Why Terrorism Exists, OR Why do they Hate Us? A Lesson in Pshat versus Drash

It’s about time I addressed this question head on. (Apply directly to the forehead!)

This all began last night when some guy responded to my post quoting Mohammad Zarif, FM of Iran, as saying that he was not interested in bombing Israel. In response, he brought up some guy I’ve never heard of, I think it was “Hitler” or some such name, and said that I would have defended him, too.

He then accused me of having sympathies with ISIS. Now, I haven’t seen brainwashed McCarthyism so blatantly expressed by human drones in response to something I’ve written. Nevertheless, I don’t “unfriend” people because I think it’s childish, no matter what they call me. The only exception is if I or my family is physically threatened, which has never happened.

But anyway, before this guy started saying I’m part of ISIS for quoting an Iranian who doesn’t want to bomb Israel, another friend of mine, let’s call him “Dave” asked a very good question. Why, in my opinion, did the September 11th attacks happen, and why are there suicide bombers? It’s not a very common question because most people assume they already know the answer. But most people are wrong, even and especially about this very basic question.

Before I answer, I once knew a guy at Brandeis named Bert Cohen. I thought he was nuts. This was around 2003 at the beginning of the Iraq War. I was a full blown neocon back then, rooting on the American bombing of Iraq. Bert was absolutely against, and he would go around campus wearing a baseball cap with a bunch of antiwar pins in it, every day, all the time. One pin I remember was “Don’t bomb my Muslim friends!” He was a doofusy guy in general and people just saw him as the campus idiot.

I interviewed him once for the Brandeis Justice newspaper about his antiwar views. I remember going through a list of wars with him and asking if any of them were justified. He kept saying no, for the same reasons that I now agree with. It’s all a racket to expand the power and ego of a few politicians that use their subjects – and their “enemies” – as human fodder. That’s really about it.

Then we got down to World War II and he said that that was “close to a justified war” but not totally. I remember being stunned at what I thought was pure insanity.  Now I try to go back to that moment and I try to think why was I so stunned? Why did his words sound so insane to me? Why, now, do they sound so correct, absolutely right, and self-explanatory?

Yes, some of you who read this think I’ve lost my mind. I get that. I can’t prove that I haven’t because one human mind judges another, and there are never any third parties. Even if God came down and told me I wasn’t crazy I would still be interpreting that through my mind anyway.

Let me digress a little bit more before dealing with the core question. I think the answer as to why I thought Bert was so crazy back then, and the reason that McCarthy types say I have ISIS sympathies now, has to do not with logic, or anything cerebral in the conscious area of the brain. It has to do with something much more reptilian than that. If you’re on the other side of the fence with foreign policy (meaning not the libertarian one), then when someone like me says something like Muslims are not the problem and it’s the US that’s the problem, some form of reptilian disgust goes off like “I’m so sick of these people, how can they THINK this?” Then the cerebral conscious brain protects whatever is deeper inside and tries to “explain”, logically, why these disgusting positions are absolutely wrong, and people like me are going to cause the “collapse of Western Society”.

What I’m saying is the thought process is first emotional disgust and revilement, followed by logical explanations that seek to soothe the emotions. Not the other way around. I can say this with confidence because I used to be these people, and from what I see, this is how they still act.

So why did I change? I can only guess, because one can only psychoanalyze oneself so far. Here’s my guess. On the night I discovered Ron Paul, I was looking up partial birth abortions, or late term abortions or whatever you want to call them. I was just curious about what all the argument was about. So I looked it up, and I ended up on Ronpaul.com, on this page. At that page was this paragraph:

Many people feel very strongly about the issue of abortion, and once they make up their minds they rarely change their opinion. If you are undecided and/or open-minded, check out this page and this site for more information about abortion, including images and a description of medical procedures.

So I clicked on those links.

There were these diagrams, not pictures, just diagrams, of doctors inserting giant syringes inside a baby’s head while the body was literally outside the birth canal (hence partial birth), and sucking the baby’s brains out while the body was squirming.

