10 August 2006

Have a nice day, Rabbi Goldberg

Jewish culture has for millennia held the role of a rabbi as a spiritual and practical guide to every aspect of life in high esteem. Even a treif-munching, leftie defeatist atheist Jew like I could respect this phenomenon. I have even come across some truly wise rabbis, that are a pleasure to listen to (from time to time), and no, you do not have to be religious to see the value of carrying some of the accumulated wisdom of a nation forward. Of course, one could easily see the danger of carrying forward some accumulated prejudice and stupidity, but let's be positive, for a bit…

Of course, we should not obfuscate the sad fact that any randomly selected prominent rabbi rarely agrees with another and that there is quite a lot of rivalry, and that some deeply rooted differences of opinion between religious and other kinds of Jews can cause some friction, which frequently spills into minor calamities. And then you have the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta of course, with their ingenious use of babies' doodoo, all of which set me up in a mood for some major caca-throwing this morning.

It started upon reading the article Israeli force can stop the rockets, but for how long? by Rabbi Dr David J Goldberg, who's the emeritus rabbi for the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London. Of course, due to my ingrained respect and stuff (see above), I was eager to absorb some age old wisdom, and a few golden nuggets.

Indeed, the relatively short article contains several pearls of wisdom on a variety of subjects:

  • Talmud
  • Geneva convention and its applicability to the current Lebanon situation
  • History of Zionism
  • Asymmetric warfare between regular armies and guerrilla forces
  • Legal issues behind the said conflict
  • Definition of a "total war"
  • Ideas on proper strategic thinking
The above list is incomplete, but enough for now. Suffice to say that my initial feeling of coming revelation before that fountain of wisdom, slowly (nah, I am joking here) but surely transformed into a realization that somebody is trying to feed me a lot of crapola.

He starts with a clever but irrelevant quote from Talmud, the applicability of which to the Lebanon crisis is nil. It is all of us that are protecting all of us now, and the emeritus rabbi is kindly and humbly asked to keep this in mind.

The indiscriminate and slogan-like use "doctrine of proportionality" is as inapplicable as it is incomprehensible. Every (minor or major) war started with a minor calamity. We are in a war now. For a good analysis of the situation in the regard see here.

On asymmetric warfare: the lack of symmetry in this case is not expressed in the available armory. Hezbollah accumulated enough arms to exceed some regional armies' capacity. The lack of symmetry is in the fact that Israel is fighting an army that, when it suits, switches to guerrilla tactics, mainly by doffing civilian clothes and hiding between the innocent population. This of course serves a dual purpose of when the aforementioned guerilla is killed he is counted as an innocent civilian murdered by a brutal Army. Lack of symmetry also means that Hezbollah can conceal its armory in civilian homes, and then whine about home and destruction of infrastructure. Why don't you take a close look at what the Geneva convention has to say about this, dear Rabbi.

And re this statement:

Asymmetric warfare, as it is currently fashionable to call the contest between regular armies and guerrilla forces, inevitably results in asymmetric casualties, at least 10 times higher in Lebanon than in Israel.

We are all tired of MSM repeating this as if it were a gospel (Talmud for you) truth. When a sane person looks at the Lebanese (and Palestinian, by the way) body counting method, whereby every person killed by IDF is automatically a "civilian", the use of that "10 times higher" cliche becomes somewhat doubtful. So let's go easy with the number two, please.

However, it should be borne in mind that - intolerable though it is for a large section of the population to be forced into bomb shelters and some of them killed - Hizbullah's arsenal of Katyushas, rifles, machine guns, grenades and mortars represents a negligible military threat to the survival of Israel.

It's a sign of stupidity, when a statement like the one above comes from a brainless journalist. It is a crime when it is uttered by a leader of Jewish community. Listen carefully, Rabbi: if our life is to be spent in bomb shelters, there will be no Israel. It shouldn't take a lot of honorifics to one's name to understand it - so ask yourself why it's a problem for you?

This is not a total war between two countries that involves both armed forces and civilians, making Israel's response to Hizbullah rockets analogous to the American response against Japan after Pearl Harbor or Britain's against Germany, as some of Israel's defenders have grotesquely tried to claim.

And how, pray, is the current situation different from a total war? Doesn't it involve armed forces on both sides? Doesn't it involve civilians on both sides? And re "grotesque claims" and mention of WWII - was leveling Dresden (a purely civilian target) anything but an act of "disproportional" revenge, without going into the rights or wrongs of this case?

Dear rabbi: in slaughterhouses there is a practice to keep a "pilot" animal that welcomes the newly arrived herds, calming them down and leading them to be "processed". It is not an appetizing image for sure, but it is not a very appetizing job you do, being a trained pet Guardian rabbi. You see, even from the comments to your pitiful opus it is clear that Jew-haters do not accept you, no matter how good and faithful you have been to your Guardian sponsors:

littleroy

August 9, 2006 02:15 AM

Being a Rabbi and a man of God, it is shokcing to see that Goldberg has failed to condemn Israeli tactics of killing civilians and targetting Lebanese infrustructure. Is it fair that Israel is carrying out collective punishment for the crimes of a few? And our Rabbi cannot see the injustice in this. Shame on the religious garb. No wonder Israel is such a mess. If these are the teachers, we weep for the congregation.

Shokcing, ain't it? Take it and weep. Or just try harder. Whatever floats your pitiful boat.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com