Israel

Someone asked me the other day if I supported Israel. Specifically they asked “Would you say you are a supporter of Israel or not?” This implies it is a binary issue. My interlocutor thinks you are either fully in support of the country or against it. I may be misinterpreting his intentions, but that was my reading of the question.

My answer was that I had no strong feelings about Israel, but I wished them the best. I have the same emotional response as I would if the topic were Canada or Lichtenstein. Israel is a country with interests, just like any other country. Where her interests coincide with the interest of my country, I expect my government to work with Israel. Where our interests collide, I expect my government to put our interests first.

That’s a cutesy pie answer that is not entirely honest. I’m a human being born into a culture and therefore I have a cultural outlook. Like any normal American, for example, I don’t care for the French. They could be building the paleo-conservative utopia over there and I would have a tough time cheering for them. On the other hand, I’ll always root for the Brits, even when they are doing stupid things.

The reason, of course, is that the Brits are a lot like Americans. Familiarity and a commonly held sensibility makes it easy for Brits and Americans to get along. That’s where I come down on Israel and the Middle East. I’ve known a lot of Jews and I’ve done business with Israelis. They are familiar to me and I have some insight into their world view. Arabs are inscrutable and their ways strike my western mind as barbaric.

A young Saudi Arabian Shi’a activist, who was sentenced to death last year, has lost his final appeal for justice and is due to be executed by beheading, followed by the mounting of his headless body onto a crucifix for public viewing.

Human rights groups and Saudi critics are appalled by both the nature of the execution and the flimsy case against Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, though neither of these factors are unusual in today’s Saudi Arabia.

Al-Nimr was arrested in 2012, at age 17, in the predominantly Shia province of Qatif, and accused of participating in anti-government protests and possessing illegal firearms. He has repeatedly denied the latter charge, although he was reportedly tortured into confessing the offenses after his arrest. According to Amnesty International, al-Nimr spent a short time in a juvenile detention facility before being transferred to prison when he turned 18, and was sentenced to death in 2014.

Al-Nimr was likely targeted because he is the nephew of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimra, a prominent Shi’a cleric who was also sentenced to death in 2014. Al-Nimr’s father is also a political activist.

“Ali was a vulnerable child when he was arrested and this ordeal began,” said Maya Foa of the legal charity Reprieve, in a statement. “His execution—based apparently on the authorities’ dislike for his uncle, and his involvement in anti-government protests—would violate international law and the most basic standards of decency. It must be stopped.”

US talk show host Bill Maher raised al-Nimr’s situation on television a few days ago, encouraging viewers to stop fretting about the American Muslim who was arrested for bringing a clock to school and instead show some concern for the Saudi who’s going to be crucified for attending a protest. “If you haven’t used up all your heroism hashtagging for the clock kid, maybe do it for this guy,” Maher said.

I’ll stipulate that the bias here probably excludes the very real crimes committed by this guy. I’ll also stipulate that the death penalty is seen as a reasonable punishment by most people. I’ll even go so far as to accept beheading as humane, assuming it is swift like the guillotine. As a matter of science, there can be no more humane way of killing someone than the swift removal of their head.

Where I draw the line is on displaying the corpse. The story calls it crucifixion in order to elicit strong feelings from their intended audience. The use of the wælsteng went out of fashion in Europe about 1500 years ago. The last guy to make regular use of this practice was Vlad the Impaler and that was 600 years ago. He has been remembered for his outlandish cruelty. In other words, we are well past this sort of barbarism.

Israel is a country that is much more similar to what I know than are the Muslim countries around her. Given the choice, I’ll root for the Israelis, because to do so is to root for civilization, my civilization. Israel is not perfect and there are plenty of bad Israelis. But, the Palestinians, for example, are nuts. The Saudis are stuck in the fifth century and most of the Near East is populated with people I never want to see in my neighborhood.

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james wilson
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People who don’t already know what I think are generally too timid to leave my answer to a question like that to chance, so I won’t hear it. My answer would be, support how? I haven’t sent them any checks, don’t subscribe to any publications, didn’t plant any trees there. I sure as hell don’t support the Treasury check they get for five billion a year. If I were to support Israel it would be in advising them to do to their enemies what their enemies have demonstrated they will do to Israel at every opportunity–obliteration. But they don’t, and… Read more »
Ming the Merciless
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I may not have tender feelings for Porcinet Hollande, but at least we did not elect TWICE a Kenyan muslim homosexual “married” to a tranny who work pretty hard for his Pol Pot utopia. Were your dear arbustos any better? (no point in mentioning slicky and hitlery) Arbusto the elder parachuting out of his WW II plane, abandoning his crewmen to their death…vomiting on the lap of the Jap PM, reading his lips…arbusto II and his dear “Religion of Peace”, kissing all his head cutter masters on the lips… I’d say: “Doctor, heal thyself!” Especially that had not the french… Read more »
jdallen
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I’m not going to argue the rest of your stuff, not that I can’t. It’s just that I don’t want to take the time. Benedict Arnold, however, did not change sides because he got his ass kicked at Quebec. It was much more complex than that, involving his being really, really pissed off at the Congress, his wife egging him on, etc.

