A New Letter from Orphaned Land (and our rebuttal)

In response to our blog on Orphaned Land, Kobi sent us an open letter, to which we replied. This is his new response, as well as our rebuttal.

We have seen that some people left comments saying that we targetted Orphaned Land for being Israelis; this is not true. We criticized them because their schtick is that of claiming to be in favor of reaching peace in the Middle East; just like in the past I’ve talked about bands whose schtick is Satan (and mocked them quite a bit in the process) it seemed appropriate to do the same here. If you can find any Palestinian band that talks about peace while supporting rocket attacks against civilian enclaves (or who does not openly criticize them) I will be happy to write an article about them as well and call them hypocrites.

“Dear J,

War crimes are dual here, just before the cease fire a 4 years old child was killed in Israel from a rocket, can you imagine the casualties number on Israel without shelters or Iron Dome? I blame the media for many of the mass and the fact that they constantly show half truths.

What about the fact that Hamas executed 20 people in the middle of the street for being suspects to co-operate with Israel? does they deserve a fair trial? what about the 4,500 rockets fired on me too? do I deserve to die? Isn’t it a violation of Human rights? what about elections in Gaza? Do you know that both Egypt & President Abbas blame the Hamas for all the poor innocents that died? Did you ever see any protest of the opposition in Gaza against Hamas? can we assume that our of 1.8 million people there should be any? How many rapists are in the jails of Gaza? Can Woman complain about Rape in the police? Can you be a Homosexual in Gaza? I simply say that both Israel & Hamas should have a lesson from Me & Abed how you should do it.

You have to understand me very clearly – by writing those examples that doesn’t mean I’m pro Israeli or anything else, the fact that you mentioning things done by Israel and dismissing things the other side did, it’s exactly the same sin of the media – the experts of telling half truths, which is worse than a lie. and like every war, there is always more than meets the eye.

Both sides are violating human rights. There isn’t any right or wrong, both sides are wrong. I’m standing behind it.

I’m far from being silent, not in the world, nor in Israel, my opinion is written and expressed many times on my Hebrew page. and like I said – I working according to my knowledge, experience and my inner compass and that has a main important target – I know that we need to become brothers & friends, and that’s what I’m focusing.

Peace.
Kobi”

Dear Kobi,

Thank you for admitting that Israel does, indeed, commit war crimes! This is definitely a start.

Other than that, I am very sorry to see that you failed to address ANY of the points that I brought up in my letter; you didn’t say anything about Resolution 242, the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion or any of the Human Rights organizations that have condemned the actions of Israel. In your previous letter you said that my opinion was simply based on whatever side I chose to like, but when confronted with the fact that it isn’t just “my” opinion, you just changed the topic.

It is widely established (as I linked in my previous response, but it’s clear you didn’t check the reference) that the Iron Dome system is ineffective; in other words, if it didn’t exist the casualties on the Israeli side would not be any different. This shows the extent of the firepower of Hamas (who, when deliberately targeting civilian centers, are committing a war crime).

Now, although the attacks against civilians on the Israeli side are a war crime, there is a big difference between Hamas using primiteve bottle rockets (without guidance systems), with Israeli using precision bombs and yet still hitting civilian targets, including schools and UN buildings.

You say that “Both sides” have committed war crimes, as if that put them on the same moral playing field. We know, for example, that during WWII every single side committed war crimes; for example, the English bombed Dresden, the Russians committed the Katyn forest massacre, the Americans dropped nuclear weapons in Japan, Japan committed the Nanking massacre, and Germans targeted the Jewish people. Would you still say,since they all committed war crimes, that they are all on the same moral level? Would you be willing to say that in World War II every side was wrong, with nobody being morally worse than the other?

I don’t know what any of the comments on the internal problems in Palestine (all unsourced) have anything to do with Israel’s crimes. Let’s say, for the sole sake or argument, that Hamas is terrible against the Palestinians, and that every single Palestinian HATES Hamas. So what? Does that mean that Israel has the right to bomb them? Is that the argument you’re making? Are you saying that “hey, those Palestinians don’t like Hamas, so it`s ok if we kill them”?

