Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Faithful "Commenters"

I have a group of wonderful people who follow and comment on a regular basis (more are invited to...why should I be the only one talking here...even if it is my blog!). It's always interesting to see my words in their comments, to see what they took away from my random thoughts and ramblings. There's been a bit of discussion between two semi-regulars of mine and other than approving the comments (yes, I moderate becaus trust me, you don't want to read half the comments I get), I want to promote dialog.

So, Alan a "US military officer" (don't know more...but thank you for your messages) and Barbara (whose son lives in Israel and whom I would love to meet) have been talking about a recent post of mine (A Clock Ticking). Barbara wrote something, Alan responded...I don't remember if there were more discussions, but then Barbara wrote in again and I found myself wondering about her words and if they were indeed a reflection of my thoughts.

Barbara's son lives in Tel Aviv and she is quick to assure us that she is not part of the "national camp." I'm pretty sure that by her definition, I am. But she actually makes my point as she does her own - Israel is too small a country to differentiate between camps when it comes to a nuclear attack. Tel Aviv, actually, is more likely a target than the settlements (most of which are closer to Jerusalem) and the Arabs do like to claim that Jerusalem is theirs. Ironically, in today's news they are once again claiming the Kotel (Western Wall) as theirs, saying it is where Mohammed parked his donkey.

Barbara makes an impassioned plea for the world to take Iran seriously - I share in her words and thank her for them.
Nothing and no one has deterred them [the Iranians], only slowed them down a little. It is fatally stupid to underestimate their commitment or their power, or to ignore the lack of resolve to stop them. Have we still not learned the lessons of WWII? That wasn't very long ago. What evidence do we have that this is all smoke and mirrors, none. I believe them.
There is no evidence that this is all "smoke and mirrors" and very clear evidence that this is quite real and the threat is not only for Israel, but all or most of Europe and likely the US as well. I believe them too, though I have to say I don't want to agree with Barbara's next conclusion...
The Israeli people cannot survive a nuclear war.
Not that I want there to be a nuclear war to prove her wrong, but actually I have heard estimates that Israel can survive a nuclear hit - obviously not a lot of them, but I'm not sure saying we can't survive is completely accurate, though again, I don't want to test this theory. And, the reports I saw referred to a nuclear attack, not a nuclear war, so maybe there's a difference. Conventional wisdom suggests Israel has nuclear weapons. Common sense says if Iran launches a nuclear attack on Israel - we will blow them off the map. Sure, that's what they say they'll do with us and so while I'm not in a position to threaten (I'm a technical writer, for heaven's sake, not a politician), I can say that there are red lines beyond which no one will push Israel. If Iran dares to fire nuclear weapons, I doubt there are more than 10 Israelis in this country who would not hesitate to fire back at them - 100 to each 1 they fire.
Paula is saying, we know we will die here if Iran attacks us with nuclear weapons, but no one is going to make us flee, we are done with that, this is our home.
 So now we get to the hard part of Barbara's comments. It sounded fine when I said it, but reading back it sounds too...too scary, too heavy. What right do I have to put my children's lives on this line. No, I don't know that we will die here if Iran attacks us with nuclear weapons. I really don't. I have this vision in my mind of the Prime Minister pressing a secret green button (it can be blue, I don't care) and a special nuclear protection umbrella will cover the entire country - or missiles will fire and blow the bombs up over Syria - or well, anything other than their exploding here. Once in a while, I can close my eyes and imagine utter chaos, scenes of war and devastation and smoke...but most of the time, I can't and won't let my mind wonder that far. Barbara writes that "no one is going to make us flee, we are done with that, this is our home." Oh yes, I do feel that way...but I'm kind of hoping to skip all that dying stuff - at least for another 80 years or so.
My son feels the same way and he lives in Tel Aviv, not in some little settlement over the Green Line. I respect that. You make a stand against the monsters of this world, even if it kills you.'m glad your son feels that way and I'm not sure what difference it makes where he lives or where I live and yes, you have to make a stand against the monsters of the world. Even if it kills you? Yes, perhaps even then...though again, I'm really kind of hoping to avoid that.
I don't mean you sit around dithering with your head in the sand, making excuses to do nothing like the Jews of Germany in the 1930's who had a chance to escape and didn't take it.
 It took me many years and long hours of reading history to realize that this is too harsh a simplification. With perfect hindsight, we can understand that there was no option but to flee; but it wasn't a given.Could any Jew who wanted to flee Germany in the 1930s have done so? Too long for this post, but I wouldn't put myself in a place to judge them - however the Jews still in Iran, and other Arab countries cannot use the same excuse. If they can get is the time.
I mean you make a stand, like Paula and her family and my son and so many others are doing. These are ordinary people who for every day of their lives stand up against evil no matter the cost.
Thank you, Barbara. I probably shouldn't tell you that what we are doing is more about living a life full of happiness and beauty than conviction. Yes, we live here because we believe and know it is our home, but more, every day is a gift here, one in which we watch our children grow in sunshine and freedom as we were never free anywhere else, or at any time in history.
Dead people do not need passports. It's meaningless to contemplate, unless you are getting out now.
Well...I guess the passport debate continues. I agree dead people do not need passports. I think I was kind of hoping that live people don't need them either if they aren't planning on leaving. No, we aren't getting out now - but I think it's more because we just don't see the need. I'm not saying that we are making a stand unto the death here.

