293 Comments
Jan 30·edited Jan 30

The problem is that there is a segment of the population that does not believe in realpolitik and in objective practicality in political decisions, but believes rather that if Jews are tough at all costs, and do what (they believe) G-d wants us to do, which is something like fight on behalf of Israel against all odds because we are in the times of final redemption, treat the Palestinians like the Sheva Amim because that’s G-d’s will, and take G-d’s revenge against our enemies, then we will undoubtedly be successful, contra to all common sense, because G-d will be on our side and the days of the third temple are almost upon us.

This is very similar to the extremists in late Bayit Sheni who believed in fighting the Romans at all costs, believing in all certainty that if we did so, and fought G-d’s battle no matter the cost, then he will certainly come to our aid and save us, because the final redemption was just around the corner.

Ultimately this approach destroyed the temple, killed millions of Jews in the most brutal way, ejected us from most of Israel, and brought untold generations of trauma and suffering on the Jewish people. History and common sense teach that this is a terribly wrong approach.

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Jan 30·edited Jan 30

"Transfer" is propaganda-speak for "ethnic cleansing".

The folks who want to "transfer" Gaza residents, or "repopulate" Gaza with Israelis, need to read Articles 47 and 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which Israel voluntarily signed and ratified. Both are banned, as is annexation. These violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention are the main reasons why Israel is considered a pariah by much of the world. :( That Hamas wants to do even worse to Jews, and that the accusations of "Apartheid" or "Genocide" against Israel are lies, is not seen as justification for violating a treaty that Israel is a party to.

https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/documents/atrocity-crimes/Doc.33_GC-IV-EN.pdf

The Fourth Geneva Convention was adopted because Nazi Germany had done all those things.

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Jan 30·edited Jan 30

While I agree with you that the transfer of Palestinians cannot happen any time in the near future because of all the reasons you mentioned, I don't think talking about it or having an event is a bad thing. Quite the contrary, I believe that it is good thing for Israel. Here is why.

We are all aware of the pro Palestinian protesters rallying cry "From the river to the sea". They do not accept the right of any Jew living in Israel. There are NO Jews living in Gaza or Palestinian villages/cities. Is it so bad for the world to see how people had enough and no longer want to live with Palestinians? Note that the worlds reaction after Gaza elected Hamas was "The Palestinian people are frustrated."

Politically, I believe this was a "win" for Israel. Biden is under pressure from many in his party and in turn pressures Israel. He took a major political hit from the support he has given Israel which may cost him the election. Because of this event, Netanyahu was able to tell Biden "I am also taking a hit from my coalition by agreeing with you that we will not resettle Gaza"

It goes against the US moral code. Right now it does. But "From the river to the sea does not go against the moral code of many." Why not? The difference is the microphone. There are many people talking, making events, writing pro Palestinian propaganda while the are a lot less of these that are pro Israel. We are being creamed in the public relations war. In the war for hearts and minds. Part of that is the underdog mentality. People like rooting for the underdog - the trampled. I believe a movement saying Gaza is OUR land! We were forcibly removed but now we want it back from the Palestinian occupiers. Such arguments would help swing the underdog pendulum in the opposite direction.

I have great respect for you and everything you write. The point of this post is to show that this is a very complicated topic and that there can be rational reasons for why it may be a good thing. As such, I don't think your friends should be upset at you for thinking how you think. Nor should you be upset at them for how they think.

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Feb 2Liked by Natan Slifkin

Natan, thanks for writing and posting this vital reality check, even though you must have known the kind of response you would get from many in your audience.

In over 60 years of watching our conflict with the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular, I’ve come to the disconcerting conclusion that among a number of things the two sides have in common, the worst is a wish-fulfillment type denial of reality. At its deepest level it's characterized by the fantasy that at some point the other side will just give up and go away — *poof!* — and vanish like a bad dream.

You'd think it would be obvious after decades of bloody struggle that such a fantasy will never come true. But judging from the statements of many who have commented ahead of me, it lives on in the subconscious of many who can't or won’t admit it, and shamelessly dominates the frontal cortex of some, both here and at the extreme right of Bibi's cabinet.

