Uri Grossman, 20 years of age, was killed today in Lebanon. He was a tank commander and his tank was hit by an anti-tank weapon, one of the key weapons used by Hizbullah. There is a tragedy I won’t get into here in that Israel has developed an anti-anti-tank weapon system but reportedly for budgetary reasons it is not in use in the IDF. Maybe they should rethink how many F-16s they need.

Uri, one of 115 soldiers killed in Lebanon in this war, was the son of famous Israeli author, David Grossman, who has written numerous books and articles over the years which have met with great critical success both in Israel and numerous other countries. David Grossman is famous also for his left-wing views and his vocal support of dovish views on the conflict in the Middle East, particularly with the Palestinians.

When the war in Lebanon began a number of weeks ago, Grossman supported Israel’s attack and claimed it was justified. However, only several days ago, he came out publicly, together with other prominent Israeli authors, Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua, to say to the Israeli government that it should not widen its attack inside Lebanon.

“The argument that an Israeli presence on the Litani (River) would prevent the firing of missiles on Israel is an illusion. Even the argument that we mustn’t give Hizbullah a sense of security has been irrelevant for a long time. Hizbullah wishes to see us sink deeper into the Lebanese swamp,” Grossman said.

“Now we must look three steps ahead and not to the regular direction, not to the familiar, instinctive reaction of the Israeli way of fighting – that is, what doesn’t work with force will work with much more force,” Grossman said. “Force, in this case, will fan the flames of hatred to Israel in the region and the entire world, and may even, heaven forbid, create the situation that will bring upon us the next war and push the Middle east to an all-out, regional war.”

“Had they proposed to us (Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad) Siniora’s agreement a month ago, wouldn’t we have received it gladly and with cries of joy? We won’t receive a better offer than this, even after we pulverize the rest of Lebanon and ourselves.”

“I think that the temptation to adopt the way of force is a default option. I think a little modesty in the Middle East wouldn’t hurt us and I hope that the fact we’re being exposed to the limits of our power these days would lead us to act modestly,” Grossman added. “There’s no chance for dialogue with Hizbullah, but there’s certainly a chance with the Lebanese government and with Syria.”

“Maybe it’s worthwhile for us, for a change, not to break their arm during negotiations, but rather, engage in genuine dialogue,” Grossman said. “This is a weapon we haven’t used yet, and when an enemy turns to an enemy out of respect for the other’s anxieties, it could have an immense impact.”

My deepest condolences to this fine and good man who had the courage to stand up and speak his mind about the war. I cannot imagine a greater tragedy than that which has befallen him and his family and it especially breaks the heart to know that this is a man who has spent his life fighting for peace and reconciliation.

However, that is not all this post is about. This post is also about some sick people who have come to believe that their cause is so just that they can attack a man on the day his son dies defending Israel from its enemies. Reading the comments sections in the various articles about the death of Uri Grossman, one is touched by the many heartfelt condolences and expressions of sympathy and pain. One cannot avoid also reading the angry comments of some who believe this is a good time to speak to Mr. Grossman angrily about his political views.

The gist of the comments is as follows: you, Grossman, and your lefty friends have caused the death of your own son and are reaping what you have sown with your peacenik views. By being dovish, you have brough disaster upon Israel, including Oslo, suicide bombings the disengagement, Qassems, and of course, this war with Hizbullah. Take your lumps, including the death of your son and recognize it’s all your fault.

Of course, the key in there is the disengagement. Many of the comments reflect anger that people like Grossman support and supported it and view the disengagement as part and parcel of the weakening of Israel and even (incredibly, since it makes no sense) this current war with Hizbullah.

Of course, these people are wrong. However, it is not that they are wrong so much as it is their puerile, putrid, cancer-like, bilious hatred that is so offensive. A man’s son dies defending Israel on the day a cease fire his father sought and encouraged comes into play, and instead of feeling the pain of this man and the pain of a father who has given the ultimate sacrifice for Israel and for their right to live openly as Jews in a Jewish state, they attack him. What a disgusting thing to do. What a shameful act. These people are lower than cockroaches.