Just looking at the diagram, I almost threw up. I think it hit the same region of my reptilian brain that went off every time I saw Bert Cohen and reviled in disgust about this crazy Muslim sympathizers and America-haters. Before I could open my mind to Ron Paul’s view of the world, my reptilian brain had to prepped, so to speak. It was prepped.

Then I clicked back, read what Ron Paul had to say about it. Then I looked up what Ron Paul thought of Israel, and found this post. With this paragraph:

If Israel believes that Iran might one day become a nuclear power and that such a development would be against her interests, Ron Paul would not stop Israel from doing whatever she deemed necessary to defend herself. Israeli assassination squads are already operating within Iran, and several Iranian nuclear scientists found themselves torn apart by mysterious explosions over the past few years. Ron Paul did not interfere. In fact, he would not even prevent Israel from initiating a devastating nuclear attack on Iran.

And that was it. I was converted.

What happened then was that I became open, on principle, to anything Ron had to say. Not that I agreed with everything and still don’t, but I became open to it. So when he said something about foreign policy, namely that Iran should be left alone and America should stop inciting wars, I no longer had that reptilian “HOW CAN HE SAY THAT??” visceral emotional response. I didn’t agree with it at first because I thought Iran was a threat (and still do, which is why I support Israel getting rid of its nuclear program) but I listened. And allowed it sit in my brain and cook, without kicking it out with some programmed feeling of deep-seated disgust.

The source of that visceral emotional response is from decades of propaganda, pledging allegiance, listening to my father’s sermons every week about how wonderful America is, hearing all my Rabbis say that it’s a “Medinah Shel Hessed”, whatever it was, it was something everyone agreed on. America is great, everything it does is awesome, it is the hope for the world, the beacon of freedom.

Now that I didn’t shove it out, I had time to let it sit. And I let it sit. And I began to question all my underlying assumptions about this great thing, “America”. Once I allowed the questions to sit there, it was only a matter of time before I had to come to the conclusion, based on the raw facts, that America is responsible for millions of deaths. Ron spoke facts about military bases and military budgets and invasion of defenseless countries and all of it was true. It’s not like neocons try to say that America doesn’t have the most foreign military bases in the world. They admit it, and try to justify it like it promotes freedom.

But I couldn’t stomach the “promote freedom” stuff anymore, when it was so obvious by the facts who is the occupier and who is the occupied. America is the Empire. They have conquered the world. Their bases are everywhere, they bomb everything, especially Muslims. Even if you’re a neocon you cannot deny that. They just do. Justify it however you want.

Why do they hate us?

Now, the question, why do they hate us? We have all been trained to believe that they hate us because they are Muslim extremists who want Sharia law everywhere and want the 13th Imam (whatever that is) to return and everyone to worship Mohammad. That’s why there’s terrorism, because of Islam. And Islam hates freedom.

But stop for a second and ask yourself, does that make any sense? It repeats what you have been taught about the goodness of America, but does it make any sense?

The problem is, if you are on the neocon side and you question for a second whether or not it actually does make sense, then you’ll hit that reptilian center of disgust again and you’ll have to shut off the questioning and just accept it. So let’s try a different approach.

Pshat versus Drash

Among religious Jewish circles, there’s a serious problem of confusing Pshat and Drash. Pshat is the simple explanation, and Drash is more of an exegetical, fancy explanation, to define it loosely. From grade school, frum Jewish kids begin to blur the distinction between Pshat and Drash, very early on, and are not taught the essential difference between the two. First graders at Mesivta or Beis Yakov come out thinking that Drash is Pshat and are never taught the difference. To put it simply, Drash is based on Pshat. Without Pshat, there is no Drash. Period.

There is always a source in Pshat for the Drash. You can’t have Drash without Pshat. Got it? Here are a few examples.

The Drash, or Midrash, is often used to resolve a contradiction in the text. For example, during the Song of the Sea (אז ישיר) in one verse it says that the Egyptians floated like straw in the Red Sea. In another it says they sank like lead. Now, the pshat is that it’s a song, a poem, and the poet wanted to use different words in the song, just like when you write a poem you generally use different expressions. The drash is that the relatively righteous Egyptians sank like lead. The really bad ones floated like straw and took longer to die.