If there is one key difference between us and our enemies - it is best summed up by our enemies themselves. No one has yet expressed the difference between "us" and "them" more eloquently than Hassan Nasrallah:
"We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win because they love life and we love death."  -- Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. July 2006.
No, we do not love death and so we don't think of battles to come as ways to achieve it; rather we dream of a time when life will be cherished by our neighbors and others will see that it is life that we love, life and peace.

(Thanks again to Barbara for posting a comment...that made me think!)


Barbara said...

Paula, there seems to be a widely held perception out there in the ether that the nationalist camp, as Alan calls it, are trying to drum up business to do away with a nuclear Iran by constantly spouting off a lot of deranged hype. These people think that Iran is not really a threat, you can't really believe them, it's a lot of bombastic nonsense, Ahmadinajad (however you spell it) is a nutcase and saner heads will prevail, etc., etc. Some of them are isolationists, some are Jew Haters, some are left-wing Pollyannas, some only care about the price of gasoline, some don't want to spend their military career floating around the Persian Gulf as part of an American nuclear sub convoy, right Alan?

Of course it makes no difference where my son lives, or yours. That was just the way-too-subtle point I was trying to make to Alan, that the fear, on the one hand, and the commitment to Israel, on the other, are widespread and not motivated by membership in some Israeli or even American political or religious subgroup. Everybody in the whole world should be worried about this, and it concerns me greatly that people like Alan would rather kill the messenger or denigrate the potential victims than take these threats seriously, like it's nothing more than political posturing from people with no sense of self-preservation. I want something to be done before it is too late, not as a reaction after the fact. Will people never learn this lesson?

Sorry if I put some of the wrong words in your mouth, but I think you are a great inspiration to a lot of people whether you see yourself that way or not. I wish you all generation after generation of peace and joy in the Promised Land. Let it be so.

I know my son would love to meet you and your family, too. It has been five years since he made aliyah. I remember all the time how you went out of your way to help him during the Gaza War. It just meant so much to me to know that I had a friend in Israel who cared about my child, such a silly little thing to be worried about, really, but we are mothers, little things matter a great deal to us where our children are concerned. Big things, too, but they seem out of our reach and we have to leave them to people we can't trust.

Alan said...

US Navy Officer Alan here.

Notwithstanding that Barbara is a native speaker of Anglit and I am also, I am not following her narrative. Did she see red when I used the term "nationalist camp"", and imagine that I have opposite feelings from them? I actually don't comprehend the jist of her words.

