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Metro bus ads on Middle East: Yes, but what about our own war crimes?

(Updated: The proposed ads have been rejected.) The ads questioning U.S. support for Israel's military had the facts right. But, war crimes by anyone ought to become a part of the distant past.

A Hamas poster celebrates its holding of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, an act widely denounced as a crime against international humanitarian law and described by Human Rights Watch as "cruel and inhuman."

A Hamas poster celebrates its holding of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, an act widely denounced as a crime against international humanitarian law and described by Human Rights Watch as "cruel and inhuman." Tom Spender/Wikimedia Commons

(Editor's note: King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Tuesday afternoon that Metro Transit will not accept ads on aid to Israel or planned counter ads. The executive said an interim policy will halt acceptance of most new noncommercial advertising until a permanent policy can be worked out with the King County Council. In a statement, Constantine said, "We cannot and would not favor one point of view over another, so the entire category of non-commercial advertising will be eliminated until a permanent policy can be completed that I can propose to the King County Council for adoption.")

I still remember the advice given to my group of Holy Land pilgrims some 25 years ago by our grizzled, elderly Israeli tour guide: “Don’t talk politics to either an Israeli or a Palestinian — you’ll get in an argument.” In three successive trips to the Holy Land, I took his advice, but in my fifth trip, in January 2008, I toured Israel and the West Bank with a group of Seattle-area religious leaders expressly looking to engage community leaders in conversations about their political situation. We had plenty of arguments, but we came away with a much deeper appreciation for the intractable issues behind the Middle East conflict.

In a small way the current Metro bus ad controversy brings the Israeli-Palestinian issue home to Seattle. In case you missed it, the Seattle Middle East Awareness Campaign purchased 12 bus ads for $2,760 with the text, "Israeli War Crimes, Your Tax Dollars At Work, www.stop30billion-Seattle.org." Soon a tempest flared in our local media teapot. King County Councilmember Peter von Reichbauer asked that the ads be pulled. Dow Constantine cagily criticized the ads while pointing out First Amendment guarantees of free speech. Online comment forums bubbled over with passion, Joel Connelly blustered and two new outside groups are apparently planning ads with an opposing message.

Although my Israeli tour guide would cringe at conversation on this topic, I have to say that the Middle East Awareness Campaign’s bus ads have an inescapable logic and a blunt, uncomfortable truth. Our tax dollars have supported the Israeli military, and when the Israeli military makes a mistake, as it did in Gaza, American financial contributors bear some responsibility.

Before going any further, I want the reader to be clear that I understand the difference between Jews as a people and Israel as a state, and I know the diversity of opinion among Jews both inside and outside Israel. Many Jews and Israelis support and many disagree with policies of the Israeli government. Israelis inhabit many places on the political spectrum. For instance in our 2008 visit we met Arik Ascherman, founder of Rabbis for Human Rights, who has protested seizure of Palestinian land by Israeli forces. We also met Israeli settlers whose religious ideology attempts to justify expulsion of all non-Jews from the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel is a complex society that defies stereotypes. We learned that criticism of Israel is not the same as a desire to see Israel’s destruction and that a person can support Israel while recognizing its flaws.

Palestinians are equally diverse. We met leaders of Fatah, as well as Palestinian presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouti who is an advocate of nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation in the West Bank. We met Bedouin tribesmen who are displaced by Israeli development in the desert. We met Palestinian Christians — Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Quaker, and Lutheran — who are trying to retain their identity in an increasingly Muslim-dominated culture. Our grim stay at the Bethlehem Hotel, which overlooks the zigzag West Bank wall, was a bleak reminder that the center of the West Bank Palestinian Christian community and birthplace of Jesus is a victim of the ongoing conflict.

But even in the diverse and ever-changing Middle East there are certain facts that are indisputable.

