Israel Must Stop Fanning the Flames That Will Consume Us / David Grossman

My translation of David Grossman’s piece in The Washington Post-hw

by David Grossman

Like the pairs of foxes in the biblical story of Samson, tied together by the tail with a flaming torch between them, we and the Palestinians are dragging each other into disaster — despite our disparate strength, and even when we try very hard to separate. And as we do, we burn the one who is bound to us, our double, our nemesis, ourselves.

So, a month after the war began, in the midst of the wave of nationalist invective now sweeping Israel, it would not hurt to keep in mind that this latest military operation in Gaza was, when all is said and done, just one more way-station on a road paved with fire, violence and hatred. On this road, you sometimes win and you sometimes lose, but in the end it leads to ruin.

As both Israel and Hamas declared their own cease-fires, we Israelis rejoiced at how this campaign has rectified Israel’s military failures in the Second Lebanon War of 2006. But we should listen to the voice that says that the Israel Defense Forces’ achievements are not indubitable proof that Israel was right to set out on an operation of such huge proportions; they certainly do not justify the way our army pursued its mission. The IDF’s success confirms only that Israel is much stronger than Hamas, and that under certain circumstances it can be very tough and cruel. . .

Read the rest at The Washington Post–come back here to comment!

11 thoughts on “Israel Must Stop Fanning the Flames That Will Consume Us / David Grossman”

  1. “we have forgotten that there are other languages that can be used to communicate with other human beings, even enemies, even enemies as bitter as Hamas — languages that are mother tongues to us, the Israelis”

    The tools of Judaism are indeed much greater than phosphorus. The nationalists among you are brutal to your traditions. I encountered, recently, a quote from an African:

    “A human being is a beast that when cornered throws away weapons and fights with the tongue”
    –O K Matsepe

    Sometimes the powerful are cornered. Witness the last 8 years in the United States.

    “To talk as a well-considered strategy, to initiate dialogue, to insist on speech, to talk to the wall, to talk even if it seems fruitless.”

    The easiest, so ignored, place to talk is in your homeland, the internal Palestinians, those called Arab Israeli citizens. How can one stop the crows of victory today if these silent neighbors, passersby in your streets, remain ignored? Tools for the fight of words are there; they have always been there, standing beside you, or maybe down the street.

    This nothing commentor is on your side.

    above confluent hatreds
    birds call identically

    Benjamin Suzuki

  2. Hamas is not more popular now than before Israel invited Gaza. If u recall Israel had not anything to Gaza but Hamas just kept firing rockets and continued to kill and maime Israelis.

    Hamas has made it very clear they want to kill all Jews. I do not blame Israel for cleaning house in Gaza. Civilians usually are part of the collateral damage which is horrible but Hamas are such cowards they hide behind civilians, in their houses, businesses, anywhere there are regular people (Hamas’ weapons) hoping Israel won’t bomb the hell out of them.

    Israel does and more power to them. At least they let the civilians know ahead of time so they can leave. Yep, I would say Hamas right along with Hezbollah should be completely destroyed.

    As long as people like them are around there will never be peace. It doesn’t matter how much you try to come to some agreement. They will always be deceitful so whatever they get, they deserve.

    Israel pulled out of Gaza and part of the agreement, as I understand it, are they (Hamas) are not to have anymore weapons supplied to them by hmmmm, lets see. Gee ya think Iran is part of it and oh, don’t forget Russia who are trying to flex their muscle again.

  3. I was just wondering if any of the people who complain about Israel’s aggressive actions live anywhere near Ashkelon or Ashdod or any of the other places that Hamas has been bombing these last several years.

  4. The hope, indeed gift, of humanity is that everyone is not like me; and conversely. Always hope there are people who have not been through what you have been through. Be glad there are people who have never lived near Ashkelon. Be glad there are people who have not lost three daughters because of an Israeli strike. Both sides–be very glad.

  5. David Grossman wrote: “Israel Must Stop Fanning
    the Flames That Will Consume Us.”

    Yes… They just GOTTA bite the bullet and let the
    Palestinians butcher them all. Aren’t those darn
    Israelis being a bit obstinate!… I mean, they
    continually thwart suicide bombers & now they went
    after those poor Hamaseans for firing a few thousand
    rockets into their country–When is it going to stop!?

    [For those with IQs -15, this is sarcasm. Look it up]

    1humanity wrote: Here is how Bush, and inhumane
    Israeli regime and its supporters in the US define
    “democracy” [following which Mr. Rodrian explains
    these “rules” for a more perfect understanding]

    Rule #1: In the Middle East, it is always the
    Palestinians that attack first, and it’s always Israel
    who defends itself. This is called “retaliation”.

    Rule #1: Everywhere in the world it is always the
    criminals who attack first, and it’s always the forces
    of law & order who defend themselves. This is called
    “the cops going after the criminals.”

    Rule #2: The Palestinians are not allowed to kill
    Israelis. This is called “terrorism”.

    Rule #2: The criminals are not allowed to kill cops.
    This is called “against the law” (everywhere in the

    Rule #3: Israel has the right to kill Palestinian
    civilians; this is called “self-defense”, or
    “collateral damage”.

    Rule #3: The police has the right to kill criminals
    and the “civilians” who aid them; this is called
    “self-defense,” or “collateral damage” (if the
    civilians are merely in the way of police cars in hot
    pursuit, including little girls and slow old people,
    or their water pistols look real to the cop).

    Rule #4: When Israel kills too many Palestinian
    civilians, the Western world calls for restraint. This
    is called the “reaction of the international

    Rule #4: When the police kill too many civilians, the
    whole world calls for restraint. This is called the
    “reaction of a community too lazy to read more than
    just the headlines about the perticular incidents.”

