Friday, October 31, 2008

15 Minutes of Fame

Two weeks ago I wrote a letter to the Canadian Jewish News, and to my surprise they actually printed it!

You can see it at the CJN web site - as they edited it (scroll to the bottom of the page) - or you can read the original below. Though they retained the gist, they edited out the passion - IMO. But I am glad that they saw fit to allow a different voice to be heard on their pages.

We should be ashamed.

As Jews we should be ashamed of the IDF's new military doctrine, as explained in your front page article: "What are the IDF's plans for the next war?" (October 16).

It is clear from the article, that in the event of another war in Lebanon, the IDF plans to use massive and "disproportionate" force to destroy Lebanon's civilian "assets".

"We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, causing immense damage and destruction." says the head of the IDFs Northern Command. The goal, he goes on to say, is to strike at Lebanon's "weak spots" and "efforts to hurt [the enemies missile] launch capability are secondary". In case the point is not clear, the plan is called "the Dhaliyah Doctine" after the Shiite neighbourhood of Beirut that the IDF effectively destroyed in the last Lebanon war. We therefore are no longer talking about "collateral damage", but a deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure

What ever happened to the IDF doctrine of "Purity of Arms" (taharat haneshek) whereby Israeli soldiers where explicitly forbidden to target civilians? More to the point, whatever happened to the Biblical injunction not to destroy the economic infrastructure (e.g. fruit trees) during war? To quote the Eitz Hayim Chumash (standard in the Conservative Movement) on this verse:

"We are not to be so carried away in times of war that we forget that
the war will be over one day, and people will have to live and feed
their families in the place where the battles are raging. Beyond that Maimonides writes: "Not only one who cuts down a fruit tree, but anyone who destroys household goods, … demolishes a building, stops up a spring, or ruins food deliberately, violates the prohibition of bal tashchit ."

How, in fact, is the IDF's new doctrine - of bringing the war to the
Beirut's civilians - different than the doctrine of the Palestinian
terrorists who wish to bring their war against the occupation to the streets of Tel Aviv?

Israel must hold itself to a higher standard than the terrorists. To
quote the Dry Bones cartoon that appears in the same Oct 16th issue of
the CJN, "On Simchat Torah we express our joy at having received the
burden of morality". That is something I would like to believe about
our Jewish People. In light of the IDFs new doctrine, however, that
appears as a bad joke.

I pray that the IDF will change these immoral plans, and I
urge all Jews to encourage it to do so.


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