October 1: Whose moral excellence?

Why is it incumbent on Israel to be looking to flee areas that it came to control through justifiable self-defense when all history has shown that such behavior has proven to be self-defeating? Why is that morally excellent?

September 30, 2010 22:47
3 minute read.
October 1: Whose moral excellence?

letters 88. (photo credit: )


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Whose moral excellence?

Sir, – What Donniel Hartman’s op-ed lacks in clarity, it more than makes up for with sanctimony.

Hartman’s piece (“The future of Zionism depends on moral excellence,” September 26) is a great case in point of a growing political phenomenon: the substitution of seemingly self-evident platitudes for reasoned thinking.

What are we to do with his “moral excellence”? Why does building in Ma’aleh Adumim allow us to wrap ourselves in the mantel of moral excellence, while building in Ofra does not? And how does the president of a major institute focused on education decry “educating Israelis and Jews about its history?” Why is it incumbent on Israel to be looking to flee areas that it came to control through justifiable self-defense when all history has shown that such behavior has proven to be self-defeating? Why is that morally excellent? One thing that Hartman gets exactly right is that often our greatest enemy lies within. However, for Israel that great enemy today is the crowd of self-righteous Jews who are uncomfortable with Israel’s tenacious assertion of its own rights and claims.

If only Dr. Hartman would study the Jewish history he deems to be so deleterious. He would find that wishful thinking wrapped up as great moral aspirational posturing has been our downfall time after time.

Rosh Pina

Sir, – Regarding Donniel Hartman’s op-ed: It is absolutely absurd to describe a people who, in response to brazen aggression, return to a land that under international law belonged to no one, as “occupiers.”

One would have to adopt a false narrative about Arab residents who were supposedly on the land “from time immemorial” to see us as occupiers.

Joan Peters long ago did a masterful job proving that most of the Arab inhabitants of the land were migrants from all over the Middle East who came here, following the waves of Jewish immigration, to find employment and better living conditions.

Dr. Hartman, your morality poses a clear and present danger to Jewish lives and makes the peace process so much more difficult. Any Palestinian reading your essay and others like it would naturally conclude that we are the bad guys and he is the poor, aggrieved, occupied victim.

You paint a grotesque and distorted picture of reality.

Your fellow Jews are aggressors and occupiers, cruel and brutal, and the Arabs are underdogs fighting for their dignity and freedom from foreign yoke.

Why should any Arab want to make concessions or compromises for peace? Your morality encourages Arab intransigence and much, much worse.

Over the last 63 years, little Israel has taken in millions of Jews who have fled from lands of oppression (including Arab lands). Our antagonists, on the other hand, have shown inhumanity to Arab refugees who, in the main, fled because their leadership told them to, so that they could come back and take over all the Jewish homes.

I profess to ascribe to a higher morality, the most significant and vital of all.

After 2,000 years of statelessness and following the Holocaust, the safety and security of the Jewish People in this Land and worldwide is the highest good.

The poor, underprivileged Palestinians, whose cause you champion, pose the greatest danger to that moral principle. In 63 years and since the 1993 Oslo accords, I cannot recall a single compromise, concession, or gesture of peace or goodwill from them, while every concession of ours brought bloodshed in its wake. The disengagement need not be belabored any more. Only people who are detached from reality still think it was a great idea.

Our policy should always be build, build, build, so that if the enemy does not wake up and become serious soon, there will be nothing left for him. Incidentally, aggressors who lose must pay a penalty.

Dr. Hartman, Jewish lives are infinitely more valuable than your bleeding-heart morality! Your morality has cost us dearly. I had thought that it was long ago discredited, but it seems I was mistaken.

In fact, the future of the Jewish people depends on the excellence of Jewish morality.

Turn inward, and look out for the needs of your own people! If we are not for ourselves, who will be for us?


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