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  • When people set themselves up as “representatives of the public” and presume to speak for the masses – they can be criticised in public.

    That’s the way it goes. If Grossman didn’t want the attention, he shouldn’t have stepped into the spotlight.

    The left-leaning media in Israel has no problem sticking microphones into mourning parents’ faces when it is relatively confident of getting a scrap of raw emotional flesh that will promote its agenda.

    Only when things don’t go their way – like the mourning sister who called on soldiers to refuse service for another expulsion – only then do they suddenly get all pious about The Mourning Family.

    Middle, I appreciate your concern. But Grossman had already inserted himself into the public discourse.

  • Ben David, if tomorrow the son of one of the heads of Yesha is killed in battle, would you justify heinous attacks on him that he has reaped this deserved loss of his son because he is a settler and in the public discourse?

  • At some level, I’ve always felt like I knew Uri–because I assumed that there was a big chunk of him in the protagonist’s of David’s books. Like The Zig Zag Kid and Someone to Run With.

    Every death of a soldier is heartbreaking, but with few personal connections to Israel–this is the closest person to me who has died.

    May his memory be a blessing.

  • There are times when we are obligated to set aside even the most intense political disagreements to honor another’s suffering. If we can’t react with kindness and compassion to a parent when his child is killed, we have traded our humanity for a disgusting kind of verbal revenge. We must not do this to one another. “Political criticism” simply doesn’t include kicking a man when he’s doubled over in grief.

  • I fail to see how asking for peace could get his son killed…the cease-fire didn’t kill his son, the mishandling of the war did, of which Uri or David had no control over.

    Regardless, he just lost his son so there is no justification for thrusting political views in his face and saying, “You did it!” Every parent at the death of a child will always blame themself, citing that they did not do enough, even when this is rarely, if ever, the truth. They don’t need someone adding to it.

    Likewise, there was an article in the Jerusalem Post the other day where a mother spoke of how she has lost her son to a terrorist attack and was signing her other son up for service…and was against the cease-fire. People had no problem of taking her grief and blaming her policies on her.

    There are rarely times when it is justifiable to do this, especially in Israel’s case. Excluding Cindy Sheehan here in the US, when a parent protests a war or supports a war based upon the recent death of her child, we should not use this as political foder. The debate will go on for months…there is no reason to use the most recent development as leverage in “making your case.”

  • Sympathies to the family…every death is tragic.

    Everywhere I went, someone was either reading Grossman’s “Someone to Run With,” or talking about the film, which had just premiered at the Jerusalem Film Festival. He’s made an impact on the country…I bought two copies of the book, one for me and one for my sister-in-law, in Hebrew, and I’m going to try to get through it before the end of the calendar year…

    Here’s a Salon.com review of the book, fyi.

  • Middle wrote:
    Ben David, if tomorrow the son of one of the heads of Yesha is killed in battle, would you justify heinous attacks on him that he has reaped this deserved loss of his son because he is a settler and in the public discourse?
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – either you didn’t see it because your don’t live here, or else you have cleansed from your memory the Israeli media’s caustic, excoriating coverage of the expulsion – and its equally withering, pitiless treatment of parents whose kids were beaten by policemen at Amona.

    I wouldn’t justify such action – but those are the rules of the game in rough-and-tumble Israeli political discourse. And the Left that Grossman represents (and that controls our media) is largely responsible for lowering our public discourse to this coarse, invasively personal level – largely to avoid having to argue the facts.

    Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  • I think Grossman was quite right actually. What was the point of this meaningless push to the Litani in which 34 soldiers were killed,but accomplished very little. hopefully both the right wing and left will now call for Olmerts head.