Now, the song doesn’t say that the bad ones floated and the good ones sank. That’s just the drash. It says they floated and it also says they sank. The drash comes in to resolve the contradiction – did they float or did they sink? They can’t do both. But without the words “straw” and “lead” the Rabbis would have zero basis to say that the good ones sank and the bad ones floated. Midrash is never woven from whole cloth. There is always a source for it in the text.

Here’s another example. When Pharaoh’s daughter sees a basket floating in the Nile, she sends her servant to get it. The verse says ותשלח את אמתה, she sent her servant, or her “amah”. Now the pshat is that she sent someone else to get it, her servant. The Midrash, however, reinterprets the word “amah” which can also mean “limb” to say that her arm magically grew very long so she could reach out by miracle and get the basket.

So what happened? Did she send her servant or did her arm magically extend farther than humanly possible? The answer is, for the love of God, that she sent her servant. The Drash adds a miraculous flavor to the whole event saying that it was meant to be, very important, watched over by God, therefore it was as if her arm magically extended. But she sent her servant, OK? SHE SENT HER SERVANT. Her arm did not actually grow, OK? Got it? Why is this so damn important?!

BECAUSE!

Because when you try to answer the question of why do they hate us, why did 9/11 happen, why are there suicide bombers, there is a pshat and there is a drash.

And you must never confuse the two. Without the pshat, there is no drash, remember that.

Now, the pshat, the simple reason, the simple explanation, why did 9/11 happen, is that America is all over the freaking world bombing everything and occupying almost every Muslim country supporting ruthless dictators that oppress their poor people. The reason people hate you is that you do bad things to them. The pshat is that everyone is the same. All human beings. They don’t want to be hurt by bullies. Nobody does.

Now, how do the Muslim leaders get people to fight for them? They use the drash, that religious motivation some people have, that America is the Big Satan and and is against Islam and if you go over there and bomb the Twin Towers Allah will bless you and we hate their freedom and their women skimper around in bikinis everywhere and women are allowed to drive cars and they drink alcohol and have no religious morals. That’s the drash. Does it exist? Absolutely. But it ain’t the pshat.

Now if you want to get deeper into the sod of the Muslim equivalent of the Zohar, then they’ll have 72 virgins in heaven and all the rest of whatever they want to believe.

Why is drash of Muslim world domination and 13th Imam the drash, and not the pshat? Because, let’s say America had no bases in Muslim countries. Zero. And let’s say the US army never invaded a single Arab country, ever. Never dropped a single bomb on any Arab, period. Now, let me ask you this honestly, neocons, and answer honestly:

Do you really think, in that case, that Muslim religious fanatics would be able to convince anyone to go bomb the Twin Towers?

If you really think that “terrorism” would exist if America did not conduct wars in Arab countries all the time, for years on end, then you are crazy. Crazy crazy crazy. You think that Bitya’s arm magically extended and that she had no servants. You hopelessly confuse Pshat and Drash like a kindergartner.

But why do you do that? Because if you accept the Pshat as Pshat, then America is ultimately responsible, and maybe all the propaganda you’ve been inculcated with since you were a kid is all bullshit. Because maybe Bert Cohen is right, and you have to reassess everything. So you completely dump the pshat. And along with it you dump anyone who says that pshat is pshat. That they hate us because we kill them. That America started it. That the drash is just drash. And anyone who says that…is “evil,” “lacking basic human decency,” “Paultard,” “egregious” and an “ISIS sympathizer” and would defends some guy named “Hitler”. And if I bring up a quote that says that maybe Muslims don’t actually want to destroy Israel, I’m the insane one.

There is no Drash without the Pshat. Yes, Muslim religious fanatics, especially leaders, will say that they want the 13th Imam and America must be destroyed and American women wear bikinis all hours of the day in all weather conditions. And drive cars.

