Monday, April 2, 2018

When Obtuse Becomes Evil

There are many people who wonder how so many Jews can support Trump, in light of his having said (and done) so many outrageous things. These people should contemplate the political events of the day.

Senator Bernie Sanders had the following to say about the clashes in Gaza:
“The killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces in Gaza is tragic. It is the right of all people to protest for a better future without a violent response.”

Yes, it is the right of all people to peacefully protest for a better future without a violent response. Though one suspects that in Gaza and other Arab countries, people are often not able to exercise this right, and Sanders doesn't much care about that.

But it is not the right of all people to violently engage in warfare without a violent response.

Does Sanders really think that the members and supporters of Hamas were all peacefully standing and singing and waving flags, and the IDF was just randomly shooting at them? In an interview, he claimed that there were "tens and tens of thousands of people engaged in a non-violent protest." Can he really be that obtuse? Has he not bothered to look at the photos?

Or does he think that when people rush at the border fence while firing guns, throwing molotov cocktails and the like, then the IDF should just let that happen?

What would have happened if Hamas would have burned down the fence? Should Israel just let hundreds of thousands of hostile, murderous Arabs storm into the kibbutzim on the border? How many lives would have been lost in that situation - on both sides?

Sanders grants that "it’s a difficult situation" but adds that "my assessment is that Israel overreacted." On what possible basis can he make such an assessment? How much experience does he have in warfare? What's his preferred technique to stop combatants in such a situation?

It reminds me of Sanders' comments during the Gaza war, when he kept saying that Israel's actions were "disproportionate." Again, what was his basis for such a claim? Surely a proportionate response is one that halts the enemy action; it's not a matter of ensuring that there are roughly equal losses on both sides.

Now I don't think that Sanders is a truly evil person. I don't even think he's a Corbyn. I think that he probably really is a good-hearted person. Yet he is able to make a public statement which is indeed evil - condemning a country for doing what is necessary to protect the lives of its citizens.

It's Trump's appointees, such as Nikki Haley and John Bolton, who call out such things for what they are. So, no matter what Trump's other faults, it is only natural that many Jews are going to see this as being of great significance. There is a certain basic moral clarity about the hugely personally important issue of Israel's survival which Trump (and his team) possess, and which much of the world largely lacks.

I spent the first day of Pesach at the home of my sister in Neve Tsuf. On erev chag, I picked maror from prickly lettuce growing wild in the abandoned home of her next-door neighbors, the Salomon family. Tova Salomon has moved away since her husband and children were murdered by a knife-wielding terrorist. My nephew stopped the terrorist by shooting him; the shot happened to be non-fatal, but it easily could have been fatal. Would that have been disproportionate, and overreacting, since the terrorist was only armed with a knife, and not a gun? It seems that the only reason why people would not say that is that the terrorist had already killed people. But why should it be any different if he was merely rushing towards them with a knife?

The left seems to think of themselves as "the nice guys." But they're not. Chazal had it absolutely correct when they said that if someone comes to kill you, you kill them first. And when they said that those who are compassionate towards the cruel, end up being cruel to the compassionate. A good heart that is not coupled with intellectual and moral clarity results in evil words and evil actions.

*  *  *

It's Pesach, and it's a mitzvah to be happy. So here is a photo of one of the three hundred visitors today at the Biblical Museum of Natural History. (We had to turn away many people, due to lack of space, but hopefully by next Pesach we will be in a much larger home.) Chag sameach!



  1. I don't think either the Bernie Sanders version or yours is entirely correct. There were lots of people protesting peacefully - and there were others who tried to cross the fence, and there were others who did more, and Hamas sent a 7 year old girl across the border in hopes that she would be shot and killed, and what Hamas said it wanted to do wsas march to Jerusalem and that they wanted to recover and claim all of Palestine and the government could resasonably fear that they intended murder if they just let them go ahead.

    It is mistake to assume that Hamas had anything specific in mind. Hamas probably intended to escalate till the point where some people got shot, but they wanted Israel to kill people, if at all possible, at at a point before any violence had transpired or at least when killing would be called dispropriationate.

    Israel had snipers at the ready, and they were warned not to come too close damage the fence, or or cross the border.

    Their gambit with a 7-year old girl failed. the snipers were trying to pick off leaders, and it seems a majority of those killed were Hamas members but a few maybe were not
    They weren't so careful with adults as they were with children.

