Like in 1948, It’s Victory or Else

Like in 1948, It’s Victory or Else

In his August 15 column for the South Florida Jewish Journal, our friend J. Zel Lurie reveals an expected turn in his thinking. This war has done that for a number of stalwart peaceniks, among whom Zel has always been counted.

I find myself in an uncomfortable position. I am supporting the government of Israel in its difficult war against the katyusha-firing Hezbollah, an action that is foreign to my dissident soul. I haven’t supported the government since [the time that] Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.

I have willy-nilly joined with the vast majority of Jews in Israel – 93 percent according to Tel Aviv University’s Peace Index [conducted July 31 and Aug. 1] – who view the campaign in Lebanon as justified….

I am uncomfortable because my good friends, the majority of the Jews and Arabs who live in Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, are on the minority side. On Saturday evening, August 4, many of them trooped down to Tel Aviv to participate in a large protest march….

“At the demonstration,” one NSWAS resident reported, “some, like Yael Dayan called to “END THIS JUST WAR, but the majority called to “just end the war.” Based on our experience as a bi-national community, we join those who call for an immediate end to the violence, as well as a determined effort to address the focus of the conflict. Without the latter, we will be needing that banner again in future years, long before the colors fade.”

Gush Shalom, which publishes an ad every day in Ha’aretz, put the case for negotiations succinctly. The ad for August 8 was three sentences;

“This war is against Hezbollah. The cease-fire must be with Hezbollah. A settlement without Hezbollah and Syria will not be worth the paper it is written on.”

… I would add Iran to the equation. Hezbollah fighters were trained by Iranian Shiite officers. Hezbollah arms come from Iran and Syria. Hezbollah hospitals were built by Iran. Most important, Hezbollah started the war at the direction of Iran to take the heat off its nuclear ambitions.

Hezbollah… doesn’t give a damn about the destruction of Lebanon’s civil society, Hezbollah, acting as Iraninian proxies, will find excuses to delay and postpone a cease-fire until it has fired its last katyusha.

My friends, the Jews and Arabs of NSWAS, are appalled at what the katyushas have done to northern Israel and at what Israeli bombers have done to Lebanon. End the war now, they say. Withdraw from Lebanon…. My friends, the Jews and Arabs of NSWAS, are wrong.

What would happen if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Kadima and Defense Minister Amir Peretz of Labor followed their advice? What would happen if they withdrew from Lebanon without the assurance that the Hezbollah militia would be disarmed in accordance with the two-year-old Security Council Resolution 1559?

What would happen is that Iran would rearm Hezbollah with new and better missiles. More powerful missiles that could be precisely targeted, for instance on the oil tank farm in Haifa Bay, or might carry gas and biological weapons.

Israel cannot live under this threat. That is why the war must continue until Hezbollah is defeated, or as Condi Rice said, “’a sustainable cease-fire” can be achieved.

This war is a continuation of Israel’s War of Independence. Once more Israel is fighting those who openly declare their objective to wipe out Israel.

The casualties in 1948 were catastrophic. One percent of the population, 6000 young men and women were killed. Now the population has grown ten times; the army is much better armed and more cautious.

And in the words of my Israeli granddaughter: “Why doesn’t the world see how humanitarian we are, sending messages to civilians to leave before we bomb while the Hezbollah fire katyushas to kill Israeli civilians including Israeli Arabs.”

I hope Israel will fight on until Hezbollah is permanently defeated, until the hypocritical members of the UN Security Council take steps to implement their two-year-old resolution calling for disarming the Hezbollah militia.

By | 2006-08-16T04:13:00-04:00 August 16th, 2006|Blog|5 Comments


  1. Richard August 16, 2006 at 7:17 am - Reply

    It is with sadness that I tell you that I will no longer carry the feed for your blog at Israel Palestine Blogs. I do not find this post or your previous posts on this subject to be progressive or even reasonable. Not only that, but I think (especially in this post) they contradict the views of Meretz MKs & acitivists in Israel.

    Your support of a foolhardy ‘war till final victory’ against Hezbollah is not Meretz policy, it’s not even current Israeli government policy. You are a fool, I’m sorry to say.

  2. Ralph Seliger August 17, 2006 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    Richard misunderstands the nature of our weblog. Zel Lurie is an old khaver, who generally is on the dovish side of our range of views. But the point is that we have and accept a range of views. His views are NOT necessarily our own (in fact, I personally disagree with him more often than I agree).

    It is with sadness that I read such a reaction that doesn’t appreciate that people have a right to their opinions. By virtue of his life-long commitment — professionally, monetarily and in every way to a peaceful and progressive future for Israel, we will continue to carry his columns, whether we agree with them or not.

  3. rabee August 20, 2006 at 3:00 pm - Reply


    I’m an Israeli Palestinian and a very strong supporter of Meretz
    in Israel.

    I also agree with Richard. My impression from this blog is that there
    are two Meretz’s: Meretz USA and Meretz Israel.

    It seems that the notion of “progressive’ in the USA is different from anywhere else especially in Israel. This difference
    is reflected in a number of ‘progressive’ US based Zionist blogs.

    Old khaver or new khaver (what type of argument is that?),
    we need a genuine progressive advocacy in the USA that
    reflects Meretz’s views.

  4. Anonymous August 24, 2006 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    This may sound blunt, but I don’t think you see the difference between political education and political entertainment.

    I don’t agree with the feed in question either. But if you want an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, you need an Israeli side, too. And part of creating an Israeli side to peace is to understand what makes it tick. So when people who are part of the peace camp become disillusioned, it’s time for peace seekers to tune in, not tune out.

    If you’re only willing to listen to the viewpoints that simply reinforce what you already believe – well you’ll end up preaching to the converted – an unfortunately small circle of converted. It’s great to focus on people who already agree with us. And easy, too. Much too easy.

  5. Sam September 10, 2006 at 6:28 am - Reply

    “Why doesn’t the world see how humanitarian we are, sending messages to civilians to leave before we bomb while the Hezbollah fire katyushas to kill Israeli civilians including Israeli Arabs.”

    It’s disquieting to read ‘humanitarian’ defined as dropping leaflets on a population telling them to leave their homes because the leaflets are about to become bombs; and shortly before the ceasefire, cluster bombs.

    Would it have made Hizbollah’s Katyushas into northern Israel ‘humanitarian’ if they had been preceded by warnings?

    Israel could have won the support (albeit quiet) of many in Lebanon who want Hizbollah disarmed…in fact, in the early stages of the ‘campaign’, most of the Lebanese with whom I spoke, many among them shiite, explained that there would be no future for Hizbollah after this. But as the death toll of Lebanese civilians rose, as ambulances and hospitals were struck, the damage to civilian infrastructure grew and those heeding the leaflets burned in the vehicles in which they attempted to escape, Israel lost its moral footing and any hope of accomplishing its aims.

    Those of us in Lebanon and Israel who want Hizbollah disarmed have had our hopes dashed by the IDF’s “humanitarian” campaign.

    Every cluster bomb that takes another child’s life in southern Lebanon means a handful more jihadis joining the ranks of Hizbollah or whoever succeeds it; for there will always be someone waiting to exploit the suffering of the innocents.

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