When Goliath Wants to Nuke David and David's Brothers Help Goliath

Of course, the mind, heart, and soul are preoccupied by the continuing slaughter in Palestine. In less than one month, Israel has unleashed upon this limited territory, one nowhere near the size of Japan, perhaps more akin to the territory of Warsaw or Stalingrad during the sieges of World War II, the equivalent of two atomic bombs. The bombs dropped on Gaza by Israel at this point equate to two of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima. It is an astounding figure, especially in light of the fact that if you follow Israeli media, you see how freely Israeli commentators speculate, even fantasize, about dropping an actual nuclear weapon on Gaza.


So many Israeli commentators do not seem at all bothered by the spiraling numbers of civilian casualties, nor by the sights of bodies wrapped in sheets, laid on floors or in courtyards. These images fill the airwaves. They are undeniable. By now, every hospital in Gaza has been struck, in one form or another, by Israel. Every hospital has been forced to work without electricity and with extreme shortages. It is astounding that so many commentators in Israel do not seem at all disturbed by the extremely tragic sight of civilians and children being torn to shreds. 


The issue is what is tolerated on the airwaves, and what is considered acceptable among Israelis. The issue is that the “Samson option,” as it is known in Israel, is openly acknowledged. "Yes, we did drop the equivalent of two Hiroshima bombs on Gaza, but that is not enough. If Israeli casualties continue to rise, perhaps Israel needs to consider the nuke option." It is truly a shocking form of discourse because the implications are clear. It is no secret what it means to say that Israel should do to Palestinians what the United States did in World War II when it dropped atomic bombs on Japan. We know what this “solution” means for Palestinians. Yet we hear commentators make arguments like this, and we see these commentators being invited, time and again, onto the same TV programs. We see that some of these commentators even hold doctorates or academic positions. We see that what is, effectively, an argument for extermination and mass slaughter is tolerated and engaged. 


There are, of course, some practical counterarguments like, "But if we use an atomic weapon in Gaza, Gaza will be rendered uninhabitable. How long before we can move in?" But what is most shocking is the absence of humanitarian, moral, and ethical objections to the most basic and fundamental precept. Even if you believe that this land is truly yours, that you have a legitimate and morally defensible claim to this land, how on earth do you believe that there could be a morally defensible argument for extermination and indiscriminate slaughter? How could there be an ethical argument for bombing ambulances, hospitals, schools, and U.N. buildings that belong to the UNRWA, leave alone the systematic destruction of mosques?


If it is easy for the powerful side to claim, "I am in pursuit of lawless and criminal elements," if that powerful side knows, in this equation, that there will be no accountability for the claims it makes. But even if we assume sincerity, human beings are corrupted by power. By definition, a military that is angry and aggrieved, intoxicated with bloodlust and a lack of accountability, will have a natural tendency to make sweeping, careless claims that evade responsibility and moral accountability. But we are not just talking about indiscriminate bombing. We are now talking about a discourse in which the idea of extermination is openly kicked around as if it is a natural and reasonable option.


In the same vein, there is a ministry in Israel called the Ministry of Intelligence. According to a leaked report, the Ministry of Intelligence set out a fairly detailed plan as to how Israel can use terror and violence to forcibly displace the entire population of Gaza, over two million Gazans, to Egypt. In this report, the ministry goes into considerable detail about how Israel should use its influence in the world—-of course, through the U.S.—-to compensate Egypt for allowing over two million Palestinian refugees to be settled in Egypt. The report talks about how Egypt should initially be supplied with tents to accommodate the millions of Palestinians and given clear instructions that they are to be settled in certain areas and territories in the Sinai Desert so that they are not too close to the Israeli border. Egypt is then to be assisted in building permanent structures, creating refugee camps in the middle of the desert for the Palestinian population, very much like the refugee camps that exist in the West Bank, Jordan, or Lebanon. The Israeli Ministry of Intelligence also talks about the corruption of the Egyptian dictator, Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, and his government, how their corruption has ruined Egypt's economy, and how vulnerable they are to bribery. The report says the West should not be afraid to offer the Egyptian military money, because when all is said and done, the Egyptian military will sell anything for money. 