    If Israel had failed to kill some Palestinians, they would have just done more and more.

    If what Israel did was not 100% right, the people on the other side were Rashayim Gemorim. And who else gets these ethical tests?

    There is some support from the Torah as people who approached too close to the Ohel Moad died, and the Palestinains were given similar warnings. Although the reason for the death penalty here wss different.

    1. Of course most of the Palestinians at the protest are non-violent. And, according to numbers I've seen of both the protesters and the number killed, over 99.95% of them are still alive.

    2. I think that your version is 100% entirely correct. Ḥag Pesaḥ VəKasher!

  2. Chag sameach.
    Bernie Sanders is absolutely a good-hearted person. Of course, many good-hearted people supported Lenin, y"sh and Stalin, y"sh because they were going to create a new society where everyone was equal. So much for good-hearted people.
    Besides, the term "disproportionate" is a canard. If Israel were to respond to each rocket from Gaza by randomly lobbing one of their own rockets into a Gazan population centre, I doubt Sanders would say "Well at least it was proportionate"

  3. And that is precisely why Torah Jews should be voting Republican. The mumar litaovon sins of desire are probably equally distributed on both sides; but the Left/ Democrats have a lock on the mumar lihachis sins that come from an anti-God, and therefore anti-Israel, ideology.


    1. There are lots of decent Republicans who represent Torah values. However, most Republicans are now kowtowing to Trump's bigotry and anti-Torah lifestyle. Among Trump's past evils include a decades long history of cheating everyone in business -- employees, customers, suppliers, creditors, and partners. He cheated on at least two and probably all three wives. He boasted publically of trying to get his mistress to abort his daughter. He uses sexual language that no Jew should ever use. He has never belonged to any church in his life and he has denied that he has ever done anything that requires atonement. Trump is also a racist although he does not appear to be personally anti-Semitic.

      No wonder that most Americans correctly see religious people who support Trump as hypocrites.

      No President has ever betrayed Israel's secrets to a hostile foreign power -- until Trump. And no President has ever suggested that "fine people" march with Nazis -- until Trump.

      It is Trump who is opposed to what God demands in all of us and he is not necessarily good for Jews or for Israel. Given the numerous biblical and rabbinic writings that emphasize the need for leaders to be of good character it hard to understand how a truly religious Jew can be a Trump supporter.

    2. Charlie Hall, every single sentence of yours (with the exception of the banal first one) is either wrong or your own personal opinion that millions of people, including countless Jews, don't share.

      Chag Sameach!

    3. “And no President has ever suggested that "fine people" march with Nazis -- until Trump.”

      That is a canard. See
      The Charlottesville Fake News Was the Best Persuasion Play of the Past Year. In general the complaints about Trump, even when true, overlook the prevalence of those traits among most to presidents and presidential hopefuls.

    4. Avraham-- he said fine people were at the event. Isn't that what Charlie Hall said? Isn't that what your link said?

    5. Simon, in hindsight it occurs to me that one can interpret his "fine people" remark as describing the peaceful protesters on both sides. Unfortunately, he failed to clarify that, and even now it's ambiguous whether he included the neo-Nazis among these "fine people."

      I don't know whether Trump is racist himself, but he's time and time again exploited xenophobia to further his ambitions, be it the Muslim ban, his insistence that illegal immigrants are disproportionately responsible for crime, birtherism (against both Obama and Cruz), hesitancy about repudiating the endorsement from David Duke, or calling for the death penalty for the Central Park Five even after they'd been exonerated.

      His outrageous lies are well documented. He openly shames or undercuts his own appointees (such as Rex Tillerson), and seems to see himself as above the law (as in his complaints that Sessions' recusal is a failure to "defend" him).

      I love his policy on Israel, but his domestic policy and his personal behavior stink.

      While you're defending him, consider whether you'd like to emulate him.

    6. Simon, Elliott; the point I am trying to make is the “interpretation” of his remark. Please read the whole blog entry, it’s only a page long. The essence is,

      “Amazingly, the anti-Trump media successfully persuaded half the public in this country that President Trump intentionally and publicly took sides with racists who have intense hatred for his family and close advisors. President Trump clarified soon after his first statement on Charlottesville that he disavowed the racists. But the haters didn’t believe it. They were locked in their hallucination bubble.”