The idea of moving out the present population of Gaza so Israelis can move in is just as completely fantastical and unrealistic. The world, including Israel's friends, won't allow it. It was good that you said so, even though so many here are unable to digest and comprehend the valid reasons you provided.

In general, these are the same people who believe that Israel, one of the world's smallest nations, will be just fine if it becomes a pariah state like the more self-sufficient South Africa used to be. Or they are the people who think that our endlessly repeating that “God gave us this land!” is actually convincing or meaningful in today's secularized world and counts as a sane argument. (Rather than being Torah-based, our claim to the land should rely on the historical fact of our being the nation Rome forcibly dispossessed.)

Until both sides wake up from their ceaseless dreaming and seriously grapple with reality, we are doomed to repeat the tragic, horrific cycle of death, destruction, mourning, and hatred that brings misery, but never true victory, to both sides.

We are the people who introduced what the secular world calls the Golden Rule. Both Jews and Muslims claim to honor it. How different the world would be if both peoples had striven to apply it from the moment the first modern Zionist came ashore. I guess that's my unreal fantasy.

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Quite shocking propaganda here!

We've just displaced 2 million people. The time is exactly right to make this displacement permanent. The more you talk about something, the more acceptable it becomes. Every single voice in Israel and diaspora should be calling for the resettlement of this murderous people. No one has any illusions anymore. Educating the world works. Get those PR machines going!

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Rabbi Slifkin, this article is pure gold.

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"If you can’t relate to that objection, then try to imagine how you’d feel if a left-wing organization had a new idea for a two-state solution and decided that now would be a good time to celebrate it with a big party."

One can go further - try to imagine how one would feel if a left-wing organization had a party about removing West Bank settlements.

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That right-wing nut Joshua with his whole "Torah" that he got from his teacher Moses, who, by the way did not have the guts to actually implement the plan, is going to cause the people of Israel utter ruination with his plan to occupy all of Canaan and forcibly remove the Canaanite and Emorite etc. populations. If only we could show him the light.

This essay perfectly encapsulates the true Jewish problem: not actually being committed in any way to what the Torah demands of us. The ultimate cherry-picking of Jewish observance. Repent now.

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Jan 30·edited Jan 30

It is really surprising to write that when 2m gazans have just been displaced next to the Egyptian border. And the world did not do much to stop us.

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It was a very stupid event. This was virtue signalling. Useless sloganeering that is counter-productive. This was a solipsistic act that will only antagonize the world. To be sure, the war will allow itself to be antagonized anyway. But we should choose such antagonisms wisely. Right now, the priority must be to win the war on our terms, despite what the world thinks. What we will do with the peace, is a luxury we have yet to achieve.

In order for their silly plan to work, Israel needs to win this war and not end up with the hudna demanded by the UN and State Department. A hudna will indeed turn any notion of resettling Gaza a fantasy. But the gov't is under tremendous pressure from outside forces, as well as domestic forces demanding the gov't accept any deal imposed by Hamas in exchange for the hostages. This well funded pressure group is quite willing to release all the terrorists and restore Hamas to achieve their justified goals. I can't blame the families. But they are wrong. The Shalit deal costs thousands of lives.

Where is the counter-pressure? If BG and his people can muster a crowd of 3000 for a not very popular agenda, why not gather a demonstration several times that size opposing a hostage deal that will make it impossible to resettle Gaza or any community just outside it. There should have several events this size across the country- but in support of finishing the war instead.

The war if fought to its conclusion will eliminate Hamas. The way Hamas fights means that an inadvertent but necessary consequence of the war will be that much of Gaza will be temporarily uninhabitable. This will necessitate a humanitarian emigration of Arabs to a better life elsewhere.

Putting the cart before the horse is counter productive. But Ben Gvir never did have much horse sense.

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Well done, courageous column.

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Thanks for moral clarity, intellectual honesty, and simple political reality. Your loud and clear voice is desperately needed

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"(There was also a speech by MK Goldknopf of UTJ, for whom it’s very easy to take a hardline approach with the Palestinians, since his children and community aren’t going to fall in combat.)"

