Of all the horrific acts of evil that made the news this past week, the invasion of Israel wins.
Not because Hamas won any kind of real victory. If they won on the ground at all it was a pyrrhic victory — the kind in which the cost is greater than the win.
They did win (in my mind) most evil of the week. Also in the running were corrupt politicians, professors who knowingly published false data for ideological purposes, and the 33 year-old man (caught on video) who threw his girlfriend’s small dog against the wall and ceiling of his apartment complex.
Clearly there is still a lot of work to be done in bringing more good into the world.
Most people I know dislike the act of self promotion. Let others sing your praises, if your praises are to have any credibility.
We admire humility in people, and conversely we disapprove of pride. The greater the display of pride — from an end zone celebration in the NFL to a politician gloating in a victory speech — the more uncomfortable we become.
In fact displays of pride like those are subtle reminders that we still have a sense of right and wrong.
But once pride takes hold in a person, or in a group, it forgets all that. Instead it often rises up in shocking displays of self promotion.
That is exactly what happened with the burning and looting and destruction visited on Minneapolis and other cities after the killing of George Floyd.
The perpetrators said they were merely staging protests, but they went far, far beyond that. There is a term for organizational pride of that kind: mob mentality. Thankfully it is mostly short lived.
But all those organizations that have risen up in “protest” against inflated pictures of imagined persecutors — from BLM to the Proud Boys — were really trying to add to their own power.
Hamas is doing exactly the same thing, and pretending to be protesting some egregious thing the state of Israel has done to them. Here is what the state of Israel has done: exist.
It is said that Hamas has a motto that goes, “We love death as much as the Jews love life.”
So for decades Hamas has made it their goal to kill all Jews. This is not about a Palestinian state. That solution has been offered to Palestinians many times, and it has always been rejected.
Anyone who says the Palestinians are the aggrieved party here simply has not done their homework. If they did they would see that Hamas cares not for the Palestinians — though most of them are Palestinian.
In fact the Wall Street Journal and others have picked up an interview that one of the leaders of Hamas gave on Russian state television, explaining how they were able to carry out this attack on October 7.
He said that for two years Hamas did not engage in fighting, but instead pretended to care about Palestinians. All that time they were planning their attack.
It worked, and evil was visited on Israel.
How it began
The conflict between Arabs and Jews did not begin when Israel was made a nation state by the United Nations in 1947, or when British rule ended and Israel officially became a state on May 14, 1948.
It didn’t even begin on May 15, 1948, when Israel was attacked by Arab armies from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Transjordan.
All of this was foretold (not the specifics) millenia before that. The conflict “began” in a sense, when Abraham and Sarah decided not to wait on God to fulfill his promise of a son.
Sarah worked out a backup plan, not uncommon in those days, and Abraham went along with it. She gave her maid Hagar, an Egyptian, to Abraham so he could father a child by her. That child, Ishmael, as it turns out, would belong to Abraham and Sarah.
In fact Arabs today recognize that they, like the Jews, are children of Abraham.
Ishmael was born about 14 years before Isaac, who finally was born to Sarah when she was 90 and Abraham was 100. A miracle, of course, though Ishmael laughed at the old mother and the young baby.
Of the prophecies about Ishmael, two are important. Before Ishmael is born an angel tells Hagar she is pregnant, and then says:
This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.
God also sent this prophecy to Abraham:
As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac….
All of that can be found in the Bible book of Genesis. It begins in chapter 15 and continues, with interruptions, through chapter 21. In chapter 25, there is this about the descendants of Ishmael:
Ishmael’s descendants occupied the region from Havilah to Shur, which is east of Egypt in the direction of Asshur. There they lived in open hostility toward all their relatives.
Today, good and evil
Hamas, which largely governs Palestine, is opposed to the “two state solution.” Israel several times agreed to it, but Hamas — along with other Arab states says “no” three times: “No recognition, no peace, no negotiations.”
The two states that exist now are good and evil. Fighters on both sides will choose their own path. Evil will lose, not just because of Ishmael, and good will win, not just because of Isaac.
Mankind winks at and accepts all kinds of evil. This, though, was too much and too widely trumpeted, even for the most jaded.
Now Israel will eliminate Hamas. October 7 will have been a pyrrhic victory indeed.
Refrain from evil. Do good. It’s in you.