Strongmen and War: Israel, America and the Price of Political Chaos

Strongmen and War: Israel, America and the Price of Political Chaos October 9, 2023

Burning Synagogue Kristallnacht. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Israel has been attacked and hundreds Israeli citizens are dead. Many others have been taken hostage. The whole world has seen the videos of bleeding, terrified Israelis with hoods over their heads being shoved and slung around by Hamas “soldiers” triumphantly yelling “Allah Akbar.” 

We’ve seen the photos of the gutted buildings and bodies lying in the streets. I watched the speech given by the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations in which he said that this was going to be a long war and he doubted if the international community would stand by Israel for the duration. 

He likened the attacks on Israel to the pogroms suffered by Jews throughout the millennia, drew repeated parallels to the Holocaust, and called the attack on his country “Israel’s 9/11.”

President Biden has made it absolutely clear that the United States stands with Israel in this war. I have no doubt that, to the extent that he is able given the chaos in our own government due to House Republicans’ lack of concern for governing, America will do just that.

Meanwhile, there is a round robin of accusations and recriminations building over the massive failure of Israeli intelligence to detect this attack and stop it before it happened. 

The truth is, this war, as all wars, did not happen in a vacuum. As usual for war, the run-up to this one is dominated by stories of evil men in positions of power who misuse their power of leadership to attack freedom and concentrate power in their own hands. That seems to be a necessary component to the run-up of every war. 

This attack came from a tiny sliver of land called the Gaza Strip. This land abuts Israel and is densely packed with literally millions of Palestinian refugees from the partition of Israel 80 years ago. These people are majority Muslim, but there is a significant minority of Palestinian Christian refugees living in the Gaza strip as well. 

They are people nobody wants. The other nations in the Middle East have agitated for war against Israel ever since Israel was founded. In fact, intelligence indicates that this current war was backed by Iran. Their leaders yell and rant calling for what would be a second holocaust, killing every Jew in the Middle East and burning the entire nation of Israel to ash. 

But those same leaders won’t lift their little fingers off their Korans to actually help Palestinian refugees. They are always ready to subvert peace and back war and death. But no one offers them a home outside what is perhaps the largest, most densely packed and longest-running refugee camp in the world. 

I won’t go into the misery of the Palestinians. But I will say that it is real. Many of these people have turned to Islam for their strength, in a desperate search for hope and meaning. 

This has opened them up to following what I can only describe as evil religious leaders who do not inspire them to better themselves, pull themselves out of the mire of their situation and use organized appeals for their human rights similar to what Martin Luther King and Ghandi used so effectively.

If Palestinians had done that, I think they would have forced the world to find solutions long ago. Instead, their religious leaders have taken to the dark side and promoted violence and bloodshed for the whole 80 years of their history as refugees. 

Corrupt leaders have misused the aid that was pumped into Gaza. Instead of using it to support businesses, build schools, hospitals and an infrastructure to raise up the people, these leaders have squandered it on ramping up insane blood lust and enriching themselves.

This hasn’t accomplished anything good for the Palestinians. And it has been almost equally bad for the rest of the Middle East. It has destabilized the whole region and subjected it to repeated wars and coups in which many millions of innocent people have suffered and died. 

There are too many dead and suffering people in the Middle East who did not need to die and do not need to suffer. Much of the blame for this rests on the horrifically selfish and greedy leadership of rulers and religious leaders. 

In this vacuum, Islam is all ordinary people have to go to for hope. But their hope is being betrayed by religious leaders who make false gods of themselves. These leaders use Islam to fuel hatred and violence rather than using it to strengthen Muslim people and build them up. 

They do not seek to strengthen their people to live lives of dignity. They do not lead them in organized, peaceful protest against the plight of Palestinians that demands their human rights in the court of justice. They do not call the political leaders of the Middle East to unite in bringing the just demands of the Palestinian people repeatedly and consistently before the court of international opinion in a dignified and consistent way. 

I don’t pretend to understand either the people or the problems of this part of the world. But I do know this. Many innocent people have died already, and many more are going to die in this war. They are human sacrifice on the altar of greed for power by a few men.

I believe that the recent push by a strongman politician to destroy Israeli democracy and replace it with dictatorial rule destabilized that country. I think it was a major contributor to the failure of intelligence which left Israel open to this attack. 

There is a cautionary tale for America in all this. A large segment of our population is in the grip of hate-fed false religion and billionaire-funded right wing politicians who want to destroy our democracy. Our nation is in unnecessary chaos which seems to erupt for no real reason every single day. This chaos is funded by a small group of organized right wing billionaires who have bought themselves control of the Republican Party and large number of our “christian” clergy. 

Many millions of Americans are brain-washed. They are so set in their anger and hate that they are like stone. They are following leaders who don’t care if they burn this country down, and nothing will persuade them to change.

Israel was plunged into internal chaos by a strongman who is working to undo the democratic freedoms which allowed that country to survive every challenge and become the military and economic power house of the Middle East. I believe that this chaos played a part in why Israel was open and blind as this attack against it was being organized and put into place. 

I am sad beyond words because of the attack on Israel. I support President Biden’s pledge to stand with Israel in this war and I also support President Biden in his pledge to back Ukraine. 

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