    Rule #5: Palestinians do not have the right to capture
    Israeli military, not even 1 or 2.

    Rule #5: Criminals do not have the right to capture
    policemen, not even 1 or 2. Live with it.

    Rule #6 : Israel has the right to capture as many
    Palestinians as they want (around 10,000 to date being
    held without trial). There is no limit; there is no
    need for proof of guilt or trial. All that is needed
    is the magic word: “terrorism”.

    Rule #6 : The police have the right to capture as many
    criminals as they want (around 2,000,000 in the U.S.
    federal prisons to date–and, certainly, lots more
    than 10,000 Americans are awaiting trial here). There
    is no limit, there is no need for proof or trial. All
    that is needed is the magic word: “pedophile.” (The
    principle is the same: there are criminals who are
    just so dangerous that they must be jailed even when
    all of the legal nicities are not observed. The
    alternative is totally unacceptable to all but to
    pedophiles, Muslims, and Paliestinians, of course.)

    Rule #7: When you say “Hamas”, always be sure to add
    “supported by Hezbollah, Syria and Iran”.

    Rule #7: When you say “Mafia,” always be sure to add
    “supported by Vito, Don Chicho, and You-Know-Who.”

    Rule #8: When you say ” Israel”, never say “supported
    by the USA, the UK, European countries and even some
    Arab regimes”, for people (God forbid) might believe
    this is not an equal conflict.

    Rule #8: When you say “the police” never say
    “supported by “principled people or even those for
    whom it is occasionally convenient that there not be
    total chaos in the streets,” for people (God forbid”
    might believe this is a struggle with, whatchacallit
    … “disproportionalities”).

    Rule #9: When it comes to Israel, don’t mention the
    words “occupied”, ” territories”, “UN resolutions”,
    “Geneva conventions”. This could distress the audience
    of Fox, CNN, WP, etc.

    Rule #9: When it comes to the police, don’t mention
    the words “in control,” “police districts,” “UN
    resolutions,” “Geneva conventions.” This might
    awaken from their naps audience of Fox, CNM. WP. etc.

    Rule #10: Israelis speak better English than Arabs.
    This is why we let them speak out as much as possible,
    so that they can explain rules 1 through 9. This is
    called “neutral journalism”. (We see it all the time
    in WP!)

    Rule #10: Cops speak better English than criminals.
    This is why we let them speak as much as possible, so
    that they can explain rules 1 through 9. This is
    called “neutral journalism.” (We see it all the time
    in WP’s Smallville!)

    Rule #11: If you don’t agree with these rules or if
    you favor the Palestinian side over the Israeli side,
    you must be a very dangerous anti-Semite. You may even
    have to make a public apology if you express your
    honest opinion.

    Rule #11: If you don’t agree with these rules or if
    you favor the criminal side over the side of law &
    order, you must be a very dangerous psychopath. You
    may even have to make a public apology if you express
    your honest opinion (to a judge AND to your personal

    Isn’t democracy wonderful!?

    Isn’t sanity wonderful~!?

    S D Rodrian

    All religions are local.
    Only science is universal.


  6. Rodrian : Unless you were being facetious, I agree with your post. I totally think Israel is right to defend itself & Hamas is a terrorist organization who, in my opinion, should be blown off the face of the earth.

  7. How many times can you try to “blow” them “off the face of the earth” only for another to unearth from their miserly ashes? Would you lather, rinse and repeat this strategy only to use it again when another arises from that factions’ funeral?

  8. lebanon was a failure thanks to the world community again putting pressure on them to pull out before the job was done.

    hezbolah used the same pr tactics that hamas used in this latest incursion….show pictures of the dead and wounded….never mind how they died or were wounded…just show them….oh, and never mind if you have shown the same pictures before…show them over and over again.

    and then…when you run out of bodies, or cant show another wounded young boy (who btw was fighting for hamas) go to the local zoo, which israel had shown to be booby trapped, and show what the evil zionist pigs did to all the cute little animals.

    i have asked this question on other blogs, and yet, no one has given me an answer

    where are the thousands of wounded?

    since the end of hostilities, and the foreign press being allowed in, i have seen tours of destroyed homes and orchards…i have even seen a vid of an egyptian hospital with a few wounded….have yet to be taken to a gazan hospital, where the dead and wounded are shoved in to the rafters.

    not one vid….not even a pic….not even a story

    loads of stories during the incursion…of course the sources were always the “independent” palestinian human rights orgs

    now it cant be because the arabs respect the dead and wounded and their families…take a vid cam to any funeral and they will be only too happy to uncover the face and body of the deceased.

    come on…when will it come out that this was jenin 2

  9. A waste of words even though I am in agreement.
    “Esau hates Jacob”
    Simply true-we have been faced with it for at least 2000 years and the latest travesty has been Lebanon 2 and Caste Lead.
    We know it but it just never seems to get completely digested.
    You cannot negotiate with someone who categorically declares he wants to and will destroy you.
    What to do? Jews are experts at the abstract- we buy ‘time’, as always.

  10. Uncle Joe, that would be great if it turned out the death toll was smaller than reported. And I’m all for checking such allegations carefully. But of course the moral issue remains the same.

  11. What exactly is the moral issue here?
    To kill someone is immoral. When two entities go to war this specific moral issue becomes irrelevant in the general sense. In the specific sense decisions must be made in situations which require more depth of thought..
    As far as ‘morality’ goes international law gives to POWs certain rights. Has Schalit received any of these rights. We are dealing with an immoral group of people called Hamas who have basically ‘hoodwinked’ the population into thinking they will do the best for them or possibly the populace is the Hamas.
    There is no question of morality here whatsoever only a question of wrong navigation. Being merciful to the cruel will inevitably cause us to be cruel to ourselves.

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