Let’s get it straight, OK?

Johnny Wendigo
Guest

A large sum of money being the deciding factor…

James LePore
Guest

I don’t think beheading is humane, even if done at the speed of light. It’s the ultimate degradation, which is why the barbarians—being barbarians— love to do it.

Doug
Guest

Your essay makes me think about value of human life. And how culture is upstream of many things. How the two are linked. The contrast of the vibrancy of the cultures that place higher value on human life and dignity,(their respective state actors and their agendas notwithstanding).
Of course, the human species posseses pretty tendencies no matter how its sliced.
I’ll take Judean Christian values over any.

Andy Texan
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There are more reasons to support Israel than the mere fact that they have a culture more similar to ours than say the arabs. Christianity and the entirety of Western Civilization sprang from the soil of Israel. The most important document of Western civilization and the basis of morality (the Bible) was written there. The most important figures in history lived there (i e Jesus and Moses). I think one could come up with other reasons to protect the cradle of civilization, eh? The article is moronic.

james wilson
Guest

The cradle of civilization is Greece. Jesus represents more an evolution of Greek civilization and less an Abrahamic one. That is why his enemies thought him worth killing.

Kathleen
Guest

But Jesus was a Jew, and the tenets and moral laws of Christianity have their root in Judaism. I’m quite sure it wasn’t the Greeks who came up with the Ten Commandments.

james wilson
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Jesus was an Helinistic Jew. Of Judaism he was less the reformer and more the revolutionary. The morals of Christianity are quite distinct from the morals of Judaism. And as Menchen said, the pleasant thing about the Ten Commandments is that there are only ten of them. Loving your enemies is a more difficult challenge than all Ten put together, although I am not speaking from personal experience. Greece is the cradle. That they were also a collection of nuts only makes them more interesting. If Greece never existed nor would have Rome, Judaism and Jews would have remained desert… Read more »
Kathleen
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Guess you’re an atheist.

james wilson
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Guessing may not be your thing, Kathleen.

Andy Texan
Guest

You are wrong. The Greek world is but 3000 years old being generous. The Hebrew world is minimum 3500 years old and this is the Jewish year 5775.

Kathleen
Guest

Actually the new year began on Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Head of the Year, and it is now 5776.

james wilson
Guest

Age has not one thing to do with it, or the Chinese would be the cradle of civilization.

Chip Haddock
Guest

We didn’t quit displaying executed corpses quite so long ago:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibbeting

Kathleen
Guest

Z, the last people to make use of crucifiction are the same ones using it today, although not currently large-scale. It wasn’t Vlad, who actually was using crucifiction as a means of striking terror into the hearts of the Moslems, specifically the Ottomans, but the Ottoman Empire itself. In 1915, as part of the genocide of the largely Christian Armenians, the Turkish Moslems crucified a group of girls and young women after first raping them. The predations and barbarism of Moslems continues apace 1400 years and counting.

jdallen
Guest

Yay, Vlad! Where is he now that we really need him?

Insurectionist
Guest
Z, you have left hints before of your sympathies re-Iran. Are you jewish? I wish the best for my own people. Leading jews have been at the forefront of movements against my people since before my birth. My peoples interests have nothing to do with the interests of jews or Isreal in any positive sense. Israel is aligned with with Shia Saudi Arabia and opposed to Shiite Iran. Jews have been advocating the importation of Muslims in general to the west. Israel has no natural resources. Israel has nothing to offer to the west that the west cannot obtain for… Read more »
Kathleen
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Leftist Christians have largely been at the forefront of importing Moslems into the West. Since WWII Jews have had no power in Europe, and today the population of Jews in Europe is very low and continues to fall. Ann Corcoran’s excellent site Refugee Resettlement Watch lists the groups that are actively engaged in importing Moslems into our country. There is but one Jewish group among them. US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Lutheran Immigrant Aid Society (LIRS), International Rescue Committee (IRC), World Relief Corporation, Immigrant and Refugee Services of America (IRSA), Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Church World Service (CWS),… Read more »
UKer
Guest

As the world witnesses more and more barbarisms from the ‘religion of piss’ there is a natural tendency to root for someone like the Israelis who tend to stand up to them, though the standing up is necessary as it is in the arab (and therefore muslim) mindset to destroy Israel.

I usually say that in all probability the Israelis are 50 per cent bad, but that far outweighs the Palestinkians who are almost 95 per cent wretched, vile and untrustworthy.

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