Exclusive: Secretary of State John Kerry’s negotiations to resolve the generations-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict may look like a quixotic pilgrimage into endless frustrations to many. But it is causing worries among nationalists on Israel’s Right, Robert Parry reports.
By Robert Parry
Five right-wing Israeli rabbis say U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry deserves the destructive fate that has met past enemies of the Jewish people because of his efforts to reach a peace agreement that would establish a Palestinian state on the West Bank.
In an open letter to Kerry, these nationalist rabbis likened Kerry to Haman, the Persian vizier and the villain in the Book of Esther who “contrived a vicious plot” against the Jews but ended up along with his sons hanged “on the very same gallows he had prepared for Mordechai, the Jew.” Haman was then impaled on a sharpened pole for good measure.The letter said Kerry’s “incessant efforts to expropriate integral parts of our Holy Land and hand them over to [Palestinian leader Mahmoud] Abbas’s terrorist gang amount to a declaration of war against the Creator and Ruler of the universe.”
The group of rabbis from the Committee to Save the Land and People of Israel warned Kerry that if he persists in his “destructive path,” he will earn “everlasting disgrace in Jewish history for bringing calamity upon the Jewish people like Nebuchadnezer and Titus who destroyed, respectively, the first and second great Temples and the entire Holy City of Jerusalem, and who, by Heavenly punishment, brought eventual disaster upon themselves.”
Israeli religious nationalists consider the West Bank to be land that God gave to the Israelites in perpetuity, territory called by many Israeli leaders by the Biblical names Judea and Samaria. But international law grants the land to the Palestinians and considers Jewish settlements on the land to be illegal.
The rabbis’ letter condemned Kerry for seeking to establish a Palestinian state on the West Bank, despite the expectation that Kerry will propose some land concessions to Israel so several hundred thousand Jewish settlers can remain in their homes. But any compromise is unacceptable to the five rabbis, according to their letter.
“For G-d awarded the entire Land of Israel to our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in order that they bequeath it, as an everlasting inheritance, to their descendants, the Jewish people, until the end of all time,” the letter read. “By the power of our Holy Torah, we admonish you to cease immediately all efforts to achieve these disastrous agreements, in order to avoid severe Heavenly punishment for everyone involved.”
The signers of the letter were Gedalya Axelrod, emeritus head of Haifa Rabbinic Court; Yisrael Ariel, chairman of the Temple Institute; Ben Tziyon Grossman, a rabbi in Migdal Haemek; Shalom Dov Wolpo, dean of the Institute for Complete Code of Maimonides; and Yigal Pizam, head of the Yeshiva of Kiryat Shmuel.
Rabbis Shalom Dov Wolpo and Yisrael Ariel were associated with the ultra-nationalist political activities of the late Meir Kahane who founded the militant Jewish Defense League and Kach, an Israeli political party that was denounced by the Israeli government as racist.
Though the five rabbis are considered to be on the fringe of Israeli politics, their condemnation of Kerry reflects a growing resistance within more mainstream Israeli circles to Kerry’s persistence in seeking a resolution to the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kerry is expected soon to unveil his proposed framework for a possible settlement.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.
Regional differences aside, the United States has no right to insinuate itself or it’s policies into issues of concern among sovereign nations and people. Washington DC has too long assumed that it’s form of wisdom (or foolishness) is the right and proper course of action for those whose flag is not its own. US arrogance is not what it once was and those who bow to it are fewer every day.
IF GOD DOES NOT JUDGE AMERICA, HE WILL HAVE TO APOLOGIZE TO SODOM AND GOMORRAH.
and that’s just me, hollering from the choir loft…
I would hope that Kerry is not going to be swayed or intimidated by those, like the five Israeli rabbis or like Pastor Alan Goetsch, who are obsessed with the primitive and superstitious idea that some book written and put together two or more thousand years ago is an infallible revelation from God and not to be challenged or questioned (and with dire consequences if one does).
If the God believed by Jews and Christians is really real, then such a God cares about all humankind, and is concerned with justice and dignity for all people, and does not have any special favorites among people or races or ethnicities. That is the insight of Jewish and Christian writings at their very best.
