Today, as I undergo a medical procedure to help alleviate complications from cancer, I offer lessons I have learned from my encounter with this deadly disease that could help fight Hamas and achieve peace in Israel and Gaza, as we cycle around the sun in marvelous and wondrous precision with miracles of the Earth and Cosmos that surround us every day of our lives.
In the old days, chemotherapy was one of the only modalities to treat cancer, without which the patient would usually succumb to the disease. Chemotherapy is a blunt force instrument, taking a sledgehammer to parts of the body infected with cancer that destroys those areas where the cancer has spread. Since there were few alternatives, chemotherapy was almost always used when the cancer metastasized. The problem with this treatment is that it sometimes fails to kill the cancer cells, or even if it does, in the process, it kills so many healthy cells that the patient dies from the treatment, or even if it survives, the body is left so debilitated that living is not desirable due to the loss of any meaningful quality of life.
Today, we have a new breakthrough in the treatment of cancer called “immunotherapy” in which the immune system and natural defenses of the patient’s own body are mobilized to fight the cancer from within. Without involving the death of healthy cells and entire bodily systems such as lungs, kidneys or other vital organs, immunotherapy offers a much more promising outlook for the patient; a much higher cure rate, ever approaching the elusive 100%, and results in a greatly improved quality of life for the patient than traditional chemotherapy. I am most grateful to the brilliant scientists, cancer researchers and doctors whose evolving knowledge allows them to make maximum use of the gift of science to better understand and defeat the cancer genome.
We can apply the lessons in the fight against cancer in our battle against Hamas and other terrorist groups. If a large, identifiable mass of cancer can be located in the body, doctors often begin treatment with surgery to remove the toxic mass. This is done to spare the body as much as possible from the ravages of cancer and its eradication. Using surgery in every area into which the cancer has spread would cause horrific damage to the body as a whole and kill the patient.
Similarly, after the grisly attack of October 7, Israel began the defense of its nation with surgical strikes against Hamas, which is a cancer among the Palestinian people, when large terrorist activity could be identified. This process is impeded as Hamas, like cancer, remains elusive, by hiding and integrating its terrorist cells among the Palestinian people, to make its eradication more difficult. However, with rational thinking and genomic research, we can outwit and thus defeat Hamas and other terrorists, just as we are learning to outwit cancer with reason and genomic research.
The DNA of Hamas is found in its charter, which outlines its raison d’etre and its instructions for carrying out its lethal mission. The Hamas charter proudly declares its purpose is to destroy Israel and to kill all Jews. It rejects peace, compromise, and negotiations. Sadly, this toxic mission has metastasized throughout the internet, on the streets of cities around the world, and even to college campuses across America, which subvert the proper role of the university as havens of rational discourse, respect for dialogue and freedom of expression, replacing this with a climate of fear and violence towards Jews, supporters of Israel and others who get in their way.
The Hamas charter borrows heavily from calls to violence from the Koran, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a 19th century anti-Semitic forgery accusing Jews of the ancient, diabolical conspiracy theory of trying to take over the world, and is updated with Nazi imagery, language and propaganda that views Jews as vermin to be eradicated, and the existence of a Jewish state as an affront to Islam.
The incessant chant of Hamas, “From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free” is coded language for its goal to destroy Israel, and to kill all Jews in Israel and throughout the world. As with cancer, the victims of this terrible disease of the mind often do not realize that they have been infected with the virus of hate. Among the dozens of Muslim and Christian nations, one Jewish homeland is too much for those infected with hate, who want to wipe out the Jews as well as the only Jewish state.
Long before the founding of Hamas, when Israel was established in1948, it reached out with open arms seeking peace with her neighbors. This gesture was greeted with the taking up of arms by these neighbors to destroy the fledgling Jewish state and, in their words to, “finish the job begun by Hitler”. During the Holocaust, the leader of the Palestinian Arabs, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, made a pact with Hitler to help him kill the Jews and smiled approvingly when given a tour of the Nazi’s crematoria, which he also viewed as the Final Solution to the Jewish problem.
Hamas continues to waive the black flag of militant Islam to symbolize its cult of death. “We love death more than you love life” proclaimed former Hamas religious and military leader Mohammed Deif, to explain his fondness for the murder of thousands of women, children, and Israeli civilians and why he believed that Hamas would prevail over Israel. Whenever peace between Israel and Palestinians seemed imminent, such as at the founding of the two states of Israel and Palestine, the Oslo accords, Israel’s return of the Sinai and Gaza to Egypt and the Palestinians, or more recently, with the reconciliation between Israel and an increasing number of Muslim nations and peaceful negotiations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, militant Palestinians took dramatic action such as the barbaric atrocities of October 7, 2023 to thwart and literally blow up any chance for peace to prevail.
