Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Suppose, just suppose, that Israel had Offed bin Laden

1. Yesterday on Yom Ha-Shoah a new archive of half a million
documents was officially opened. It is on the web site of the "Joint
Distribution Committee," a Jewish welfare agency, at this address:

I searched and found three documents there related to my paternal
grandparents. They lived in a small town in Germany. The documents
are from the period before my own father was able to escape Germany
and enter the US. His sister, my aunt, was already living in the US.
Her husband made bank deposits, evidently three of them, in order to
provide collateral for a request to get visas for my grandparents to
come to the US. I found documentation of those deposits in the new

In the end, the American authorities refused the visa request. My
grandparents were murdered. My grandfather evidently died in
Auschwitz. My own father managed to reach the US.

The family did not have those documents in our possession before the
new archive was opened yesterday.

2. There is so much being said and written about the elimination of
bin Laden that I will not burden you with long lists of interesting
commentaries. There is just one article that appears today in the
Israeli leftist daily Yediot Ahronot that I think is worth

It is written by Prof. Daniel Friedmann. He is not only one of the
unusually bright Israeli professors (of law). He also was one of the
best cabinet ministers in Israeli history. He was Minister of Justice
under Olmert, and – as such – used his position to launch a broad
assault against anti-democratic "judicial activism" (meaning judicial
tyranny) in Israeli courts. For this he was demonized by ex-Chief
Justice Aharon Barak and his coterie.

When Netanyahu was elected, his first litmus test of courage was when
he had to decide whether to re-appoint Friedmann so that the latter
could continue his battle against court abuse. Netanyahu flunked that
test (and many subsequent tests) and refused to re-appoint Friedmann.

In any case, Friedmann writes what I think is the best Op-Ed on the
bin Laden dispatch. It is only in Hebrew and not on the Yediot web
site, so here is my translation:

Suppose, just Suppose that it had been Israel that Carried Out the Assassination
By Daniel Friedmann
(or, American Chutzpah)

We are lucky that bin Laden was taken out by the American military. I
tremble at the thought of what would have happened had he been killed
by Israeli forces. Would there not have arisen a deafening outcry
against cold-blooded murder without a trial? Would there not have
been calls to investigate whether bin Laden could have been captured
unharmed, to be put on fair trial, where he could defend himself
judicially? Would not the soldier who had shot him be indicted,
because perhaps he could have merely wounded bin Laden by shooting at
his legs, thus avoiding an unnecessary loss of human life? And what
about those other "collateral" deaths in the compound? Was it really
necessary to kill THOSE people without even putting them on trial?

Let us bear in mind that the operation was carried out in the
territory of a friendly foreign country allied to the US – Pakistan.
Since when can a country just go in and kill suspects in another
country that has its own police and courts? One must keep in mind
that at this stage bin Laden was merely a suspect – since he was never
convicted of any crime by any court, including for the destruction of
the WTC towers in the US. Under the circumstances, should not the US
forces have warned him and demanded his surrender before opening fire,
and - if such a warning was given to bin Laden - was it a sufficient

To all these "questions" others would then be added. Under such
sensitive circumstances, is it really appropriate for the US military
itself to examine its own behavior and performance? Would it not be
better to have some outside commission of investigation, one that will
enjoy public trust? Indeed, a local commission of investigation
would be insufficient and surely many would demand an international
investigation, one in which the international community could place
its faith! Like one by the UN or its commission on human rights.

There are other issues. How did the Americans decide to toss bin
Laden's carcass into the sea without first consulting bin Laden's own
family members and violating his human right to a dignified burial.
And why did the American government do all this without even
soliciting a single learned scholarly legal opinion from an
international expert on human rights?

And I almost forgot. In such an important matter it is
unthinkable that action should have been carried out without first
petitioning the Supreme Court, which in Israel at least routinely
interferes whenever the military wants to assassinate terrorist
leaders. Hence the Supreme Court should contemplate who should now be
indicted for the abuses in the operation, after the commission of
investigation completes its work.

And even that is not the end of the story. The names of the
soldiers and officers involved in the operation must be made public at
court order, because of their involvement in the killings. The
individuals involved might someday seek public office. Even more
important is the fact that one day it may be desirable to conduct a
thorough legal evaluation of these people, given the fact that their
behavior produced human deaths.


Daniel Barenboim has, unwittingly, taught a lesson about music. He
shows that it is an activity that is, intrinsically, morally neutral.
The Nazis could play beautiful Mozart's beautiful music as the
background to the Jewish civilians that were being led to be murdered
by the Nazi firing squads. In the same way, Barenboim can lead an
orchestra to play in Gaza in support for the community that voted for
Hamas -- one of the most virulent of the Islamic movements that want
to destroy Israel and the Jewish people -- and its rocketing of
surrounding Israeli cities.

Of course, Barenboim thinks he makes a statement about the morality of
music in associating it with Gaza, supposedly affirming this latter,
modern incarnation of the Nazi killing machine. Do you suppose, if
Barenboim were around at the time, he would have volunteered to lead
those Nazi string quartets that served to soothe the nerves of the
Nazi firing squads mentioned earlier?

What we witness in Barenboim is a pseudo moralist attempting to assert
the universality of music in its link to his deluded vision of the
universality of the doctrine of "self-determination," the doctrine
under which Hitler was able to achieve the rape of Czechoslovakia and
plunge the world into war. He thinks that this is the right of the
Arabs and triumphs over the rights given by the League of Nations to
the Jews to establish their homeland.

Apparently, nothing can dampen Barenboim's conception that his
self-styled morality is indeed some kind of universal "high-morality"
-- the kind the Nazis believed in that gave them the illusion that
they had the right to "lebensraum" and the right to murder men, women,
and children as an expression of this "high-morality."

Make no mistake about it. Music is wonderful and, in that it brings
out the highest expressions of the emotionality of beauty, is a form
of "the good" -- something to be desired for itself. But it is not
otherwise intrinsically a moral agent. It is what it is and may be
coopted in a neutral fashion by good and the evil agents, as Barenboim

The only lesson to be drawn from the Barenboim orchestra in Gaza is
that he himself is a self-deluded, swinish in supporting evil and in
using the glory of music to cast a fog -- confusion -- over the moral
implications of what he does.

Hereafter, those who support the musical activities of this morally
blind agent should know that, through him, they are in danger of
supporting the evil to which he joins himself, which has nothing to do
with music he drags along

4. Those moderate peace partners of ours: Fatah military wing calls
Bin Laden killing "catastrophe"

5. Subject: Alan Dershowitz: Targeted Killing Vindicated

Targeted Killing Vindicated

6. J Street Jihad: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/143869

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