Muslims are by far not the first group to want to conquer the world and make everyone believe in their religion. And they won’t be the last. And ISIS is not the first group of people to behead their enemies to get a rise out of them.

But in order to conduct a war, you need to convert the masses to believe in it. And masses generally don’t give a damn about countries that do not attack their home. In order to conduct a war, Muslim extremists need a pshat so people fight the war. And the pshat is that American foreign policy started and is responsible for 9/11. 

Muslims are not the first to target civilians in a war (that’s the definition of “terrorism”, no?) America did plenty of that with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Sure, America justifies it by saying it saved American lives. Well so does Al Qaeda. Go after American civilians, bankrupt the government, and it’ll stop attacking our countries. I guarantee you that’s what they say. 9/11 saved Muslim lives.

Now, call me crazy, call me insane, call me evil. Whatever you want. But at least I don’t confuse Pshat and Drash.

Think about the Pshat, and please, let it sit in your brain as a possibility, for 5 seconds. Just 5 seconds, consider it. Then you can throw it out. But just give yourself 5 seconds to question everything. Don’t let the reptilian disgust disturb you for at least 5 seconds. And let that doubt about America sit there, undisturbed, for just 5 seconds. And see where it leads you.

And Bert, I’m sorry I thought you were so nuts. You were right.

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13 thoughts on “Why Terrorism Exists, OR Why do they Hate Us? A Lesson in Pshat versus Drash

  1. Your blog posts are thoughtful and fascinating. With the intellectual firepower in these comments I am hesitant to weigh in, but I am reading and learning. Thank you so much for your patient, wise, and rare perspective.

  2. I think “terrorism” is defined more like through psychology. “What brings terror.” Attacking civilians has been fact of war since humanity started to form tribes. Everyone is a civilian before the war begins then they are “enemies” or “allies” in an “army”. Terrorism is based on random facts of violence without explanation to be found first hand. They could name everyone disagreeing with society a “terrorist” but they can’t (still at least). A government ability to call out “terrorism” a activity is based on the population being disturbed enough by the change the disagreeing organization brings. Self-inflicting violence is disturbing too regarding terrorism. Or what is regarded as self-inflicted violence such as for example refusing medical treatment (you could spread viruses and society is scared of your actions). For example Maggie Thatcher called Nelson Mandela a terrorist but society did not give her confirmation for the accuse and thus the action of war ended.
    Random acts of violence – with or without religious explanation ( the guys trying to Basque zone in Spain are not religious, they just want land independence) that harm people unaware of the conflict “to wake them to reality”, the lack of randomly pursuing convincing through violence, in my book is no longer “terrorism” but an attempt to start a war. Governments still don’t dislike war (because the old leaders of armies were so cool, not only the generals but the kings and queens commandeering them) and of course they are “usual suspects” when acts of “terrorism” begin to get cyclical and more organized. Governments are formed by people. See a 40 year old bored family guy who plays Delta Force game and understand it is possible for society-based, lucrative member, such as government employees called Parliament, to be simply drawn to making a war because it’s ‘great’.
    USA stands out alongside most of developed countries because of their size, the confidence in the decisions governments make because of their coherent lives and decent level of life (that people are aware is also due to their leaders by thinking simply that if the leaders were incompetent they would be living badly). Now if you know of international organizations such as Freemasonry who is proud to encourage successful intellectuals such as government members as its own member you have an increased possibility of ‘war mongering’ bureaucrats meeting and agreeing to disagree on something that is commonly disliked and known to attract popular participation). U.S. did not need September 9/11 to convince anyone to do anything for them because of the good level of life in U.S. for its members. Anything they would’ve asked. Mainly. Basically. People would eventually go to war if they believed their way of life was in danger of extinction. Of course ‘they didn’t need it’ and ‘they did it’, are two different things based on their real competence to be able to manage people and see that they were in a position of power over people anyway.
    But whether they did it or not is not an act of justice, of finding out how “evil US is” but of figuring out if they did it (which means they are awfully incompetent which is not necessarily true just because they act like silly “baboons” in public; being silly is a way to distract, like during carnivals; people always used it to get away with saying or doing something odd; being silly is a weapon).
    US also doesn’t need to care if their people believe or not that 9/11 was helped by their agents simply because they have something consistent to offer to people who simply plainly love their country. Americans are very nationalists, because they were a colony, the most successful one, so everything about US is not vain symbolism. People will go no further than a few hateful sites and bitter survivor testimonies if it turns out that 9/11 was US doing too.
    They are a great nation, very cohesive, like a former colony, all sailors on the same ship.
    Whatever Isis is or doing I have no doubt the US Nation will do “whatever it takes” to win a war over them. Israel stopping to be a friend to protect will be very convenient to fight a full war without looking out on who they step on. With EU on their side now with Hebdo (which is more strange than 9/11 if you ask me, considering it took attention away from Boko haram in Nigeria, because that is no interesting site of action), they can jump start and go to the moon and beyond with their war.

