Sunday, January 18, 2009

An Open Response to Gideon Levy

The following was written as a response published at the following link:

Dear Sir,

My name is Richard. I am an American immigrant that has lived in Israel all together 12 years. I had read A.B Yehoshua's open letter to you. And now I have just reviewed your response.

Your response made me take a few moments to think, about my beliefs about what is taking place, about the tragic death of so many Palestinian civilians, including children, and to question what it is I thought I believed.

It is easy to dismiss the arguments you give when they come from outsiders, whether from the UK or US, Christian or Muslim. But when coming from one of our own, a person who lives in this country and experiences what we experience, its not so easily dismissed.

The issue that is central to your argument is one that has deeply troubled me over the past few weeks, the moral implication of war and the tragic death of so many, that is always the result.

You, my dear sir, are an ideologue. Your beliefs are firm, your pain felt when innocent people live in poverty. When peoples do not posses their own freedom, and are kept as in jails, as you so accurately said.

And in being an ideologue you are a smashing success. Always sticking up for the underdog, and standing up to the bully, always standing up for what you believe is right.

And how can anybody argue with you, there is nothing right with the tragic death of so many innocent children. It is a travesty, yes, even a crime.

However while you so grandly succeed at being an ideologue, you are a terrible failure of a realistic human being. Your ideals blind you to what has been the failure of ideologues throughout the course of time, cold hard reality.

You speak of a brutal war, in this you are most certainly correct. But sir, are not all wars brutal and horrific? How many children died in Serbia as the result of UN mandated bombings? How many innocent children were killed by the Russians in Grozny? And how many innocent children have died in the war in Afganistan. All of these wars war fought by foreign armies that were not directly threatened by those they were attacking, while Israel was defending itself.

You speak of "a helpless people denied a government and army - which includes a fundamentalist movement using improper means to fight for a just cause, namely the end of the occupation." As regarding the occupation, you are correct, it must come to an end. But do you honestly believe that Hamas is fighting for the rights of the Palestinian people? Hamas was democratically elected, then continued to overthrow Fatah in Gaza and execute dozens, if not hundreds of its ranks.

You speak as if you live in a bubble, as if the plight of the Palestinians is disconnected from other geo-political events that have plagued the state of Israel since its establishment.

Many of the things you speak are truths, but only half; those that can only be seen through the prism of the ideal. The half truths are borne of that which you deny;, a nation's precarious existence, a refugee's plight caused as much by their own people betraying them than the creation of our state, an organization created not to liberate, but to enslave and wage war, all the while using the plight and life of the very refugees they were elected to protect; and practices so offensive to common sense such as attacking one's innocent civilians from behind their own, a crime apparently forgivable by your ideals.

You seem to be able to forgive this atrocity of human kind, in some unconceivable understanding that the use and murder of children in a "struggle for liberation" is justifiable in the name of liberation, when those leading the soon to be liberated will put them right back in slavery.

I was disappointed that you did not respond to Mr. Yehoshua's question regard the killing of children. Do you deny that Hamas rockets have the potential to kill dozens at a strike? And if it happened do you actually believe Israel would be justified in killing dozens of innocent Palestinian children as a response? Do you believe that Israel has the right to takes precaustions to prevent this tragedy from happening in the first place? Or is the right to protect one's children only reserved for the oppressed? And yet in your silence you justify Hamas using its own children as shields.

You, my dear sir, speak of morality. A morality of the just, a morality of the ideologists. A valiant ideal. Unfortunately you, like them have become confused. Your morality is shallow. You think that condemning the tragic death of innocents is moralistic, and demand that those that killed them are morally corrupt.

You say that intent and circumstance have no role in making this moral judgment, and condemn a nation, your own nation of moral bankruptcy, when you are the guiltiest of all.

For how can you claim moral superiority without using critical moral judgment? Is all death tragic and that's the end. And those that caused the death guilty of horrific crimes? Is life really that simple and clear to you?

And what does the world hold if those that are suppose to not only uphold our ideals of right and just at the same time declare that the very things that makes us reflective, self-conscious beings with a conscience for understanding not only good and bad, but right and wrong are those that absolve us of this most sacred duty?

No sir, it is not Israel or its people that so overwhelmingly support its government in doing everything it can to stop the nightmare that has been plaguing over 250,000 of your fellow countrymen for years that is morally bankrupt.

It is you, blinded by idealism, incapable of living in an all too imperfect reality, he who sees Israel as the occupier, without acknowledging the events that led up to this occupation, that is contributing to the decay of the world's ability to make critical moral judgment and not just be able to distinguish between good and bad, but use our facilities to weigh intent and circumstance.
I, as all of my friends and family can whole heartedly sympathize with a Palestinian people that has been held hostage for so very long, been kept as refugees by a world that doesn't want them, used by a leadership whose goal is not their liberation, but further bondage, and who has suffered such a tragedy as to lose so many.

But sir, can you sympathize with a nation that was born out of original sin, persecuted and attacked from every direction and every opportunity, an imperfect nation that has made mistakes along the way, that now is doing its best to stop its own children from living in terror?

Can you see past your own rhetoric and at one and the same time sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians, but also sympathize with that of your own people, strong and capable as they may be?

Can you make critical moral judgment and understand that death caused by those whose intent is death and destruction, is not one and the same with the death caused by other's protecting their own from these monsters? Even if the end result is the same?

If not, you may be ideologically rich, but you are morally bankrupt. Your fate lies with those like you throughout history. Men and women who were so certain of their justice in their ideas, that they forced them upon others bringing death and tragedy to millions of their own people.



Note: This letter was slightly edited since being sent of to Gideon Levy.


  1. Man! This piece betrays a real intellectual bankrupt.... Have you read what the man said? It is not about morals only you moron, it is about what had been achieved on the ground.

  2. Intellecual bankruptcy? You don't say. Indeed I have read it from start to finish. You say the article isn't about morals, then it must have been the sentence at the very beginning where Mr. Levy arrogantly proclaimed "including you, have succumbed to a great and terrible conflagration that has consumed any remnant of a moral backbone." I must really have been confused, how could I ever have made that error.

  3. Sorry, I missed "you could not conjure up a more crooked moral argument" and "Finally, you ask me to preserve my "moral validity." Boy was I mistaken to think this letter was an attack on our morals.

  4. Followed the link from CiF. What a waste of time. Mr Richard, in future I suggest debating actual points, rather than resorting to ad hominem attacks. Get off your soapbox, sir.

  5. Followed your self-promotional link from CiF, which is thankfully less handily mental capped than this drivel.

    Original page with your link to yourself (fair's fair) :

  6. The two anonymouses, I wonder if you bothered to read Mr. Levy's original article to which this is a response. I'm supposing not.