      Looked at rationally it is very clear he did not mean neo-Nazis are “fine people”.

  4. What has Bernie said about the US killing Mexicans trying to enter the country -- often unarmed teenagers?

    1. The United States doesn't really do that. Although Obama tried to get other people to do that. U.S. border and stop them in Mexico so they shouldn't reach the border and ask for asylum.

      There was no similar pressure probably to prevent people rom being killed - on the contrary that was used and taken advantage of.

      He used the de facto death penalty to deter illegal immigration to the United States.

      I don't think Trump has done that, if only because he approaches this whole thing unsystematically, although he's pushing things to the point where peope are more likely to be sent back to their deaths.

      What really gets me, though is Turkey. Erdogen critized Israelk while his troops shoot Syriuans trying to cross the border, and not because they are likely to be from ISIS. he did that under European, mainly German, pressure to keep out Syrians, although of courtse Germany didn't exactly ask him to do that in particular. But what did they expect?

  5. We can agree that Bernie Sanders' views on Israel are seriously misguided. And I can understand why some of the Trump administration's statements and policies incur support among some Israelis. Nevertheless, Jews around the world can and should be alarmed about what Trump says, or refrains from saying, about us and our enemies. As Boston Globe columnist Michael Cohen has pointed out, "Even if one wants to give Trump the benefit of the doubt and argue that he hasn’t personally made any anti-Semitic comments, it is his silence that speaks volumes. Over and over, Trump has shown a willingness to denounce a broad cross-section of people – undocumented immigrants, football players who kneel for the national anthem, the 'fake news' media, the FBI, and Democratic politicians. But when it comes to white supremacists and neo-Nazis, Trump holds his fire or seeks to find a moral equivalency between bigots and their critics... Trump’s reticence is empowering hate-mongers, white supremacists, and anti-Semites who are seemingly unafraid to speak out and even act upon their hateful views. In the president, they see an ally who is content to traffic in racist, prejudiced tropes and is unwilling to forcefully condemn those who turn such words into actions."

    1. If you bothered to listen to what these 'anti-semites' have to say you would find that the great majority are just angry about the disproportionate role that American Jews play in promoting mass immigration and cultural degeneracy (including inter alia, feminism, sodomy, transgenderism, pornography and cultural marxism). No-one really disputes that this is true; indeed, American Jews generally show off about how this is true.

      We have no concern in this. American Jews have just led a well-funded and successful campaign to prevent the deportation of Eritrean invaders who have made large swathes of our 2nd city into places where civilized people fear to tread. Not content with destroying their own country, American non-orthodox Jews are hellbent on destroying ours. I would say we should create some sort of prayer for their downfall and destruction, but there is no need since we all say one three times a day anyway.

      Unfortunately, despite the endless yapping of the ADL, there is no evidence that the naive and rather hapless Trump will do anything to seriously harm the American Jewish community. 'The wicked flee where no man pursues'.

    2. Gavriel, I assure you that the anti-Semites hate you too. And me.

      I know I can't convince you that feminism, sodomy, transgenderism, and "cultural Marxism" (?) are things for which we libs ask tolerance and freedom from government intrusion, which is not the same as promotion. (I'm not writing letters to the editor suggestion people run out get and sex change operations.)

      But when it comes to mass immigration, as a practicing American Jew I have to point out that we are among its greatest beneficiaries.

    3. Elliot Shevin - true, we have benefited from immigration, and you can go even farther, we orthodox Jews have also benefited from liberalism/Title VII generally. But we dare not just ignore the people around us. As Gavriel M has written before and no doubt he's 100% right, liberalism has been absolutely harmful to white men in particular, and to the entirety of the country (of whom whites are still the majority.) True liberals should be out in the street marching against reverse racism and reverse sexism, which has now been left to the courts to undo. Our Jewish heritage should cause us to cry out against liberalism.

      More - A rising tide lifts all ships, and a sinking tide sinks them all. You cannot cheer an ideology that has been short term beneficial for orthodoxy, when it is long term harmful for everyone. Because when the majority suffers, eventually everyone suffers. As the Chafetz Chayim said, when asked who a Jew should vote for, "you vote for who you think a Gentile should vote for." Because when they're happy, you're happy. And if God Forbid they suffer...