First, the United States does indeed supply vast military assistance to the Israeli armed forces. The Congressional Research Service in 2009 put the annual figure at something around $2.5 billion, which bought training, missile systems, radar, and military hardware. After Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel is the largest recipient of American foreign aid. The $30 billion cited in the bus ads is part of a 10-year plan for American subsidy of the Israeli military.


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Comments:

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 9:03 a.m. Inappropriate

Frankly, I'm tired of my "tax dollars at work" for either of them. I would just as soon stop all foreign "aid" to the Middle East, tell the different tribes - as one would bickering teenagers - to fight it out to their heart's contents, draw latitudinal and longitudinal boundaries and make sure they keep their medieval squabbles in their own room; come out when your ready to be civil members of the 21st century.

BlueLight

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 9:35 a.m. Inappropriate

Yes, we Americans are guilty of many crimes on our own, but that doesn't mean bringing Israel's crimes to light is somehow hypocritical or not worthy of discussion. After all, we Americans are not a homogenous lot. The Seattle Middle East Awareness Campaign weren't the ones who committed war crimes. They can condemn them both, but they choose to concentrate on the one the evening news decides not to talk about.

Jon Sayer

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 9:39 a.m. Inappropriate

Thanks for this piece. I like to have a little controversy in the public sphere and look forward to seeing the response ads as well. It's important to get people thinking about things other than iPods.

More than anything else, there seems to be a deep cynicism that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is tractable. One constructive step would be for President Obama to give a major address explaining his commitment to peace and why it is important for the US. Another would be make Israeli aid more contingent on Israeli policies. The Obama administration has criticized aggressive settlement policies; now it is time to take the step step and lay out specific consequences if the settlement policy continues unabated.

I think it is also important to bear in mind that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a two-sided conflict. I think that most everybody knows that and at least pays lip service to the idea, but it bears greater emphasis. Atrocities committed by one side should never be used to justify or minimize atrocities committed by the other side.

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 11:18 a.m. Inappropriate

Thank you, for your as usual clear and to the point commentary on this matter, Sandy. My response is that while we social activists, including we Christians have done a fair to middling job educating people about the issues involved in the current US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have done abysmal job of educating the public and our congregants about the issues involved in the Israel/Palestinian struggle. Not wanting to cause friction with many of our Jewish friends who tend to experience any critique of Israeli policy as an existential threat to themselves, we have, for the most part, remained silent.

But as Mark Braverman has pointed out in his painful but terribly relevant book, "Fatal Embrace," makes clear,we are not doing our Jewish friends, Judaism in general or Israel any favor by avoiding a frank discussion of this issue. Nor is there any justifcation for our not confronting our own government for their breaking of US law by financially aiding a nation that is currently violating the Geneva Convention.

This whole issue needs to be openly and thoroughly discussed. It is my conviction that once the groundless charges of anti-semitism and anti-Israelism are dismissed as the smokescreens that they are, we Seattlites and we Americans can begin to deal with the issue at hand. And whether we agree with their position or not, we should all thank the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (www.stop30billion-seattle.org/) for broaching the question as they have.

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 12:22 p.m. Inappropriate

The military aid we send to other countries *is* one of our war crimes.

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 1:10 p.m. Inappropriate

Thank you for writing a thoughtful, intelligent article.

Although I feel that you made a strong effort to present a balanced perspective, I would like to point out a few items that I think are important to consider when evaluating the situation:

1) The Israeli war crimes alleged by the Goldstone report consist primarily of two components: the use of overwhelming force and specific incidents of potential war crimes. The specific incidents were taken on by Israel in a probe into each of the occurences and the majority of them occured as a result of Hamas fighters hiding behind civilians and within civilian infrastructure including mosques, schools and civilian houses.

The use of "overwhelming force" may seem to be that if you look at the specific operation that lasted a few weeks. But if you consider the cause of Israel's military action which was months of incessant missiles fired by Hamas on deliberate civilian areas, the military activity only seems overwhelming with respect to casualties. However this is not overwhelming given that the vast majority of "Palestinian casualties" were Hamas fighters as this was finally confirmed by Hamas only recently.

