Israel At War: 586 BCE—1982—2010

by Phyllis Chesler, PAJAMAS MEDIA

Imperfect, tiny Israel is truly a “light unto the nations.” If only “the nations” would see it this way!

Israel is attacked by Turkey — and Israel, not Turkey, launches an investigation into the role its military played in defending their country. Yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu took “overall responsibility” for what happened. He said that although professional mistakes were made at intelligence and operational levels, the killings were justified.

Turkey has yet to admit its genocidal massacre of the Armenians; we are still waiting for Turkey to launch its own internal investigation—and for the United Nations to demand that they do.

The Taliban slay ten altruists, saints: two Afghans and eight western medical human rights workers, all of whom gave up lucrative careers and safe lives in order to minister to the same Afghan people whom the Taliban neglects and torments. I am waiting for President Karzai to take “full responsibility” and to disband, not negotiate with, the Taliban.

And, by the way, the Taliban also just publicly executed Bibi Sanubar, a pregnant widow whom they first kept in captivity for three days and then publicly flogged 200 times. Her crime? Alleged adultery.

Where is the United Nations condemnation of this and other crimes against women being carried out in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, not to mention all over the Islamic world?

We, who for now safely occupy front-row seats on the sidelines of war which we may view on television or in the theater, would do well to see the following films. There are certain films which capture what war is like for soldiers, such as The Hurt Locker (2008), which won Kathryn Bigelow an Oscar for Best Director. The film is not “political” but is, rather, about the “high” or addictive nature of war. Really, it is about the kind of warrior who is not fit for domestic life or even for civilization but who comes alive, shines, is at his best when he faces death like a gladiator to defuse a bomb. Jeremy Renner plays Staff Sgt. William James brilliantly. I want him just where he is—but I would not like to meet him in a locker room or in a bar, not to mention in a marriage.

Israeli filmmakers keep going back to the first war in Lebanon, at least for film material. Joseph Cedar revisited 1982 in his film Beaufort, as did Ari Folman in Waltz with Bashir. This latest and new Israeli film, Lebanon, shows us a very different kind of warrior. Like Cedar and Folman, Lebanon’s director, Samuel Maoz, is still haunted by Israel’s 1982 war with Lebanon.

August 11, 2010 | 1 Comment »

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  1. Yes. Israel IS a light unto the nations that has been dimmed. Dimmed by ignorance. I live in the West and the West does not recognize that Irrael is in the middle of a war zone created by the SAME PEOPLE that the U.S. and Canada are at war with. Most Canadians do not even recognize that Canada agreed to help the U.S. with their war. But how can they win a war when they are doing more to help their enemy than defeat it? It is INSANE. Some day Israels light will shine bright. By that time it might be the ONLY country that does survive if they keep using the same strategy they are using now.