  • Wtf? Ben David, you are actually comparing what happened at Amona to defending Israel in a tank in Lebanon? You actually compare the death of an IDF soldier in battle to kids breaking the law? You’re comparing a father who opposed government policy and spoke out openly against it but permitted his son to fight for that policy and government because of his support for its system of law and government to people who openly dismiss the government, violate its laws and at times compare its institutions to those of the Third Reich?

    The disengagement did not cost a life; it has saved lives. That certain people have chosen to depict it as a pogrom is unfortunate and false but even if they were right, this still doesn’t compare to the loss of a son and certainly not a loss in war when a cease fire is about to take place.

    I am astounded I have to spell this out.

  • Why when there are some highly intelligent people in israel, do you people keep voting for butchers like sharon, olmert, begin, etc etc. your pathetic excuse of an army IDF, has been beaten to a pulp.And rightly so the Hezballah are announcing victory, with there infastructure still intact, there leadership still intact, (and riding a wave of support all the way from the Lebanon to the deepest reccess’s of Africa ), still capable of firing rockets into israel.Israeli righ wing zionist media churning out absolute bullshit about 30,000 idf in lebanon, that’s a joke, there are barely a 1000 troops there. And getting to the litani river,excuse me, they are barely 4 killometers inland, and are leaving “so called captured land” like it was going out of fashion.When you are a soldier and you go to battle, expect to die because the battleground is a dangerous place, whosever son you are death is but a blinking of an eye away from you. I kiss the skirt of the dresse’s of the mothers whose brave sons fought to defend the Lebanon.Victory indeed is to resistance..

  • hassan: what you ought to be doing is kissing the skirt of the dresses of the mothers whose brave sons serve with the IDF and who taught their sons not to be murderous, deceptive little cowards. The IDF fought with honor and took casualties so as to spare Lbanese civilian lives.

    The IDF has enough firepower to turn Lebanon and Syria into a giant parking lot without a sweat and still be back in time for Friday night dinner. So yes. Feel free to declare this yet another victory for your side. Whatever good all your other “victories” have done for you and your people.

  • Hassan, are you kidding? Although many consider this war a “loss” by Israel, it is only a loss because they didn’t completely annihilate Hizbulllah and couldn’t remove the rocket threat without, as ck, says, turning Lebanon into a parking lot. Oh, and nobody believes the bullshit about 1000 troops. Or do you actually believe Hizbullah’s claims that they lost 30 soldiers?

  • Middle – done with your tirade (and congrats on the gratuitous Holocaust reference)?

    Returning to reality:
    I did not compare Amona to the current war – I compared the MEDIA’s treatment of people – especially grieving parents – in various similar situations.

    Again, because you don’t live here, you probably missed the media’s highly politicized use of personal tragedy throughout this war, and previously. The left-leaning media has had no problem invading the dignity of a mourning family to extract an emotional, discouraging quote – which is then broadcast repeatedly. It completely ignores parents who’ve expressed stoic support for the war effort – a message which, although the overwhelming opinion of most Israelis, does not fit the IBA’s defeatist agenda. And when grieving families criticized Olmert’s stupic, divisive remark about the expulsion – the media immediately piled on with criticism of the bereaved, using a variation of your own argument: a sudden, pious concern for the Dignity of the Deceased was summoned up out of nowhere to silence dissenting opinion.

    You also seem to have missed the fawning and highly politicized items about the Grossman tragedy that ran repeatedly in our media in the 24 hours surrounding young Uri’s funeral.

    We have gotten into this mess largely through such misplaced sympathy – repeated attempts to “understand” the “pain” of brutes who would destroy us, the media’s carefully cropped invitations to pity the “suffering” of Arab aggressors instead of their victims, and the demonizing of patriotic Israelis who spoke the truth about the secular messianism of peace – all these weakened our national self-confidence, invited attack, and have undercut our ability to defend ourselves.

