By Tom Carroll
(August 5, 2014) – I posted a video on Facebook yesterday – As a defense of Israel, it was satisfying in its clarity – explaining the current situation in a way that made it impossible to misunderstand Israels actions this past two weeks – these most current hostilities as they relate to recent history and serve as predictors of the future. However complicated the ultimate solution may be – however long that region of the world may have to wait for a durable peace – Israel holds the moral high ground and with it, justification for whatever may need to be done to preserve sovereignty and protect it’s citizens. Good guys and bad guys. Black and white. At a time when so little is clear, I found satisfaction in this video’s and my own conclusion that Israel was fighting the good fight. However many Palestinians might die that night, the Israeli army are the good guys. They were my team! I slept well.
I take pride in the fact that I’m a life-long, non-fan of team sports. Instead, I picked a sophisticated, modern army to make me feel like a winner. My subconscious mind didn’t take the night off. Aware of my hypocrisy it used the quiet night hours to chew its way through my defenses. That next morning, after posting a link to the video for “all” my Facebook friends, an element of discomfort crept in. The video’s message was simple to the point of simplistic – supportive of Israel to such a degree as to make me wonder if its message might have ignored that always present, “other side of the story,” Telling only one side and a simplified version was not sufficient. Information consumers are judged incapable of understanding, or simply not worth the effort required to explain complicated situations This happens so often that we’ve come to accept what is offered. Maybe the news gatherers for the masses are right. We may not be stupid but all too often we are lazy. Rather than demanding better coverage by network and cable news organizations, we need only look to Google. There is little that we should know that is not available if in fact we want to know. The story of Israel and Gaza, Israelis and Palestinians, is too important to explain away simplistically. Even if we are basically correct in our conclusions, there are facts we should know, details that create subtle but important contours in our understanding of the world and those we share it with. The well-informed mind is a lonely hunter. So much for my flirtation with team sports.
There is another YouTube video made by an Israeli, Miko Peled – the son of an IDF General. He has a book for sale which demonized Israel as being the heartless aggressor. No doubt, some of what he claims is true. As I have just suggested – in this case as with others – there is always another side and more information. However, for those who have followed the story of Israel, the Palestinians and Middle Eastern Politics long enough – holes in this fellow’s narrative are evident. The video shows Peled speaking in a church somewhere in the US, before a sympathetic audience. Miko has much to say and his family and personal credentials seem to give him the access and elevation to speak as he does. Many of the points he made impressed me as being accurate or at least truthful as far as he knows the truth. As such, they were to me, disappointingly damning of past and present Israeli governments. Though uncomfortable as a result of what I was hearing – if there were elements of truth in this, “other side of this story,” – wanting to be fully informed, I continued to watch.
Then the false note. “The Children,” he said. “The Children!” he repeated. Careful listeners will detect a dramatic ploy. Peled was speaking to an already sympathetic audience. Still he reached – over-reached for even more shock and outrage. Peled was adding “steroidal” kickers to his message. Wary now, I began to hear the sound of a story twisting under pressure as Peled picked carefully among evidential artifacts to craft his message – to make a case without regard for the whole truth. Half truths do not reveal half of the truth. A half truth tells part of the truth in such a way as to mask the whole truth. This was what Peled was doing. The data was beginning to cry out, as this twisting of it’s particulars increased. As the saying goes; “You can make the data say anything if you torture it long enough.”
Miko Peled’s video is long and you can watch it yourself if inclined. So in this article let me simply pick out four points – four concerns Peled focussed on to tell his story – used to bring the audience to the conclusion he intended. I will tell them another way. Readers can judge for themselves as to whether I have been unfair to Miko Peled or the Palestinians – the tragic stars and co-instigators of this world engaging drama.
Let me start with the children – as in my opinion Peled’s emotional appeal centered on the plight of, “The Children, The Children!”
