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Rabbis Stirred Holy War, Israeli Soldiers Claim

Posted on Mar 25, 2009
Flickr / kikasso

Some Israeli soldiers have accused military rabbis of pushing holy war in Gaza. “This rabbi comes to us and says the fight is between the children of light and the children of darkness,” said a reserve sergeant quoted by the L.A. Times.

An army spokesperson blamed a few bad apples among the rabbis, but a human rights organizer who collected testimony from soldiers alleged, “The rabbis were all over, in every unit. ... It was quite well organized.”

Los Angeles Times:

In testimony reported by Israeli news media and in interviews with The Times, Gaza veterans said rabbis advised army units to show the enemy no mercy and called for resettlement of the Palestinian enclave by Jews.

“The rabbis were all over, in every unit,” said Yehuda Shaul, a retired army officer whose human rights group, Breaking the Silence, has taken testimony from dozens of Gaza veterans. “It was quite well organized.”

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By cyrena, April 2, 2009 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad writes to FT

“But you and cyrena and fadel are wrong in assuming all zionists intended to become imperialists at the expense of the Palestinians.”



Be careful here my dear….be very, very, very careful, and above all…PAY ATTENTION!!

I have NEVER made the claim that ‘ALL ZIONISTS’ intended to become imperialists at the expense of the Palestinians any more than I would ever claim that ALL Americans intended to continue our own imperialism at the expense of the Iraqis, Afghans, Iranians, Cubans, Vietnamese,Peruvians, or any other country that the US has overthrown in an attempt to further our own global hegemony.

The reality is as FT has already explained quite well, since he actually does make sense from time to time. And that reality is the fact that the average Jew probably never had a clue to the real intent of the leaders of the Zionist movement. FT has quite rightfully credited Brewerstroupe with providing us with that very critical information, which includes the fact that ZIONISTS collaborated with Adolf Hitler in the Jewish Holocaust, as a manipulative tool in establishing an ‘excuse’ for why Israel needed to be created as a state for Jews only.

We never knew that the plans of the Zionist movement had begun long before WWI, and that those plans required a state free of non-Jews. Nobody said anything about Zionist imperialism, so that’s YOUR interpretation. The only thing that we know is that which was presented as a concept (a state for Jews only in the territory then called Palestine) REQUIRED the removal of all of the people currently living in the area, which was mostly Arabs.

Now we have provided enough information to verify that beyond any doubt, right here on these forums, so for you to deny that it was the ORIGINAL INTENT of the leaders of the Zionist Movement, as far back as 1877, to rid the area of any and all non-Jews is simply an exercise in deep denial.

Again, nobody has claimed that ALL Jews committed to the concept of Zionism were actually aware of what that involved, which was the removal/expulsion/cleansing of the territory of all Arabs.

The leaders of that movement ALWAYS intended that, and it is to them that we speak.

Again, be very, very, careful about putting words in the mouths of others, because there will always be folks like me who will call you on it.

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By Sepharad, April 2, 2009 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

FT, my hardcore-ness has its limits and Netanyahu and Lieberman have just crossed the line. But you and cyrena and fadel are wrong in assuming all zionists intended to become imperialists at the expense of the Palestinians. My great-great-grandfather was there in 1828 when Zionism in the modern sense had not yet been invented, and he and the early modern returnees had nothing evil in mind. As I’ve posted earlier here and elsewhere relationships between Arabs and Jews were various, depending on which individuals were concerned. I believe the problem became acute when the British and French divided things up, and when the British promised both the Arabs and the Jews that 20% of Palestine Mandate that was left after they gave the rest of it away to a Hashemite king. Under British ministering, hostilities and discontents festered and grew. Look back, I can see any number of ways the Jews and Arabs could have done things better than what they actually did at the time, but they didn’t. Both sides share some culpability and it is incredible to me that after all this time no fair accommodation has been reached. Now that both sides are in the hands of extremists, the future looks pretty insolubly gloomy.

