Friday, June 5, 2015

She Called Me a Radical

I seldom use this blogspot to defend myself. In fact, if I’m not accused of being “anti-Semitic” from time to time, I feel like I am falling down on the job. 

However, when I was dis-invited to speak to a church group because their leader said, “I understand perfectly well what is happening between Israel and the Palestinians, but Tom is a radical.”  I had two responses.

First, if she really understood what is happening over there, why is she not a radical. When the rich and powerful openly oppress, abuse, misrepresent, rob and kill a weaker people to take their land and resources, it is not a time for calmness and business as usual. It is a time to scream for justice, understanding and compassion.

Second, I am not the radical. I want peace and a decent life for the Israelis and the Palestinians. What’s radical about that?  In fact, I am a conservative. I want to conserve human rights and civil rights and women’s rights. The radicals are in Washington and Tel Aviv.

I want to urge those extremist in Washington to make the motto of “liberty and justice for all” the standards by which America treats the world. What is radical about that?

It’s not the American people but those in Washington who are screaming for war with Iran. They are the ones who want to allow the most right wing bully of another nation dictate our U.S. foreign policy. They are the ones who are willing to sell out the average American for one more term in Congress.  And they are the ones who over and over again put our moral standards in jeopardy before the international community by voting the interest of Israel above the well-being of the United States. I say, “That’s radical.”   

Want radical?  Representative Steve Israel, in an interview with Mondoweiss, boldly declared his loyalty to Israel.

I support Israel through and through, no matter what atrocities it commits.
My job as congressman from NY district 3 is to advocate for Israel at all cost. People argue that I harbor dual loyalty. They’re totally wrong I’m just loyal to Israel. We share a name after all… I have to keep the military aid flowing. Israel can never have enough white phosphorus. Am I right?[1]

Now, that’s radical.

Also, compared to those drastic leaders in Tel Aviv,  I am not radical. 

Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, recently appointed Civil Administrator responsible for all aspects of the occupation, said on August 1, 2013:

            Palestinians are beasts, they are not human.

Four months later he adds:

            A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual.[2]

When elected officials justify Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinians on the grounds that God (Yahweh) gave Palestine to the Jews, and when they quote Genesis 12 as a real estate deed, I see that as rather radical and drastic. That’s when I become very conservative. I want to conserve the moral and ethical teachings of their own Jewish prophets. I want to conserve such things as:

--- Remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes, cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:16-17)
--- For the Lord is a God of justice. (Isaiah 30:18)
--- Behold my servant, He will bring forth justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)
--- For I, the Lord, love justice. (Isaiah 61:8)
--- Thus says the Lord,  Do justice and righteousness and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless and the widow, nor shed innocent blood. (Jeremiah 22:3)
--- Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:24)
--- Justice and only justice, you shall follow that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord your God gives you. (Deuteronomy 16:20)

In fact, listen to the Bible and it is clear that God is a God of justice. If you know this about God and you don’t know anything else, you will know more of God than if you know everything else there is to know of God, and you don’t know this. God is passionate for justice. 

The lady who called me a radical was right in being concerned about the injustice brought about by the radicals in positions of leadership. It’s just that I am not one of them.

Thomas Are
June 5, 2015

[1] Scott Roth, Mondoweiss Exclusive: One on One with Rep. Steve Israel. Mondoweiss, April 1, 2015.
[2] Philip Weiss, Netanyahu Deputy Charged with Administrating Palestinians Says They are “Beasts, Not Human.Mondoweiss, May 9, 2015

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