1.) Children in Gaza have access to little or no water, says Peled. Fact. Israel “trucks” water to Gaza daily. Truth. Israel should not be required to supply water after all these years – when they – the Israelis have drilled for and developed water supplies in the most hostile areas to the East and South of Gaza – the Negev desert. Money from the IMF, Europe, UN and US has flowed “like water” in Gaza for years. Little of it has ever been used to build an infrastructure – including a desalinization plant similar to the one Israel operates to supply the water Gazan children are supposedly deprived of – infrastructure that a responsible state develops for its citizens. Weapons and those sophisticated tunnels built to transport and hide them – this is where the money apparently is spent. In an act of appeasement – land for peace – Israel left Gaza. Israel gave up the land but never saw a day of peace in return. Now recognized for the strategic mistake and societal tragedy that it was – Israelis, Gazan residents at the time, were forced out – forced to leave behind whole cities – including a sophisticated, fully functional agriculture industry and all the water wells required to grow crops that were previously available in abundance. It now lays in shambles. Here was food. Here was the water. Still, Arab apologists prefer to portray the Arabs of Gaza and Samaria as subjugated, mistreated – waterless – refugees. Arabs in the region have used this story in a variety of contexts for 70 years. No doubt there are those who suffer in Gaza. But let Hamas use Euro currency notes to wipe away their tears – the smallest of fractions would be sufficient, as we are talking of hundreds of billions in aid money that apparently aided no one. Sad but true, Arabs hold fellow Arabs in subjection, for political capital.
2.) The Nakba – the Arabs day of catastrophe. There are two sides to this story. Miko Peled tells only one. No doubt there were shameful acts committed by the Israeli army. But there is a larger story. It was the beginning of what we see today – former Arab residents of Israel, confined in refugee camps located in Lebanon and elsewhere. Again, aid money has been allocated – only to be diverted. The people do suffer – they have for decades. But where did the money sent to help them rebuild their live – to build homes and municipal infrastructure – how could so much continue to evaporate like water in a desert? No one will produce a full or accurate accounting. Still, it is instructive to note that Arafat – just one of dozens charged with responsibility for these people – Arafat’s wife and family lived luxuriously in Paris – still do. Arafat himself died with money in the banks of Switzerland – several billion.
3.) Homicide/Suicide bombings. Peled dismisses them as being statistically inconsequential. Really, Miko?
4.) Peled claims that Israel has fabricated the threat posed by Iran to divert attention from the Palestinian issue. No more need be said. Miko Peled’s credibility is shredded as he dismisses Iran’s self stated hostility, open threats and covert support for Hezbollah and Hamas – two of many groups who direct attacks and stockpile billions in weaponry – an ever-growing threat against Israel, Europe and the US.Who has misdirected whom? Do you hear a “whirring” sound? That’s the sound of multiplied thousands of Iranian centrifuges. Spinning at 90,000 rpm’s they are concentrating a supply of weapons grade uranium that grows larger by the day.
Watch his video, (Google: Miko Peled – YouTube), and find yourself wondering if what he says is true – how much is true? Then think about some of these specific issues and realize that he is not just mistaken. Homicide bombers on buses and city streets Statistically inconsequential? Miko Peled has gone out of his way to mislead and misdirect the unwitting.
So will we see an end to the fighting? Actually… “We,” those of us removed by distance, ethnicity and nationalities – “We” don’t count. As to whether “We” will witness peace in Jerusalem and Gaza – peace in the Middle East – It’s not really our concern. Our anti-war, “Peace in our time,” sensitivities are not the issue! However – if there were a way, we do have a responsibility to help anyone in need. But all to often our best intentions result in more trouble. Few places on earth have seen this fact demonstrated so often or for so long.
We ask Israel to surrender, to end military actions and “free” the Palestinians. Figuratively – but all to close to reality – the, “world voice” would be satisfied if Hamas’s snipers would simply not stand behind girls and boys – The Children – while firing at IDF soldiers. But even this is asking too much and will not happen because Hamas knows that if a child dies, “The World” will concoct a way, however twisted, to blame their deaths on Israel. Not surprisingly, neither side listens to much of anything we are saying. So maybe it is us – the rest of the world who needs to surrender our meddling, our self entertaining anxiety and financially motivated, strategies for peace. We know so little. I don’t think we really care all that much either.
“Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.” This is a Biblical injunction. It occurred to me recently that it did not read, “Pray for the safety of the Jewish people – nor for the preservation of the State of Israel.” Neither does it say,”Pray for an end to the occupation of Arab land, or pray for the freedom of the Palestinian People.” This prayer is a universal plea for Jerusalem – the past and present capital of the nation of Israel. Once the center of government and culture during the Ottoman occupation – now home to persons of all nations and ethnicity, Jerusalem is a magnet to spiritual and religious groups of all persuasions. Among these and central to the current narrative are the three Abrahamic faiths – Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Considering all this international, multicultural and wide-ranging religious attention – all these claims of heritage, ownership and responsibility – to pray for the peace of Jerusalem is to pray for peace throughout the world! How fitting, as Jerusalem holds, as it has for centuries or longer – the attention of the world.
Miko Peled’s book and video will not bring an end to the suffering of the people he champions. Nor will my rebuttal untangle the problem. What to do then? How can this ever end and what could any individual or concerned group expect to do? Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We can pray for intercessory influence – Divine power and the perennial, though little understood wisdom resident in each of our hearts. To pray in this general way is to suspend individual opinions – to favor neither side or solutions of our own imagining. It means surrender. Not surrender to political expediency nor to interpretations of religious texts. And not to local or international government agendas. This is surrender to wisdom – call it acceptance of fundamental goodness – a level far above good intentions. If I surrender and you surrender too… If all sides actually came to the point of surrender at the same time, there would be peace in Jerusalem. Absurdly impractical? Given the statements and actions of fundamentalists – yes. It is quite unreasonable.However, taking a lesson from the small rudder that steers a big ship or the small, nearly naked man, Gandhi who changed the course of nations – Prayer, offered by even a few engages power beyond numbers and probabilities. May those who have ears to hear – read and recognize reason to hope. May hope motivate some courageous number to surrender. May others witness and follow this example. Friends, countrymen, citizens of the world… let us all, Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.
Thanks for this. I appreciate your carefully considered and researched points and your willingness to make them in a world where over-simplification wins the day over and over again.
Polly C. – your remarks are appreciated. Thank you for taking time to respond!
Interesting aspects to such a confusing drama. The end of pain seems a long way off.
Islam is Islam no matter what label you put on it. People fail to understand what this is all about. Step away from the Press read for yourself The Middleast Beast by Joel Richardson or God’s War on Terror by Walid Shoebat. Just read one or both and if these don’t open your understanding of what is happening then you are blind and the truth is not with in you. I stand with Israel that is what my God ask me to do. Read the books it will cause you to understand the Bible better and the Middleast.
Frank… Thank you for your comments and suggestions. I appreciate your passion.
Tom, you leave me with much to think about. Thank you for your writing on this subject.
Enjoyed your writing, Tom. There is so much truth in the points you make. My favorite line is “Half truths do not reveal half of the truth.”
A close Jewish friend of mine for over 50 years has an entirely different point of view:
“Let’s see-as of July 22nd, 647 Palestinians, a majority of them civilians, 1/4 of them kids, were attacked and killed by the mightiest and most sophisticated, well-armed military force in the Middle East, a country that has more F-16 fighter jets than any other country but the United States and a missile defense system that prevented virtually any damage in Israel. During the same period, 28 Israeli soldiers and 2 Israeli citizens have died. Elimination of Hamas’ missiles left Israel vulnerable to rock and bottle throwers on the street. YEAH, I AGREE, THAT’S PRETTY ONE-SIDED, NOT A FAIR FIGHT AT ALL.
This cruel slaughter of folks brandishing stone age weapons and the many civilians around them will produce a death toll approaching 2000 Palestinians, most of whom will be civilians, 1/4 of whom will be children, in complete derogation of the rules governing international warfare during the cruelest occupation in the history of humankind. Israel’s blockage has been killing the 25-mile long Gaza strip slowly but surely anyway. But Israel will insist that the killing continue until Fatah is separated from Hamas again and Hamas accepts responsibility for restarting the war by sending rockets that led to the two Israeli civilian deaths. The final killing figures will be remarkably similar to what happened in front of our very eyes in 2006, when IDF bombed Beirut apartment houses as we watched on TV, which led to a death toll of 1600, 1/4 of whom were children under age 15.
Because Israel doesn’t respect the United Nations anyway because is has already shown itself to be anti-semitic by rudely condemning Zionist atrocities dozens of times during the past 50 years , it is likely that the citizens of the world will have to force Israel to join the world of decency through the boycott and divestment movement that brought an end to the South African apartheid regime.”