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By Folktruther, March 28, 2009 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

Well, Cyrena, Jaded Prole has a point, as do you. Many Jews supported Israel without knowing they were supporting Zionism.  I really wasn’t interested in the question and many emancipated Jews weren’t either.  I was happy that the refugees from Hitler and other places had a homeland, but I didn’t know that they took it away from the Palestinians. 

Ben Gurion was a labor leader so I assumed he was progressive, and it was not until brewerstroupe outlined the founding of Isrzel that I realized the role that zionist-fascist orgnaizations played in it.  When the media stated that Israel was being attacked, I believed them, not knowing the power that Zionists had over the media.  In short I was duped like everyone else, largely because Israel is a very small state and I didn’t think it very important.

You have to understand that Jews suffered from the European massacre and it never occurred to us that Zionists would repeat it against Palestinians.  I still can hardly believe it.  Israel had a chance to build a Jewish state that could live in peace with Moslims and rejected it to indulge in colonialism in an anti-colonial age. 

Politically and ideologically this is crazy; they are politically and ideologically insane. They are pursuing historically a death policy. But I didn’t know it at the time, and most likely, neither did most of the Jewish people, or anyone for that matter.

This death wish is so obvious now that Jews and
Americans are now awakening from our stupor.  And only hard core Zionists like Howard and Sepharad will continue to support Israel till that Imperialist power system is defeated or destroyed.

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By cyrena, March 28, 2009 at 3:14 am Link to this comment

By Jaded Prole, March 27 at 2:00 pm #
Folktruther is right. Cyrena and Mike3 don’t get that zionism wasn’t mainstream among Jews until the 60’s and gelled after the 6-day war. Prior to that most Jews were progressive.

Jaded Prole,
What exactly do you call ‘mainstream’, and are you talking about Mainstream Zionism in ISRAEL, or ‘mainstream’ Zionism in the USA?

Do you even know what Zionism is? If not, you might consider a bit of reading. There’s lots out there on the history of Zionism, and in so far as any of US should be concerned, Zionism should have absolutely ZERO to do with the politics of the USA, since the 60’s or even since the 18th Century.

To suggest that Zionism wasn’t ‘mainstream’ among Jews until the 60’s is actually quite an ignorant statement, since “Zionism’ is the reason for the establishment of the Jewish State of Israel. It is ZIONISM that demands that this state be free of ALL non-Jews. That was the political ideology that established the State of Israel, as early as 1877, when the first ZIONIST agricultural colony was established in Palestine.

Read and educate yourself, because it really can’t hurt. I highly recommend Ilan Pape’s latest work, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”. Even the chronology alone, should help you out, unless your only purpose in commenting is to disagree with me.
Now if you’re talking about ‘mainstream’ Zionism in the USA, then that is a different thing entirely, though I certainly don’t agree with it either. You see, I’m pretty old, (56) and so I’ve lived though the 50’s and 60’s, and actually even remember what things were like back in the 60’s. I specifically remember that Judaism was pretty much EVERYwhere in the area where I was born and raised, and we all did quite well with Synagogues, Catholic Churches, Buddhist Temples, and various and sundry other religious collections, all within a 3 or 4 mile radius of each other. There was no such thing as the anti-Semitism that most complain about now, and multiple races (including Jews) all lived together without anything more than the standard hostility or disagreements that groups within any society deal with, and maybe even less.

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By cyrena, March 28, 2009 at 3:12 am Link to this comment

2 of 2

Ironically enough, it is the same for Israel. The state of Israel was ‘founded’ on the principles of Zionism over 60 years ago, yet the State of Israel has NEVER had a real Constitution. The claim (of the Israelis) is that their failure to have a Constitution, (like every single other recognized state on the planet) isn’t because of their “Arab” problem, (racists always lie and deny) but rather because of their own internal disagreements about whether or not they want to be a Secular or Theocratic government. That lie is exposed by the fact that Zionism isn’t a religious or Theocratic ideology. (I.E for about the 20th time, Judaism and Zionism are NOT the same. ) This is why Ariel Sharon could be an atheist and a hard core Zionist terrorist at the same time. Do you know any atheists who are Democrats, Republicans, or Independents? I do.