  3. I have already refuted your argument. To recapitulate: the main targets of Islamic terrorism are other Muslims, non Muslim inhabitants of Islamic countries and non Muslims bordering Islamic countries. The US is a distant fourth. This alone completely disproves your childish theory, which is why you continue to ignore it.

    • Other than that, all we have is the usual delusional ahistorical Ronulan stuff. The reality of American power in the middle east is that America is powerless to stop arabs from killing each other for bizarre and trivial reasons and its incompetent and fitful interventions only make things worse. The middle east is a dump because the people who live their are hopeless. Even if we were to make the judgement that , on balance, American intervention has made it worse than it would otherwise have been, it is simply fanciful to imagine that it would be a peaceful region and that the 1300 year old religion of Islam would be not be able to whip up people to acts of violence if there was no American Empire to attack. In areas where American power really is well established, like western Europe, the result has been an unprecedentedly long period of peaceful prosperity. The bizarre narcisstic desire of Ronulans to see everything as a consequence of American power and American power as uniquely malign is particularly odd coming from someone who only has to get in a car for two hours and see both how utterly powerless America is where it counts and what really malign imperial powers look like. Really, get a grip.

      • What are you reading? Is it this blog, or are you responding to something else completely? Where did I imagine that it would be a peaceful region and Islam would not whip up violence if America were not involved? I said that America would not be involved if America were not involved. Just like Brazil is not involved. Or Argentina.

      • As promised:
        “An order to get people to stop killing you, it is best to stop killing them. All you have to do to get Muslims, radical murderous ones there are, to stop wanting to kill you, is for every Head of State, instead of doing a stupid little march in Paris, to simply get up and announce the following:
        Every single soldier and every single military base occupying any Muslim country or near it will be hereby removed forever amen. The bombing of any Muslim country will stop immediately. Every dollar spent to support every Western puppet government in any Muslim country will be cut off forever. Any state official, be it of a government-privileged oil company to a military advisor to any bureaucrat employed by any Western State will be removed from all Muslim countries period, and all Western embassies removed from all muslim countries never to return. All embargoes and sanctions against and economic warfare against any Muslim country will stop immediately with open and free trade for everybody.
        That’s it. That’s all you need to do. Call me naive, but for some reason I believe Muslims, the Radical ones, don’t like the West because the West is doing all this bad stuff, listed above, to Muslims. So if they’d just stop doing it there would be no Radical Islam.”

        There you go: an absolutely lucid and unambiguous statement that if western countries were to desist from interfering in the Muslim world there would be, not only no radical Islamic terrorism, but no radical Islam at all, And just as you are absolutely clear in what you mean, it is absolutely clear that you are wrong.

        “As for Israel, once we pay all the Muslims to leave voluntarily, most of them will. Everyone else can stay and live wherever they want, end the occupation, get rid of all check points, and then no more Muslims attacking Kosher Markets in France.”

        According to you, if Israel elects a leader loathed throughout the Arab world and implements policies loathed throughout the Arab world, global anti-semitic terrorism would stop. Again, absolutely clear, and absolutely wrong.

