Anything but ‘shmad’
Sir, – In her excellent “Rebels without a cause” (Consider This, March 28), about the feelings of many of us when confronted with the sight of haredi demonstrations against military and civilian service, Naomi Ragen specifically mentions a particular sign held aloft by these so-called defenders of Torah and Judaism. The sign said “No to the Army of Shmad [apostasy],” in this case used to describe the IDF and what it ostensibly does to the pure and innocent yeshiva student.
Using this horrible term to describe the IDF is a cruel and sinister distortion of reality worthy of Israel’s worst enemies.
Despite many real and challenging issues that service in the IDF presents to any religious and haredi individual, there is absolutely no justification in even superficially comparing the one Jewish army in the world to the likes of Czarist Russia and its intentional shmad of Jews in which it drafted 12-year-olds for 25 years of mandatory military service and forced Christian indoctrination.
Even more sickening is that some leaders of these extremists go so far as to urge Israeli yeshiva students to leave Israel rather than report to an induction center, much like the tactic that countless Jewish males had to use to avoid serving in truly Jew-baiting, hating armies. To add insult to injury and bring this desecration of God’s name to unprecedented levels, they parade all this not only in the streets of Jerusalem, but in New York City, fostering even greater hatred and directly postponing messianic redemption.
Sir, – The heroic attempt to portray Dr. Mustafa Barghouti as a judicious, non-bigoted Palestinian leader (“Talking two states in Ramallah,” Cover, February 21) is rendered absurd by his statements and positions, and his insistence on repeating the same tired mantras.
Barghouti’s intellectual integrity is seriously challenged by his seemingly total obliviousness to the history of the serious attempts by Palestinians and several Arab armies to obliterate the Jewish state.
When questioned whether a reconciliation with Hamas would require the abandonment of its official platform that calls for the violent destruction of Israel, he responds with the insensate and ludicrous statement: “Listen, this sort of approach just makes obstacles, it puts the carriage before the horse.” And he aligns himself with arch Israel bashers when he emphatically asserts that what is happening in the West Bank is akin to apartheid.
He defends this description by use of unconscionable lies concerning water allocation.
The tragic irreconcilability of our positions can be clearly understood when reading Barghouti’s statement: “I always said that the Israelis have taken the risks of wars and violence for 65 years. It is time for Israel to take the risk of peace.” Please understand that Israelis have not “taken” the risks of wars.
We have suffered the risks of wars that were forced upon us by an implacable enemy, and those risks have increased dramatically when using honest lenses to view the bloodletting that is taking place on all our borders.
Sir, – I assumed that “Talking two states in Ramallah” would deal with the feasibility of a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it turns out that what Dr. Mustafa Barghouti is really aiming for is a “one-state solution” in the Palestinians’ favor.
To strengthen his prediction, he draws upon the South African example.
Rather than getting into the old, boring and wrong comparisons, I would like to ask Dr.
Barghouti whether he is ever going to forgive the Jewish people their success in creating the Jewish, democratic State of Israel.
Indeed, rather than looking toward black South Africa as a model for nation-building, he could perhaps look toward Israel.