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Moon of Alabama: Kooks Fighting Each Other


The Israeli defense force changed the name of its attack on Gaza likely to somewhat hide its theological background.

The attack began with the assassination of Ahmed al-Jaabari, the leader of the military arm of Hamas, the al-Qassam brigade. This start, as usual during a ceasefire, makes it more unlikely that this war on Gaza will end soon. Al-Jaffari was somewhat Israel's subcontractor because he was "in charge of maintaining Israel's security in Gaza". Shortly before he was killed he had received the draft for a long term truce with Israel. He was probably the only one who could and would influence other militant factions in Gaza and thereby guarantee a ceasefire and peace. Killing him while negotiating a truce with is a sign of fanaticism and not of rational thought.

The Israeli operations name was first announced in Hebrew as "Pillar of Cloud" which the general sense is a "Shekhinah" – the visible symbol of the divine presence – which occurs several times in the Exodus, the saga in which the Israelite flee from Egypt. In this case there is a more specific interpretation:

As a couple representative verses from Exodus 14:20-21 state:

Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel.

The midrash on this section—which is cited by Rashi, the most famous Jewish biblical commentator, and taught in many Hebrew schools—elaborates:

They [the Egyptians] shot arrows and catapult stones at them, but the angel and cloud caught them.

About an hour after the "pillar of cloud" name was announced the IDF spokesperson on Twitter started to use a different name, "pillar of defense", as a hashtag in its English tweets. That name is now used in most "western" media.

The question is why? Maybe the IDF believes that most "westerners" would think the Isrelis are kooks for believing in fairytale of pillars of cloud as some divine defense. The IDF would be right about that:

So that's what a Pillar of Cloud is: A worldly instantiation of an all-powerful, vengeful God seeking to demonstrate the primacy of his chosen people, to guide them in their affairs, and to confound their enemies. And that's what the people who conceived and executed this wave of strikes against Hamas officials and Gazan civilians chose to call them. If anyone was worried about the increasing religious and ethnic fanaticism of the Israeli leadership, they should still be worried. Did Israel launch this attack because there was no other rational route to maintain its security? Or was it pursuing a broader agenda rooted in ancient mysticism?

Pillar of defense just sounds more reasonable to the secular ear and hides the nasty Israeli racism and fanaticism that is behind this attack.

Not to be outdone in kookiness the Al Qassam brigade named its missile fire against the Israelis "Operation Shale Stone" in reference to the Quran sura 105.4:

Have you not considered, [O Muhammad], how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant? Did He not make their plan into misguidance? And He sent against them birds in flocks, Striking them with stones of hard clay, And He made them like eaten straw.

The interpretation:

In this famous chapter, Allah, Most High, bequeathed the Ka’bah to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and in presenting the story of the companions of the elephant, He prophesied his success, help and victory.

That is, whatever plans and preparations the enemies made and whatever practical stratagems they brought in order to demolish the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) entire mission, Allah, Most High, in order to annihilate them, made their very plans and efforts work against them. As such, as the birds destroyed the owner of the elephant, so too, this prophecy will endure till the Day of Resurrection. Whenever any owners of the elephant arise, in order to destroy them, Allah, Most High, always makes the necessary arrangements to demolish their efforts.

To use this sura for a fight against a Jewish army is historically mistaken. The "companions of the elephant" were Yemeni under the Christian king Abraha who in 570 AD, year that Muhammed was born, wanted to destroy the Kaabah in Mecca to get more pilgrims to his new build cathedral in Sana and was defeated without achieving his goal.

Using religious fairy tales as motivations or justification for wars is a guarantee that the fighting will be more brutal, savaging and deadly than needed while it hides the usually rather secular aims that those who start such wars in reality have. Both sides should do away with this nonsense.


Source: Moon of Alabama

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