Gettysburg Connection is pleased to share the opinions of Adams County residents. This article is an opinion piece (op-ed) that represents the opinion and analysis of the writer. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Gettysburg Connection or its supporters. We'd love to share your thoughts. Please leave a comment below or email us: mail@gettysburgconnection.org.

Moral failure, strategic blunder

Israel’s war of revenge on Gaza is both a moral failure and a strategic blunder. Every war is a moral failure because of the immense suffering, destruction, and loss of life that accompanies armed conflicts. It leads to a tragic and undesirable outcome in human affairs. Article 51 of the U.N. Charter states that countries have an inherent right to individual or collective self-defense if they face an armed attack. “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.”

However, the exercise of this right of self-defense is subject to certain conditions, including a proportional response. In military terms, a proportional response would be using force without causing excessive collateral damage. There is no doubt that this war has inflicted widespread human suffering, civilian casualties, and population displacement, and will only lead to long-term social, economic, and environmental consequences.

community voices

The Torah, in several verses in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, offers guidance regarding the concept of revenge or retribution. Exodus 21:23-25 describes a principle of proportionate justice, emphasizing the concept of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” which some interpret as a guideline for fair and just retribution, rather than for excessive revenge.

The war is a strategic blunder. Israel’s stated goal is the complete annihilation of Hamas. It’s an unattainable goal. Did the twenty-year wars in Afghanistan and Iraq eliminate the Taliban? Has ISIS been destroyed? Worse yet, the war will radicalize and motivate untold generations to come, not just in Palestine, but throughout the Middle East. The legacy of this war will threaten future generations of Israelis as well. It’s (past) time for a cease-fire.

Those of us who support Israel have the right and the obligation to speak out when the policies or the actions of the Israeli government hurt the long-term interests of Israel, the Jewish people, and the people of Palestine. We do that through organizations including Americans for Peace Now, Rabbis for Human Rights, T’ruah, J Street, New Israel Fund, and the periodical Tikkun, which represent the many Jews who are committed to supporting the State of Israel and all the people who live there.

As J Street puts it, “Our work is grounded in the Jewish and democratic values on which we were raised…These values are central to who we are as a people: the principle that you don’t treat someone the way you wouldn’t want to be treated yourself, basic notions of justice and freedom, the pursuit of peace and tikkun olam – seeking to make the world a better place. We must live up to the best of these values and traditions.”

To paraphrase Rabbi Michael Lerner, family relationships can be complicated. One can be very angry at a parent or sibling, even one’s own child, or can deeply disapprove of some of their actions yet still love them deeply. That is exactly how many American Jews feel now.

But there are many who say that any criticism of Israel’s actions is tantamount to antisemitism. It is not, and many of the loudest critics who promote this idea have themselves made antisemitic remarks. For example, after the march in Charlottesville when neo-Nazis chanted “Jews will not replace us,” Trump called them “very fine people.” He defended the January 6 rioters who wore Nazi and Christian symbols, and invited the antisemites Ye and Nick Fuentes to dinner at Mar-a-Lago.

Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Geene has claimed that “Jewish space Lazers” cause global warming. Multiple Republicans in Congress and Republican adherents denounce “globalists,” a code word for George Soros and other Jews who are seen as being guilty of some worldwide conspiracy. The most popular antisemitic trope in politics is that Jews control things behind the scenes, often by virtue of their money and cunning.

The new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican Mike Johnson, has strong ties to Christian nationalism, a movement that believes the U.S. is a solely Christian nation and that its laws and government should be focused on this religion’s values. “The church is supposed to direct the government, the government is not supposed to direct the church,” said Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert. “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.” It’s clear that Johnson and Boebert have never read the First Amendment of the Constitution – which they had sworn to uphold – which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Mark Berg is a proud liberal. His e-mail address in MABerg@Comcast.net.

+ posts

Mark Berg is a community activist in Adams County and a proud Liberal. His email address is MABerg175@Comcast.net.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
6 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jim Krut
Jim Krut
3 months ago

A thoughtful and welcome perspective, Mark. Keep up the good work!

P J
P J
4 months ago

What Hamas did was horrible. It’s eerily similar to a major mass shooting in the US, with the higher numbers of casualties making it extremely horrid. But, as with those affected by our own mass shootings, neither the victims’ relatives nor the government goes out and does their own mass killing in response. Even when someone is murdered alone (not a mass shooting), the government only targets those responsible, not those who are innocent. Most of us totally understand getting those who were responsible in mass killings or basic murder. If they are captured, fine. If they end up killed,… Read more »

Ralph Duquette
Ralph Duquette
4 months ago

Mr. Berg’s opinion and advocacy would have more weight had the palestinian terrorist groups targeted the Israeli military instead of kibbutzim civilians. How can he credibly advocate for a proportional response when Israeli civilians – families consisting of grandparents, parents and children as well as peacenik music goers – were the primary target on Oct 7, with burnings, beatings, gang rapes, kidnappings, pillaging and outright assassinations? Nary a mention of the situation with females. The videos of kidnapped young women with bloody crotches and the EMT’s description of a nearly naked 8-year old with semen on her back are too… Read more »

Harriet Marritz
Harriet Marritz
4 months ago

Thank you for this nuanced piece regarding an extremely complex situation.

tom mckenney
tom mckenney
4 months ago

Don’t want to read this guy in here. Long ago he stated he did not like Israel. And Berg is Jewish. Keep politics out of your publication. People of tired about all the stuff they have to see on TV. I am still deciding about subscribing here.

Janet Powers
Janet Powers
4 months ago
Reply to  tom mckenney

As Mark points out, criticism of Israel is not antisemitism, Not liking Israel’s policies is not the same as not liking Israel or supporting it. His article is very helpful in explaining the difference between Zionists, who praise Israel no matter what and have their goal of pushing Palestinians out of the Occupied Territories as well as Gaza, and those who follow the Torah in wanting a proportional response to war and also want to live in peace with Palestinians. War crimes have been committed on both sides and must be accounted for. But we must take the future into… Read more »

6
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x