With respect to the pure civilians killed, their number is much smaller than the result of any other military activity in the world today and is so low because Israel takes steps to avoid civilian harm by notifying the population which areas will be attacked and calling people on the phone to evacuate areas that are about to be hit. I am not aware of any other military that goes to this extreme to avoid civilian casualties.

2) US military aid to Israel is not about simply providing Israel with military equipment. The US gains invaluable leverage by being involved in Israeli military efforts. Several years ago Israel planned to produce their own fighter jets. The US was strongly opposed to this and pressured Israel to abolish their program and instead rely on US fighters. Another example of US power derived from helping Israel is the case of the Yom Kippur War. Right before there was a ceasefire, Israeli tanks were 100 miles from Cairo with nothing standing in between and 60 miles from Damascus with nothing standing in between. Furthermore the Egyptian army was surrounded and locked in in the Sinai with no air support. At this point Israel agreed to the ceasefire only because of US pressure. If the US would not have intervened, Israel would have gained control of Cairo, Damascus and would have completely destroyed the full Egyptian army with no protection from Israeli dominant air superiority.

BiasAlert

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 2:03 p.m. Inappropriate

Rev. Brown is incorrect when he says: “…Palestinian terrorism is wrong, but it doesn’t have an American subsidy…” The United States helps support the UN Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which has functioned for the last 60-odd years as an incubator of Palestinian suffering and terrorism. UNWRA is unique in that it gives Palestinians who left Israel in 1948 – 49 and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren…and on and on across the generations…housing, health care, cash and other subsidies as long as they stay in their refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and Gaza. UNRWA has supported terrorism by hiring terrorists as staff, by using their facilities to store weapons and house combatants, transporting armed fighters, and providing children with military training and glorifying suicide bombers. (Source: “The Palestinian Proletariat”, Commentary, December 2010.)

And, with American support, UNRWA helps maintain the real stumbling block to resolving the Palestinian – Israeli conflict: the so-called “right of return” whereby the Palestinian leadership insists that any peace agreement must include “right” of 4 – 5 million Palestinians to “return” to Israel, and thereby “liberate” Palestinian state. In 2000, Israel offered the Palestinians contiguous territory (no “Bantustans”!) to all of Gaza and virtually all of the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and the answer - - as it was in 2008 and 2009 - - was “no”. By ignoring this intractable stumbling block, Rev. Brown is able to ignore how it facilitates Israeli settlement building and guts the Israeli peace movement. Personally, I believe that settlement building is wrong. But I can certainly understand how some Israeli’s believe that if no offers will lead to peace, why not just keep building settlements?

What’s pathetic is that while the Palestinian leadership insists on holding to this “right of return”, the Palestinian people - - by large margins - - are showing increasing support for a genuine two-state solution. Recent polls have shown popular support for recognizing Israel and establishing a Palestinian state at margins ranging from 49% - 60%. If Rev. Brown wants to end war crimes, he could start by taking a long, critical look at how both sides are getting American support, and how that is impeding peace.

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 2:21 p.m. Inappropriate

Mr. John-Otto Liljenstolpe,

You write:

"It is my conviction that once the groundless charges of anti-semitism and anti-Israelism are dismissed as the smokescreens that they are"

Your denial of the prevalance of anti-semitism simply dispells your otherwise seemingly intelligent statement and certainly denies you the right to call yourself a social activist and a righteous Christian.

You can simply look at the following statistics from the FBI which show that in 2009 over 70% of religious hate crimes were perpetrated against Jews.

http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2009/data/table_01.html

You denial of anti-semitism makes you either obliviously ignorant or simply a racist.

In either case you are doing a great injustice to the American Christian community by calling yourself a Christian and spewing your propaganda.

Shame on you!