I wondered when someone would forward this sort of argument. I do appreciate your response but do not want this is not the beginning of an intractable exchange. To insure that it is not – I will write this one, and only one response. You are invited to have the last word.
As I point out in the original article, half-truths do not reveal half of the truth. Instead they obscure the whole or larger truth. Your comments were full of half truths. I do not mean to be rude. This is simply a factual statement. I will address those time allows.
You say that, “Israel will insist that the killing continue until Fatah is separated from Hamas… and Hamas accepts responsibility for restarting the war by sending rockets that led to the two Israeli civilian deaths.”
Clearly, I do not speak for the Israeli army, nor do you have a seat at their counsel table. However, I think it safe to say that the attacks on Gaza will stop when missile firing and attack tunnel construction ends. No doubt the Israelis have an interest in Palestinian politics. But it is irresponsible to suggest that the Israel promotes rocket fire from Gaza to justify military actions.
As for the deaths of Palestinian citizens – this is tragic, as no one would argue. But then we see that Hamas has done all possible to maximize civilian casualties. We learn, already knew that Hamas, it’s sponsors and proxies were hiding weapons in schools, hospitals and homes and firing rockets from populated areas. This was documented by a French reporter last week. The reporter was condemning Israel for civilian casualties – just as you have – when suddenly a volley of rockets aimed at Israel erupted near himself and the crowd who had gathered as they do when TV cameras come courting. The reporter ran for his life but failed to recant his clearly erroneous story.
Let’s not forget the tunnels. Not just tunnels leading into Gaza from Egypt – but tunnels leading from Gaza, North, into Israel. Tunnels Hamas admitted to have constructed for the purpose of staging a heavily armed attack during the upcoming High Holidays. An attack involving hundreds of insurgent’s intent on killing Israeli citizens – killing civilians – specifically killing children, as at least one tunnel terminated under a kindergarten. It was intended to be an horrific, murderous display of Hamas’s intent to kill all Jews – Israel being just their first stop on a long, very bloody trail.
As for your stone age weapons argument… Israel did not build the wall of separation until the Pedestrians began sending their children into Israel wearing vests packed with a modern, military grade explosive, Semtex. The inclusion of nails and ball bearings was not state of the art. But they did serve to shred even more skin and bone from civilian bodies. Israel has attacked Gaza – not because someone threw a rock or gas-bottle bomb. It was the evermore sophisticated rockets and mortars they fired – so many of them for so long.
I was attacked by Arab children throwing rocks. I have seen the damage caused by “stone age weaponry,” as you call it. Gary, a human being killed with a rock is no less dead than someone killed by a bullet. If you threaten another person with a knife – how can you possibly complain when they pull out a gun in self defense?
Hamas and others know the capabilities of the IDF. They do not attack thinking any single action will win this war. They attack knowing that repeated terrorism wears down the will of extra national policy makers. And they know their own losses – civilian losses, particularly the deaths of children will always be blamed on Israel. You prove them right. Your misguided sympathies will be played upon again and again. So – hard words but true – please consider this Gary – you share responsibility with Hamas for the deaths you decry.
The fact that is Israel is better armed has no bearing on their right and responsibility to respond when they are attacked with deadly weapons. If it were just the sticks and stones – you would have made a convincing argument. But it is rockets and rifles and tons of high-order explosives to which the IDF has responded.
UN sanctions have been rude – they have also been anti-Semitic. Guided by committees overweighed with Arab and Arab associated interest groups – anti-Semitism is not surprising. Your denial of anti-Semitism is the only surprise. But then… not really. You have been played – played like the instrument of misdirection Hamas knew you and others would be. You are being played by masters of the game.
Having already “gone on” too long here – let me finish by stating clearly that wherever you are getting your information – it is not the whole truth – not by half.
In 632 AD/CE, Mohammed set down the rules of Islam – “Kill the Jews and fight all non-muslims until they convert.” So this political system disguised as a religion is divided into the House of Islam (dar as-islam) and the House of War (dar al-harb) – basically telling the world to submit or be conquered. Their “bible” tells them to lie, cheat, steal, and kill to effect this. Pure evil.
And it’s suppose to be Israel’s fault that they are being attacked by Hamas????
This centuries old struggle is purely based on the political agenda, hatred, and delusions of world domination propagated by Islam. The more people recognize this, the simpler the situation becomes…