On to other concerns. Nuclear attacks are HIGHLY survivable; dusty writings from Oak Ridge National Laboratories describe in detail, how routine are the preparations for such survival. These researches never became publicized by the US government because most US voters live in ridiculously large cities which would starve in days. People in the boondocks (IF they have prepared) will be the survivors.

It does require something of a non-community approach to will-to-survive; Israeli politicians may also not want to talk about such a reality.

Far be it from me to say that hipster cafes in Hertzliya aren't really the core of the Zionist enterprise; but some people imagine that having a city large enough so that Sudanese illegal intruders can have their own social clubs..... is not expendable. Well, I say it is. Especially if it would provide a once-in-a-millenium opportunity to cleanse Har HaBeit.

Newsflash to Barbara's son: it only LOOKS like it's easier to get laid in a big city. In the big picture, you'd be better off in Beit Shean or somesuch.

Sorry to speak of these matters on your blog dear, but.... when Israeli companies want to scam Israeli guys, they start publishing these bikini-picture-laden ads I see routinely in the Hebrew blogosphere: "Love Blondes? In LA they love you! Come to work for our Israeli company in California!!" And they are not making a mistake in their targeting strategy, ladies. Men do think like that.

I run into these post-army sabras here. A fairly popular gig amongst them is peddling stuff in kiosks in malls..... you can do that on a non-documented basis, if you find a legal yored who is ready to rip off his own countrymen. Which they seem to have not much trouble finding. Naval Station Pearl Harbor has a floating population of these guys who discovered that Hawaii has even more Filipiniot than that un-documented club at T-A's Takhanat Merkazit does.

Barbara said...

Alan, my father has a master's degree in Nuclear Engineering and a PhD in Nuclear Physics. He had national security clearance and worked at Oak Ridge in the beginning. He thought that a fun day out for us kids was to go and see a nuclear reactor. Maybe, just maybe, I have a little more knowledge of these things than you give me credit for.

Israel is a tiny little country. It is not Montana. It does not have a boondocks where someone can be safe from nuclear attack. You can drive from the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea on your lunch hour. In Central Israel, it is only nine miles across from one border to the next, and the whole entire country is within missile range of a submarine in the Mediterranean Sea or the Red Sea, the Iranian satellites Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza, and from Iran itself. And what are you saying, anyway, that Israel should take the risk that Tel Aviv or Jerusalem or Haifa or Beer Sheva be hit because a few people somewhere else will survive?

My son is a fine young man and so are all of his friends and his girlfriend is a sweetheart. I get pretty tired of hearing the citizens of Tel Aviv put down and to say they are expendable is sick, and the Sudanese refugees are not expendable either. If you want to know what Israelis are really like, why don't you take a vacation there and see for yourself instead of basing your opinion on internet ads.

Sorry, Paula. I know you are wishing I'd get my own blog and stay off yours. That's all I'm going to say about this subject. Alan can have the last word. Maybe he will tell us what his stake is in all this and why it interests him so much. I would sincerely like to know.

Alan said...

well, come to find out that some fabulous americans have put all the information up on the internet for free. part of it carries a copyright statement wherein the author asks to not have his work passed off as someone else's. but its all their for free.

the same web site has building plans IN HEBREW for a radiation meter.

The heritage of the Temple Cult is: top-down leadership by the kohanim, with the Levites as the bureacrats and cops.

I have no heartburn about that, but survival is personal.

In the spirit of fairness, let me point out that the reason that the Land of Israel is awash in Filipiniot is because those folks do an outstanding excellent job. I think no one can show me a help-wanted advert, requesting a sabra to take care of aged parents.

People may have fallen out of legal status by action of an expired visa. Let's be careful not to lump them together with infiltrators who smuggle themselves in illegally, then (in effect) go on welfare.

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