I’m inclined to believe that Israel simply won’t commit to the required geographical coordinates that must obviously be included in any recognized Constitution because that’s where the rubber meets the road of course, and they wouldn’t be able to include the Occupied Territories in a Constitution that would be recognized by the International Community. But the bottom line result is the same.  Zionism is a political posture that requires a State for Jews only. That said, the USA has never had a ‘mainstream’ Zionist mentality. However, in the past 3 decades, a small Cabal of rabid Zionists have managed to install themselves within the political apparatus of our own Government, much to the detriment of us all. It STILL is not a mainstream ideology in the USA, and if it happens to be the case in Israel, that’s only what we EXPECT it to be, since that’s what is was intended by the founders of that State.

So you’re wrong. Zionism is NOT ‘mainstream’ but rather a very tiny stream of Jews and non-Jews that happen to have gained a foothold in US politics that is totally disproportionate to their actual numbers. And…there is nothing new about that either. The only thing ‘new’ in the past decade or so, is that Israel has been exposed for the racist terrorists that they are. Prior to that, the world outside of the Middle East, (like here in the US) remained ignorant to the true intentions of the Zionists, based on the age old propaganda that was set up to use the “Holocaust” as a reason for the Jews to have their own state.

Only now is the truth being exposed…the truth that the Zionist State was planned by it’s founders long before WWII, and long before WWI even. In short, it was ALWAYS the plan to have a state for Jews only, and that is called ‘Zionism’, and has nothing to do with Judaism. It has to do with racism and greed. The greed is about controlling all of the natural resources in the region, and the racism speaks for itself in the documented history of how that state came to be.

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 27, 2009 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

The following article is a representative of the Arab perspective on the so-called peace in Palestine!
Netanyahu And The ‘Future Of The Peace Process’
By Ramzy Baroud

“Overlook the names and the titles, most Israeli major party leaders are one and the same; even their language is equally archaic and confrontational. Therefore, one fails to appreciate the panic over the ‘future of the peace process.’ As far as Gaza, for example, is concerned, it matters little whether the over 1400 people killed in 22 days were blown up by a Likud Revisionist, pulverized by a Labor dove, or bombed by a Kadima peacemaker, a fact that an envoy like Blair doesn’t seem to understand…”

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By Jaded Prole, March 27, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

Folktruther is right. Cyrena and Mike3 don’t get that zionism wasn’t mainstream among Jews until the 60’s and gelled after the 6-day war. Prior to that most Jews were progressive. Zionism and Israel are a cancer on Judaism and have cause it to sink the disgusting level of rabid, racist nationalism. The irony may be that Hitler’s holocaust planted the seeds that would destroy those that survived through their own cultural transformation from victim of fascism to Fascists— maybe even worse fascists: most Germans, when confronted with the horrific reality of the holocaust were shocked, disgusted, and remorseful. Israelis (and their supporters) on the other hand, when hearing their own soldiers describe atrocities, curse the soldiers for speaking and defend the atrocities with racist tirades. Any religion or state which can justify such atrocities is not valid, period.

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By NYCartist, March 27, 2009 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

There are soldiers in the IDF who will not serve in the occupied territory.  They are called Shministm.  Look at Jewish Voice for Peace website.  It’s in the SanFran Bay area.

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By Mike3, March 27, 2009 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Cyrena (and Folktruther); to repay the complement, I thought your comment on my post was also insightful. Zionism has indeed poisoned the Jewish tradition and from the 1800’s on, as you quite rightly say.

Sorry to divert from the political again, I know Americans are not into this sort of thing but as a European and someone with a Buddhist background: I was trying to make the distinction between what we call religion on the one hand, and spirituality on the other. Buddhism does not have a Bible, Torah, or Koran, and is not a “religion” in the traditional sense. In other words, the word of God is not written down in black and white to be appropriated and abused by the egos that follow, who quote the authority of their ego God from their holy books. (Gore Vidal uses the term Sky God, but I prefer ego God.) One must be careful however when one speaks of spiritual understanding being “superior” to someone who is simply religious or a religious fundamentalist even. What true spiritual understanding does is not add knowledge, but clears the decks; it removes the dead weight or garbage of religion. Spiritual “seeing” frees what we are, from the tyranny of the mind or intellect or culture into which we happen to have been born.