Hamas hides its cancerous, terrorist cells in houses, schools, hospitals and other civilian areas to maximize death and carnage. It loves death, and the more the better, regardless of who dies, as its leaders live in luxury out of harm’s way in neighboring nations. The only ones rejoicing with all the killing today are the leaders of Hamas, as they celebrate the death of Jews, Israelis and their own people, which they falsely blame on Israel, to spread more hate and venom towards the only free and democratic nation in the Middle East where women are not killed for speaking up or showing their hair, gays are not stoned to death, and one can criticize the government and live to talk about it.
As with cancer, Israel used surgical strikes against identifiable Hamas cells in the immediate aftermath of the horrific atrocities of October 7, 2023. This was followed by the equivalent of chemotherapy, as Israel bludgeoned its way through north Gaza in a desperate effort to free the hostages. This massive bombing and destruction have taken a toll on Hamas but has also devastated the people of Gaza. While Israel has the right to take such action to defend her people and the only Jewish state in the world, and to seek the return of the hostages, it doesn’t mean that this is the right way, or the best way to accomplish this most basic task and obligation of government.
Perhaps Israel should employ the equivalent of immunotherapy, whereby it utilizes healthy sources of peace and democracy within Palestinian society to overwhelm and defeat the lethal forces of Hamas. Such healthy, democratic elements already exist in Israel among the estimated 21% of non-Jews, who identify as Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, Druze, Bedouin, Christians and Muslims, many of whom are Israeli citizens, members of Israel’s Knesset, armed forces, and industries, who form part of the fabric of Israeli society today. Such potential peace partners and leaders can also be found among many non-Jews in the West Bank, who want to enjoy lives of peace, dignity and freedom with their families, want nothing to do with war, and who currently enjoy self-rule in most of their daily affairs.
Some say Jews outside of Israel have no right to critique Israel’s response to Hamas or to share our views, since we don’t live there. This is nonsense as all Jews have a stake in the Jewish homeland. Our support and our love has been critical to Israel’s survival and transcends mere dollars or politics. All Jews are the targets of Hamas, and we all feel the impact of the global anti-Semitism it generates. The democratic, free society of Israel is among America’s closest allies and our strategic partner in the war against terrorist regimes, so America must also be heard, as Israel makes the final decision.
For those who say that peace between Israel and her neighbors is impossible due to conflict and violence that has bedeviled this relationship for years, we need only look at the world today to see the folly in such thinking. The United States counts among our closest allies, Germany and Japan, which during World War II, were our most vicious foes, seemingly implacable enemies who were subjected to hate and racial epithets. Yet today we are at peace. A century ago, Jews, Arabs and others were allies in their common struggle for independence, and we can return to such amicable relations today.
The situation in Israel can perhaps be summed up by the French adage “C’est parfois au cours des heures plus sombres que naisse la plus belle lumiere:” (It is perhaps at the darkest hour, that is born the most beautiful light). The Jewish calendar begins each day at sundown, followed by the dawn as a daily reminder that darkness is always followed by light and the dawn of a new day. For those who think it would take a miracle for Israel and Palestinians to get along, we remember Theodore Herzl, the father of Zionism, who said, “If you will it, it is no dream” and the observation of the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, who famously said “In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.”
For those afflicted with cancer, which used to be a death sentence, we survivors give thanks to the miracle of modern medicine. Modern religion and politics can learn from this miracle to achieve peace in Israel, Gaza and throughout the world. If cancer spreads throughout the body and nothing is done to stop it, the patient will die as reflected in the adage “If Hamas were to lay down its weapons tomorrow there would be no war, but if Israel were to lay down its weapons there would be no Israel.”
Today we have a choice between the military equivalent of chemo or immunotherapy. To preserve the health, wellbeing, and prospects for peace in the region as much as possible, let us encourage Israel to use the military equivalent of immunotherapy, in which the forces of peace among Druze, Bedouin, Muslims, Christians and others are strengthened to form partners for peace from within the body politic to liberate the people of Gaza and the entire region from the cancer of Hamas.
In Spanish, “jamas” means never, and reminds us that “Never again” must not become “ever again”. History has shown that anti-Semitism left unchecked first affects the Jews and then destroys an entire society and the world. Those nations that have blessed the Jews have always been blessed and those nations that curse the Jews have always been cursed. Let us give thanks that today in America the Jews are blessed and let us combat anti-Semitism to keep it this way.
In Hebrew, the language of the Bible, from which the Koran was derived, Hamas means wickedness and violence. It is cited as the reason why all life had to be destroyed in the days of Noah to save humanity and all living things from extinction. While this story is not literally true, and clearly does not hold water, it teaches a truism, that all humans are in the same boat, and if use our human tendency to cooperate and our sense of reason to just say “Noah” to hate, the storms of violence will end and a beautiful rainbow will emerge, which is the symbol of peace and harmony in the Cosmos.