You try to present this as something being done against Hamas. Well, how come Israel commenced the occupation before Hamas even existed, or that (since you say that the problem is that “Both sides” refuse to talk) Israel refused to negotiate with Fatah (since you quote Abbas) even though they are a secular organization, when they were in power? Does the fact that women under the Hamas government have less rights than in secular societies somehow justify killing them all? Let’s not be dishonest here; Israel is not concerned about the human rights of Palesitinian rape victims, Palestinian women or anybody for that matter; there are plenty of human rights violators in the world, and Israel isn’t bombing any of them.

You say that both Israelis and Palestinians should take an example about how you and Abed get along. Can you really be so conceited that you think that you are somehow above the rest because you managed to have a token Palestinian friend? Don`t you think that it`s a bit sickening to be saying “hey, I have a black Palestinian friend” as if that was a unique thing?

Despite your truly heroic feat of managing to make and keep a Palestinian friend, the origin of the conflict is not that people just don’t like each other. This isn’t a problem that is going to be solved by getting Netanyahu and the Hamas leadership singing kumbaya around a campfire; to claim otherwise is intellectually dishonest. The origin of this conflict is not some mythical hatred, it’s the fear of territorial displacement that came with the Israeli occupation. As a result of this, pretending to be for peace while limiting your actions to just say “Can’t we all just get along?” is just childish.

We don’t need Palestinians and Israelis to like each other any more than we need Hungarians to like Serbians or Estonians to like Finnish  people. In an ideal world there would be no hatred, but in this real world we should strive to prevent MURDER. If you fight to eliminate “hate”, you’re fighting a lost battle; if you fought for something realistic (and honest) you would at least fight so that your country stops committing war crimes. We don’t need Palestinians and Israelis to like each other, we need the murders, the ethnic cleansing and, yes, the rockets, to stop. If you think that Israel is on the higher moral ground, then Israel should be the one taking the first step, side with international law, and liberate the Palestinians from a bloody occupation. If you want peace, if you are honest about caring about your “Arab brothers”, then you must demand this from your government. If you don’t, then your effort only goes as far as spending time with some Arabs, while feeling morally heroic for it.

Very simple and direct questions:

1. Should Israel obey Resolution 242 and return to the 1967 borders, as ordered by the International Court of Justice?

2. Since you admitted that Israel commits war crimes, should those responsible face prosecution under an international tribunal?

3. Should Israel lift the siege of Gaza, which is considered by international NGOs and the UN as illegal?

4. Why didn’t you condemn the latest attack against Gaza, while human rights organizations were clear in seeing Israel as the aggressor and Palestine as the victim?

5. When you talk about the media falsifying the truth about Israel, what do you mean by that? Can you give any examples? What “half truths” did I tell?

6. Can you point at anything I’ve said and prove it to be factually incorrect?

All the best,

J

PS: Despite the claims made by your bassist, we did not publish this to get publicity. If anything, speaking about Israel can backfire since we expose ourselves to claims of antisemitism and being “Pro terrorist” by those with only ad hominem attacks under their sleeve.

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Considered by his mother as the brightest and prettiest boy, J's interest in metal started in his early teens, listening to bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica (coupled with an embarrassing period in which Marilyn Manson "totally represents me, man") eventually moving into the realm of power, black, and death metal. He holds a PhD in law, trains martial arts, practices law, and enjoys coming up with excuses as to why he has to miss work after going to a concert. He also dabbles as a concert photographer, you can see his sub-par work on his instagram.
  • Enric Martinez

    Very deep ande insightful.

    • J_MetalBlast

      Thank you very much for the kind words Enric! 🙂

  • voxlogica

    Brilliant – I don’t care about Metal, but I am impressed with the sharpness of your mind and the clarity of your expression. Oh – and facts – I love facts!

    • J_MetalBlast

      Thank you for your visit!
      I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. Please visit the links on this and the previous articles for more information (since you love facts!).
      Take care! 🙂

  • Vard

    Very interesting reading, it’s shamefull that you didn’t had any responses about the questions you raised.

    • J_MetalBlast

      Thanks for reading!
      Yes, it was shameful and frustrating. I think that after he admitted that Israel does indeed commit war crimes he realized he had fucked up beyond repair.