Now what these Rabbis are doing (have done) to the soldiers given under their charge is the opposite of spiritual understanding; it is the very thing that Jesus criticized them for so vehemently 2000 years ago. “Oh Scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites, you wash the cup on the outside, but within you are putrid and full of filth.” His gravest charge was: “you hide the keys of knowledge, neither do you enter, and neither do you allow those who wish to enter.”

But (back to politics), if Zionism has poisoned Israel, it has done the same to Washington. It may come to pass that its very success proves its downfall. Israel’s dominance of American Middle Eastern foreign policy cuts into the American Empire proper and this is resented more and more in America. And its major trump card, “no one can kick Arab ass like we can”, has already been exposed as a lie by Hezbollah. Slaughtering Palestinian women and children and blowing up defenseless schools, factories and hospitals, is no training for taking on Hezbollah. And in Israel’s last march into Lebanon, the IDF did not even encounter the crack Hezbollah units, that now fight a different kind of war that shocked both the Israelis and the Pentagon. So the Scribes and the Pharisees may yet get the message, but it won’t be from the Second Coming or in the form of spiritual words of wisdom, but something with a bit more punch to it. Hezbollah shock and awe.

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By Folktruther, March 27, 2009 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

Mike3, the melancholy truth is that, indeed, this is the level to which Jewry has sunk.  It’s really depressing for Jews like myself, and probably I focus on it more than I should.  We have become so mindless and braindead with the advent of Israeli nationalism and, even worse, Zionists have hijacked American policy to impose their death ideology.

It wasn’t always like this.  Jews, especially Germanic Jews, established a tradition of truth revolution that, as the Western tradition decays, helps get us to the next worldview.  the outsider status of Jews combined with the organic wholes of the German tradition led to the underlying presuppositons that both formed and subverted the Western tradition.  Spinoza, Marx, Kafka, Freud, Witkinstein, von Neumann, all formed a revolutionary truth tradition that nourished while it creatively destroyed.

But along came Israel, and nothing stunts the mind and soul like excessive nationalism.  Truth revolutinaries petered out into Alyce Rosenbaum, aka Ayn Rand.  Jews became boobs like Inherit, or even worse, evil like Sepharad. The reality-based truth became taboo, and delusion accompanied Zionist death policies.  That’s what happens historically when you commit atrocities; you believe absurdities.

I agreed with Adrian that Jahveh should Choose somebody else, possibly the Irish.  But, being of Irish origins, he objected.  There are still a few of us left with some sense of decency but, while the Israeli era exists, our children will grow up in the neoliberalism and War on Terrorism of Zionism.  It’s enough to make you puke.

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By artie, March 27, 2009 at 7:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is no stopping the slaughters in Palestine. The gods of the Muslims and the Jews condone and encourage it. So do the clerics and rabbis.

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By hidflect, March 27, 2009 at 12:22 am Link to this comment

So this is what the Rabbis’ do when they’re not barging through people on the streets of New York?

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By Sepharad, March 26, 2009 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena, I’m surprised because it hasn’t always been this way. There has been bad feelings and harassment between the orthodox and the religious zionists on one side and the old commie-type zionists and modern secularists on the other but it seemed as if for a long time so many orthodox didn’t think the Jews but God should bring them back to Israel (except for the religious scholars that who never did leave Jerusalem) that they stayed away and the problem was manageable but it’s suddenly taken on a new power.

But this is definitely something new for the IDF. Used to be there were no orthodox soldiers, but Sharon (atheist) decided the orthodox and their subsidies were a real drag on the economy and finally said no more subsidies from the state, and your sons have to serve in the IDF like everyone else. At the time they were spread out in integrated units. In retrospect I guess it was a bad idea. The idea was to change the orthodox mindset but it seems to have gone the other way around. I can assure you none of the people I know in IDF are like that; most of them are leftist peacenik types, and the ones hanging around the streets the last time I was in Israel and East Jerusalem and the West Bank in November all looked pretty secular to me. No yarmulkes, smoking, cracking jokes with each other and passersby and storekeepers who come out to chat. It seems I’ve lost touch—but then a lot of leftwing parties seem surprised. Oz has always spoken out against the religious influence but not more lately in particular.

