Monday, October 17, 2011

Stern - Blood Lust - Misbegotten Accusations from Afar

Paula R. Stern
A Soldier's Mother
16 October '11

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, blood lust is defined as "a desire for bloodshed." Wikipedia goes further to define it: "Blood lust is a desire for extreme violence and carnage, often aroused in the heat of battle and leading to uncontrolled slaughter and death."

It is an interesting word, one that hints at a hatred so deep, so irrational, that nothing will appease it except the blood of your enemy. Over the recent Jewish holiday here in Israel, at a time when my religion forbids me to use the computer, electricity, etc. someone in the United States, a Jew no less, accused me of blood lust. Not hatred, not racism, not anger, but blood lust. His word, his accusation, his judgment, his error.

I am always amazed at the nerve of those who live far away, but think they understand or have a right to comment on what we live with here in Israel. Extreme violence? Carnage? Heat of battle? Uncontrolled slaughter and death? This is what this man accuses me of? I don't really even know what I wrote that triggered the latest slanderous comments by this man or if it just his nasty personality that caused him to attack someone who hadn't even written to him.

Tell me, I want to ask him. Will it be your son or daughter on the next bus that gets blown up? No, of course not. His children are probably in America, aren’t they? Was it your son standing on our borders for 3 years? No, of course not. Why would they waste their time defending the Jewish homeland? After all, according to this man “Anyone who wants to kill an Arab just has to join the IDF and he'll get his shot.” Now, if that's not a simpleton's view of the IDF, I don't know what is.

I think the only thing that competes with this man's incredible ego is his incredible ignorance. Does he know any of the victims of those to be released this week for Gilad? No, I’m sure he doesn't. After all, if they went and got themselves killed, they must have been right-wing extremists, right?

What amazes me is that a child's violent death at the hands of a barbaric terrorist who swears to yet kill again cannot shake this man's great love of humanity; the slaughter of a Jewish infant cannot bother his as he bathes in the warm waters of humanity blind enough to think the whole world shares his views. According to which, I apparently wish death and destruction on all Arabs.

So he takes this opportunity, on my holiday, to accuse me of wanting bloodshed, carnage, violence? What caused this unprovoked attack? To be honest, given that it was over the holiday, I'm not sure. I did see his defense, that claimed that he “only” said, “she [that would be me] sings song of blood lust nearly every day. Which is true." See - he can not only make the claim, but deem it true. Quite impressive.

To this man, I say, if you think I sing a "song of blood lust" nearly every day, you haven't got a clue what I am saying...or singing, or what truth really is. For what it is worth, I will say again that you know nothing of me, of my life, of my beliefs and certainly, you know nothing of my religion (which apparently is very different from yours). My position remains - I want to live in peace. Peace in my country, peace in my family, peace with my neighbors next door and in the countries that surround mine.

I live, by choice and by commandment, in the land of Israel. There are many, like this man, who choose to live outside of Israel, ignoring a key mitzvah, while preaching to others how they should live, citing Torah and religion, preaching endlessly. He claims to know so much about the IDF and about everyone he deems “right-wing Jews.”

It is his choice to live outside Israel...but his loss for the choice he has made. To be clear, I do not care where he lives, only that he dares, from so far away, to question what we do here in Israel, to claim moral superiority, to judge, endlessly, those with whom he disagrees.

With no knowledge of anything but what he reads in the media, he sets himself up as judge and jury, perhaps even God. He knows nothing of our enemies, of their determination. But it is acceptable for him to attack us, to attack me. It is no accident this attack happened at a time when I could not respond, mere days after Yom Kippur. There are, religious Jews believe, no coincidences in life. All is planned – just as this man’s attack was. His actions are an example of why there is a Diaspora today, why the self-hatred of self-proclaimed Torah Jews defies the very meaning of what Torah is.

What can this man say to Arnold and Frimet Roth, who lost their daughter Malki in the Sbarro terrorist attack? What right does he even have to cause such people more pain when he judges them (and me) as wanting blood. All they ever wanted was for their daughter to grow, some day to marry and raise her own family. That dream was robbed from them and from Malki by several terrorists. Ten years later, Malki's friends are married and having children, while her memory is forever frozen, her life forever stolen from her.

One of her killers died in the suicide attack when he exploded himself, killing 15 and wounding dozens of others. Other killers, for they are killers no less than the suicide bomber, were caught, tried and imprisoned. Ahlam Tamimi was given 16 consecutive life sentences for her part in scoping out the place, escorting the suicide bomber through the checkpoint and to the attack. She helped fool the soldiers, who saw a smiling, laughing, relaxed young woman flirting with a young Palestinians carrying a guitar. Only the guitar had explosives in it and the soldiers didn't catch it...blinded, perhaps, by Tamimi's cursed smiles.

Ahlam Tamimi was asked in prison if she knows how many children were among the dead at Sbarro. When told it was eight of the 15, she smiled. She smiled. Do you understand that this is what we release this week for Gilad Shalit? Does this man accuse Ahlam Tamimi of bloodlust? No, he accuses me.

Tamimi has gone on record as saying she is not sorry for what she did and that she is confident she will be released. She has also promised that she will do it again. She is scheduled to be deported to Jordan, where she has family. And someday soon, I have no doubt that she will be back. The trip from Jordan to Israel takes minutes; I see its hills from my window as I sit here typing. Within sight, within reach, Tamimi will come back to kill again. Her promise, not mine. Her bloodlust, not mine.

