Stroke of God

From CNN:

Television evangelist Pat Robertson suggested Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s stroke was divine retribution for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, which Robertson opposed.

Though many have condemned Robertson’s latest insight, I myself feel only admiration and gratitude. Admiration for one of the creative giants of American comedy, and gratitude to be alive in the 21st century, when the God of Christianity smites the Jews for not being greedy enough.

23 Responses to “Stroke of God”

  1. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    Certainly God would never smite Pat himself for not being greedy enough.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    It is probably best that the butcher of Beruit die from his own gluteny. Hopefuly his peaceful end will lead to freedom for the West Bank, and an end to apartied within Israel.

    -untenured and hence anonymous

  3. Scott Says:

    Untenured: Have you been reading the news? The expected outcome is a strengthening of the Likudniks, who make Sharon look like Noam Chomsky.

  4. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    scott: I don’t think that the Likudniks make Sharon look like Noam Chomsky. Chomsky would not have had Israel pull out of Gaza, because he wants Arab majority rule in Israel. Besides, Chomsky wears glasses and Ariel Sharon doesn’t.

    anonymous: Gluten doesn’t cause stroke. Gluttony maybe, but not gluten.

    Also, I suspect the most that you can hope for any time soon in the West Bank is independence, not freedom.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    I read in some foreign media that Sharon is guilty of massacre of Palestinian civilians when he was in the Israeli military. (BTW, you will never see such news in the US media lest the reporter wants his career dead and be castrated by the ADL.) If Pat had said that the stroke is a God’s punishment for the massacre of women and children, I would have agreed (even though I am an athiest.)

    But the truth is that when we get to 75+, all of us who are feasting everyday on saturated and trans fats are likely to suffer the same fate.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Anonymois said:

    If Pat had said that the stroke is a God’s punishment for the massacre of women and children, I would have agreed (even though I am an athiest.)

    Well, this comment seems more appropriate for the
    what if
    post…

  7. Scott Says:

    “If Pat had said that the stroke is a God’s punishment for the massacre of women and children, I would have agreed (even though I am an athiest.)”

    Anonymous: Get your facts straight. What Sharon was guilty of was failing to prevent the Lebanese Phalangists from massacring civilians, even though he should have known that they were likely to do so. In my judgment, that was an idiotic act of negligence, on par with (say) Clinton’s failure to prevent the Rwandan genocide. Is Clinton next on the to-be-smited list?

  8. Anonymous Says:

    “…when the God of Christianity smites the Jews for not being greedy enough”
    “…the stroke is a God’s punishment for the massacre of women and children”
    So it may actually be a world where the God of christianity smites a Jew for a massacre of women and children performed by christians…
    I actually heard a right-wing religious person say that it couldn’t be God striking him down for the withdrawal from Gaza, or he would have just done it a few months ago, before the withdrawal took place…
    Gi

  9. Anonymous Says:

    My bad. I admit my ignorance of middle eastern affairs.

  10. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    scott: I’m not remotely a leftist anti-Zionist, but I don’t think that your analogy with Rwanda is very good. According to the article that you link, the Israeli army was in complete military control of the area surrounding the camps. They invited in the Phalangists to do some dirty work for them, i.e., to defeat the PLO in the camps. The Phalangists came in and instead engaged in a different kind of dirty work, a massacre of unarmed civilians. The Israeli Army not witnessed the operation, they illuminated it by flares.

    It is true that Rwandan genocide was on a far greater scale than the massacre at Sabra and Shatila. But the degree of complicity was not remotely the same. A closer historical analogy might be the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. It’s not a perfect analogy either; in particular I don’t think that Ariel Sharon was in quite the same position as William Calley.
    But in my view the degree of national complicity is comparable.

  11. Scott Says:

    Thanks, Greg — you make valid points. I was actually thinking about whether the smaller degree of complicity in the Rwandan genocide was somehow “offset” by its far greater scale. These comparative moral judgments are hard to make…

  12. secret milkshake Says:

    Mass murder, rape and looting in Bosnia, Krajina and some other parts of former Jugoslavia was usualy done by paramilitary gangs -not by regular army. And the top military, politial leadership guys knew what was being done to those unfriendly civilians. I think this is much more fitting analogy about Sharon than Rwanda.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    FYI, http://www.journeyman.tv/ has a video documentary on the massacre. Note that you will not see this kind of documentary on TV inside the bubble. The title of the documentary is Israel/Palastine. Grab it while it last.

  14. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    On the other hand, now that Ariel Sharon may be on his deathbed, it would be good to have a sense of proportion about Sabra and Shatila. However criminal it was, it was a smaller event than many other atrocities in the Middle East, and for that matter in the Balkans when Milosevic was in power.

    I see that the http://www.journeyman.tv site resorts to the word “genocide” in describing Sabra and Shatila. In light of what is going on in Darfur right now, that is irresponsible hyperbole.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    untenured and hence anonymous said:
    It is probably best that the butcher of Beruit die from his own gluteny. Hopefuly his peaceful end will lead to freedom for the West Bank, and an end to apartied within Israel.