Regarding Jews and Arabs, the relationships have always been all over the place, but there were always plenty solid ones, especially in Israel.
Now I read about rightwingers marching past Israeli Arab villages just to prove they can walk anywhere they want to in Israel? How stupid and offensive is is that? I doubt the Arab residents would have been rude it these people behaved normally, bought a little falafel and tea, whatever. It’s all pretty depressing, and without strong leaders on both sides very hard to see a way to peace and a second state, but not willing to stop trying yet, any more than I’d be willing to stop trying to change what’s wrong in the U.S. I suppose there is a point where you say f—- it, I don’t care, let it go. But I can’t imagine doing that, as long as I’m in my right mind anyway. (Meanwhile, a Bedouin friend wants to find a job as a translator in the U.S. His spoken English is great, written not as good but he’s smart. If you know of any possibilities I would like to pass them on. He lives near the Joe Alon kibbutz, half-way between Gaza and Be’ersheba.)

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By cyrena, March 26, 2009 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

By Mike3, March 26 at 5:10 pm #
“So this is the level that modern Jewry has sunk? There was a time when Rabbis were mystics and Jews made cultural and intellectual contributions to civilization. The state of Israel seems to be a curse for Jews; it has diminished them – just as Pakistan has become a curse for Muslims who once lived in India. Whatever material thing we grasp (and this includes pieces of land) will eventually, if we allow it, destroy us.”
Insightful post, though I would probably quibble with the suggestion that modern Jewry has only JUST sunk to this level. The truth is that Israel has been at this mindset since prior to it’s inception as a state, if only because of the fact that Judaism, (the religion) has always been fraudulently associated with Zionism, (the political posture) that requires the expulsion of all non-Jews from the area of Palestine, and eventually the rest of the Middle East.
So, I only said that to say that this isn’t new. It’s been this way since 1877, when the first Zionist agricultural colony was established in what had until 1948, always been Palestine. So yes, Zionism, (rather than Judaism) has been a curse for the Jews, but they don’t accept that. The Zionism tells them that the Arabs are their curse, rather than their own racist mentality.
By Sepharad, March 26 at 12:32 pm #
Tony and wildflower, what still troubles me is that no matter what the raving rabbis said, why did any of the soldiers take it as—excuse the expression—“gospel” and act on it?
I don’t know the answer to this Sepharad, but a couple of hours ago, (PDT) ABC news had a special on, covering the testimonies of many Israeli soldiers who actually admitted to their specific crimes, with all of the details, in the last attack on Gaza. It included a reminder that for the Israeli military, the lives of ANY and ALL IDF soldiers are overwhelmingly more valuable than the lives of ANY and EVERY Arab civilian.
Needless to say, this is NOT a new ‘policy’ on the part of Israel, because it’s always been that way. I’m not clear on why you are surprised. The only thing NEW this time around, would be that the rest of the world has become far more knowledgable about the atrocities that Israel has perpetrated for years against the Palestinians. In other words….FINALLY, Israel has been exposed. That is a big issue, because it’s what has turned the tide of sentiment against Israel. Sadly, this same thing has happened to us right here. The rest of the world hates us for the same reason they hate Israel.

That isn’t surprising either. Somebody, somewhere, once said something like, “They will know you by the company you keep.”

Why do you think we are so hated around the world now?

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 26, 2009 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

Palestinian children sing for Holocaust survivors
By The Associated Press
Tags: West Bank, Holocaust

“The Palestinian youths from a tough West Bank refugee camp stood facing the elderly Holocaust survivors on Wednesday, appearing somewhat defiant in a teenage sort of way. Then they began to sing.

