By David Glenn Cox
Tom Lehrer, one of the first satirical, political song writers, once penned a song entitled “National Brotherhood Week.” The song went, “Oh, the black folks hate the white folks and the white folks hate the black folks and the Indians hate the Mexicans and everybody hates the Jews.” Funny, because it is was so true.
But then as now, to confound cause and purpose with religion and race discolors the argument and cheapens the debate with emotional smears and religious dogma. To call what is going on in Gaza a sin would be wrong even if not inaccurate. Sin implies a crime against God, when what this is is a crime against man and suddenly the argument becomes a slip and slide of name calling and calling on God to either strengthen us or to destroy our enemies. Let’s leave God out of this, he has troubles enough explaining away how we are created in his image yet perform so badly and so badly uniformly.
It has nothing to do with God, Allah, Jesus or Buddha, it has to do with a people who were once down who are now up. They’ve been down and they won’t take any chance at going back there ever again. They will forgo all religious tenets of kindness and humanity and charity before they will take even a 1% chance of giving up their advantage.
This carnage is repeated over and over all throughout human history’s trails of tears. Yet we blame it on God! God told me to do it, God told me to smite them, it was God’s will! The pope told Cortez to Christianize the Native Americans, it was God’s will! Cortez assumed that if the Native Americans wouldn’t come along peacefully to Christianity, then he should put them to the sword.
Montezuma, after being told of Christianity, took Cortez to the highest temple to introduce him to his gods. He thought this a meeting of equals discussing theology, but Cortex explained, “Your gods are just painted rocks. My God is all powerful.” Even had Montezuma fallen to his knees and prayed to Jesus for his salvation the result would have been just the same. It had nothing to do with God; it had to do with gold. The Spanish sought riches, not converts.
In North America it was no different, be you Apache or from the “Civilized Tribes,” your land was taken and you were pushed far away so that the white settlers could prosper. Time after time the white man made treaties and promises to the Native Americans and always they were broken. Each successive generation of Native Americans fought back with smaller numbers and fewer resources until finally they could fight no more forever.
We could blame God, we could blame it all on European colonialism, and we could blame it on racial bigotry, as they are all components. But the sad fact is that it is greed, same as it always was. The Native Americans had something that the white men wanted so they parlayed in bad faith and when the Native Americans responded with violence the whites retaliated with overwhelming force, killing women and children in precision strikes against the Native American homeland.
The whites sought to deprive Native Americans of the buffalo, their primary food supply. This was a holocaust that did not need to happen; accommodations could have been made, but once the North American Whites achieved military dominance, the die was cast. The buffalo were slaughtered and the Native Americans were forced to sign treaties out of starvation. Native chiefs were recognized by their willingness to accommodate the whites. Native leaders who would not accommodate the whites were labeled as outlaws and renegades because, after all, all the whites were asking for was total capitulation of their lands and their way of life.
Forsaking those things, the Native Americans would be free in their empty, desolate reservations that were less than 1 1/100th the size of their former lands. Deprived of their way of life while watching others prosper on their ancestral homelands. We look back on these things as Americans and hang our heads because of the unnecessary suffering inflicted upon the Native peoples, but we still won’t cede one inch of territory either.
Most all cases of genocide have as their basis some earlier events of genocide. The list worldwide is almost endless and walking hand-in-hand with this marauding massacre is some scroll or text or prophet that decrees it God’s will. Rather than aspiring for mankind to rise up to God we drag God down and make God our bloody accomplice while we murder in his name seeking those things which we desire and cannot achieve peaceably.
The blockade of Gaza has little to do with Hamas, little to do with Islam or Judaism. The Israelis openly call their country a Jewish state, which is their right and their prerogative. But they also seek to expand their Jewish State into lands not predominantly occupied by Jewish people. They want them gone, not because they are Arabs or Muslims, but because they are not Jews. Just as the Native Americans were not Europeans and the Armenians were not Turks and the Kurds were not Arabs and the Slavs were not Aryans.
Outside the mainstream media there has been widespread condemnation of Israel’s behavior. The anti-Semites are out in force but that is all nonsense, there is not a race or creed inhabiting a single acre of ground in the world today that has not partaken in slaughter for the theft of land or for the glory of God. The German soldiers’ belt buckles read, Gott ist mit uns.
It is about greed, not God, about temporal power and not the great beyond. The ability to take because no one can stop you, not even God, as if he mattered. He is mentioned only in the aftermath as we pray for the glorious dead. The martyrs gone to meet their virgins as the real estate developers make plans for condo developments on the West Bank. They put ads in the New York Times encouraging American Jews to subsidize the purchases for local Jewish families. God will thank you, he shall look down upon you and his countenance shall smile upon you. After all, possession is nine-tenths of the law.
But these things done in God’s name should not be blamed on Judaic theology. There should be no talk of iniquitous Jews because it deflates the true issue. It cheapens the arguments and gives shelter to the purveyors who make way for the surveyors. The Israelis do these things because they can and because they are up and the Palestinians are down. So let us call the Israelis the worst name we can think of, humans, no worse than anyone else. Here on Earth you can brutalize and murder with complete license but you will be condemned for it only if you are up.
The Pakistanis bombed and strafed the PKK in the Kurdish regions of Iraq. They did exactly the same thing to the Kurds as the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians and the world didn’t say squat. The death and mayhem goes on in Darfur for a fifth year and in Somalia for almost a decade. In Colombia civilians are used as pawns between rebels and death squads while in Mexico drug gangs kill to make examples out of the innocent. So let’s be done with anti-Semitic terms and stereotypes; they have no place in a modern argument for slaughter and gain.
The Jewish people are no better or worse than any other people walking the Earth today. There is more than enough blame to go around, but then God will forgive us all, won’t he? He knows our hearts and hears our prayers; he has given us dominion over this world and look at the bang up job we’ve done with it. He will send a Messiah to rescue us or we will all return in our next lives as cockroaches. Meanwhile the killing never takes a day off and God is with us and maybe Mark Twain was right when he said, “God created man because he was so disappointed in the monkey.” Yet every day mankind endeavors to make the monkey look noble.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.