BILL MOYERS’ BIGGEST MISS
By the CyberRav—Rabbi Rafi Rank
Shabbat Shalom, Everyone. CyberRav here with a bit of Aural Torah for you!
One of the worst commentaries on the Israeli invasion of Gaza comes to us via Bill Moyers, host of the PBS Journal Show. It is such a morally bankrupt piece, it is difficult to know where to begin, but let’s give it a shot.
Although he admits that “Hamas would like to see every Jew in Israel dead,” an observation which should put into context the nature of the enemy Israel faces, he goes on to say that “Israel did exactly what terrorists do.” No, Mr. Moyers, I’m afraid that’s not quite accurate. Israel did not indiscriminately lob rockets into Gaza, but in fact targeted Hamas munitions stockpiles, tunnels used to smuggle weaponry from Egypt into Gaza, Hamas offices and its leadership. The targets chosen were designed to dismantle the ability of Hamas to do what Hamas has done over the past several years—indiscriminately lob rockets into the urban areas of Southern Israel, disrupting schools, businesses, home life, sleep, play, work, and the fundamental activities of life in order to advance its goal of the destruction of Israel.
Have the Israelis killed innocent Gazans? Sadly and tragically, yes. But that does not render Israelis terrorists. What it does do is point to the corruption and moral deviance of Hamas in using schools, mosques, hospitals, and residential neighborhoods as the central locations for their operations. We would, in the western world, never tolerate that type of zoning. But western culture, with the premium it places on life, differs from the Islamist reverence for martyrdom or death.
Moyers notes that the invasion of Gaza has triggered attacks on Jews in Europe. That’s odd, isn’t it! Why would an Israeli invasion of Gaza trigger attacks on European Jews were it not for people—Moslems or Islamic sympathizers, in this case—who perceived Jews as legitimate targets? In blaming Israel for such gratuitous crimes, Moyers in acquits the perpetrators of their irresponsible, illegal, and immoral actions. Moreover, by never holding Hamas responsible for endangering the lives of innocents when they use hospitals or schools for coverage, he treats Palestinians as damaged human, incapable of moral discretion, unable to be held accountable for their actions, an accommodation we might make for the criminally insane or a minor, but not a full-fledged human being, one with responsibilities as well as rights.
I love the fact that Moyers quoted the book of Deuteronomy for an instance where Moses instructs the Jewish people to destroy the Canaanites. I’m delighted Mr. Moyers needed to go back over 3,000 years for an example of Jewish terrorism, and a poor one at that, since any biblical scholar will attest to the fact that although the command existed, it was never fulfilled. He writes, “So God-soaked violence became genetically coded.” I’m not sure whose DNA he’s examining, but its certainly not mine nor is it any Jews whom I’m familiar with.
Moyers concludes his piece by writing that “Killing is cheap and war is sport in a city where life and death become abstractions of policy.” Mr. Moyers—how low can one person sink? The men, women and children of Sderot who almost daily ran for cover to shelters due to incoming rockets for several years are no abstractions. Here is the truth: If Israel laid down its weapons today, there would be no Israel tomorrow. If Hamas laid down its weapons today, there would be peace immediately. Killing is not cheap. War is not sport. Your piece on Gaza was neither rational nor honest.
This is Rafi Rank, the CyberRav, wishing you a Shabbat Shalom, and encouraging you to spread a little aural Torah around your Cyber community!