The choir burst into songs for peace, bringing surprised smiles from the audience. But the event had another twist: Most of the Holocaust survivors did not know the youths were Palestinians from the West Bank, a rare sight in Israel these days. And the youths had no idea they were performing for people who lived through Nazi genocide - or even what the Holocaust was.

“I feel sympathy for them,” said Ali Zeid, an 18-year-old keyboard player, who added that he was shocked by what he learned about the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed 6 million Jews in their campaign to wipe out European Jewry.
“Only people who have been through suffering understand each other,” said Zeid, who said his grandparents were Palestinian refugees forced to flee the northern city of Haifa during the war that followed Israel’s creation in 1948.

The 13 musicians, aged 11 to 18, belong to Strings of Freedom, a modest orchestra from the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, the scene of a deadly 2002 battle between Palestinian militants and Israeli soldiers.”

Read the rest of the article on

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 26, 2009 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

By Sepharad, March 26 at 5:57 pm #

Sepharad, the ever pseudo-claimant to being a historian-journalist, and the notorious ignorant Islamphobe writes:

“the father of jihadspeak was Qut’b Sadr, a professor at the U. of Colorado in the mid-‘50s ...”

There is no such person such as “Qut’b Sadr;” The real name of the person she is alluding to is “Sayyid Qutb” who is considered one of the intellectual ideologues of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, a movement that has been persecuted by the successive governments of Egypt and whose members constitute the largest number of the thousands of political prisoners in Egyptian jails! He was in the US in the mid 1950’s as a graduate student and not as a professor. 

You can tell that Sepharad can’t get her proper names right, let alone her facts! Yet, she insists on displaying her Islamaphobic propaganda without any sense of shame!

There is no such thing as “the father of jihadtalk” whatever that means in the scheme of the Sepharad propaganda. In fact, when Sayyid Qutb was sent to the US on a graduate scholarship, he was known to be a secular political activist and writer, and he joined the Muslim Brotherhood after his return to Egypt from America.

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 26, 2009 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment

In fact, both the LA Times and Truthdig are several days late than The Independent, UK in reporting this news, fitting for its revelation of the religious fantic-fascist nature of the Israeli colonialist entity!
From The Independent, UK

Israelis told to fight ‘holy war’ in Gaza

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

Saturday, 21 March 2009

“Many Israeli troops had the sense of fighting a “religious war” against Gentiles during the 22-day offensive in Gaza, according to a soldier who has highlighted the martial role of military rabbis during the operation.

The soldier testified that the “clear” message of literature distributed to troops by the rabbinate was: “We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the Gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land.”

The claim comes in the detailed transcript of a post-war discussion by soldiers, publication of which has triggered a military police inquiry into allegations about the use of lethal firepower against unarmed civilians.

The investigation was ordered by the military’s advocate general Avichai Mandleblit on Thursday after the liberal daily newspaper Haaretz published extracts from the transcript describing incidents in which Palestinian civilians were killed and property wantonly damaged.

In the fuller version of the transcript published yesterday, the soldier, a unit commander from the Givati brigade, says: “This was the main message and the whole sense many soldiers had in this operation was of a religious war.” He recalled that his own sergeant was from a hesder yeshiva, a college combining religious study and military service, who led the whole platoon in prayer before going into battle. The commander added that he had sought to talk to the men about Palestinian politics and society and, “about how not everyone in Gaza is Hamas and not every inhabitant wants to vanquish us”.

After the offensive, Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group called for the dismissal of the military’s head chaplain, Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, a brigadier general. It said that he had distributed to troops a booklet saying that it was “terribly immoral” to show mercy to a “cruel enemy” and that the soldiers were fighting “murderers”.

The longer transcript conveys a fuller sense of the debate involving graduates from the Yitzhak Rabin military preparatory course. At one point Danny Zamir, the head of the course, says he would have questioned the killing of 180 traffic policemen during bombing on the first day of the operation. One pilot replies: “Tactically speaking you call them police. In any case they are armed and belong to Hamas ... during better times they take Fatah people and throw them off the roofs and see what happens.”

The latest casualty figures published by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights list the names of 1,434 dead of whom they say 926 were civilians, 236 fighters and 255 police officers.”

