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Open Letter to Bibi ‘Adolf’ Netanyahu

Dear Prime Minister, This open letter must catch you at a not altogether happy time. Your favourite US presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, has copped out. You are stuck with your pet hatred, Barack Hussain Obama. A staunch supporter of Israel, I don’t doubt that for a minute, sigh... but not quite as staunch as you desire. Obama’s lust for bombing Iran does not equal yours. Must be quite a grief to you, despite your hypocritical congratulations...

I anticipate the sobriquet of Bibi ‘Adolf’ will not be pleasing to you. Still, you deserve it. Your aggressive, hysterical willingness to wage war on Iran declared on Monday on Israeli TV, even to the extent of going solo, without US support, fully justifies my appellation.

Dear PM, it was a man called Adolf Hitler who in WW2 unilaterally bombed, attacked and ravaged foreign nations which were not at war with Germany. Thus that Adolf perpetrated a grave crime against peace. Had he not committed suicide, Hitler would certainly have been tried at Nuremberg, along with his other ministers and generals. Crimes against peace were indeed a main Nuremberg indictment. The guilty were hanged. As a warning to generations to come. Aggressive war is a moral and legal abomination, Bibi Adolf, remember that.

The official emblem of your state of Israel bowls me over. At its centre is the Menorah, the sacred seven-branched candlestick. On either side, I see it flanked by two olive branches. Wonderful! Because the olive branch is a symbol of peace. It echoes the Bible – a book not unfamiliar to Jews. In Genesis 8:11 the dove sent out by Noah from the Ark returns with an olive leaf in its mouth. A sign that the Flood, occasioned by man’s sin against the Creator, is over. Thereafter the olive branch stands not for war but for peace. The God of Israel’s ‘peace option’ is thus proclaimed, as a noble aspiration, by the two olive branches in the nation’s emblem. How can you reconcile that divine mandate with your loud war drum beating, Bibi Adolf?

Some time ago a warped individual suggested there should be a monument to Bomber Harries in every city in Germany. Bomber Harries was the WW2 British Air Marshall responsible for implementing the obliteration bombing of German cities, along with their innocent civilians. A war criminal by any objective, righteous standards. Mr Netanyahu, I do not reckon you would relish having a similar monument to Hitler built in every Israeli centre, would you? I don’t claim the dreadful Fuhrer was indirectly a creator of Israel – that would be offensive - yet, your current stance seems a sinister, chilling echo of Adolf Hitler’s clamouring and preparing for war. Catastrophe followed...

Guess you protest: ‘It is Iran who wants to wipe out Israel! I would be acting in self-defence, a right allowed to every nation by the UN Charter!’ If you mean your Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, yes, he was foolish when he made the statement, whatever his exact wording and sense, translated as calling for the ‘cancellation’ of the Zionist State. With that, he scored a spectacular own goal. I told Ahmadinejad as much – perhaps in slightly more diplomatic terms – years back when I met him in Tehran. I urged him to be not Israel’s ogre but, like a greater and wiser statesman, Cyrus, to become the Jews’ friend and protector. Did his interpreters convey my meaning? Regardless, your favourite bogeyman is now weakened politically and rather in the doghouse in Iran – not a single time was Ahmadinejad’s name mentioned during the big theological conference I attended recently in Tehran. Anyway, your whipping boy steps down next year. Furthermore, Ayatollah Khameini, Iran’s supreme leader, has declared that nuclear weapons are un-Islamic. (Have your own rabbinical authorities affirmed as much? I seem to recall you harbour a vast nuclear weapons arsenal in your country...) To supplement that, your own intelligence people tell you Iran is nowhere near to having weapons of mass destruction ready for use. Don’t you believe them?

Oh, I nearly forgot! Matan Vilnai. Does he ring a bell? The Israeli Deputy Defence minister who four years ago threatened the Palestinians with a ‘holocaust’ – shoah, the very word! If it was wrong and wicked of Ahmadinejad to suggest ‘wiping out’ your nation, why was it OK for Vilnai to menace doing the same to the virtually defenceless Palestinians? Tell me, please.

As Israelis abhor and fear, just as I do, the ugly phenomenon of anti-Semitism, you might know of a notorious book, Geschlecht und Charakter. Authored by a young, eccentric Jewish genius, Otto Weininger. In his chapter on Judaism, however marred by his bizarre world view, Weininger makes a valuable observation. Discussing virulent anti-Semites he says that ‘they hate in others...qualities which they unconsciously wish to approximate, but which they notice first in other men...they hate in their foes what they would hate to be but which, despite their hatred, they also see in themselves.’

Bit tortured and twisted, perhaps, like Weininger himself, but I do wonder whether you may hate your enemies so much that you perhaps, deep down, are a little like them? Could that be? Full of hatred? Of self-loathing? Huh!

Dear Bibi Adolf, Iran is the country that freed the Jews from the Babilonian captivity. King Cyrus restored the Jews to Palestine. There is a message for everybody there. Jews and Arabs, Muslims and Christians, should live together in peace in Palestine. No supremacy of the one over the other but partners, friends and fellow monotheists, under God.

The Prophet Isaiah spoke beautifully of a blissful future world in which God’s people in the Holy Land forsake forever war and conquest. Instead, they turn ‘their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks’. Just follow the Lord of Hosts’ cue, Mr PM. Stop calling for war. Prepare for peace. You will then prove that Bibi is no Adolf, insh’allah.

Revd Frank Julian Gelli

Last modified on Thursday, 13 December 2012 15:52

Frank Gelli I am an Anglican priest and cultural critic and commentator. I have BA in Philosophy, MA in Christian Ethics, MA in Islamic Studies, PGCE in Religious Education and Oxford Certificate in Theology. I have been a journalist & drama critic in Italy and England.
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