Sunday, January 3, 2010

Response to Barbara's blog

Several people have sent to me the same Web page, entitled, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JEWS AND MUSLIMS. Unfortunately, it does not say who wrote it. One person said, “This tells the whole story.” Well, this does not tell the whole story. It does not even scratch the surface of the whole story. Here is the response I promised.

As I have often said, Jews are good people, intelligent and committed to social justice. They led the fight for civil rights during the 1960s. However, many American Jews have a blind spot when it comes to Israel. It is not really their fault. They hear only one side of a conflict in the media and from most of our politicians.

--The Jews are NOT promoting brain washing children in military training camps, teaching them how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of Jews and other non Muslims.

Well, yes they do. If not in schools, their political leaders openly malign Arabs as sub-human. “In 1982, Prime Minister Menachem Begin described the Palestinians, in a speech in the Knesset, as "two legged beasts” Former Israeli Army Chief of Staff Raphael Eitan likened the Palestinians to “drugged cockroaches.” This is not just rhetoric. In July 1981 the Israeli Air Force bombed an apartment building in a residential neighborhood of Beirut killing 300 Palestinian civilians without a single Israeli leader expressing concern about the morality of it.[i] Of course, that was a long time ago. But little has changed. On July 22, 2002 Israeli jets fired a one ton rocket into an apartment in Gaza, killing one Hamas leader and 14 innocent people, half of them children. Last winter, Israel dropped bombs again on Gaza killing more than 1,400, many of them women and children, choosing targets that maximize deaths, such as schools and mosques. Of course, Netanyahu denies this but white phosphorus and the Goldstone investigation prove otherwise. To date, Israel totally controls the borders of Gaza, creating the world’s largest open air prison, where 70% of Gazans subsist on less than a dollar a day and 60% have no daily access to water.[ii]

--The Jews don’t hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics or blow themselves up in German restaurants. There is NOT one single Jew that has destroyed a church. There is NOT a single Jew that protests by killing.

Well, again, not quite true. According to Clifford Wright, “The first airplane hijacking was committed by Israel. On December 12, 1954 a civilian Syrian airliner was hijacked by Israel shortly after take-off.” Wright goes on, “The first car-bomb was an invention of the Zionist, as was the assassination of United Nations personnel. A Zionist truck-bomb blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem killing 88 in 1946.”[iii]

And as I write this, the headlines on today’s London Times online reads, “Settlers attack West Bank mosque and burn holy Muslim books.” (At the same time, other settlers brought new copies of the Koran to the Arab community denouncing the acts of their neighbors.

--the Jews don’t traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and death to all the infidels.

As for not killing in protest, Israel’s policy of killing Palestinians by the thousands is a matter of public record, including the Gazans bombarded to death last winter.

--Perhaps the world’s Muslims should consider investing more in standard education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems.

This puzzles me. Palestinians have put great emphasis in education in spite of the fact that Israel does all it can to make it difficult for them. I remember visiting a school in Gaza where girls were studying accounting and computer science in spite of the fact that there were no jobs for them when they finished school. I also think of the American volunteers who escort Arab children to school in Hebron to protect them from the violence of Israeli settlers. Crying out, “Please don’t hurt the children,” they were attacked, beaten with chains and clubs and left on the path with broken bones.[iv] They were not armed. It’s hard for a culture to produce Nobel Prize winners when they are routinely driven from their schools by occupiers.

--If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence.
If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.

--Benjamin Netanyahu

This may fit Dick Chaney’s famous One Percent Doctrine, that is, it may be one percent true. But it is contradicted by the facts on the ground. Unarmed Palestinians are being pushed off of their land to make room for settlers. Their homes are frequently demolished by bulldozers, without giving the occupants time to gather their belongings. Olive trees and farmlands are being ploughed over to make room for the separation wall, deliberately keeping unarmed farmers from their fields, unarmed children from their schools and the unarmed sick from their hospitals. Just last winter, hundreds of unarmed Palestinians were bombed to death by Israel’s massacre into Gaza. It is not the Palestinians, but Israel’s top government officials advocating the “removal” of all Arabs from their homes to make room for greater Israel. Just this week Netanyahu announced plans to build 700 more settlements in Palestinian east Jerusalem.

All of this is to say that it is wrong to paint all Jews as innocent, just as it is wrong to paint all Jews as guilty. The attempt is always false. Jews are probably no better or no worse than the rest of humanity, but right now, the state of Israel is on a self destructive path. If the time comes when there is no more Israel, it will not be because the Arabs pushed them into the sea. It will be because of the moral corruption, arrogance and brutality corroding it from the inside. Look at history. Barbarism has never sustained a state.

[i] Clifford A. Wright, Facts and Fables, The Arab-Israeli Conflict. (Kagan Paul International, London. 1989) p.3.
[ii] Rachelle Marshall, Has Obama Made a Devil’s Bargain with Israel. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 2009.
[iii] Op. cit. Clifford Wright, p. 49.
[iv] Alison Weir, Heroism in the Holy Land: Americans Beaten for Walking Children to School, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 2004, p.13.