Jewish World Review March 26, 2004/ 4 Nissan, 5764
The case for hatred
I was listening to the Dennis Prager radio show the other day and heard something that at once put the entire Israeli/Palestine conflict in greater perspective for me. Prager was speaking with the father of a fifteen year-old girl who was one of the many killed in that horrible suicide bombing of the Sbarro pizza parlor in Israel back in 2001. The man, an extremely articulate fellow, said that he and his wife experienced, and continue to experience, a wide spectrum of emotions concerning the tragic death of their daughter. The complexity of pains understandably included grief, loss, depression, and an ongoing condition of sadness, but - no hatred towards the Palestinians.
Prager, picking up on that thought, went on to say how, when he was in Israel a couple of years ago making a documentary, he had interviewed many Israelis from a variety of walks of life and when asked; "do you hate the Palestinians?" not a single person answered yes.
I've heard this before, the fact that overwhelmingly Palestinians (in fact most Muslim Arabs) have a venomous hate for the Jews, while Jews generally do not possess that same degree of loathing towards the Palestinians. I believe this to be true. Jewish people almost by definition, tend to be forgiving and even understanding of their enemies. This is extremely disturbing and might just be a major contributing factor in why the conflict in the Middle East continues without resolution.
By and large Jews are liberal thinking people, open-minded and tolerant. While this attitude might be thought of as the noble and proper way to behave in the nonjudgmental society of politically-correct modern America, it is exactly the wrong way to handle matters of war. No people have ever won a war by being "understanding and tolerant" of their enemy. Wars are won by defeating the enemy. If your enemy just happens to be one who desires nothing short of your complete destruction, it becomes essential in order to survive, that they be defeated swiftly and totally. The Palestinian terrorist groups have stated time and again that they will be satisfied with nothing less than the total annihilation of the Jewish people. What is there to understand? What is there to tolerate? What is there to negotiate? People who perpetrate horrific acts on innocent women, children and babies are evil. It is not wrong to hate a group who have killed and mutilated your family. Hating evil is not wrong.
Hate is as much a driving force as is love. Love and hate in and of themselves are neither always good nor always bad. Both are strong emotions that can move people to action. Whether that action is good or evil depend upon the individuals who act on it.
Love, it is thought, is a force for good and it can be - but bad things have been done in the name of love as well. The PETA activist who throws red paint on a passerby who happens to be wearing a fur coat will proudly tell you she was motivated by her love for animals - nevertheless, she has committed a nasty and reprehensible act upon an innocent person. The husband and wife who are fighting a prolonged and vicious custody battle over their children will each claim that they are doing so out of a strong love for their kids, but in so doing they may be putting their children through mental and emotional torture.
Hate is definitely a force for evil, but it can be a motivation for good also. The hate decent people feel for rapists and child molesters may result in stricter penalties and longer incarceration - a good thing. Hatred towards the people who are blowing up children in buses, teenagers in pizza parlors, and families attending religious celebrations can (and should) be a motivation to stop them as soon as possible and in any way possible.
The killing of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and the father of suicide bombings, is a welcome sign that maybe, just maybe Israel is finally getting angry enough to harness a healthy hatred towards those who have been killing them for decades. Hamas has carried out 425 attacks that killed 377 Israelis and wounded 2,000 others in just the last three and a half years alone. Hamas was established by Yassin in 1987 for the singular purpose of destroying Israel and replacing it with an Islamic state.
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said that Israel will continue to strike at other Hamas leaders without waiting for another attack by the militant group.
Good. It's about time. Diplomacy, containment, and appeasement have all been tried and have all failed - countless times. No, these Islamist terror groups have to be crushed if there will ever be peace in the Middle East. It takes sustained anger and yes, hatred of evil, to muster the resolve needed to rise up and eradicate this human cancer in the world. Let's hope Israel now has the hate it needs to accomplish this.
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.