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By Ed Harges, March 26, 2009 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

Oh please: these rabid rabbis are an inevitable result of the world view that is in fact SUPPORTED BY VIRTUALLY ALL JEWISH ISRAELIS, INCLUDING THOSE “LIBERALS” WHO CONSIDER THESE RABBIS “EXTREMISTS”.

Please read this piece by Carlo Strenger at Haaretz.

As Stenger explains:

Israel “has never internalized the understanding that liberal democracy is an all-or-nothing affair: Either all humans, irrespective of religion, ethnicity or color have the same rights, or liberal democracy becomes a sham.”

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By artie, March 26, 2009 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jews and Muslims want to murder each other, and Palestine provides the best place to do it. Truman got the USA involved , to our detriment. Most of the world opinions rate Israel/USA as the most dangerous threat to world peace.

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By omniadeo, March 26, 2009 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment


Zawahiri may have inherited some rhetoric from Qutb Sadr, but he got funding and cover from the US, and, I would bet, Israel too:

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By Sepharad, March 26, 2009 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

Mike3, there still are Jews in and out of Israel contributing good things to civilization, rabbis who still invoke the mystical (kaballah etc) and rabbis who teach the basic rules. But no culture seems to be immune fro religious extremism and right-wing politics.

Mahatma Gandhi thought partitioning India was a terrible idea, and perhaps he was right, and to the end of his life preached that Moslem and Hindu should love one another. But animosities within India proper between Hindu and Muslim, Sikh and Muslim indicate that things might not have gone much better without partition. Possibly worse.

Israel’s most left-wing peace proponent, Amos Oz, wrote the little book “Please Help Us to Divorce”—directed at Euros and others who believe peace is possible without a separate, second state that is independent, unblockaded and with its own army. If Israel and the Palestinians cannot achieve this, I see nothing bud sadness for the region.

You don’t have to consider a land holy in the religious sense to love it and consider it home. I don’t think modern Jewry has “sunk” to any level—and fyi there are secular rabbis (teachers) who discuss ethics (and other vanishing qualities of our societies, how we live today.

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By Sepharad, March 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

NYCartist, Sure make the joke—any joke would be welcome about now—and I don’t know the Hebrew word for “crusade” either, just that it is a hateful word. I’m a secular Jew which may be the same thing as an atheist or agnostic Jew, though twice in my life when I thought I was going to die the “Shema” came bubbling up from somewhere. (Grandpa was a cantor until he decide Darwin was the only god.)

I’ll look for the book “Constantine’s Sword” and check out the documentary too. I’ve only read mag and newspaper articles about it. But you know, there’s gotta be something about the Colorado air that makes susceptible people a little crazy. Ironically, the father of jihadspeak was Qut’b Sadr, a professor at the U. of Colorado in the mid-‘50s who was so offended by behavior of young Americans dancing to African jungle music that he returned to the Middle East and, in and out of jail, wrote the script taken up by Zawahari.

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By Mike3, March 26, 2009 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

So this is the level that modern Jewry has sunk? There was a time when Rabbis were mystics and Jews made cultural and intellectual contributions to civilization. The state of Israel seems to be a curse for Jews; it has diminished them – just as Pakistan has become a curse for Muslims who once lived in India. Whatever material thing we grasp (and this includes pieces of land) will eventually, if we allow it, destroy us. There is nothing Holy, about the Holy Land. If the world is sacred then the whole world is sacred, little bits of it are not more sacred. As Jesus says in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas:

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

And this applies to all of us.

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By NYCartist, March 26, 2009 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

Sepharad:can I make the joke, I don’t know the Hebrew word for “crusade”?  (I’m an atheist Jew.)  I don’t think quantity comparisons are helpful: as in “whose is worse” kind of thing.  There’s a great book “Constantine’s Sword” by James Carroll and the documentary made about it, uses the (in part) the issues at the US Air Force Academy.  The documentary has the same title as Carroll’s book and comments about it are on the same page online.

