead – my youngest boy will ask the Four Questions. And I’ll sit there, hoping I can keep my head up.

    Feh!

    A Parthian Shot for Baronius – yes, there is satanic evil in the world, and evil spirits in the universe. Hitler’s regime was a flicker of this hell. So were the killing fields in Cambodia. There will be more coming before the World of Truth conquers the World of Lies. But when the yétzer ha’rá goes, it goes too. So much for Nick the Hob….

  • Irene Wagner

    RUVY – Instead of blowing off steam here, get your head over a vat of steaming chicken soup while you wait for a call from your doctor! There’ll be plenty (well maybe not plenty…) of time to talk about the End Times when you get back.

    Baronius – Anything goes in the Politics section.
    They call it Politics because The Sex Religion and Politics section was too long a title. Happy almost end of Lent, btw, and joyous Easter. See you after then.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “At some point, the messiah will get rid of hayétzer ha’rá in human beings. How, I do not know, but that will be his first really big change in the world.”

    I’ll tell you how, Ruvy. It’s going to become a habit WITH SOME. That’s why this world is a crucible, a fiery furnace. And some with pass the test of fire with flying colors and others will perish. And this idea is embedded in much of religious thought, even in the reincarnation idea . But it won’t be the Messiah’s doing, but the saints’.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com/parodieslost/ Mark Schannon

    Ruvy, Irene’s right. Get thee to a chicken soupery. Get well quickly. And I’m sure your sons will do you proud.

    Baronius, No, I believe that there is a non-material realm with some good and bad beings. I’m honestly trying, but I keep reading that sentence, and I just can’t figure out what that realm would be like or how it would interact with ours. I can imagine it, but it almost has a science-fiction quality to it–I read too much sci-fi in my youth.

    Oh well, it might be like quantum physics. There’s the great line oft quoted by physicists, “If you think you understand quantum physics, you don’t.” I find that reassuring because the more I read about it, the more confused I get.

    As for heaven, hell, the devil, and all that in the Jewish religion, it’s very unclear. Ruvy uses the references, but I did some research for a book I was writing on the Jewish notion of the afterlife. Turns out that in the Torah, there’s no mention of heaven. And biblical scholars can’t reach agreement about the Jewish notion of an afterlife–not a surprise. Put a Jew alone in a room, and he’ll be arguing with himself in five minutes.

    Even Ruvy has written, I think, that Judaism is a religion that focuses on how to life a righteous, honorable life, not to curry favor with God, but because it’s the right thing to do. I like that a lot.

    Ruvy, something to mull over during your convalescence. What if the roles were reversed & the Palestinians offered Israelis what you’re offering them? How would you feel?

    All your religious folks, enjoy your holidays. I’ll be watching the Masters.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Baronius

    Ruvy – YOU DO NOT SCREW AROUND WITH PNEUMONIA.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Irene – LOL @ the Sex Religion and Politics section!

    Baronius – you’re starting to sound like Ruvy…

  • Baronius

    Ruvy and I don’t disagree on much. After all, we’re reading many of the same prophetic books. Even if you only read history books or magazines, you could guess that the last news story in the world is going to be co-written by a Middle East bureau chief and a military affairs correspondent.

  • Baronius

    Mark, spiritual beings make sense to me. Physical beings make sense to me. The ones that really freak me out are the beings that are both physical and spiritual: the ghost-monkeys. They’re bound by the laws of physics, but possess a consciousness that transcends time. They have choice. Their physical forms start at some point and stop at another. That’s far weirder than mere spirits or bodies.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What you seem to be saying, Baronius, is that humans are the ones that puzzle you. If if weren’t for humans, the world would be simple.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com/parodieslost/ Mark Schannon

    Baronius, you’re pulling my leg right? Ghost monkeys? I did a couple of searches & it looks like it’s either the name of a rock group or an urban (or suburban or rural) legend. But they make sense. Gandalf must have been a ghost monkey.

  • Baronius

    Mark, I guess I got too poetic. I’m talking about humans. We have physical natures and spiritual natures. It’s easy to see how a physical being changes over time. A spiritual being isn’t bound by time, so it shouldn’t change. But humans have identity and an awareness of individuality, and our personalities develop over time, which is all very peculiar. So we don’t need to look to the angels to wonder about the interaction between the spiritual and the physical; we can look at ourselves.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    A POST SEDER REPORT:

    I felt rotten yesterday and retreated to my bed – until my wife said that they were ready to hold the Seder and were waiting for me. I hate being the guy they wait for – or on. I needed some time to think. I asked them to send in my baby boy (the powerful one who can throw me around like a sack of flour) so I could do some thinking out loud. If I were to get up at all, he would help me out of bed. I went over the various options with him and silently prayed for the power to lead the Seder. I did have a few things I wanted to say, and leading the Seder gives you that soapbox.

