How Many People Would You Be Willing To Kill For The Safety Of Your Own People?

Every group nurses resentments. For instance, Jews hate Nazis because of the Holocaust (the murder of six million European Jews during WWII).

On the other hand, many Ukrainians and other Europeans hate Jews because of the Jewish role in carrying out Stalin’s genocides, including the Ukrainian famine (which killed 1-6 million Ukrainians).

As a convert to Judaism in 1993, it seems to me that the dominant view of the Holocaust that I have seen is that an irrational evil overcame Germans during the Nazi era and they acted in ways that cannot be comprehended, but because of the Nazis, all expressions of prejudice and bigotry and racism must be fought as if our own lives are at stake. I’ve learned that there’s a straight line between saying you want no more immigrants of a particular type and genocide.

Over the past 18 months, I’ve shifted from a worldview based primarily on good and evil (with my group the embodiment of goodness and my enemies the embodiment of evil) to trying to understand clashing group interests.

Now suppose that you have good reason to believe that the survival of your people is at risk. How many people would you be willing to kill to protect your people? I think every nationalist worth his salt is willing to go to extreme ends to protect his people.

I assume that most of my readers are Jewish and care about the Jewish state. How many people would you be willing to kill to protect Israel from destruction? What if preserving Israel required a nuclear first-strike on Iran and the death of a million Iranians? Would you do it or would you let Iran hit Israel first with nuclear weapons?

To be a nationalist means that you are willing to commit genocide, if necessary, to preserve your own people.

I look at the world by extending everything I want for my group, Jews, to every other group. If I am willing to do anything to preserve the health and safety of my group with little regard for the consequences of other groups, then I expect other groups to be similarly single-minded. I never lose sleep, for instance, over Muslim suffering. Therefore, I don’t expect non-Jews to lose any sleep over Jewish suffering.

I believe in God and Torah and in the existence of the cosmic categories of good and evil, but I don’t find this useful in analyzing the world. I can call the current Iranian regime evil, but what does that do for me? It recruits me to want to obliterate it at all cost.

On the other hand, by looking at the world as filled with competing group interests, then Iran’s seeking nuclear weapons seems completely rational. They want to preserve their people as badly as I want to preserve mine. In this way of looking at the world, there are no good guys and no bad guys. It doesn’t matter how morally a particular people organizes themselves. All that matters is how much of a threat they are likely to pose to other groups.

You don’t have to look far to see that neo-cons are willing for America to fight an unlimited number of wars, and that the welfare of Israel is at the top of their concerns. In short, they are willing to kill an unlimited number of people to preserve Israel.

This does not shock, appall or horrify me. It just seems to me like an expression of self-interest and many of the people who lead this fight are friends and acquaintances of mine.

I prefer my group, Jews, to all others, but I don’t think we’re necessarily more righteous than any other group. We have different strengths and weaknesses compared to other groups such as WASPs, Asians, Blacks, Muslims, etc.

I would not be shocked if the Jewish state was in the center of the world’s next nuclear war.

I doubt that America would have been hit on 9/11 if not for its support for Israel. I doubt it is in America’s interests to choose sides in Middle East conflicts.

If I had to choose a political scientist I most agree with about world power struggles, it would be the realist John J. Mearsheimer.

Robert Parry writes from the Left:

Buoyed by the Republican electoral victories, America’s neocons hope to collect their share of the winnings by pushing President Barack Obama into escalating conflicts around the world, from a new Cold War with Russia to hot wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and maybe Iran.

The new menu of neocon delights was listed by influential neocon theorist Max Boot in a blog post for Commentary magazine, an important outlet for neocon thinking. Boot argued that the Republicans – and thus the neocons – have earned a mandate on national security policy from the electoral repudiation of Obama’s Democratic Party.

Ali Gharib writes for The Daily Beast:

What was most amazing, though, about Boot’s post was the other subject on which he said the pro-Israel lobby had failed: Iran. Boot himself has advocated for a strike and (perhaps) projects this on pro-Israel groups, calling Iran’s nuke program "their (and Israel’s) top issue." (Actually, AIPAC’s perennial top priority is aid for Israel, which Hagel voted for at every instance, perhaps explaining why the group sat out the fight.) Noting that the U.S. just participated in another round of talks with Iran, Boot writes: "This is a far cry from what Israel—and for that matter America’s Gulf Arab allies—would like to see, which is American air strikes to cripple the Iranian nuclear program." He then keeps digging, adding that "if the ‘Zionist Lobby’ actually ran American foreign policy—as so many seem to imagine—it is puzzling why such strikes have not yet been undertaken." I’m old enough to remember when saying that pro-Israel groups (and indeed Israel itself) want war with Iran was enough to get right-wingers to accuse you of anti-Semitism. Of course, AIPAC is busy itself pushing (non-binding) hawkish resolutions on Iran, but it’s always helpful to have Max Boot clarifying the pro-Israel lobby’s goals for us.