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By Sepharad, March 26, 2009 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

Tony and wildflower, what still troubles me is that no matter what the raving rabbis said, why did any of the soldiers take it as—excuse the expression—“gospel” and act on it? Especially when you recall that many IDF soldiers have refused to participate in any activity in the West Bank because they think it’s wrong. Having read a bit more about it, it seems that there are too many frontline combat IDF soldiers drawn from the orthodox community and how and why that came to be is something that I, and my lefty colleagues in MeretzUSA, will be urging our counterparts in Israel to investigate and think long and hard about then contront—as well as the individual alleged incidents of brutality. These “whys” are of little concern to most Americans but for those of us deeply supportive of and emotionally connected to Israel they matter a great deal. It’s analogous to but, I think, much more serious than the situation at the US Air Force Academy because Israel is a smaller country currently fighting religious extremists outside of her society, but if there is any kind of growing national consensus to fight fire with fire (as I would describe these rabbis as well as religious settlers on the West Bank) Israel is in deep trouble. Many Israelis and supporters such as myself believe that there is a civil war coming which will require IDF soldiers to remove religious settlers from the West Bank. And we have to make sure that those asked to do so will not have their minds so clouded by religious static that they can’t do it.

Non-extremists, both Palestinian and Jews, are going to need all the moral support they can get if they’re ever to achieve two peaceful and economically comparable states. Unfortunately the leadership on both sides is probably not up to the task, so the secularists and moderates on both sides are going to have to try to compensate for that leadership vacuum.

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By Tony Wicher, March 26, 2009 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

Obviously there is no difference between these Jewish Jihadis and the Muslim ones. They are both a plague on the human race.

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By wildflower, March 26, 2009 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

Re Boudreaux: “Some Israeli soldiers have accused military rabbis of pushing holy war in Gaza. “This rabbi comes to us and says the fight is between the children of light and the children of darkness,” said a reserve sergeant.”

Blasphemy in action – people like this can be found in every religion. What was it that our own “messianic” general said, “My God is bigger than your God?”

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By thebeerdoctor, March 26, 2009 at 12:25 am Link to this comment

Anyone who uses religious justification for violence, once again proves that religion has absolutely nothing to do with spirituality. Anyone who claims to believe in a creator and yet embraces the destruction of creation, worships a very strange God indeed.

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By Sepharad, March 25, 2009 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

It’s not particularly reassuring to hear that the religious holy warriors are in a minority in IDF. There shouldn’t be any at all. Otherwise, how is it different from Hamas? The original army code that soldiers are to avoid causing civilian casualties whenever possible is the only acceptable position. I know that Hamas and Hizbullah have no such compunctions, but that doesn’t make it OK for Israelis to sink as low as their enemies. Many of the Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank are NOT enemies, but IDF soldiers behaving like jihadis just might create enemies where none exist. And the “2-for-1” tee shirt is sickening: seeing that was the first time in my life I’ve been ashamed to be a pro-Zionist Jew.

I’m grateful to and proud of the IDF soldiers and Dani Zamir for coming forward and telling these truths. It couldn’t have been easy, but should reassure everyone in and out of the IDF that it is still the most moral army in the world—and an important step has been taken to keep it that way. The government as well as the military police should fully investigate these incidents, and perhaps it’s time for a reversal of policy re allowing extremely religious soldiers vulnerable to the words of holy-war-preaching rabbis on the frontlines. The British paper The Independent said that Israel’s greatest strengths are her openness and her moral clarity ... also that these missteps are not an indictment of Israeli society.

Some have argued that without orthodox religious strictures, Judaism is a hollow shell and Israel a pointless exercise. They should learn to respect the richness of our broader tradition that demands education for all, charity toward the needy and ethical behavior as the norm: that is the basis for the country and its people. As a Jewish friend on TD commented, “If Israel is going to be a Jewish Taliban, what’s the point?” Indeed.

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By omniadeo, March 25, 2009 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

The LA Times? Who has suddenly decided to allow the narrow, racist face of Israel the light of day in the newsroom? God knows it’s been staring at some of us for decades.

Israel is starting to lose the public relation’s war. And it’s about time.

Watch and weep. Your tax dollars at work.

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