    Accusing Israel with internal apartheid is damn harsh, with a hateful hint. If at all, you should be making such harsh accusations based on and accompanied by serious studies and facts.

    -offended Israeli

    (not applied to the unfortunate situation in the West Bank, hopefully to be free soon)

  16. Anonymous Says:

    “Accusing Israel with internal apartheid is damn harsh, with a hateful hint. If at all, you should be making such harsh accusations based on and accompanied by serious studies and facts.”

    Israel Basic Law: The Knesset section 7(a) Prevention of Participation of Candidates List
    (1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of
    the Jewish people;

    link
    Those opposing a state theocracy are banned from being elected officials.

    However, I choose to use the adjective “apartied” due to another concern:

    The disproportinal amount of state tax revenue given specificaly to “Jewish” communities.

    Communities that are not “Jewish” enough get less funds for education and healthcare.

    The U.S. is by no means a saint in this area. It mostly relies on a local property tax for education which gives rich communites far more money to spend on their schools.

    Also:
    anonymous: Gluten doesn’t cause stroke. Gluttony maybe, but not gluten.

    Sorry, Freudian slip. I probably had this article on my mind.

    -untenured and hence anonymous

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Untenured:
    How come wanting a Jewish state is racist, but wanting a Palastinian one isn’t? (Technically, wanting a Jewish state would also surely be religion descrimination, not racism, as one can convert to Jewdism but cannot become a Palastinian if not born one…).

    Gi

  18. Anonymous Says:

    I see that the http://www.journeyman.tv site resorts to the word “genocide” in describing Sabra and Shatila. In light of what is going on in Darfur right now, that is irresponsible hyperbole

    I have never been able to find a satisfactory definition of the words “genocide” and “terrorism.” The definitions preferred by governments are the following:

    We don’t do terrorism. Only the bad guys do it. Similarly, we don’t do genocide. Only the bad guys do it.

    I guess these are good enough definitions for most of the population who seem to have an IQ of a sheep when it comes to politics.

    BTW, journeyman.tv is highly respected source of TV actuality material. There materials are widely used by broadcasters all over the world. However, their material cannot be found within the bubble (US). In fact, as a subscriber of the local NPR station, I once urged them to broadcast material from journeyman and they said they cannot because … ehh … becasue … ehh. I get it, they do not want to lose their carreers.

    Anyway I couldn’t have expected much from my local NPR station anyway. Back in the late 90′s, in return for funding from a local creationist organization, they completely blacked out news of the Kansas State’s decision not to test evolution in school.

    Enough of my off topic rambling.

  19. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    I agree that a lot of people have devalued the term “genocide”, sometimes with noble intentions and sometimes not.

    Even so, it defies any sense of proportion to describe Sabra and Shatila as “genocide”. I’ll grant that it was a terrible war crime and that Ariel Sharon is plausibly a war criminal. But “genocide” ought to mean something else, because Arab countries have done worse than Sabra and Shatila, in many cases against other Arabs.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Untenured:

    Quoting a certain debatable (and to many sensible) law and referring to unequal funds distribution sound like excuses to your striking accusations. Those of you who have visited Israel and apartheid-period- South-Africa saw no resemblance whatsoever in terms of racial discrimination.

    And if you are quoting the law, you should at least give all the relevant part:

    A candidates’ list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if its objects or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:
    (1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of
    the Jewish people;
    (2) negation of the democratic character of the State;
    (3) incitement to racism.

    I’d say the third part more or less reverts your point of quoting this law.

    In short, it wouldn’t hurt to soften your tones, not only to increase your chances of tenure, but more importantly (at least to some of us) to be a polite human.

    -still offended israeli

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Sharon has been directly involved in the death of civilians in the
    Qibya massacre of 1953, where Israeli soldiers commanded by Sharon retaliated against a terrorist attack by destroying an Arab village in the (then occupied by Jordan) west bank.

    In an ideal world, no country would have a leader that is directly responsible to killing civilians, or at least no leader that performed such actions personally.

    Unfortunately the middle east is very far from such an ideal. This is demonstrated by virtually all of the leadership of the Palestinan side, and also by many Israeli leaders (Shamir and Begin were former terrorists, and of course many other leaders held high positions in the military).

    Moderate people in both sides intuitively understand that and are happy when a leader, even if he is a former terrorist, decides to take the road of peace. Any improvement in that part of the world will come from the actions of such leaders, and not from sinless commenters and philosophers.

  22. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    The comments from anonymous 5:28 remind me of a quip about the Nobel Peace Prize: One way to win it is to do a lot of terrible things, then agree to stop. It was inspired by Henry Kissinger in 1973, but it applies equally well to Yasir Arafat.

  23. Scott Says:

    Exactly — maybe I should go for a Fields medal by publishing some wrong P!=NP proofs and then renouncing them.