        “As for Charlie Hebdo and their obscene scrawls of Mohammed engaging in pornography and gay sex, well, if you get shot by Muslims for doing that, don’t be surprised. Not that they deserved to be killed, but marching for someone’s right to publish religious pornography doesn’t really get my Liberty Libido going too much. Am I really supposed to stand up for gay religious pornography? I don’t want to. Call me callous.”

        Libertarians recognise that the most important freedoms to protect are ones that are widely unpopular and which some people wish to suppress through violence. “Ron Paul Freedom Movement” people, not so much.

        “As for the Jews murdered, there’s nothing I can say but it’s horrible and I hope the West leaves Muslims alone ASAP so the Muslims stop wanting to kill Jews.”

        The Koran says to kill Jews because the west will not leave Muslims alone. Clear enough?

        “And how many has “Radical Islam” killed? Tens of thousands at most? No contest.”

        As I have detailed, radical Islam is responsible for millions of deaths in the last three decades alone. (Hundreds of millions historically).

        “I am not Charlie. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Europe has its own anti Muslim Krystalnacht fairly soon.”

        LOL!

        “Many will say that the Der Sturmer/Charlie Hebdo analogy doesn’t hold. I say it does, and perfectly so.”

        A left wing magazine that targeted Islam satirically in three out of thousands of issues is like a dedicated anti-semitic magazine that targeted Jews exclusively in thousands of issues with explicitly violent rhetoric. Clear enough?

        “There’s a big fight going on. The Christians versus the Muslims.”

        Where? Where do Christians pull kidnap Muslims and behead them if they don’t convert? In your head.

        “Maybe he wants to say that US foreign policy is not motivated by religious hatred? I say it is. Christian religious evil. George Bush invaded Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands because of Jesus.”

        The Iraq war was almost exclusively the design of agnostic Jews, except in your head.

        “US foreign policy causes so many more deaths than Islamic fundamentalism that to compare the two is “detestable and foolish” in commenter’s words.”

        Simply put, no it doesn’t. The onus is on you to actually demonstrate such claims.

        “Those who think Iran would nuke Israel are easily swayed by American propaganda.”

        For six years the consistent thrust of American propaganda has been to downplay the threat of Iranian nuclear ambitions, that’s why Bibi went to Washington, except in your head.

        “Just making a point that the State-controlled US main stream media (state licenses all the airwaves) emphasizes what it wants and ignores what it doesn’t.”

        MSNBC didn’t report on the Iranian foreign minister making non sequitors about things that happened 2500 years ago on Russian state television because…. MSBNC are neocons who want to bomb Iran. In your head.

        “But in order to conduct a war, you need to convert the masses to believe in it. And masses generally don’t give a damn about countries that do not attack their home. In order to conduct a war, Muslim extremists need a pshat so people fight the war. And the pshat is that American foreign policy started and is responsible for 9/11.”

        Let us leave aside the fact that Al Qaeda never even tried to “convert the masses” to “conduct a war”, but focused exclusively on training small highly motivated cells. Let us leave aside the fact that prior to 9/11 there was only one American military intervention in the Middle East, one that was widely supported in the Arab world. Let us leave aside the fact that since America did start invading the Middle East it has suffered less terrorism, not more. Let us focus only on the fact that, apparently, Muslims are quite good at motivating people to fight for Islam in Chechynya, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, the Phillipines, Kashmir, Nigeria, Somalia, Togo and Sudan, apparently without need of your great p’shat.

        “If you really think that “terrorism” would exist if America did not conduct wars in Arab countries all the time, for years on end, then you are crazy.”

        ‘Hey! Why did some dudes burst into an orphanage in Sudan and shoot a nun in the back?”
        ‘Because America conducts wars in Arab countries all the time. DUH!’

        “Now, the pshat, the simple reason, the simple explanation, why did 9/11 happen, is that America is all over the freaking world bombing everything and occupying almost every Muslim country supporting ruthless dictators that oppress their poor people.”

