The Lesson

"This is not an expulsion! To understand the difference, you need to truly comprehend the beauty of Sharon's plan. Once you do, I'm sure you'll see the light."

Isaac Kohn,

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"Tali? Did you read the latest headline in Yediot Achronot?"

"No, I didn't, Aaron. What did it say?"

"It said that Prime Minister Sharon is planning another one-sided expulsion as soon as the first is done with."

"First of all, Aaron, the proper word is 'disengagement' not expulsion. Please read my lips: 'dis-en-gage-ment.' Not expulsion. The Nazis expelled the Jews. The Spanish in 1492 expelled the Jews. And Portugal and England and many other countries expelled the Jews. But you know very well that Jews do not expel Jews. Expelling your own brothers and sisters? What's the matter with you? No way! It's just not done. So please don't use the word expulsion."

"You mean, Tali, that forcing 9,000 Jews, men, women, children, the old and the infirm to get out of their homes and towns is not considered an expulsion? Destroying the lives of hundreds of families by forcing them out is not called expulsion? You mean that training the Jewish army to fight, beat and arrest the settlers in order to force them out is not expulsion?"

"No, Aaron! This is not an expulsion! To understand the difference, you need to truly comprehend the beauty of Sharon's plan. Once you do, I'm sure you'll see the light. Prime Minister Sharon said that the plan is one of disengaging from the Palestinians. In other words, we are distancing ourselves from the terrorists. We are cutting the umbilical cord. Since they refuse to stop the terror and since there is no one we can negotiate with and since the army is tired of fighting and since..."

"That's ridiculous, Tali! I get the message you are trying to drill into my head. But it's not going to work. I still think this is an expulsion!"

"Aaron, listen! By expelling... sorry, you see how you got me to also say that word? By inviting the Jews to unwillingly vacate their 25 settlements, we are actually punishing the Palestinians. Don't you see it? We are teaching them a lesson they'll have to live with. We are giving them a 'take-it-or-leave-it' unconditional proposal. Either they stop this war they are conducting against us, or we will punish them by giving them hundreds of beautiful homes, gardens, parks, schools, greenhouses, roads..."

"You said, Tali, that we are punishing them? Hello? Come again, please?"

"That's exactly right! We are punishing them by not asking them, by not consulting with them and by not negotiating with them. We are forcing this on them. They have no choice in the matter. We are the ones who are taking the Jews out and not allowing them to throw them out. Capisce?"

"So, let me understand this clearly, Tali. What I see as expulsion is no more than an invitation to leave and turn everything over to the terrorists, in order that the Jews in Israel will be disengaged from the terrorists, while the terrorists are being punished because the Jews are leaving without asking the Arabs for their consent. And it's not an expulsion because when Jews do it to other Jews, the word changes its meaning. How am I doing so far?"

"Perfect, Aaron. You are beginning to understand. In fact, there is a new Hebrew dictionary published by Sharon's office that has a few new words we must absorb into our vocabulary. It throws a whole new light on many subjects and changes our perception."

"For instance? And don't you dare mention the word 'disengagement'! I am already totally discombobulated by what you tried to explain, so don't make it worse."

"Okay. Okay. Here is another word. Incitement. Do you know what it means?"

"Sure. It means 'to provoke a reaction against others, against a race or against a government.' Incitement is a word meant to ignite passions.'"

"You see, Aaron, you are not keeping pace with the times. That was the old translation. The new dictionary gives a number of new meanings to the word."

"Such as?"

"One explanation says 'any protest, whether loud or in a whisper, which comes from the Right or the settlers or the religious is to be considered an incitement.' The other translation is: 'The Sharon government, in pursuit of its goals, has the right to declare whatever it wants in order to delegitimize its opponents and trample on their basic democratic rights.'"

"Boy, you are confusing me, Tali."

"Pay attention, Aaaron. Here is a third definition."

"Incitement: 'Since one who protests against anti-religious laws and decrees, or voices a contrary opinion regarding the Disengagement Plan is considered an inciter, anyone protesting the harassment, arrest and unlawful incarceration of these peaceful protesters is also to be considered an inciter who is supporting incitement.' Understand, Aaron?"

"You are not for real, are you Tali?"

"You bet I am! Here is another. Ethnic cleansing: 'The deliberate expulsion of Arabs from their homes and/or the removal of Arabs from any area in order to allow others to settle in their place.'"

"Oh, I see. Clearing out Arabs is ethnic cleansing. Throwing out and removing Jews is... What is that called?"

"Well, according to centuries-old interpretation - adopted by Sharon - the removal of Jews is always justified. As such, it's not considered to be ethnic cleansing."

"I see. How stupid of me to harbor different thoughts."

"That's okay, Aaron. Eventually, you'll learn."

"And what, may I ask, is the United States' take on this non-ethnic-cleansing? After all, I know that they are bitterly opposed to the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, Serbia, Tibet and, of course, they oppose anything Israel does in that venue."

"What's the matter with you, Aaron? Are you missing a screw? The US loves the new dictionary. President Bush and company are delighted."

"No kidding? Why are they not objecting to what Sharon is doing to the Jews?"

"Boy, you are thick! I just told you that the removal of Jews isn't, wasn't and never will be considered ethnic cleansing!"

"Oh..."

"Anyway, here is one more word with a short but precise definition. Enemy: 'settlers.' I can go on, but I'm sure you get the gist of what I'm talking about. Listen, Aaron, it doesn't really matter. I believe that Sharon knows exactly what he is doing."

"Oh, I'm sure of that! The problem is that no one else really knows what Sharon is doing. Or why he is doing it. Or..."

"Wait, Aaron, I just realized that you started the conversation with a totally different issue. We just went off on a tangent. You were starting to tell me about a certain headline."

"Oh, yes. Let me say it again. Yediot Achronot just printed a long article that says that Sharon is planning another expulsion of Jews as soon as..."

"Stop, Aaron! There you go again! I told you before that this is not an expulsion it's..."

"Sorry. I know. It's called 'disengagement.' The disengagement of Jews from their homes..."

"Stop!"

"...from their towns and villages..."

"Stop it!"

"...from their synagogues and parks and businesses..."

"Aaron, stop it!"

"...from kindergartens and schools. Disengagement from their lives..."

"That's enough, Aaron. If you don't stop, I'll..."

"I know. You'll turn me in for 'incitement.' Thanks for stopping me before I swallowed my tongue. Thanks for the lesson."




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