••• The International Writers Magazine - Reality Check
The 'God Killing' Tour 2023
Square One: Rinse & Repeat
(Above photo, jc with IDF soldier outside the Dung Gate, Old City, Jerusalem, 5/29/96 - the day Benjamin Netanyahu was first elected Prime Minister of Israel)
The Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth.
- Deuteronomy 20:16-18 King James version
It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
- Mark Twain
I always find it interesting when Americans think everything is about them. The minute people started dying, missiles fired, and things went sideways for the umpteenth time in Israel this past week, politicians, pundits, Twitter (X or whatever), and the usual “echo chamber of the silly” weighed in on how this was someone’s fault around here. Of course, none of this is true. Well, some of it. I know we bankroll the Israeli Defense Force’s powerful armory and have been the one superpower to maintain the country’s sovereignty in the midst of its surrounding enemies, most of whom we either have uneasy alliances with over oil (Saudi Arabia), wage war against for stupid shit (Iraq) and constantly make deals with (Iran – Reagan to Obama), and then we moved the country’s capital to the hotbed of religious lunacy, Jerusalem, followed by someone sending their son-in-law to fix it, but, really, this has (hardly) anything to do with us.
Long before there was Joe Biden and Donald Trump (as much as that seems hard to believe considering both are really old), and before there were Republican and Democratic Parties, shit, before there was democracy, there was God. And the formulation of this God in oral tradition and then documentation – much of it unpleasant with a lot of rules and terrible retribution for not following these rules – seemed to confuse those whom these rules applied to. (For a recent instance, the Torah, the Old Testament of the Bible, is written specifically for Israelites, the pure Chosen People. No one fits this category in America, or pretty much anywhere, yet people used this fucking thing to strip women of their reproductive rights a mere two summers ago). Crazy, right?
And now onto truly crazy.
The very idea of Israel as the center of the theocratic universe and its “ownership” of such a place by these mostly confused sorts, gives both ends of their skewed theology credence to unleash mayhem. It begins with a “one way or the highway” scenario – the highway usually ending up with one person’s God telling them to kill the other person because their God is wrong or some such. It started with fists and then rocks and sticks, then escalated using whatever terrific new ways to kill came along. Look at Israel as the proving ground for how crazy the God thing can get. For the past five thousand or so years people have been killing each other for this small stretch of land over the God thing, and even when twentieth century craziness like politics (Nazis) and culture (Israeli/Palestinian) enter the fray, the results are the same.
Since visiting Israel in 1996, the very month the current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was elected for the very first time (also crazy, since the most famous baseball player of the last half century, Derek Jeter hadn’t even won any of his five titles yet), I have been fascinated with the underlying human carnage there. Not just death carnage, but rights of survival carnage, parenthood carnage, day-to-day existence carnage. No Palestinian, despite their being treated as Europeans, badly treated indigenous people on this continent, or wanted violence. I know this. I went there and asked them. Anymore than most Republicans wanted the horrors of January 6 to unfold. And Israelis, despite their ham-fisted leadership and shaky (at best) human rights crimes, want to worry about their kids popping into a candy store being at risk to end up a smoldering heap of flesh and bone.
But then there is the God thing, and ya know…
There’s also politics, sure, but what is politics anyway? The Good Doctor, Hunter S. Thompson once mused it’s “the art of controlling your own environment.” And since that environment was never built, nurtured, fought for, or preserved on principle and law (human law, not the God thing law), then the opening for what is happening right now is infinite.
One thing will be for certain, because it has been the case since the late 1940s, the IDF is a vicious and concentrated fighting machine (also met and spoke to many of them, which is made up of every citizen) and no terrorist attacks or fancy slogans are going to keep it from crushing all comers. People will “pay,” things will calm down (but not really), and then we will be back to square one, because square one in Israel is the default position – Square One being an untenable and weak cultural and religious off-balance that leaves a vacuum for extremist hatred and state retribution.
Rinse and repeat.
Now, I get accused all the time here of being a cynical twit. And I am. Guilty as charged. But, come on. If for five millennium, things go this way more or less than you must call it as you see it.
We suck. Humans, I mean. But don’t worry the planet has a plan for us that includes being under water over time and we’ll be eradicated from the proceedings.
Until then, there is Israel, the God thing, Square One, and a bunch of solipsistic self-centered ego-loons over here blaming it on each other.
Rinse and Repeat.
© James Campion 10.13.23
email: realitycheck at jamescampion.com
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. +, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon” + “Accidently Like a Martyr – The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon” and published on June 1st, 2022, “Take a Sad Song…The Emotional Currency of “Hey Jude".
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