    It is therefore the greatest, truest mercy to discredit as fully as possible the David Grossmans and their pie-in-the-sky. The dreamers who sent Uri and his brothers on a fool’s errand.

    It is just as acceptable for the truth-tellers of the right to use the Grossman family’s story to dramatize its points as it is for the leftist dreamers to do so – and they most certainly did, although you may not have seen or heard it, middle.

    Oh, and middle – are you SURE you want to assert at this late date that the disengament “saved lives”? When there is almost wall-to-wall agreement that it telegraphed weakness and precipitated the recent attacks? In an article that springs from one of the casualties that have resulted?

    You’re not the only one who’s “astounded I have to spell this out”.

  • Come on, the media is not the issue here and you know it. The issue is a simple one: people who take a man who has lost his son who was defending Israel in war, and attacking that man. This is disgusting on any level, not to mention hypocritical. You’ll note you still haven’t provided a direct response to my question as to whether you would justify heinous attacks on a Yesha leader who would lose a son.

    If you want to call it politicization, go ahead. The excuse, however, doesn’t cover up the terrible misdeed.

    The suggestion, also, that it is people like the Grossmans or others like them who are to blame for the current state of things is ridiculous at best. You mean to say there was no Arab war with Israel, terrorism against Israel, Palestinians at war with Israel, problematic military situations for Israel in Lebanon, etc., etc. prior to ’94?! You mean to say that during those years when Begin, Shamir and Netanyahu ruled over Israel all was swell in the Promised Land? Your memory seems to be a bit on the self-serving short side.

    First of all, the Left is responsible for many things, but then again, so is the Right. Second, neither is responsible for the state of war with the Arabs…because the Arabs are responsible for that. Third, the Arabs are also responsible for the nature of said war, having a penchant as we see with both Hizbullah and the Palestinian groups to hide behind civilians while targeting civilians.

    And yes, Ben David, I stand by my claim that the disengagement from Gaza saved lives. Perhaps even many lives.

  • Middle – I see you are busy on other more recent threads, so I will be brief:

    For me the media – and the political/politicized climate has created – definitely is the issue.

    I thought I had made it clear in my first reply that I most definitely do NOT endorse such grandstanding with a grieving family. But the fact is that this is exactly what the left-leaning media do here, all the time. In that context, it is unfair to criticize only one side for being out of line – especially when it’s the side without the megaphone of mass media or the club of government monopoly behind it.

    Selectively applied mercy, and selectively applied indignation, are the tools of demagoguery. They have been used consistently over the past 15-20 years to undermine Israeli self-confidence and undercut our just self-defense.

    They were used to kick in the teeth of grieving parents who didn’t hold the “correct” opinions, or who weren’t in the “right” camp – and denigrate their personal loss.

    None of it is pretty – but if one side can use personal tragedies to make political points, so can the other side.

    You are invited to move here and experience our media before latching on to partial reports that fit your own prejudices.

  • Ben David, after reading my writing for a while, do you still feel comfortable trying to educate me about Israeli media? Don’t you find it silly? I do.

    Anyway, I’m glad to hear you say that you oppose these attacks on people like Grossman. I will simply add that they are wrong and casting the blame on the Left won’t get you anywhere. These were inexcusable attacks on Grossman and those who made them should be ashamed.

  • TM wrote:
    Ben David, after reading my writing for a while, do you still feel comfortable trying to educate me about Israeli media?
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Well, obviously yes – because you still are cherry-picking reports that match your own prejudices, and still are missing (or unwilling to admit) the larger picture.

    More TM:
    Don’t you find it silly?
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Your assumption that you have a more clear/comprehensive view than people actually living here?

    Yes, I find that silly… and presumptious.

  • Cherry picking? Of course. If you want to read a newspaper, go ahead. Oh wait, they also “cherry pick.” I write about what interests me, you comment about what interests you. And your response about the “silly” part evades the question and brings up an issue I believe is addressed numerous times on this site…by my posts.

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