Israel as a Failed State
SUBHEAD: It's time Barrack Obama reconsider his Middle East policy. [Note added by author: Originally this post was titled "Israel as a Fascist State", but a comment by JF (and a another by fellow editor Jonathan Jay) made me realize how incendiary that title is - if fruitful discourse is the goal. In any case, I am damn mad about the slaughter in Gaza.] Image above: Gaza family in shock after air attack. From (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fdfd186a-d4f0-11dd-b967-000077b07658.html). By Juan Wilson on 4 January 2009 - Message to Barack Obama: It would be wise for you to reevaluate your Middle East policy before you take office in a couple of weeks. Once you set the tone at your inauguration it will be hard to wash your hands of current atrocities. It is time the United States stopped pretending that the State of Israel is a friend. The Zionists' relation to their neighbors is the linchpin of all that is wrong with the "western" approach to Middle east culture. Israel has become a dictatorial, reactionary, militaristic rogue state. Unfortunately, it is our client state run amok. It controls the Palestinians in Gaza like the Germans controlled the Polish Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. Even though I was the great grandson of a Baptist preacher, I was raised without religion on Long Island. My maternal grandparents might be described as atheists, or more accurately, agnostics. My immediate family never attended a church or described itself as Christian. I spent much of my youth close to American Jews in New York City and the metropolitan area. There was a secular, intellectual and artistic ambiance to their culture that attracted me. When I was a young teenager I attended meetings of the Society for Ethical Culture. It espoused secular humanism and I liked the mostly Jewish progressive intellectual young participants. The "Jewish Encyclopedia" says of the Society: "Its chief supporters in New York and Philadelphia are Jews, as is its founder and leader, though the society does not in any degree bear the stamp of Judaism." In 1958 my first love was a Jewish Russian girl who wrote beautiful poetry and was the best mathematician in my algebra class. Wow! Over the years I came to appreciate Jewish humor and the expressiveness of Yiddish. In 1963 I attended Boston University in their College of Fine Arts. The school had a large number of Jewish kids from Long Island. I felt at home. On the first day of Freshman orientation they had about a 1000 fine arts students in the department's auditorium. BU was a parochial school and in its wisdom would separate all students by religion. The Catholics were invited to reassemble at their church near the student union. The Protestants were directed to their facility at center focus of the campus. The Jews were asked to stay in their seats. As the middle of the campus was a trolley-car ride away, I stayed in my seat and thus became, for many present, jewish (with a small J"). Later in the 1960's my sister married a Jewish artist from Brooklyn and, with starry eyes and a baby, moved to a kibbutz near the Golan Heights border with Syria. It was what we call now an "intentional community". They operated a large apple orchard. They all shared the farming and child raising duties together. At the time I though my sister very idealistic. It was not until 1967 that I got even a hint that the Jewish state was anything but a modern, progressive group with humanitarian interests at heart. My sister described the occasional rocket attacks coming into their kibbutz from Syria. I began to realize that the placement of the kibbutz was an irritant to those in the disputed Golan Heights. I felt my sister was in harm's way unnecessarily. Why were so many kibbutzes located in places sure to raise hackles? Yet, I was appalled by the brazen attack on Israel in May of 1967. I rooted for Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin's efforts in the Six Day War. I was impressed with Abba Eban's smooth representation of Israel at the United Nations. The good guys had kicked some ass. It took years for me to realize that Israel was never going to release the Palestinian land they grabbed. It took longer for me to see the cohesiveness of the "Jewish settlements" in the occupied territories. It took longer for me to separate Zionism from Judaism from Semitism from Jewish culture. Over the years, on this issue of Israel, my heart has had to travel a great distance. Today I think that the American, Polish, Russian and other European Jews that occupy today's Israel will need to dismantle that operation. I feel all illegal settlements must be abandoned and turned over to the Palestinians. To me there should be no Jewish state or Islamic state or Christian state. Any religious state is repellent to me. There are "converted" Jews but essentially Jews are defined by the mother's bloodline, and a religion (and thus citizenry) defined by inheritance of genes seems barbaric. Unfortunately, Barrack Obama has already set a course that will likely lead to more conflict in the Middle East (more conflict in Afghanistan, Pakistan and perhaps Iran). His past support of Israel does not bode well for a peace process. His silence over the disproportionate atrocities being committed by Israel in Gaza is disturbing. I hope he "gets it' and changes course before his inauguration. .