Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Pains and Friendship

Here is a bit of an email dialogue between a very old and dear Jewish friend and me. We met in September 1949. It depicts the sharp differences friends can have and remain friends. Neither of us will ever change our positions. I am not fond of these discussions and have agreed out loud with some friends and tacitly with others not to make this painful issue part of our discussions.

I will call my friend Israel. He sent me the following story in response to my negative view of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent visit to the U.S.

Israel - Short Story

Dr. Arieh Eldad:

I was instrumental in establishing the Israeli National Skin Bank, which is the largest in the world. The National Skin Bank stores skin for every day needs as well as for war time or mass casualty situations.

This skin bank is hosted at the Hadassah Ein Kerem University hospital in Jerusalem where I was the Chairman of plastic surgery. This is how I was asked to supply skin for an Arab woman from Gaza , who was hospitalized in Soroka Hospital in Beersheva, after her family burned her. Usually, such atrocities happen among Arab families when the women are suspected of having an affair.

We supplied all the needed Homografts for her treatment. She was successfully treated by my friend and colleague, Prof. Lior Rosenberg and discharged to return to Gaza . She was invited for regular follow-up visits to the outpatient clinic in Beersheva.

One day she was caught at a border crossing wearing a suicide belt. She meant to explode herself in the outpatient clinic of the hospital where they saved her life. It seems that her family promised her that if she did that, they would forgive her.

This is only one example of the war between Jews and Muslims in the Land of Israel. It is not a territorial conflict. This is a civilizational conflict, or rather a war between civilization & barbarism.

Robert - I have no doubt believing this story is true.

I try not to argue from the particular to the general.

I ask what are the causes for such rage?

Israel - Just want to clarify your response. Are you referring to the rage exhibited

by parents attempting to burn their daughter to death, or the rage of a family

wishing to kill innocent people who saved their daughter's life and made

her whole again?

Robert - I ask what are the causes of such rage that a Palestinian would want to

become a human bomb killing innocent people in Israel?

Israel - Robert, dear friend, thank you for your response. Your answer now confirms what I have suspected

for a long time. You have chosen to blind yourself to reality and attempt to justify your positions on

moral issues by cherry picking from the teachings of Jesus that best suit your intellectual and emotional

bent. For starters just look at the obvious contradictions in the following. Enough material there for a

month of sermons.

In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them."

In Matthew 5:38-39, Jesus says:

"You have heard that it was said, 'eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

In Matthew 5:28-30, Jesus says:

"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell."

In Mark 10:25, Jesus says:

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God."

Robert - I did not say that I agreed with the Palestinian or any individual or group’s notion of suicide bombing. Of course I think it is an awful and terrible thing.

Thank you for the lesson in scripture.

I reiterate, "I ask what are the causes of such rage that a Palestinian would want to become a human bomb killing innocent people in Israel?"

Israel - Robert, when you find the answer to why Muslim suicide bombers kill other Muslims almost every day,

then you will have the answer to your question. Clue: check out the Koran.

Robert - The Koran like the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament was written by many hands, over many generations by people with various historical and ethical beliefs. I do not take the Koran literally any more than I take the Bible literally. Thoughtful Muslims do not either. Many Muslims, Christians and Jews are literalists and fundamentalists and pick and choose what they take literally.

Oppressed and frustrated people will always express themselves in violence. I am sad and sorry to note that. Some suicide bombers are a result of the policies of the Israeli government.

I think the Israeli government's treatment of the Palestinians has been horrific. Camps, poverty, degrading their values and traditions, military brutality, breaking agreements, walls, building on disputed property, harassing free movement, blockades, constant hindering negotiations and disregarding United Nation’s mandates all stand in the way of peace and tranquility in Israel." Fifty years of that policy has resulted in that rage, anger and radical desire for revenge. I do not condone it. That is what I see the root causes of suicide bombers to be.

I end this dialogue, not because Israel has nothing more to say or that I won. Nobody wins. But it is an example of how loving friends can be friends and disagree. Thank you Israel.


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