We are talking about extermination options. We are talking about a governmental agency that has laid out a plan not just for the systematic displacement and abuse of the Palestinian people, but for deciding the fate of Israel's neighbors. For a plan like this to work, of course, Israel and its allies need to ensure that there is a certain type of government in Egypt, the type that would accept money, the type that is not only corruptible and corrupted but immoral and inhumane, the type not bothered by a second Nakba or by the deaths, suffering, and misery that would accompany the violent, terror-induced transfer of Palestinians. 


So terror used by Hamas is terrorism, but terror used by Israel to displace Palestinians is a serious policy option to be discussed and analyzed.


In all the discussions, I have not yet seen someone say, "But wait, this is immoral. We have been oppressing the Palestinian people for over 70 years, and it is immoral to solve oppression with more oppression." I have not heard this. Of course, there are brave Jewish voices standing up against this immorality. But I am talking about the type of public discourse that is tolerated on Israeli TV and freely exchanged on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, all without people particularly troubled. We all know the extent to which social media is sensitized to people supporting terrorism, and we all know what would happen if a Muslim said anything that could even possibly be understood as supporting terrorism. But, on the other side of things, there are people openly discussing corruption, bribery, dictatorship, and the transfer of a population, which is considered genocide under the Genocide Convention.


Another think tank in Israel released a report that recommends the mass transfer of Palestinians to Egypt. It went into the same type of details. "Egypt is a dictatorship. It does not matter if the Egyptian people like it or not because we can deal with the Egyptian military. If we can get the Saudis and the Emiratis to commit enough money, we can buy the Egyptian military. If paid enough, the Egyptian military will allow the forcible transfer of Palestinians. We will create a buffer zone between the new refugee camps and Israel, so there is a ‘no man's land’ between the two." They think this solution is acceptable. Today, the excuse is Hamas. But we should also consider Israeli conduct in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority acts precisely like the model corrupt government of Egypt. So long as the Palestinian Authority is subservient to Israel, there is no problem. But what happens when, as we are seeing right now, Palestinians get tired of the oppression and rebel against both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli oppression? If we have opened this type of narrative as a policy choice, then the logic of transfer can easily be extended to the West Bank, especially in light of what is happening there right now. Itamar Ben-Gvir has bragged about distributing weapons to one thousand settlers while the Western world preoccupies itself with making sure that the Israeli Goliath is safe from the small David that confronts it in Gaza.


Israel has one of the most advanced militaries on earth. Israel has military industries. Israel manufactures its own tanks. It manufactures its own fighter jets. It has one of the most advanced surveillance and intelligence military industries in the world. Even if we exaggerate Hamas' strengths to the extreme, we are talking about weaponry that could not even resist an army in World War II. When we talk about Hamas, we are talking about rockets, missiles, and guns.


So, as the world concerns itself with the safety of Goliath, no one pays attention to the systematic attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian fields and homes in the West Bank. Only this week, one thousand Palestinians in the West Bank were displaced because their village was destroyed by Israeli settlers. In fact, the Israeli settlers are already applying the logic advocated by the Israeli Ministry of intelligence in the West Bank. They are, with the protection of the Israeli army, regularly attacking Palestinian villages, destroying Palestinian homes, and murdering Palestinian villagers, all to spread terror and fear. As I have mentioned, they are distributing leaflets that say, "Leave. The second Nakba is coming." All of this is particularly significant because of how the world frequently mishandles a discourse it does not understand, and entirely ignores a discourse that it could understand. 


When it comes to Muslims, no sophistication or discernment is needed. Muslims can be stereotyped and caricatured. In the case of Israel, however, what we allow to pass is truly astounding. When this campaign started, Netanyahu stood before the world and announced that Israel was going to launch a campaign against “the people of darkness.” In this brief statement, Netanyahu clearly posited the Israelis as “people of light” and the other side as people of darkness. Netanyahu also made a significant reference to the promise of Isaiah, saying that Isaiah promised that Israel will be an eternal country, that the borders of the state will be secure, and, importantly, that the enemies of this state will be ruined and destroyed. As Netanyahu was about to unleash this violence, he referred to chapter 60, verse 18:


"No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders. But you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise."


