After sending Yitzchak Frankenthal’s letter to a group of friends and family, my American-Israeli friend, Yitzchak wrote in response:
Yes, Frankental’s piece is eloquent and moving, but…
* The Israelis do not go out in the streets and celebrate when the IDF surgically strikes a terrorist leader who is actively planning the murder of innocent people.
* The Palestinians go out in the streets celebrating and distributing candy when a homocide bomber kills innocent people, like Dr. Applebaum who has saved hundreds of terror victims’ lives, and his daughter who was to be married the next day.
The Israeli government may have made mistakes, but their basic policy is to thwart the murder of their civilians. Anyone who “evenhandedly” condemns the violence coming from both sides, as if it is equivalent, is giving the Palestinians the wrong message: that murder is OK if you have enough of a grievance.
The way out of this terrible situation is to start to demand the end of the murder, and that the Palestinians take responsibility for stamping out the murder machine. They are sensitive to world opinion and believe me, if they got an unambiguous message that murder of Israelis is unacceptable–a message which is NEVER given to them unambiguously because it is always diluted by simultaneous criticism of Israel–it might have an effect.
I sent this e mail reply to Yitzchak:
First, let me say that we all here are in shock over the senseless death of this week’s terror attacks. I have no doubt that Dr. Applebaum was a tzadik, as many of his friends said of him at the funeral. As Frankenthal said in his letter, the thought of his death together with his soon-to-be-wed daughter takes one to a place where it is difficult to express emotions in words.
Though I know we don’t agree on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I am very glad that you responded to my post, because your views represent a strong cross section of Israeli society. Nevertheless, I had a few responses to what you wrote.
The Israelis do not go out in the streets and celebrate when the IDF surgically strikes a terrorist leader who is actively planning the murder of innocent people.
* The Palestinians go out in the streets celebrating and distributing candy when a homocide bomber kills innocent people, like Dr. Applebaum who has saved hundreds of terror victims’ lives, and his daughter who was to be married the next day.>>
I think you are making a mistake by lending moral equivalence to a sinful act (murder) and an equally repugnant reaction (celebration after the fact). In moral philosophy, the world (and I’m sure in our own sacred Jewish texts), actions are what is important. Reactions are not the same as actions and should not carry the same weight.
Israeli soldiers kill Palestinians–both militants and the innocent. Palestinians murder Israelis–both soldiers and the innocent. How each side reacts after the fact may have an emotional impact on me, but the deaths are what is important.
Since you mentioned that Israelis do not celebrate the deaths of Palestinians, let’s talk about the Jerusalem Post’s despicable editorial calling for the murder of Yasser Arafat, along with Hamas militants. I have never heard of ANY Israeli or western publication calling for the assassination of the political leader of another nation. This is a bankrupt and morally reprehensible position and should be denounced by all reasonable Israelis. Wouldn’t you agree that many Israelis would celebrate (in their hearts, if not in the streets) Arafat’s death? So what would be the difference between Palestinian celebration in the face of Israelli death and Israeli celebration in the face of Palestinian death?
Sure, we can argue about how horrible Arafat is & I’ll agree with just about anything you can say about him. But killing him? Words fail me in describing the idiocy of this position.
the IDF surgically strikes a terrorist leader
I wish you wouldn’t talk about IDF “surgical strikes” against Palestinian militants. These are never surgical strikes. They always wound innocent people and usually kill them. You and I both (I presume) hated the term “collateral damage” used by the U.S. military in Vietnam to euphemize in talking about innocent civilian death at the hands of our B-52s. This was despicable language then & “surgical strike” is a false, despicable and morally anaesthetizing phrase today.
The way out of this terrible situation is to start to demand the end of the murder, and that the Palestinians take responsibility for stamping out the murder machine.
Right, the way out is to demand the end of murder ON BOTH SIDES. The Palestinians do have to take responsibility for stamping out their murder machine. But this doesn’t happen in isolation. You can’t demand that they stop murdering Israelis while you continue to kill their leaders (whether we hate them or not).