“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”.
The above line is attributed to Winston Churchill and is said to feature in a speech he gave in the British parliament in 1948.
It is generally accepted by historians that he was paraphrasing the writer and philosopher George Santayana who had said in 1905 “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat”.
The line resonates with me given the current situation here in Israel.
Another historical line that resonates with me is “In the name of God, go”.
A theme that many in Israel are demanding of our prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The line itself comes from the April 20, 1653 speech given by Oliver Cromwell, a 17th-century English statesman, and military leader, to the members of the English Parliament during the English Civil War.
In 1642, the English Civil War broke out between the Royalists (supporters of King Charles I) and the Parliamentarians (supporters of the English Parliament). Cromwell was a prominent leader of the Parliamentarians and helped them to win the war.
In 1653, Cromwell became Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland. However, his rule was not without controversy, and he faced opposition from some members of the Parliament.
For those not familiar with the full text of his speech, I have for your convenience reproduced it below.
In 1653, after a disagreement with Parliament over the adoption of a new constitution, Cromwell dissolved the Parliament and made a speech in which he said:
“It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.
Ye are a factious crew and enemies to all good government.
Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?
Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?
Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.
Your country, therefore, calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God's help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.
I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.
Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.
In the name of God, go!”
There are, to my mind, so many references in Cromwell’s speech that equally apply to the current collation government. Maybe for those not deeply familiar with Israeli politics, the touchpoints are not that clear.
Two eminent variations of the line “In the name of God, go!” are “Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go” and “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go”.
The “Depart” line was used by Sir Leopold Amery, former First Lord of the Admiralty addressing the then prime minister Neville Chamberlain in the House of Commons. The occasion was May 7, 1940, following the invasion of Norway by Nazi Germany.
Within days of Leopold Amery’s speech, Chamberlain was indeed gone and Winston Churchill became prime minister.
The “You have sat too long here” line is more recent having been used by a former Conservative party cabinet minister, David Davis to urge the then prime minister Boris Johnson to resign.
For those interested in ‘the history of a speech that has brought down parliament and a prime minister’ click the following link - https://theconversation.com/in-the-name-of-god-go-the-history-of-a-speech-that-has-brought-down-parliament-and-a-prime-minister-175368
If only those few words would rid us of Benjamin Netanyahu and his den of thieves.
I am no fan of Zehava Galon, the former chairwoman of the ultra-leftwing Meretz party. To my mind, she is partly responsible for Benjamin Netanyahu winning the November 2022 election.
Leaving that aside, her Opinion article which recently appeared in the Haaretz newspaper “When Secular Israelis Stand Up to Their ultra-Orthodox Overlords” is worth reading. https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/2023-03-20/ty-article-opinion/when-secular-israelis-stand-up-to-their-ultra-orthodox-overlords/00000186-fbb3-db5a-a787-fffb8e340000
The obnoxious Bezalel Smotrich says ‘there are no Palestinian people, declares his family ‘real Palestinians’ In Paris, far-right minister says Palestinian nation is ‘an invention of past 100 years,’ and ‘world should hear this truth’; speaks in front of Israel map that includes Jordan. https://www.timesofisrael.com/far-right-lawmaker-bezalel-smotrich-declares-himself-his-family-real-palestinians/
Leaving aside for the present the question of who, if anyone, is a true Palestine, what concrete proposals does this loathsome individual offer to rectify the solution?
It is estimated that approximately 2.4 million Arabs live in the West Bank and a further 375,000 live in East Jerusalem.
Regardless of what you call these inhabitants, they deserve an enclave or Canton of their own.
Yet again Smotrich’s mouth runs away from the truth of how to solve the problem.
Smotrich for all his so-called intelligence, he is a total numbskull. A few days ago I heard an address from a retired IDF officer Gil Ravivo.
Concerning the West Bank, it all comes down to demographics. Just as it did in the Gaza Strip.
A single state, assuming it’s even conceivable stretching from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River and including Jews and all other religions within those borders will, within 10 to 15 years have an Arab prime minister. This given the birthrate amongst Muslim families as opposed to secular Jews.
It is just possible that within 40 years, the country could have its first Haredi prime minister as the demographics swing back in favor of the ultra-orthodox community and their ever-spiraling numbers.
Like it or not, some form of a two-state solution looks to be the only viable option if Israel is to remain a Jewish homeland.