  6. There is double standard. Anything Israel does to defend itself is 'disproportionate'. Bernie probably knows this.

  7. Many of us have a tribal belief that our side is the moral one and the other is the immoral one. Each story, with our own narrative, internalizes that belief. That us the cause of the next story being judged in the context if the previous one. What if the whole basis was untrue? What if we have been selectively believing what is convenient for us as the basis of our viewpoint?

    In this story, we are told that there is video footage of someone being shot in the back. That might change the current narrative. The self defense defense may be slightly mendacious. "But the palis are a bunch of terrorists. What else could they do to an invasion? They were warned". Blah Blah Blah. None of that is relevant in light of the facts. If indeed someone was shot in the back, and the Israeli government refuses to prosecute, it would be a sign that peace is not the highest of Israeli objectives. The deeply held belief that 'if the Palestinians would lay down their arms, there would be peace. If the Israelis would lay down their arms, there would be a massacre' may be slightly different to the truth.

    I do not personally think that the Israelis are terrible as a society, but there is a terrible element in that society, which is a society that leans to extremism on all sides, that is a danger to peace in the Middle East.

    1. >> Many of us have a tribal belief that our side is the moral one and the other is the immoral one.

      In the Middle East this happens to be a fact, though.

      And facts are stubborn things and you ignore them at your peril, as I think John Adams said. (Somebody added the part about ignoring them)

      The best proof is that no Jews can live under Arab rule while many Arabs live under or even prefer, Israeli rule and nobdoy proposes tgaht any jews live under Arab rule.

    2. There will not be any peace until the Arab side comes and admits that Israel is righteous and they are the sinners. How else can they accept political inferiority and that is necessary for Jews and Arabs to live together.

      That is not to say that ""tzaddikim anachnu v'lo chatenu" - we are righteous and we have not sinmned.

      Sure, Israel is far from perfect. But there is no comparison between Israel and its enemies. Not even remotely close.

    3. One more thing. You don't make peace wioth you friends, as Shimon Peres said. But you also don't make peace with your enemies.

      You make peace with people who no longer want to be your enemies.

    4. has a large collection of those comments. Cut and paste at will. But that does not make them factual.

      Jews can live under Arabs. But not Zionist Jews. Therein lies the difference. Zionism may or may not be compatible with Judaism. But the current hatred does not allow them to live together.

  8. "I spent the first day of Pesach at the home of my sister in Neve Tsuf. On erev chag, I picked maror from prickly lettuce growing wild in the abandoned home of her next-door neighbors, the Salomon family. Tova Salomon has moved away since her husband and children were murdered by a knife-wielding terrorist."

    You could have been picking the sweetest berries from there and it would still be the bitterest marror. Hashem yakim damam.

  9. Some analogies to put the Trump administration in perspective. Trump's actions and speeches regarding Israel have been like the reign of Josiah. Unfortunately, everything else about his administration, as described by Sabi, has been like the reign of Menashe. Those of us in Chutz Laaretz read about how great Josiah's reign was on Sunday. That is how we should see his moral clarity regarding Palestinian terror and diplomatic warfare. However, the narrative in Kings continues with the effect of Josiah's reign on Hashem's design for Judah in the overall history of the kingdom. Such is how one could see Trump overall while acknowledging how good he is on Israel issues and even acknowledging how odious many of his Democratic rivals are on Israel.

  10. Regardless of his heart status, Sanders appears to believe that Judaism and Israel are of tertiary importance at best, or something to disparage by virtue signaling to the Left. Seeing Trump as a supporter of neo-nazis is an indication that this reader has unfortunately been taken in by the MSM’s disingenuous and dangerous narrative.

  11. Bernie may mean well, but that doesn't change the fact that he's never had a real job in his life. He knows nothing about running a business, and nothing about war. He exudes jealousy and hatred at the so called "one percent". He honeymooned in the USSR. He is certainly no Corbyn, but he is very dangerous.

    1. Actually, Sanders didn't enter politics until he was 30, and had held several jobs before that, including carpenter and psychiatric aide.

      The "USSR honeymoon" is a lot more innocuous than you seem to believe, cf. Politifact (

      "Sanders and his wife did travel to Yaroslavl, a city in the Soviet Union, after their wedding in 1988. In the sense that the trip came after the couple were married, the trip was a honeymoon. The two have also referred to the trip that way, albeit sarcastically at times.

