Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Bad News Blog is Back, May 7, 2011

The dominating event of the week is connected to this man. Osama bin Laden is dead. As I just commented in The New Yorker, I certainly do not mourn him, but it would have been better to have captured him and then turn him over to the International Criminal Court to be tried for crimes against humanity. Indeed the ICC does not impose capital punishment, but that is OK for me since I oppose capital punishment in all cases. If there was indeed a fire fight with his people then the issue is moot and he was just another casualty of war.    Certainly no soldier needed to be risked  because of bin Laden. On the other hand if this was indeed an extrajudicial execution  as practiced by Israel and the US among  others, it is unacceptable and taints the legitimate struggle against terror by basically adopting the values of the terrorists.

I would like to express my revulsion at the unseemly reaction to the death of bin Laden.  The struggle against terror is not a sports event and the elimination of one arch-terrorist does not imply that the movement that he founded is defunct.  Our Jewish tradition has something to say about these raucous celebrations and how to deal with the killing of our vicious and even murderous enemies, first King Solomon Proverbs XXIV, 7
משלי כד יז   בנפל אויביך [אויבך] אל תשמח ובכשלו אל יגל לבך   
or in English Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, and then  Peter Gabel and  Rabbi Michael Lerner  who  point out something very relevant: The Midrash tells us that when Pharaoh’s troops were drowning in the Reed Sea as they sought to re-enslave or kill the Israelites, the angels began to sing praises (the Hallel prayers,: Psalms 113-118). God proclaimed:
“My children (the Egyptians) are sinking in the sea, and you are singing praises?” Yet God did not silence the Israelites, knowing that at that moment it would be hard for humans not to celebrate the death of an oppressor. ..(Still our tradition mitigates our joy at redemption to show that the death of enemies is not a source of joy.) ..For far too many people, the war on terrorism seems to be an extension of the football games where we cheer on our team: “USA! USA! Hey, you are tough!”
Modern Israeli Orthodox rabbis are not comfortable with this concern for the life of non-Jews and try to reinterpret is as God's worry before the crossing that Israelite people might drown, but that is a separate issue..

 I do not wish to join the chorus of our far left friends who are ranting that the whole thing is a put up job,but on the other hand I find some aspects of it troubling. I would appreciate comments. Of course, the blathering of Haniya in Gaza who mourns the killer of thousands is not worthy of comment.  I would like to believe that most the details   of the New York Times description  quoted on Truthout are true although some of the official American flip-flops on the story can make one suspicious about what really happened. In fact there were three versions of the story and I am not sure what to believe. As Michael Moore says and I agree with him: "Look at the Nuremberg Trials. We didn’t just pop a bullet in the heads of the worst scum in history. We thought it was important to put them on trial and expose their evil. In a democracy we believe in a system of justice and we believe in a judicial system that gives people a day in court...and then we hung them."  For his full comments  see Wrap.
As Uri Avnery says the Empire requires an enemy.  So be it.  El Qaeda became irrelevant in Tahrir Square and the desire of young Arabs to look forward is now the driving force instead of nostalgia for the Caliphate.  This weekend 2,000 young leaders are meeting in Cairo to form a new democratic secular party in Egypt to counteract both the military class and the Islamists.  The future lies with them.

OK, enough of this.  There are other things to rant about.  We can start with a torture victim in Swaziland .
Wandile Dludlu

This is one of the many instances in which the liberation of Africa has not brought liberation to individual people as the tyranny of colonialism has been replaced by local tyrants.  We can see this inhumanity and lack of basic human rights everywhere, such as in Sri Lanka , Brazil and China.  Amnesty International makes these actions very easy, just a few clicks and you have told some corrupt tyrant that you disapprove of what is going on in his country.  Note that there is no ambiguity about the pronoun because these dictators are invariably male.
TROY DAVIS has faced execution three times for a crime he may not have committed.  Several of the witnesses in his murder trial in Georgia have recanted, but the courts have refused to review his case.  Please act on this petition request.
Let me start with something nice.  Daniel Barenboim  took an orchestral group  to give a concert in Gaza.  Maybe just a gesture, but it was a beautiful one and gave some quality to the lives of people there.  I cheer you Maestro Barenboim.
The rest is the usual garbage, our leaders trembling in fear that peace may be forced upon them and us as the Palestinians mend their fences with one another and the world prepares to welcome a new State of Palestine.
I invite you to read an insightful article on our situation by Daniel Levy in Haaretz.
Since Gene Weingarten is on vacation, I can only give you  a column from a while back, but enjoy anyhow.  while Andy Borowitz presents some stark choices.  

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