BiasAlert

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 2:56 p.m. Inappropriate

"...a mere $30 billion in military aid?" $30 billion can keep a lot of Palestinians stuffed into misery and poverty. On the other hand, those Palestinians who perpetrate indiscriminate violence by blowing themselves up in public places have no moral legitimacy whatsoever. If I had any influence over this situation, I would implore both sides to stop harming each other. Vacating all lands seized after the 6 Day War would be a good start on the part of Israel in a series of steps needed to assure peace and security. If that happened, the ball would be in the Palestinians' court. The US should help both sides equally with genuine aid, not weapons.

Mud Baby

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 3:50 p.m. Inappropriate

Dear Mud Baby,
You write: "...Vacating all lands seized after the 6 Day War would be a good start on the part of Israel in a series of steps needed to assure peace and security. If that happened, the ball would be in the Palestinians' court..."

I don't support Israeli settlement building in the West Bank, but I also don't support forgetting that Israel has left Gaza. It completely pulled out of Gaza several years ago, and the result was Hamas rocket after rocket after rocket sent into Israel. Gaza gives the Israeli's a painful lesson: even withdrawing back to the pre-1967 war borders won't give peace. If it didn't work in Gaza, why should they think it would work in the West Bank?

Rather than helping Israel meet its security needs, the world's attention has been focused on the Israeli blockade of Gaza (and conveniently forgetting that Egypt also blockades Gaza). A little more help from the US and other nations in reigning in Hamas would go a long way towards peace. Certainly the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank would welcome it.

And Mud Baby, it's my understanding that the US does give millions in non-military aid to the Palestinian Authority in support of nation-building on the West Bank. Positive steps are being made there.

Progressive Jew

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 4:37 p.m. Inappropriate

As to Middle East Awareness, seems like an odd coincidence that attacking Israel, a Jewish state, is timed to start amid Christmas, a Christian holiday.

One can believe that Israeli policy of settlements has been disastrous, Netanyahu is appalling etc etc -- yet also believe that an awful lot of attacking Israel is antisemitism in modern guise. Just something to consider. Both can be both: Some people can believe that Israel can be wrong and some people can also be anti-Semites. At the same time in the same person. Some Christians claim to fear being called anti-Semites if attacking Israel. Perhaps they should.

That's by no means a reference to Reverend Brown, btw.

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 4:53 p.m. Inappropriate

To set your mind at rest Mr. Sucher just want to let you know that the timing for the bus ads had absolutely nothing to do with Christmas and everything to do with Operation Cast Lead. If you recall that horrible action two years ago, it began on December 27, 2008 and that was the reason the ads were to appear beginning on that date. The people of Gaza were murdered by the hundreds during that time and not a word was said by our country against those constant bombings. The Gazans have not been allowed to rebuild the schools and other buildings that were destroyed. Just trying to set the record straight.
I am not an anti-semite. I recently returned from a trip to Palestine and Israel with an interfaith group...

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 7:29 p.m. Inappropriate

Thank you for addressing the issues rather than attacking the messenger!

First:
many/most/all of the peoples in the mid-east ARE SEMITES!!! For reasons I'm not about to get into - Israel was founded by people who for generations had been living in Europe!

The Palestinians NEVER left the region.

Without getting into an argument about whether or not Israeli's are Semites...

The Palestinians ARE Semites! The are NOT, by definition "anti-Semitic"!

2nd:
Being born and raised in the U.S., I learned to ABHOR racial and religious discrimination in any form!!!

While Israel's Declaration of Independence announced to the world:
"... t will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations." http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/Declaration%20of%20Establishment%20of%20State%20of%20Israel

From the 1st day, when it refused re-entry to the Palestinians, Israel has continued to discriminate (and persecute) Palestinians.

Seizing land for "settlements" and refusing to acknowledge it's responsibility for the people living in occupied lands is contrary to the Declaration of Establishment of the State of Israel (see above) AND the Charter of the United Nations.

