God on trial in Near East. 238 —Robert M. Shelby, 9-28-14. [538 txt wds]

Religion as exemplified by the three “Book Religions,” Judaism, Christendom and Islam, has always been a substitute for knowledge, courage and personal integrity. It works, or fails, as a crutch, a shield, a warm blanket or a tool of navigation in life. Religions have tended to become the enemy of spirituality, not its source. Spirituality may be partly productive of religion, but religion is often its downfall. (Sorry, kids!)

I am no anti-semite. Personally, I have probably liked a higher percentage of Jews I have known than Christians, though I favor the secularized members of both communities as less imbued with superstitious mind-trash of the sort that blocks good sense and common feeling than are fundamentalist “true believers” in the ancient falsehoods. The ancient truths seldom needed religion to sustain them. They were usually self-evident.

Those who insist they “believe in God” do so in default of awareness about anything more than their emotional need and intellectual shortfall. Grasp what belief and God are all about, you no longer need either one, in any traditionally “received” sense of belief or divinity. Hence, it is deeply troubling to see what has been happening in the radical evangelization of the U.S. Air Force’s personnel by the worst sort of Christian. It is even more troubling to see the spiritual deterioration of the Israeli Defense Force into nazi-like mentality and behavior against the population of Gaza.

Israel today is a distant reflection of the German Third Reich’s attempt to solve Hitler’s so-called “Jewish Problem.” The Reich gave up concern with appearances and the opinion of other nations, to eliminate all the european Jewry it could reach. In this, it resembled the practice of young King Cheng of Chin who became “Jinshi Huangdi” (or Chin Shih Huang Di) First Emperor of all China, by conquering all the other “Warring States” of that time. The First Emperor’s army, on subduing another army, decapitated its leadership and then systematically disarmed and decapitated every last man, piling up the remains in hecatombs and leaving them to rot, as an exemplary message.

This seems the sort of solution that many Israeli politicians and army officers would really like to employ, but they are cognizant of their need for the good opinion of other people and governments in the world, especially ours. They have the means to go all the way, but lack the chutzpah to do it out in plain sight. Emotionally, they can scarcely be blamed for wishing to cast off restraint after so many decades of frustration. Hamas has been a double-pointed thorn, absolutely harmful to both sides and preventing reasonable negotiation toward a Two State Solution.

But, we can well feel the Israeli government and its military are cowardly in focusing such awesome wrath on poor Gaza while refusing to join our broad coalition against a truly formidable enemy, the would-be Islamic State. Reminds one of Achilles sulking in his tent on the beach at Troy. His issue, of course, was not fear but wounded pride, whereas Israel fears increasing the rage of Muslim countries against them. Imperfect justice founded Israel, so what falseness follows? Justice for the poor, mistreated Jews begets injustice for poor, mistreated Arabs. It makes me sadly doubtful of hope.

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