      "But it was an unusual honeymoon, to say the least. The trip’s primary purpose was diplomacy, not leisure, and included about 10 extra guests."

      Now that I've defended him, I'll add that I see him as impractical on domestic policy; and if he's not hell-bent on destroying Israel, he's at best blind to how his statements turn the world against her.

  12. Sanders is a harmless fool. (At least at this point in his career.) Trump is a dangerous fool and a racist to boot.

    There is a huge difference between unarmed Mexicans and Central Americans trying to cross the US border looking for safety and Hamas "protesters" trying to cross into Israel with the intent of killing Jews.

    1. So here a died-in-the-wool Democrat admits "Sanders is a harmless fool." Yet millions of Democrats voted for this fool, and he might have won the nomination had the DNC not been so corrupt. What does this say about your party, Chuck?

      (And don't answer with Trump this, Trump that, which are your opinions. I'm asking you to explain how millions in your party voted for someone you ADMIT is a fool.)

    2. There is a huge difference between unarmed Mexicans and Central Americans trying to cross the US border looking for safety and Hamas "protesters" trying to cross into Israel with the intent of killing Jews.

      Translation: There is a difference between people trying to invade a country the inhabitants of which I feel ethic solidarity with and those trying to invade a country the inhabitants of which I harbour ethnic animosity towards.

      By any rational standards, Palestinians have a lot more right to try and live in Israel than Mexicans have to try and live in the U.S. If you want to see an explanation for this great rise in 'anti-semitism' you're always reading about, look in the mirror.

    3. Huh? Rights are irrelevant, the point is the security risk. Mexicans aren't out to kill Americans.

    4. Right, so if you had sufficient security guarantees then you would be happy to allow the Palestinians the right of return?

      And not only is your logic specious, your premise isn't even correct. Mexican gangs are just as murderous as Palestinian paramilitaries. Probably more so. And liberals openly admit this because otherwise why would these Mexicans be 'looking for safety'?

    5. You seem to have lost track of the point being discussed. Your first point is irrelevant. As for your second point, the Mexicans coming over the border are not the gangs, they are the ones looking for safety.

    6. The people in that caravan (which has bene organized every year since 2010 apparently) are actually people from Honduras. It got a little bit bigger than the organizers expected and now we have Mexico offering a possibility of asylum, or maybe a transit visa, in order to cut down the number.

      They are giving them a choice bewtween 20 days to leave the country or 30 days to formally apply for asylum or legal immigration status in Mexico. (the original plan wss to cross the border and surrender to U.S. authorities.

  13. I agree that Sanders doesn't know what is he talking about on a lot of issues including this one. But I don't know what that has to do with Trump. Neither the Republican primary nor the general election was a choice between Trump and Sanders.

  14. "The Israeli military on Saturday night identified 10 of the 15 people reported killed during violent protests along the Gaza security fence as members of Palestinian terrorist groups, and published a list of their names and positions in the organizations....
    According to the Israel Defense Forces (Arabic link), eight of the men killed were members of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. One served in the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, and another was affiliated with “global jihad,” it said, apparently referring to one of the Salafist groups in Gaza.

    Earlier on Saturday, Hamas publicly acknowledged that five members of its military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, were among the fatalities."

    If Sanders spoke without knowing that, he's a useful idiot. If he knew, what he said is unspeakable.

    1. >> If Sanders spoke without knowing that, he's a useful idiot. If he knew, what he said is unspeakable.

      I think he makes himself not know. But what Sanders really doesn't know is what Hamas was up to. Which was not ajust ademmonstration but also was not really to commit an act of terrorism, unless the IDF wouldn't kill anybody any other way.

      Now note: 10 of the 15 (its actually 17 or 18) killed were members of Hamas (known by name and their ranks too)

      That means taht several people killed could have been people who joined their demonstration. Hoinesty should comple tht admission. They weren't all the worst people. It is legitimate to argue that the bloood is on Hamas's head, though.

      The IDF was not trigger happy but it probably also wasn't absolutely compelled in all cases to shoot. At the statge wheere things were interrupted, no acta of war or terrorism that endangered any Israeli soldiers had bene committed.

      Only a 7-year old girl (who was not killed, in spite of Hamas' intent to make that happen) actually crossed the border.

  15. Commies pervert language and thought.
    Sanders is a commie.
    The rest follows.


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