Patrick Buchanan wrote in March 24, 2003: “A neoconservative clique seeks to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interest.”

Ari Shavit writes April 3, 2003 for Haaretz: “In the course of the past year, a new belief has emerged in the town: the belief in war against Iraq. That ardent faith was disseminated by a small group of 25 or 30 neoconservatives, almost all of them Jewish, almost all of them intellectuals (a partial list: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Eliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer), people who are mutual friends and cultivate one another and are convinced that political ideas are a major driving force of history. They believe that the right political idea entails a fusion of morality and force, human rights and grit. The philosophical underpinnings of the Washington neoconservatives are the writings of Machiavelli, Hobbes and Edmund Burke. They also admire Winston Churchill and the policy pursued by Ronald Reagan. They tend to read reality in terms of the failure of the 1930s (Munich) versus the success of the 1980s (the fall of the Berlin Wall).”

I’m not a foreign policy maven, but it seems to me that anyone who advocated invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and trying to remake these countries as democracies is discredited and should not be listened to regarding Iran.

Philip Weiss writes August 1, 2010:

Gareth Porter at responds forcefully to Reuel Marc Gerecht, at the Weekly Standard, calling on Israel to bomb Iran. Again, I ask, when is this type of discussion going to happen in the mainstream media, so that Americans can sort out what they really want?

the aim of Gerecht and of the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu is to support an attack by Israel so that the United States can be drawn into direct, full-scale war with Iran.

That has long been the Israeli strategy for Iran, because Israel cannot fight a war with Iran without full U.S. involvement. Israel needs to know that the United States will finish the war that Israel wants to start.

Gerecht openly expresses the hope that any Iranian response to the Israeli attack would trigger full-scale U.S. war against Iran. "If Khamenei has a death-wish, he’ll let the Revolutionary Guards mine the strait, the entrance to the Persian Gulf," writes Gerecht. "It might be the only thing that would push President Obama to strike Iran militarily…." Gerecht suggest that the same logic would apply to any Iranian "terrorism against the United States after an Israeli strike," by which we really means any attack on a U.S. target in the Middle East. Gerecht writes that Obama might be "obliged" to threaten major retaliation "immediately after an Israeli surprise attack."

That’s the key sentence in this very long Gerecht argument. Obama is not going to be "obliged" to join Israeli aggression against Iran unless he feels that domestic political pressures to do so are too strong to resist. That’s why the Israelis are determined to line up a strong majority in Congress and public opinion for war to foreclose Obama’s options….

The idea of waging a U.S. war of destruction against Iran is obvious lunacy, which is why U.S. military leaders have strongly resisted it both during the Bush and Obama administrations. But Gerecht makes it clear that Israel believes it can use its control of Congress to pound Obama into submission. Democrats in Congress, he boasts, "are mentally in a different galaxy than they were under President Bush." Even though Israel has increasingly been regarded around the world as a rogue state after its Gaza atrocities and the commando killings of unarmed civilians on board the Mavi Marmara, its grip on the U.S. Congressappears as strong as ever

Allan C. Brownfeld writes in March of 2010:

In The Transparant Cabal, Sniegoski has provided an in-depth, scholarly analysis of the role the neoconservatives played in taking this country to war. Frequently, those who point to these facts are accused of “anti-Semitism.” Sniegoski makes clear that the vast majority of Jewish Americans reject the neoconservative position, along with that of Israel’s right-wing. Indeed, some of the most articulate critics of the neoconservatives are Jewish. Whereas the general American population, according to a Gallup Poll conducted in February 2007, opposed the Iraq war by a margin of 56 to 42 percent Jewish opposition was as high as 77 percent.

From February 16, 2015: “Looking at a map of current American military engagements overseas, one cannot help but notice their wide geographical spread and their seemingly interminable nature. Battles have raged in Europe (Yugoslavia and Ukraine), in Africa, in the Middle East, and in central Asia. The American Empire has launched this country into a series of battles that have no end in sight and no location that may not become a focal point of military force.”

Because of my simple worldview regarding conflicting group interests, it is easy for me to understand other nationalists.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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