What comes before this reference in Isaiah, before the reference to having stable and secure borders, is what Netanyahu clearly has in mind. I refer to Isaiah Chapter 60, verse 14:


"The children of your oppressors will come bowing before you. All who despise you will bow down at your feet." 


There is no inevitability to the way that Netanyahu interprets this Biblical reference. One could interpret this reference not as Isaiah speaking about the modern state of Israel, but as Isaiah speaking about the state of Israel that existed historically and has since expired. Isaiah, as a prophet, existed before the Babylonians destroyed the Temple, so Isaiah, or the prophecies of Isaiah, could simply be describing a historical past with no relevance to our present moment. But the fact that Netanyahu referred to Isaiah's promise and interpreted Isaiah normatively—-"Isaiah promised us a state that will be eternal, that will have secure borders, and that will have secure borders by subjugating its enemies and bringing them bowing before our feet"—-is very dangerous. 


Imagine if a Muslim would have made this type of reference. Imagine the reaction of the entire world. The entire world would say, "So, you are not interested in giving these people their rights? You are only interested in subjugating them. It is clear that you were never interested in peace. You were always interested in vanquishing, conquering, controlling, and subjugating your enemy." But it is different here, of course, because it is Netanyahu, and because Netanyahu is obviously playing to the religious parties that are his allies. 


I do not believe for a second that Netanyahu himself cares about what the Old Testament or the Torah says. But Netanyahu is talking to the Itamar Ben-Gvirs of the world. Netanyahu is talking to the Israeli settlers of the world. Netanyahu is talking to the think tanks in Israel that base and anchor their ideology on a particular reading of the Bible. It is very dangerous logic. It is a logic of saying, "God not only promised us this land, but promised that we will deal with those who, in any way, constitute trouble for us through subjugation, not negotiation." Keep this in mind. Netanyahu began this campaign with a reference to Isaiah, and religious parties and think tanks know exactly what he is talking about. Right wingers in the Israeli military know exactly what he is talking about. No quarter is to be given to the enemy, nor are any rights to be recognized in the other. You have a right to secure territory while giving zero rights to the other. The only option you accept from the other is, "Bow at our feet."


The dangers of this logic are endless. It is not just what they attribute to Isaiah, because I do not believe that any of this is authentic to Isaiah. But keep in mind what was promised to Solomon. In the Bible, Solomon built the Second Temple, the same temple the Israelis believe is under the al-Aqsa Mosque. Recall that what led to this entire tragedy is that Israeli settlers kept violating the sanctity of the al-Aqsa Mosque, week after week. Everyone wants to ignore that. Hamas kept saying, time and again, "We will not tolerate this. We are warning you. Stop violating the sanctity of the al-Aqsa Mosque." Unlike the Saudis and the Emiratis, who do not give a hoot about any sacred site—-the Saudis, after all, turned Khadijah's home into public toilets—-there are plenty of Muslims, including Palestinians, who care deeply about the al-Aqsa Mosque. In the Bible, Solomon built the Second Temple, so when Isaiah makes a reference to the Holy Land, Isaiah is not referring to the Holy Land of Netanyahu, but to the Holy Land of Solomon, the builder of the Second Temple. What is the problem? Genesis Chapter 15, verse 18, reads:


"On that day, the Lord made a covenant with Abraham and said to Abraham, 'To your descendants, I give this land, from the wadi of Egypt, to the Great River, the Euphrates."


The danger in the logic that Netanyahu invoked is that in the promise God made to Solomon, the so-called “Promised Land” is not the present country of Israel with its current borders. It is, in fact, as according to the Torah, the covenant given to Solomon, which extends the Nile to the Euphrates. 


Either Netanyahu means what he says or he does not. What I am inviting you to consider, however, is if a Muslim invoked these types of implications. If this was the Qur'an, not the Old Testament, imagine how many talking heads would be warning the world about the “Muslim threat,” about the Muslim belief that God gave them a covenant between the Nile and the Euphrates, land that includes not just Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq, but even parts of Turkey. 


I do not know if Netanyahu believes in the Solomon Covenant, and this is part of the problem with the religious far-right that wants to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque. Reclaiming the Kingdom of Solomon is not just about destroying the al-Aqsa Mosque to build the Third Temple. It is an aggressive and imperialistic colonial project. It is not a theology of coexistence and tolerance. It is a theology of domination and subjugation. "Bow at my feet." 