Jonah

Posted Thu, Dec 23, 11 p.m. Inappropriate

Thank you, ms anonymous peggyforpeace and I am so plesed to hear that you are not an anti-Semite.

Posted Fri, Dec 24, 5:28 a.m. Inappropriate


John-Otto Liljenstolpe, in his response to Rev. Brown's editorial, writes of the "...groundless charges of anti-semitism and anti-Israelism..."that should be dismissed as "smokescreens". What Mr. Liljenstople ignores is that anti-semitism is a very real part of this conflict.

In 2009, a continent-wide study, conducted by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence (University of Bielefeld, Germany), found that that 45.7% of the Europeans surveyed agreed somewhat or strongly with the following statement: “Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.” And 37.4% agreed with this statement: “Considering Israel’s policy, I can understand why people do not like Jews.” Beate Kupper, one of the study’s principal researchers, explained the findings by saying; “…“There is] quite a high level of anti-Semitism that is hidden beneath critics of Israel’s policies…” and that there is a tendency to: “…blame Jews in general for Israel’s policies.” (Please see: “The Flight from Malmo”, originally published in the Forward.com and available at http://www.jidaily.com/sW6T3/e.)

Can European findings apply to the United States? Possibly so. What is clear is anti-Jewish crimes are becoming more common in our communities. According to the F.B.I’s 2009 national statistics on hate crimes (http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2009/victims.html), there were 1,575 victims of anti-religious hate crimes, and of those, 71.9% were victimized due to an offenders anti-Jewish bias, an increase over the 2008 statistics. Of the 1,132 victims of anti-Jewish bias in 2009, 8% experienced aggravated or simple assault, 15% experienced intimidation, and 73% experienced property destruction or vandalism. (Please see Table 4, Offense Type by Bias Motivation, 2009 at http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2009/data/table_07.html). Here in Seattle, in July 2006 Naveed Haq forced his way into the Jewish Federation office, killing Pam Waechter and seriously wounding four other women. During his attack, Haq expressed anger at Israel.

Ed Mast, the spokesperson for SMAC, is fully aware of how anti-Israel sentiments all too often coincide with anti-Jewish beliefs. Mr. Mast is one of the producers and the narrator of “Palestine for Beginners”, a DVD in which he praises Hamas, a terrorist organization which states in article 7 of its charter: ”… nevertheless, the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise…The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!" (Hamas Charter, Unabridged found at http://middleeast.about.com/od/palestinepalestinians/a/me080106c_4.htm.)

Unfortunately, there are far too many examples of this kind of anti-semitism for any educated or compassionate person to regard it as a "smokescreen". Ignoring it allows Mr. Otto Liljenstolp to ignore that Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda is alive and well in the Middle East, as explored in books such as Jeffrey Herf’s Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World and Matthias Kuntzel’s Jihad And Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11

Any open discussion of Israel and Palestine needs to include the ugly reality of anti-semitism and anti-Israelism. By admitting the obvious, Otto-Liljenstolpig and other Christians will be able to reach out to Jews while supporting truly just resolutions of this conflict.

Posted Fri, Dec 24, 2:38 p.m. Inappropriate

".....Again this year, my Christmas wish is for a two-state solution, roughly along the pre-1967 borders, with prosperity and peace for Jews, Muslims, and Christians....."

All you need for that is for certain parties to stop advocating the destruction of Israel, recognize it's right to exist, and stop shooting missles at it.

And the pre-1967 borders. When you attack another country and lose, do you get a do-over? It's to Israel's credit that they have given back all the territory they have so far. Territory given back to the countries that attacked them.

Gotta admit, though, there's a whole bunch of foreign aid I'd like to stop. That that foreign aid money and, heck, I dunno, replace the Viaduct.

Posted Fri, Dec 24, 4:35 p.m. Inappropriate

peggyforpeace,

Your post is twice hypocritical. First you call yourself "forpeace" and then you say "Just trying to set the record straight".

