Thursday, March 06, 2008

Choice of Words

Recieved the following today from a yeshivish relative

"FWD: fwd: Terrorists infiltrated yeshivat merkaz harav and have killed at least 7 yeshiva boys. Please say tehillim and please pass the message around......."

1) Jews, not yeshiva boys. Maybe even Israelis (though that may not be entirely accurate, but it would include Druze, who are also Israelis).

2) We haven't had many attacks like this lately, thank god. But I don't recall a txt message saying "10 killed in disco..." or "10 killed on bus..." Maybe text messages weren't as fashionable then.

No, I don't think there was a conscious intention behind 'yeshiva boys.' Maybe it makes it all the more tragic that young people were targeted. If it had been a kindergarten, saying "7 children were killed" would be fine, so why not yeshiva boys? Nonetheless the words stood out.

Advocating Assasination

Update: The video/title/summary don't even tell us when this was from. Would appreciate any further info.

Update 2: My referring to R. Schachter as 'Schachter' everywhere but the first instance is not meant as disrespect, more out of how journalism is sorta done nowadays, or at least my impression of it. I have incredible respect for him and have heard him speak and enjoyed learning from him on many occasions.

Update 3: I'm still having thoughts on whether or not to leave this post up. But I was sent the link and it has nearly 400 views, so I assume it's getting around. Might as well have a place for a good honest discussion/clarification. What's wonderful about this internet thing is that everyone can (and does) comment in some way, contributing to a great discussion which usually, though not always, helps clarify issues. So for now it remains up.

Update 4: I should also note his tone does make it sound like a joke (however tasteless and unfunny). I'm putting the laughter down to 'whatever the teacher says is funny'

This video of R. Schachter 'advocating' assasination of the prime minister if he were to give back Yerushalayim has begun making its way around the Internet.

A 39 second clip is hardly enough to derive context. A more complete (and honest) video would have the question or some more comment before and after to provide context (did Schachter say 'someone might say as a joke...[begin clip]?). That comments and ratings were disabled fuels my suspicion that there's something missing (does YouTube disable comments and ratings, or the uploader?)

Schachter has said things in the past which, when taken out of context, caused an outcry. Assuming the context is as it seems though, a few comments:

1) [removed the part on disobeying orders. not germane to the real topic.]

2) Assasination: There's a possibility that some lunatic will take Schachter seriously, culminating (God Forbid) in the assasination of another Israeli Prime Minister or cabinet member. How much of that lunatic would be due to Schachter and how much due to others advocating assasination (nutjobs or not) would be up for debate. To a not so small extent, such a thing is like painting a target around an arrow you've already shot.

But when you say something, you should expect it to be repeated, whether you asked for it to be kept private or not. And if you're a public figure you should expect to be taken out of context. Which doesn't mean you should never say anything, but don't be surprised when something you do say causes an uproar.

Was what Schachter said irresponsible? Perhaps. I don't have the context (and would love a link to a complete transcript or clip). But I wouldn't take the comment seriously. If Olmert announced Israel was giving up all of Jerusalem and Schachter had a gun and opportunity, I doubt he'd pull the trigger.

3) The poster 'ConcernedYUStudent' - Some are attmepting to blame him, he shouldn't have publicized it, shouldn't 'air our dirty laundry' the same arguments we see time and again, be it embezzlement, failed school system, sexual molestation, whatever. If you say something publicly, expect it to be repeated publicly. Not just within your small community but in the world at large. Those who cling to the ghetto mentality that nothing is repeated outside of our four walls are at best living in an alternate reality or at worse fools.

What his/her motives were I don't know (I encourage him/her to email me, all info will be kept confidential), an attempt to smear Schachter? Genuine concern? Did he approach Schachter first? Or does he genuinely believe this is the best way to approach the issue?

Also keep in mind that attempts to place blame at the feet of ConcernedYUStudent should also look at Schachter for the same argument. 'YUStudent was wrong but let's not talk about Schachter' doesn't work. And shouldn't.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Push push push

Jerusalem Post is reporting that Hamas is reaching out for a cease-fire, not having expected such a large response by the IDF. Which makes you wonder if they've been reading the news about a buildup and training.

This seems to be a recurring theme, see the Second Lebanon War as a previous example, with Nasrallah saying they'd never have kidnapped the soldiers had they known such a retaliation would take place.

Which means now is not the time for the IDF to let up. Now is the time to push Hamas to the wall, to show that they really mean business, to wound them in such an amount that it'll take years to rebuild their ranks.