Again, I am not one of those who thinks that just because it is in the Bible, all religious Jews must believe it. There are many interpretive ways to avoid these imperialistic and inhumane implications. But I am saying that for Netanyahu to invoke Isaiah's promise at the beginning of a slaughter; for Netanyahu to invoke Isaiah's promise as we keep hearing Israeli agencies talk about transferring Palestinians to Egypt; for Netanyahu to invoke Isaiah's promise as we keep hearing talking heads consider the nuclear option; for Netanyahu to invoke the Isaiah promise as Ben-Gvir distributes weapons to fanatical settlers; as Netanyahu invokes Isaiah’s promise as these settlers distribute leaflets saying, "Leave, this is not your home, the second Nakba is coming;" in light of all of this, if the West had an iota of conscience, ethics, or morality, the West would pause and say, "Even if we believe Hamas to be religious fanatics, you are no less fanatical. Your program, if you really mean what you are saying, is inhumane, dangerous, and criminal." The West would not support this government so unequivocally, so absolutely. What is truly terrifying, though, is that there are indications that the West is not oblivious to these plans. There are signs that at least some parties in the West are entirely onboard with these plans.


Dennis Ross published an article in the New York Times that, I think, is one of the most dangerous and scariest of modern history. In this article, Dennis Ross says, "I wanted to go to the Middle East to convince our Arab allies to moderate their reaction to what Israel is doing," but he continues, "To my great surprise, I was so happy, as I went from one capital in the Arab world to another, I found that while these governments are publicly condemning the violence, they are actually cheering Israel along to destroy Hamas and to end the Palestinian resistance once and for all. They are saying that if the way to end the resistance is to transfer Gaza’s population, so be it." Dennis Ross, an American diplomat more Zionist than Kissinger, was thrilled. In another interview, Jared Kushner said something similar. We know that the Emiratis are formally and publicly against the Palestinians. But Kushner says, "I found my Saudi friends fully supportive of Israel and eager to continue the ‘peace talks' after Israel destroys the resistance of Gaza."


Do you really think, if you destroy Hamas, that the resistance in Gaza will end? That is why there is the transfer option. It is because Israel knows fully well that misery begets resistance, and that the life of Palestinians in Gaza is already absolutely miserable. So they know that, Hamas or no Hamas, people will resist. That is why, again, we return to the logic of “Bow before me.” But let me be very clear, whether we talk about population transfer or the nuclear option, in either case, we are talking about genocide.


The term "genocide" itself is from two Latin words. "Geno" means "type," "race," "tribe," and "cide," "killing." The lawyer who invented this term was searching for a word to describe the destruction of entire populations and cultures in World War II. The very idea of the Genocide Convention is that it is a crime against humanity, an absolute war crime, a non-derivable crime. In other words, there are no exceptions to the prohibition. If you transfer a population, if you kill en masse, if you effectively prevent a population from freely existing and living, that is the crime of genocide. So, the terrifying possibility is that it is not just the religious far-right that is in favor of a genocide against the Palestinians. So, too, are the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. If Ross and Kushner are to be believed, it is also the King of Jordan and the Prime Minister of Tunisia.


The logic of terror, oppression, and subjugation is as infectious as evil itself. Recently, some of the most prominent law firms in the U.S. came together and, taking their cue from the Biden administration, took a stand against alleged “anti-Semitism” on U.S. campuses. These law firms have forgotten the Constitution. They have forgotten human rights conventions. They have forgotten the guarantees of liberty and freedom of speech. For years, we were lectured repeatedly about how it was Muslims who did not understand freedom of speech. Now, these law firms have come together to say, in effect, that if you oppose or demonstrate against the genocide taking place in Gaza, you will be blacklisted. You will be punished for exercising your right to freedom of speech.


This is coming from our lawyers and our President. This is from the people who have repeatedly told the entire world, smugly and arrogantly, "We are civilized because we believe in freedom of speech." On the very issue of genocide, however, there is no freedom of speech. There is no freedom of opinion. It reminds me of Isaiah's promise to Israel's enemies. "You will bow before my gate." The logic is infectious. Netanyahu tells the Palestinians, "You shall bow," and U.S. law firms tell supporters of Palestine, "You shall bow before us. Do not dare to open your mouth. Do not dare to think freely. Bow before us. Do what we want and tell us what we want to hear."


