Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Pox on Both Their Houses

Things haven't been the same in West Hollywood since the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

With a big Jewish Federation building just around the corner and an Israeli consulate across the street from it, our liberal hamlet far from the Holy Land horrors has been buffeted of late.

Not by missiles or tanks, mind you, just unpleasant demonstrations by pro-Israeli Jews, pro-Palestinian Arabs and, yesterday in a refreshing twist, anti-Israeli Jews.

This being Los Angeles, the major inconvenience has to do with cars since Wilshire Blvd. gets blocked off for these unpleasant flag-waving, finger-pointing shouting matches.

The pro-Arab block cruise the street too fast in their black Mercedes and BMWs eliciting little sympathy, running our corner stop sign with the frequency of Hamas ceasefire violations.

Rather than cruise in circles the pro-Israelites tend to park and line up in defense of these local landmarks, squeezing those of us who live here a few blocks from our actual residences, seemingly unmindful of the fact that nobody walks in L.A.

We've been through this before, most recently with the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006, and what a pain in the ass.

A pox on both their unreasonable houses what with the whole world having to endure the violent repercussions of this goddamn endless grudge match.

And for what?

A "New York Times" article from yesterday (Wednesday, Jan. 14) informs that the Israelis admit their two-week old massacre of Gazans hasn't achieved its goal, which makes one wonder if that goal isn't to kill everybody in the place.

That, of course, would work while anything less only swells the ranks of Allah's impoverished and angry army of Holy Fighters.

highwayscribery, typically but grudgingly, sides with Israel in these matters because it is a secular and modern state surrounded by medieval kingdoms that hang dissident poets and stone girls who have sex out of wedlock, while the scribe is a dissident poet strongly in favor of girls having sex out of wedlock.

But Israel is hardly the gentle state of farming kibbutzim its founders intended. It's a violent power, buttressed by U.S. arms and populated with folks rendered rather disagreeable by perpetual threat.

The article notes that "the military wing of Gaza has been hit to a certain extent," but not as badly as the dangerous women, children, elderly and unarmed of Gaza have been hit.

"Greater damage," the report continues, "has been done to Hamas's capacity to run Gaza, with a large number of government buildings destroyed over the course of the operation..."

That gives you an idea of what Israel truly thinks of the "two-state solution." If bombing Palestinian infrastructure keeps Hamas from governing, the same problem would confront a more reasonable regional partner from doing the same.

And how is that good? Unless, of course, the axe you're grinding is not so much with Hamas as with Palestine generally.

It's typical of the international left, with which this scribe conditionally aligns himself, to side with Palestine. We emphasize conditionally because, in spite of the victims' cry on placards bobbing by his window, highwayscribery does not see it that way.

The victim thing is a role for outside consumption. You're not a victim if you lazily loft missiles into your neighbor's cities and villages, regardless of who started it.

A second "New York Times" article on the "Fear and Swagger" of Hamas's fighters is largely a profile in ignorance.

The first half of the piece is telltale, revealing recent lessons learned by the fighters while foreshadowing a protracted battle featuring a more effective defense from the home team.

Then comes the familiar religious psychobabble Westerners have come to loathe: "It's either victory while alive or martyrdom," one foot soldier of Allah explains. "Both ways are victory."

Bullocks (as the Brits say).

This is the 21st century, not 10th century Samarcanda where, only a few centuries after Mohammed lived, Muslims were already at each others' throats over what "the teachings" meant, and establishing a code of honor that prescribed self-immolation (together with anyone unfortunate enough to be passing by) as an ultimate virtue.

This backward mentality of violence and faith in the afterlife gains no favor with the nonbelieving scribe whom, after the massacre of Sept. 11, 2001, after the senseless murder of Theo Van Gogh, and after considering the religious conflict's horror, takes strength in his nonbelief.

To resort to the banal: What kind of God gives you the blinded child in that picture to the left?

The Israeli strategy of killing them all and letting Jahweh sort them out is worthy only of repugnance. Civilian death in war is unforgivable, however natural, obvious or prevalent.

Their enemies, counterparts really, in this endless murder-go-round stoke the fire with blind faith, drawing a rain of horror down upon those dearest to them.

"I'm a civilian," a Gazan tells the reporter. "And I'm a fighter."

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