If either of those were true you would address the full issue but instead you write "The people of Gaza were murdered by the hundreds during that time"

There would have been no people killed if Hamas either did not shoot rockets at Israeli civilians for months or if during the fighting they fought like soldiers and did not hide behind civilians.

So either speak the truth or stop neglecting Hamas crimes which caused all the bloodshed. Especially after Israel withdrew from ALL OF GAZA!!!

BiasAlert

Posted Fri, Dec 24, 4:42 p.m. Inappropriate

Jonah,

You write

"From the 1st day, when it refused re-entry to the Palestinians"

This is factually inaccurate. From the 1st day Palestinians who were living on land apportioned to the Jewish state were welcome to stay and those who did received citizenship and full rights as evidenced by the fact that they are represented in the Knesset and most of them live off government subsidies, don't work and don't serve in the army.

The problems started from the 2nd day when Israel was attacked by all the surrounding Arabs who told the Palestinians to leave and come back after the Jews were destroyed.

BiasAlert

Posted Fri, Dec 24, 10:49 p.m. Inappropriate

bias...

... and the palestinians that ran for their lives were never allowed back.

while there have been palestinians in the kinesset, i would not say it is equal rights when they are moved out of their homes to make way for jews!

Jonah

Posted Fri, Dec 24, 10:52 p.m. Inappropriate

the issue...

either you are FOR racial and religious discrimination or you are opposed to it!

I ABHOR religious and racial discrimination! that is what a "jewish" state is by definition!

Jonah

Posted Sat, Dec 25, 1:52 p.m. Inappropriate

Rev. Brown,

In the beginning of 2003 when the U.S. was about to commit war crimes by going to war in Iraq, Metro approved of anti-war signs on their buses. Their is a precedent for anti-war and anti-war crime free speech on Metro buses. We had no problem even though the majority of people were frightened into believing that Sadam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Who could forget the fear endured in those times; yet, no call to stop those signs brought down our free speech rights.

I hope that you will review your assessment of these times in the light of that time. I think your colleagues in those years had a different view of free speech and war crimes.

Respectfully,
Carol

carol

Posted Sat, Dec 25, 1:59 p.m. Inappropriate

@ carol -- I invite you to a careful rereading of my piece. I think you may be misinterpreting the main point. If it's still unclear after a rereading, let me know and I'll try again.

Posted Sun, Dec 26, 11:30 a.m. Inappropriate

".. Palestinian terrorism is wrong, but it doesn’t have an American subsidy." It troubles me that this seems to be an important distinction in Mr. Brown's mind. Applied to the North Korea/South Korea conflict it would seem to suggest that we look very carefully at the behavior of South Korea (who receives American aid and benefits from our market) and give only a glancing, sympathetic look at North Korean behavior (recognizing poverty, starvation and isolation as factors making it hard for North Korea to maintain an egalitarian society). As noted above the Palestinians get aid the North Koreans could only dream of yet nothing good ever seems to happen to them. I think it's possible to recognize that the State of Israel should never have created but still believe that it's destruction would be the triumph of evil and possibly the worst calamity of modern history.

kieth

Posted Sun, Dec 26, 3:57 p.m. Inappropriate

Jonah,

many/most/all of the peoples in the mid-east ARE SEMITES!!! For reasons I'm not about to get into - Israel was founded by people who for generations had been living in Europe! The Palestinians NEVER left the region. Without getting into an argument about whether or not Israeli's are Semites... The Palestinians ARE Semites! The are NOT, by definition "anti-Semitic"!

A few points here.
1) Arguing from etymology seems neat, but really, what's the point? Yes, Arabs are Semites (as are Jews, by the way — there is no argument about that), but in standard English, "anti-Semite" doesn't mean someone who hates Semites in general, but rather someone who hates Jews. That may not be right, but it is a fact of usage.
2) Those who founded the modern state of Israel may have been Ashkenazim who had most recently been living in Europe. However, today the Ashkenazim are outnumbered by the Sephardim and Mizrahim.
3) Just as those who became today's Palestinians never left the Levant, neither did the Jews. The population dipped into the low five figures, but remain it did.