Notice that what allows the genocide against the Palestinians is repression, subjugation, and despotism. What allows genocide is for darkness to do what it wants without accountability, without oversight, and without the light of truth shining upon it. The very logic of genocide is the logic of subjugation. It is the logic of Isaiah's promise: "You will bow, but in order for you to bow, I cannot be held accountable. You cannot investigate my crimes. I will not allow you to have the power to say, 'Do not kill children, do not kill women, do not bomb hospitals, do not bomb ambulances.'" We see the same logic of repression and oppression from the law firms in the U.S. that have come together to tell law students, "Shut up and do what you are told." It is the same logic of intimidation, subjugation, and harassment from the Canary Mission that tells college professors, "Do not dare think for yourself. Do not dare object or protest, or you will lose your job." 


It is also the root cause of the evil of Arab rulers. Why are Arab rulers capable of such duplicity and hypocrisy? Why do they fear the Palestinian resistance? It is because the Palestinian resistance to occupation relies not on entitlement, but on the masses. Without mass support, the Palestinian resistance would vanish in an instant. And mass support is precisely what these Arab leaders do not have. To stay in power, they use the same logic of "Bow at my door." To stay in power, Sisi of Egypt relies on repression and fear. So does the King of Saudi Arabia, the King of the UAE, the King of Jordan, and the Prime Minister of Tunisia. 


The ailment of the Muslim world is the disease of despotism. The crux of the issue, for Muslims, is that we are in a moment in which we have absolutely no say in what happens to the al-Aqsa Mosque or, for that matter, in Mecca or Medina. We, Muslims, are entirely powerless to even protect the home of Khadijah, leave alone all the other Islamic sites that have been destroyed by Saudis or Israelis. We witness the usurpation of the Khalil Mosque, and we are entirely powerless to do anything. We have no say as to how a country with the history and resources of Egypt is ruled. We sit powerlessly as Egypt helps Israel suffocate and subjugate Gaza. We have no say if the Egyptian military decides to accept the bribes and allow the transfer of Palestinians to Egyptian land. We have no say when Saudi Arabia decides, in the midst of the slaughter, to have parties and concerts. We have no say when we read reports that the UAE is sending aircrafts packed with hardware and military aid to Israel. According to Israeli sources, some Emirati pilots have even taken part in the bombings of Gaza. Curiously, the UAE did not even comment. They neither confirmed nor denied. What is our ailment? It is oppression and despotism. Our ailment is that we do not control our fate. We are as far from self-determination as one can possibly get. And what happens when people cannot determine their fate on big issues, on the things that matter? What happens is that people turn stupid. They start becoming pedantic, like mini-robots incapable of true thought or true analysis. 


A young Palestinian student contacted me, saying, "I wanted to have a vigil for the victims of Gaza, but the MSA told me we cannot do so. Not because they are opposed to honoring the victims of Gaza, but because having a vigil is a bid'ah, and there are ‘differences of opinion’ among scholars as to whether a vigil is permissible." This is exactly the type of stupidity that despotism leaves in the minds of the subjugated and oppressed. People are dying en masse. Entire families are being obliterated. But your issue is whether a vigil is a bid'ah? How much more pedantic can one get? The very nature of despotism and subjugation is that it creates the infection of stupidity, narrowness, and the incapacity to reason in even the most straightforward matters. 


“Is a vigil a bid'ah?” Wow.

The Movement to Reinvigorate Beautiful and Ethical Islam has begun.  Join us.

Your donation to The Institute for Advanced Usuli Studies will help fund important work to combat extremism and ignorance. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity dedicated to research and education to promote humanistically beautiful and morally elevating interpretations of Islam. We seek to support our brightest minds to advance knowledge and to build a community of individuals founded on dignity, respect and love for all of God's creation. See The Usuli Institute Credo for our statement of values. Please give generously to support a beautiful, reasonable and vibrantly human Islam for future generations to come. All donations are tax-deductible and zakat eligible.


Subscribe to Our E-mail List for Weekly updates and Latest News: