Friends True and False

After two weeks, the war settled down comfortably in the Middle East, like an old aunt on a regular visit to her nephews. It came to stay for a while, and as the first shock of the battle for Lebanon is over, the picture clears up. First, the news. Despite the awesome, crushing might of the Israeli onslaught, despite its unprecedented viciousness and brutality, the steadfast warriors of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah held their ground. The blitzkrieg planned by Tel Aviv strategists ground to a halt in the low hills of Maroun Ras, and came to naught in the streets of Bint Jbail. If in 1982, during the previous Israeli invasion, Jewish tanks crossed the Litani River in just 48 hours, now their advance is measured in single yards.

An old but fearsome weapon forged by the Russians in the days of their fateful struggle with the Germans, and given a girl’s name, Katyusha, keeps fretting the always-so-safe Israeli hinterland all the way to Haifa. Israeli Apache gunships, navy’s Saar warships, Israel’s best Merkaba tanks were met with precise missiles. The frustrated invader covered the roads and villages of Lebanon with hundreds of charred bodies of Lebanese children; but remarkably few Hezbollah fighters were killed or taken prisoner. They wield a secret weapon: Hezbollah is the first-ever Arab body the Jews failed to infiltrate. Israeli intelligence did not know what weapons they had and what plans they had prepared. Hezbollah warriors did not oblige the Jews and did not commit suicide a-calling “Allah is Great”: they fight, defeating the enemy and destroying the twin myths of Israeli invulnerability and Arab impotence.

The importance of their stand can’t be overestimated: if Lebanon were overrun with little resistance, Israeli tanks would roll on to Damascus, and Israeli jets soar to Teheran. This is the wish of the American neocons (or should it be spelled neo-Cohns?). William Kristol speaks plainly: “For while Syria and Iran are enemies of Israel, they are also enemies of the United States. We might consider countering this act of Iranian aggression with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait? Does anyone think a nuclear Iran can be contained?” Michael Ledeen brings back Cold War rhetoric: “You cannot escape the mullahs. You must either defeat them or submit to their terrible vision.” Larry Kudlow is sure of victory: “It will take the U.S. and Israel about 35 minutes to knock out the entire Iranian navy and air force… Now is the time to really put the squeeze on Syria’s dictator, Baby Assad.” The neocons have a good reason to push for war now: their positions in the US administration have recently weakened, and the first signs of goy rebellion have materialised in a notorious critique of the Jewish Lobby. A “good war” would return them into full power in Washington.

The Israeli attack on Damascus and Teheran can still take place, but every day the Lebanese hold out diminishes the chances of a regional war. The troublesome word “defeat” is being noised on Israeli TV: “bogged down in Lebanon” is the old nightmare of Israelis who have already had this experience and do not cherish its repetition. A “defeat in Lebanon” would be quite a limited defeat: it will not lead the victor to Haifa, but it will teach the Israelis some modesty. That is why in this war, a real friend of Israel wishes its army a sound defeat in South Lebanon, a defeat that will return the boys home and will keep the generals from seeking new adventures for a good while. A false friend of Israel wishes an Israeli victory, a victory that will lead to Teheran, to nuclear war, to mass destruction and death. While the false friends, the organised US Jews, marched in support of the Lebanese adventure, the true friends, Israelis, marched the streets of Tel Aviv denouncing their leaders’ war crimes.

As an Israeli I can’t rejoice when Haifa is shelled and Tel Aviv is threatened. There are too many innocents who cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle. However, I can’t condemn it either, for this bitter medicine can help where soft-spoken sermons have failed. The missiles of Hezbollah may yet sober up the Israeli minds and break their addiction to military might. Likewise, a good German would have prayed for his compatriots’ defeat in Holland in 1940 for such a rout would have saved them from the tragedy of 1945.

The Germans were too strong for their own good. This excessive might led them to disaster. Now the same fate is prepared for Israel. Excessive might is no better than lack of it: “The strong are never absolutely strong, nor are the weak absolutely weak. Those who have Might on loan from fate count on it too much and are destroyed. Might is as pitiless to the man who possesses it (or thinks he does) as it is to its victims. The second it crushes, the first it intoxicates”, wrote Simone Weil, the French philosopher, referring to the Trojan War.

This war is a good illustration: a minor skirmish was turned into a great battle and massive destruction of nature and cities because of excessive military strength of Israel. Small border incidents occur all over the world, but they do not result in such excesses. If Israel were wiser, it would understand the predictable response to their brutality towards Gaza. If Israel were weaker, it would make a proportionate military response. But it is too stupid and too strong for its own good.

The Jews incessantly repeat their old errors. In AD 66, almost two thousand years ago, the Jews performed a mighty deed: they defeated the XII Legion of Cestius Gallus. It was as incredible as the Six Days War, for Roman legions were not an easy prey. The Jews were carried away by this feat, and rather vaingloriously thought that God would fight for them. But God had other plans, and by AD 70, Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed. Now, again, the Jews are intoxicated by their military prowess, by obedience of the US and EU, by their control over media. Their arrogance and brutality are leading them to disaster, for after this Rape of Gaza and Rape of Lebanon, even the most tolerant man of the Middle East will come to the conclusion the Romans came to 2000 years ago: there can be no peace in the area as long as the Jewish state exists. After experiencing neocon rule, this conclusion will be shared by the Americans.

Another error the Jews repeat is the error of mistreating native people. After the Hasmonean victory over Seleucids, the victory described in the biblical Books of Maccabees, they took over Palestine. Their first deed was expulsion of the native population of Caesarea and its repopulation by Jews. There was a Nakba even then. In those days, the natives of Palestine had no power plants, so the Jews had to be satisfied with destroying their temples. In order to become the Light Unto The Nations, the Jews had to put the Nations into complete Darkness, and so they did. A hundred years of Jewish absolute rule (168-68 BC) were the most horrible times for the country, and the Roman general Pompey the Great was met as a liberator when he subdued the Jews and limited their power to Jerusalem and a few other areas.

“This is not a war, but an anti-terrorist campaign; Israel is fighting the terrorists of Hezbollah”, says the Jewish media. But hundreds of burned-out buildings, destroyed bridges and power stations, slain women and children, and strafed refugees refute this oldest PR trick. Napoleon claimed he was fighting the Mamluks, not the Porte, but the Empire sent its troops down to Palestine and he had to escape after deserting his soldiers. Adolf Hitler claimed he was fighting “communists”, not Russia, but Russians united around Stalin and foiled the trick. George Bush claims he is fighting Saddam Hussein, not Iraq, and thousands of dead American soldiers disproved the lie. Now the Lebanese have rejected the line, saying: this is a Jewish war against Lebanon. A total war against its citizens; its motto expressed by Israeli Generalissimo Halutz: “For every rocket we shall destroy ten high rise buildings in Beirut”. And the Lebanese understood it; they did not take the Jewish bait of condemning Hezbollah. They felt that Hezbollah represents them, is an integral part of Lebanon. The Lebanese army should take its place next to Hezbollah – this would completely derail the plans of the invader.

The Jews have bombed even Ashrafieh, the well-off Maronite suburb of Beirut, which led the movement for removal of the Syrian army from Lebanon. “Haram, ya Ashrafieh”, sorry for you. Your folly was visited on you too soon. Weak and rude as they were, the Syrians would protect your heavens from the black vultures from South. You are like a lamb that rejected your nasty old shepherd and was then swiftly fleeced by a wolf. The dream of independent Lebanon was just an illusion produced by the Masters of Dreams. The concept of independence does not work: Lebanon would be better off as an integral and autonomous part of Syria; Syria would be better off in union with Iraq, Jordan, Palestine. The Ottoman Empire had to be transformed into a Commonwealth of the East, not destroyed, for united we stand, divided we fall.

France bears heavy responsibility for the destruction of Lebanon. It was France that forced the Syrians out of Lebanon. The US, this obvious enemy of Arabs, would not have been able to do it without the support of Paris. By removing the Syrian protector, France came under moral obligation to defend Beirut. “You are forever responsible for those you tamed”, said the Fox to the Little Prince in Saint-Exupéry’s story, and France tamed Lebanon. The sad and racist sight of the evacuation of foreign nationals should be replaced by another one: by landing French battle troops, not as UN or NATO peacekeepers, but as outright defenders of Lebanon. They know the way: in 1860, when the Druze ran amok, the French soldiers landed and restored peace by repelling the aggressor. They can repeat this deed; if the French would fight shoulder-to-shoulder with the Lebanese against the Jewish invader, it would bring peace to the Middle East and to France.

Some Arab countries have betrayed their brotherly duty. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan condemned – not the Jewish aggressor, but the resister, Hezbollah. The Gulf countries did nothing to save Lebanon. They should be ashamed for their treachery. Indeed, they could repeat the successful oil embargo of 1974 and force Europe to pull back the crazed Zionist pit bull. Hezbollah’s brave and staunch resistance is a sign of honour for the fighters and a sign of shame for other Arab leaders. They should remember that those who betrayed Palestine were punished: King Faruk was overthrown, while King Abdullah was assassinated. The longer the war lasts, the bigger the chance for these leaders to be removed by their peoples. This is a strong reason against seeking cease-fire.

The Hezbollah are the true heroes of the Middle East. Not because of their might, but because of their compassion. They are the only ones who felt compassion for the plight of Palestinians. They did not remain indifferent observers at the Rape of Gaza – they tried to stop the violator with their modest means, just as England once protested the German conquest of Poland. Compassion and solidarity are more important than sovereignty.

For this reason we can’t condemn the Hezbollah fighters or even “both sides”. A Russian philosopher named Ivan Ilyin (1883-1954) made a clear distinction (in his Resistance to Evil By Force) between the violator and the resister.

«The Violator says to his victim: «you are given unto my power», while the Resister replies to the violator: «you destroy and will be destroyed, desist! Here I put the end to your tyranny”.

Indeed, the Jews tried to dominate Palestinians so completely, they tortured them so freely and without remorse, that a Resister had to appear. In face of shameful obedience of the rest of Arabs, fighters of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah deserve praise. They were the first opponents who challenged the Israeli rules of the game and took the war into Jewish territory, – up until now, the enemies of Israel have tacitly accepted its sanctity. Even in 1948 the armies of Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq did not cross the borders of the Jewish state, and were satisfied with securing the territories given by the UN to the Palestinian Arab State. In 1967-1971 Nasser’s Egypt did not dare to send even one bomber jet to Tel Aviv, though Israeli air force bombed and strafed Egyptian cities. Thanks now to Sheikh Nasrallah, the cities of Israel experienced – though in homeopathic doses – the feelings of Gaza and Beirut.

Let us hope that this experience will destroy the Jewish superiority complex, so that the people of Israel will come out of it – more modest, more willing to compromise, more considerate to their neighbours. They should not push their luck too much, for the present Luck of Jews is a dangerous reminder a Friedrich Schiller’s poem (based on a story by Herodotus) about the extremely lucky Polycrates. His guest was worried because such run of luck is likely to end in disaster. He begged Polycrates to take his most valuable ring and throw it in the sea, and so he did. But next morning, a fisherman came to his court to present him with a huge fish he had caught. When the fish was cut open, the precious ring was in its stomach. “The guest with terror turned away. “I cannot here, then, longer stay, The gods have willed that thou shouldst die Lest I, too, perish, I must fly” And indeed, Polycrates suffered a terrible reversal of fate and was crucified by the Persians.

Israel pushes her luck. Her generals are guilty of the worst war crime, that of aggression. They kill with impunity and get hailed by their American vassals. Now they targeted the UN and killed some of peacekeepers, but not to worry, nobody will begrudge them. The Israeli Ambassador in the UN already demanded an apology from spineless Annan and I am sure he will get it. The Jews have nothing to fear – but the leading Orthodox churchmen, the Greek Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and the Palestinian Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna of Sebaste reminded them: “Fear God’s wrath.”

Israel Shamir is a critically acclaimed and respected Russian Israeli writer. He has written extensively and translated Joyce and Homer into Russian. He lives in Jaffa, is a Christian, and an outspoken critic of Israel and Zionism.