Aside from being a(n obligatory?) tasteless dig at Goldknopf, your comment points up why Gush Emunim types aren't likely to be impressed with your argument. The implication of your statement is that those participating are sacrificing their kids on the altar of Gush Katif. But if you actually bothered to listen to their slogan, you'd know that they believe that רק טרנספר יביא שלום. They just disagree with your prognostications about the fallout from pursuing such a policy. They think that the peace processors and disengagers and 'bitchonistim' are the ones responsible for paving the way towards the carnage on Oct 7th. They may or may not be delusional in that belief, but it's what they believe nonetheless. In order to rebut that, you have to actually explain why that's not a valid read of where we are and how we got here.

As to your emphatic, italicized insistence that, 'It is not going to happen' my guess is that their reply would be that plenty of people thought it was insane to think that the modern state of Israel would come into existence too. Armchair-non-zionist that I am, I hate to quote Herzl, but 'אם תרצו אין זו אגדה.'

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The biggest threat to Israel is not the Arabs but the Jews.

The Arabs are a problem but they are mostly outside Israel. It will take time, effort and a tragic loss of life but Israel can handle it.

The Jews are an altogether different threat in terms of arrogance or stupidity or lack of realism - with a resulting existential menace. internal dangers are IMHO worse than external ones.

Note that it was a Jew who murdered Rabin.

Note that the 2nd Temple was destroyed in large part by the (jewish) sicarii who in their extremism in burning the food stocks of a Jerusalem under siege and murdering anyone who would talk peace, brought on the loss of the Temple and the death of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Jews.

That a Government Minister talks about or implies nuking Gaza, other Ministers talk about expelling the Gazans, Bibi and others talk about Amalek : all of this foolish talk has alienated or reduced Israel's supporters and provided ammubition or fuel for the fire with which Israel's enemies wish to engulf it.

Our enemies are looking ofr ammunition - don't give it them.

All the bravado statements which these people use remind me of the little boy lying in bed alone at night saying: "I am not afraid of the dark" "I am not afraid of the dark" "I am not afraid of the dark".

Israel is dependent upon the USA for support at the UN, for arms and ammunition, aircraft spare parts, financial support etc. Other countries e.g. the EU can provide support for Israel - or opposition. If you don't care who is friendly with you at least don't encourage or increase your enemies.

More foolishness was seen prior to 7 October with the enmity and speech that the right and the left ( almost hatred ?) each poured on the other. By all means disagree - but do it in a menschlich way.

It is some (minimal) compensation that the horrific events of 7 October engendered ahavas yirsroel across all sectors of society - but human nature being what it is, this might dissipate when PG the situation gets better.

Arik Sharon was an outstanding general and hero of Israel and he was a realist. He saw the dangers of Gaza and that holding it would not be worth the cost - the danger of a continual loss of life from occupation, suicide bombers, snipers etc. As we see and he saw, military success in a constrained urban environment is the most difficult situation for an army at war. If Sharon thought it was not good for Israel even in a time of general peace to hold Gaza then who has the stature and experience to contradict him ?

The Gazans need somewhere to live. If Israel can achieve coexistence in peace with an Arab Gaza that surely is a victory ?

Actions speak louder than words but words are easy and they have consequences. All Israeli politicians, members of the Government and generals need to wake up to the reality that Israel is currently a small island in a sea of enmity. It is tough for Jews in the Diaspora, admittedly not (yet ) physically at the level that our Israeli families and friends face - but Jews overseas see a reality that Israelis in Israel may not be aware of. All public figures need to think about the international consequences of their words and not just of their local supporters and the next election.

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I am glad we had the opportunity to have this online discussion. I have come to realize that this coming Saturday, refraining from cooking food and the like is basically impractical and really inconvenient, as it has been every week so far, so I have resolved that because of its impracticality and because of all those foreigners who view me as primitive for not driving a car on Saturday, etc., I am going to start to do so. And if some one points out the "Torah" says otherwise, then I just won't deal with that Torah.

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Thank you for writing this.

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