    Remarkably – my prayer was answered. I got out of bed myself, came to the table and led the Seder. I got the strength I had prayed for: as soon as we reached the part where the meal was served my strength ebbed away. I didn’t have enough energy to eat the delicious matza balls, salad and roast my wife had made. So I sat on a chair in the salon while my loved ones stuffed their faces. When it was time to say grace after meals and the full Hallel – this is one of the things that makes a Seder so looong – I returned to the table. When Hallel was over, we poured a glass of wine (well, it was actually grape juice) poured another cup for Elijah, and opened the door. And we read of our longing for Elijah the Prophet to herald the coming of the messiah, and for G-d to pour our His vengeance upon the nations for all they have done to us over the centuries. For this, I also had the strength. After this, the strength ebbed away. I crawled into bed afterwards, and have been more or less doing nothing all day long. The least real effort tires me out.

    As for not screwing with pneumonia (something I understand about very well), I need to wait for a day when I can rely on the doctor being in the office. That will not be until Sunday. What is celebrated as Easter Sunday in the Christian world is just another work-day here. So, on Sunday. I’ll be on the bus to J-lem hoping my doctor is in, and hoping for some powerful meds.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    So Baronius. How do you imagine afterlife? Spiritual beings without a body? St. Paul spoke of new, “heavenly” bodies. For without the body, can there be a personality?

    Oddly enough, the interaction we see here on BC is enlightening. All along, I used to think that mind-to-mind kind of communication is the ideal (because all the irrelevancies are stripped away). Now I have second thoughts because I find it defective. Give me the good old one-on-one kind of talk. I’ll take it everyday.

    Which puts the idea of heaven and communication with spiritual beings under the question mark.

  • Baronius

    Roger, as humans, we are naturally flesh and spirit. I have to assume that we’ll be like that in the next life.

    Ruvy, we are bodies too. Please look after yours. Even religious-operated hospitals are open on the Sabbath around here.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    We had better, Baronius. The alternative would be scary. Imagine eternal life on analogy with the kind of (imperfect) communication we’re experiencing on BC. That’s not my idea of heaven.
    Hell is much closer what comes to mind.

    I sincerely hope that God is more merciful than that.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Just so you all clearly understand – the only “chicken soupery” available to me is the bride’s. We’ll see if she is willing to make chicken soup (as opposed to matza ball consommé) tomorrow. In the meantime, I do have the strength to type and to call out the useful idiots I see on BC. So far, I don’t see them on this thread, thank G-d….

    Mark, the big “research”, so to speak, in the field of the afterlife comes not from Jewish sages – who can barely agree on anything. It comes from Jews who have died on the operating table – and who report being judged or being given a dose of Divine Judgment before coming back. These stories go far beyond the “white light” stuff you are used to reading. They are not pretty and they are not pleasant. According to these reports – your entire life is gone over with a fine toothed comb – nothing, either good or bad is left out. The surprises come in what is viewed as good or bad. Having read several of these accounts, I have an idea of what my own character defects are, and the things I need to work on. Having read these reports makes me wonder if I can pass muster in terms of Judgment.

    But moving to more general concerns: the real issue is not whether there is a heaven or a hell. There is a place of judgment where the righteous are – and there is a place where the soul is punished until it is destroyed. All the accounts I have read agree on this basic outline. It is there that the differences start to occur, with each person giving a very different point of view. Evidently, justice is individualized – very much so. There is no St. Peter at the gate; things happen quickly – very quickly – and in a manner designed to keep the soul being judged off balance. Those are the other commonalities in these reports.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com/parodieslost/ Mark Schannon

    your entire life is gone over with a fine toothed comb

    O.k., I’ll buy that, but fair is fair. Do we get to go over this pitiful excuse for a creation with a fine-toothed comb? And with whom? I hope it’s not some low-level angel type with no authority or knowledge.

    I’ll pit my sins against the horrors of the last million years any day, except, of course, the Sabbath.

    Baronius, rats, I was hoping for something a little more ethereal with ghost monkeys. Oh well.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Arthur Dent

    Who are you calling a monkey?

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com/parodieslost/ Mark Schannon

    If the evolution fits…lol