Perhaps what prompted this man to accuse me of bloodlust was that I said once Gilad is free, Israel should go hunting for these people? That Israel should stop Tamimi - a convicted murderer who has expressed no remorse, before she kills again. I want these 1,000 to spend the rest of their lives watching what they do, looking over their shoulders, remembering Israel will find them if they think to try to attack again.

What I really want is for them never again to engage in any terrorist activities. I know that Hamas will approach them. What great victory it will be if they can get these very people to kill again. What an insult to their enemies - to use the ones we free to kill again.

This American Jew lives in the Diaspora and preaches to Israel while endlessly showing his lack of understanding. He doesn't understand Hamas or the mentality that sees nothing wrong with bargaining for the return of killers. He apparently finds more disgust with our anger than with the celebrations that will soon take place in Gaza for the return of killers. Those most celebrated...will be those who have killed the most.

No, in this man's mind, the one who is wrong is me. I sit in my living room typing words. I have never killed anyone, not even with words. I have often written that I have never fired a gun, barely even touched one. I've never physically touched the trigger of a gun, though for the first time in my life, I begin to feel that the time has come to force myself to learn.

To bring myself utterly low before all eyes, I'll confess that I can't even kill bugs (except mosquitoes, but they don't count). Bloodlust? My son went to war and my mind went back and forth between praying with all my heart that he wouldn't be hurt (or worse) and praying that he wouldn't be forced to kill others.

Is it wrong to hate those who murder our children, our innocents? I see Arabs almost every day - I am invariably polite to them, wish them well, inquire about their families. I have met Arabs with whom I could easily live as neighbors and I wish them no ill. I do not hate their religion. I do not hate them. There is no wish for extreme violence, bloodshed or death, nor do I lust for their blood.

In fact, I know that most of the ones I have met would prefer to live under Israeli rule- they have told me so in more conversations than I can count. They do not want to live under Palestinian control and they know, as I do, that health care is better, education of a higher level. Under Israel there is work, respectable work.

I do not ridicule the religion they practice...until others use that religion to attack our children. And then, yes, I hate. I hate the two Arabs who slithered into Itamar and murdered the Fogel family. My heart breaks and I choke on the anger caused by the thought that someone could slit the throat of a three month old baby. Is that bloodlust? To me, bloodlust is blind and without direction - uncontrolled death and destruction, says Wikipedia. You cannot use a term and redefine it to meet your purposes. That is what this man has done.

It is normal to hate a human who could slaughter an innocent like Hadas Fogel. But even in my hatred, I did not kill anyone; I did not plan and plot. At most, I typed 140 characters that seems to have offended this man's sense of humanity which he freely offers at Israel's expense.

It is, at best, a misbegotten accusation to say that I have a blood lust to see Arabs dead. I do long to see these prisoners remain in jail where I can be sure they will not kill...AGAIN. Ahlam Tamimi does not deserve another chance at life and worse, another chance to kill. Malki Roth and seven other children will not be given such a chance.

On his blog, this man pompously writes:

For every extremist defending Israel's every action no matter what, there's *|his name|* showing that one can criticise Israel and still be a philosemite. In a generation where Orthodoxy's lamented slide to the right continues its embarrassing descent, *|his name|*'s a little tugboat pulling with all his might to the left. When newspapers are full of stories of Orthodox Jews acting unethically, superstitiously, or racist, there's *|his name|*showing that Orthodox Jews are not all unethical, superstitious or racist.

I guess I fall in the "extremist defending Israel's every action no matter what" - at least in this man's mind. And yet, I find it interesting, mere days after Yom Kippur, that this ever-so-righteous man who believes he stands for Orthodox Jews...feels it proper to attack another...during a time when I can't even respond. Sure, he said he didn't realize, he didn't calculate the time difference - but isn't that really an excuse? Does his timing matter more than what he said? Talk about unethical, talk about accuse me of bloodlust. Pathetic.

In a generation where too many find it easy to ignore the realities Israel faces daily and assume in their pompous way to understand, from 6,000 miles away, what we endure here, this man has much to atone for. His truth ignores the fears we live with, insults our religion and devalues our lives. No, all Orthodox Jews are not unethical - I would even offer the optimistic hope that most are not. Nor are the majority superstitious or racist. But too many, like this man, are blind and judgmental and that sin is surely as great as those he accuses of so many.

To want to see convicted murderers fulfill their sentences is not racist or wrong. To know, from their own words, that they will kill again if released, means we have an obligation to do all we can to ensure they don't get that chance.

In a few days, Gilad Shalit will hopefully come home to Israel after five long years. There is no shame is wishing the price we pay were not so high and there is tremendous honesty in admitting that the price we pay this week is likely nothing to the price we are about to pay. I suggest this man of Twitter fame re-examine his ego, his attitude and his motives before declaring himself so righteous and those who disagree with him the ones who have sinned.

I have not named this man on Twitter, though he named me. I invite his apology here as a guest blog, on his blog, and on Twitter. No, I don't expect it. God forbid he should actually practice the religion he preaches. But his loshen hara (evil speech) was recorded, as all such things are...only days...mere days...after Yom Kippur.

In my next post, I’ll tell you about his slander of the IDF.

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