I ask Pastor Alan Goetsch, does he think that God would have a chosen people and tell those people to kill every man woman and child to give them a land. And those people have to convert to the Christian faith to be saved by the end days. It’s an old national rhetoric we hear over and over again from the Boers who settled in South Africa, the Puritans who came to the states to the creation of the Church of the Latter Day Saints by Smith, a most unsavoury character etc. Many go on their exodus and find their supposed Eden but I doubt God promised it to them all. The Bible to isn’t clear on in the first few chapters the oder in which things appeared. And how would the earth behave if it didn’t have a bright sun to light and warm it up?
Was the universe created in 6 days and God took a rest on the 7th? And does he consider that as the sun ages, it will in time enlarge and eventually swallow the earth? How is it that the most primitive fossils are in the oldest and deepest layers of Earth’s crust, and as time goes on to the present, higher and higher layers (ie newer and newer layers), we can see the complexity of life increase?
The message one should get from most religions is that we should respect and help one another.
All this Bible stuff probably wasnâ€™t written down in something like its present form until the Babylonian exile, 586-539 B.C.
When those scribes reworked the folk tales of the Canaanites, they projected sixth-century BC realities back into the past. Thus, they had characters riding camels before camels were domesticated.
These Rabbis are far right wing Israelis who use Bible stories as a basis for kicking Palestinians out of their homes and their land.
It is scary that psychopaths, fanatics and cultists such as yourself continue to tout ‘Dominionist’ and racist doctrines like this. It shows the world that YHWH cultists like yourself are still in the driver’s seat and still hold sway and influence over human society. You want to create and sustain an eternally racist division of Israelite/Hebrew vs. everyone else, that people should be segregated along such lines and that Israelites/Hebrews/Jews should be granted special rights and eternal property rights, even though all humans are, at best, renting the planet and any lands on it. The problem is, an ‘Israelite’ is no different than me or a Palestinian/Arab, we are all humans and the words we use to create division as if we were different species altogether are merely semantics. Moreover, it is Yahweh that promised the ‘Israelites’ that land, as you point out, but not everyone is a Yahweh cultists like you, some have rejected YHWH as being outright villainous, and some even go so far as to see him (or ‘it’, considering it unlikely that he has a penis and is identifiably male and gendered as such) as the main antagonist of the human story. Whatever the case, you are damnable racist, a dominionist, a political fascist and a bad guy in my book. That much you can be sure of, whether your buddy YHWH exists or not.
Bradley James reply opens an interesting question.
The Babylonian Talmud and the Bible are being read by a new generation and one can derive a different answer such as: God sent Jesus to warn of gred and immoral behavour. They did not listen, so he sent Hitler for more direct punishment. The Zionist came and are using the Talmud and Bible as they please, what will God do next? Well, he gave us brain are we ready to listen and use them?
Sadly very few individuals take God seriously; to include His spoken Word which is irrevokable! Indeed the lands being contested were promised and given to Israel forever! Note the last word “forever” means precisely that….forever! Kerry damns himself and our nation by virtue of his arrogance to steal from God!
“Forever means forever”. How enlightening. So apparently the sun will not expand and burn the earth to a crisp, nor will Jesus come to judge the earth. But the Jews will always own Canaan.
God didn’t give Palestine to the Israelis, the UN did, and the deal was they would stay within borders defined by that deal. Apparently, the Zionists never intended to keep their word. I guess bearing false witness is OK if God gives a wink and a nod to it.
Almost all of the Jews who came to settle Israel were Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe. Yet they believe they have a right to kick others from their property, which they’ve inhabited for generations. You can see how extreme their religious views are, and in my opinion they seem threatening and dangerous, not only to the people in surrounding territories but elsewhere, since they also have nuclear weapons and seem to be quite aggressive.
The rabbis talk of the Torah.
It appears from Zionist Israel actions they still follow the Babylonian Talmud. That was the end of them in the past and should be the end of their reign of terror now.
The Israeli rabbis have it backwards. It is THEY who will go down as soiling traditional jewish reputations for compassion and fair justice.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yalon articulated publicly what Israeli leaders say privately: Give us your tax money, weapons and your veto power but “leave us alone.”
There is another parallel. Pharaoh kept the Israelites in bondage. Now, Pharaoh Netanyahu keeps the Palestinians in bondage. Perhaps the Rabbis should reread the prophets on why they lost the land.