I ABHOR religious and racial discrimination! that is what a "jewish" state is by definition!

I assume you are also against the concept of Islamic, Christian, and Buddhist states? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_religion#Present_state_religions (or http://goo.gl/pvuxg for short) provides a handy list thereof.

Really, though, this is a rehashing of points that have been made time and time again. As Kieth notes, regardless of whether Israel should or should not have been created; or whether I have Levantine ancestry, as the Genographic Project indicates, or I am really part Khazar; or whether or not the English language makes logical sense: Israel is there now, and so are its people. They will not voluntarily dismantle their society, just as we wouldn't expect any other nation to. That should really be the basis for all discussions.

Posted Sun, Dec 26, 6:53 p.m. Inappropriate

Rev. Lilienstolpe: You mention Judaism in your comment. Religions per se have not been brought up in this discussion so far. Nations and their reprehensible actions are at issue. If you really want to bring Judaism as a faith into this, then you'll have to be prepared to have Christianity discussed. That discussion would not be pretty.

sarah90

Posted Sun, Dec 26, 7:34 p.m. Inappropriate

Jonah,

you write "while there have been palestinians in the kinesset, i would not say it is equal rights when they are moved out of their homes to make way for jews"

your statement is simply not correct as evidenced by the recent statement by the mayor of Jerusalem who stated that no one religious group will be singled out for removal and if palestinian squatters are evicted then jewish squatters will be evicted on the same day.

you also write " I ABHOR religious and racial discrimination! that is what a "jewish" state is by definition!"

and yet your self rightous "abhorance" is only targeted toward Israel and does not include The Islamic Republics of Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and others.

Stop lying to yourself and others. Your biased views are a clear example that you are indeed racially and religiously discriminating.

You are an ignorant hypocrite. Sorry the truth hurts buddy.

BiasAlert

Posted Sun, Dec 26, 9:59 p.m. Inappropriate

I wish that people who hate Israel would actually do something to help the Palestinians.

For sixty years the Palestinians have been mistreated by their own fellow Arabs and Moslems. (Kept in camps, no citizenship, looked down-upon, etc etc)

Yet people who claim to care about Palestinians say nothing about their terrible mistreatment by the Arab counties. (Except to Israel, which has been an obvious state of war for 60 years and so it's no surprising that Israel doesn't treat Palestinians as if they were friends.) So I am dubious that the anti-Israel folks care for anything (e.g. Palestinians) but attacking Israel.

As one wag said it, " Criticism of Israel is by no means a manifestation of anti-Semitism. But it can be."

What that means is that at the same time and in the same person, one can be correct that Israeli policy is wrong and that one can be motivated by disliking Jews.

Posted Mon, Jan 17, 1:05 a.m. Inappropriate

Sarah90 wrote, "You mention Judaism in your comment. Religions per se have not been brought up in this discussion so far. Nations and their reprehensible actions are at issue. If you really want to bring Judaism as a faith into this, then you'll have to be prepared to have Christianity discussed. That discussion would not be pretty."

Sarah, I don't think that the religious dimensions of this problem can or should be avoided. For relgion, both Jewish and Christian as well as Islamic, is certainly a causal factor and, from my perspective, also important resources for resolving the problem. In my educational and organizing work on this issue I make it a point to clarify how many Jews, Muslim and Christian people in Israel and in the Palestinian Territories are doing very creative things together to bring about a peaceful and just resolution. And I also point out fundamentalist elements in each of these religions continue to make it difficult to reach such a solution. I regret that what I had written previously somehow led you to believe that my analysis of Judaism's role in this situation was simply negative or that we Christians are not also due a good deal of criticism for what we have done and failed to do both historically and contemporaniously.

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