        Strangely enough, this is not the explanation given by Al Qaeda, and people from Laos and Cambodia (and other countries that really have been bombed by America a lot) do not conduct terrorist attacks.

        “But I couldn’t stomach the “promote freedom” stuff anymore, when it was so obvious by the facts who is the occupier and who is the occupied. America is the Empire. They have conquered the world. Their bases are everywhere, they bomb everything, especially Muslims. “

        America does not bomb everything and, as matters stood on 911, they did not especially bomb Muslims.

        What exactly is so hard about believing that many people think it is correct to slaughter unbelievers and apostates because they have a holy book, delivered from their god that tells them, at great length, to do precisely that?
        I ask that question rhetorically, because I know the answer. You are committed to the belief that all global problems are America’s fault, that any problem not attributable to America is not a big problem, and that if only America would withdraw from the world it would be a much better place, because that belief is obligatory in the internet social circle you move in. But still, just take a look at all the indefensible claims you have to make already to maintain this claim. Is it really worth it?

      • How old are you? You can answer privately. I’m guessing 18-25. Quick response as I don’t want my blog turning into an exclusive back and forth between you and me, but just so you don’t have a pitchon peh to say I’m modeh, there would still be radical islam if the US was not involved. But it would not be directed against America, and it would not be nearly as organized as it is now, and it would not have anywhere near the number of weapons it has now. It would, like Africa, devolve into sadistic warfare between Arab tribes that nobody would care about. Congratulations for finding a slip of the keyboard.

        As for Charlie Hebdo, yes there are religious fanatics that kill people for their god. But without the pshat the the west is involved in the first place, it would not have happened.

        You say it would. I say it wouldn’t. That’s it.

  4. The U. S. responsible for 9/11? Probably. Did American mixing into foreign affairs contribute? Possibly.

    But, I doubt you and I agree on the details of what, why, and how, the U. S. got itself into the mess it’s in.

    Your differentiation between peshat and derash is an important one to make. However, comparing how Bithyah drew Moshe out of the water and why the Muslim world hates Jews (I couldn’t care less about Esau) is like comparing apples and oranges.

    Sure, you may criticize me for basing the connection between Iran and Yishma’el on derash-like reasoning, instead of peshat-like reasoning. But, I’m not. I’m connecting the Arab AND entre Muslim world with Yishma’el.

    Just look at the peshat throughout Tana”kh, and it maybe too derash for you, but throughout the works of Haza”L (1st-7th Cent.)

    If the shoe fits, it’s definitely not something which should be glossed over nor otherwise ignored.

    • Thanks for the reasoned reply, more than I can say about some people. Using an analogy is not comparing. People make that rebuttal way too many times, because there’s an analogy you’re necessarily comparing. No comparison. Analogy. Other than that, I don’t understand what you’re saying, and you’re being very cryptic.

      • To be clear, I was suggesting that we look at our history with these people (ie. recorded in Tana”kh and works of Haza”l), to help us refrain from making any old mistakes, and maybe even reduce the number of new mistakes.

        Over and over again, we see the raping, pillaging, and only laying claims to our land when it serves their ulterior motives. I don’t see that this has changed in the least.

        I believe that at least some segments of Muslim society do want to annihilate the Jewish People.

        Let’s not take any chances.

        I mention my take on the peshat-derash differences, as I was thinking that you might not find the above sources sufficient to support my claims.

        In addition, we have derashim. But, we also have information handed down generation to generation. Such information is not nearly as flexible as midrashim, and should not be discounted in our evaluations of those whom we face.

  5. Regarding WWII, there is no question US, (and even British, involvement was a sideshow to the Germans. War between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany was inevitable. The Soviets had already turned the tables on the Germans well in advance of D-Day, and were handily on their way to destroying Nazi Germany all on its own, without anything more than US materiel support. Any level-headed analysis of the military situation will conclude thusly.

    Yeah, the US kicked some serious Jap and Nazi ass, blah blah blah, but US involvement was not so clearly justified (like you cooky friend said), and definitely not needed to see the Nazis defeated.

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