Ad Bellum Purificandum?
Edappel8 at cs.com
Fri Sep 14 22:07:32 EST 2001
Thanks to Camille, Sean, Mark, Michael, Jess, and Herb for their
contributions. I want to pick up on one of the many trenchant things Sean
said, that pertaining to the "contextualizing" Mr. Fisk tried to do on Irish
radio, but was prevented from doing by the type of vituperative,
name-calling, conversation-ending stereotyping practiced by Alan Dershowitz
(I think that's probably the "Harvard lawyer" you were listening to, Sean)
and a cast of millions on USAmerican cable television. Mr. Fisk attempted to
pose the question of Middle-Eastern motivations with SOME reference, at
least, to the "Palestine/Israeli" conflict. That's the historical, social,
and political problem rhetors as diverse as Martin Peretz, publisher of the
New Republic, and Rush Limbaugh, the Right-Wing radio provocateur, do all in
their power to divert attention from. It's all "jealousy" on the part of
inferior people submerged in an inferior culture. Palestinian Arabs and
their regional supporters can't stand the economic success of Israel, the
United States, and the West in general--period. Case closed.
Here's a letter I recently wrote to the local evening newspaper, appearing
August 25, the contents of which I think would have to be a part of the
"persuasion dialogue" or "ideal conversation" needed to intelligently inform
our foreign policy now and in the future. As I noted in my last post, this
short statement offers only a partial picture of the situation. Shadings and
nuances need to be added. Its perspective is, however, indispensable for
productive dialogue to occur between the West and the Middle-East, I assert.
Here's my letter:
"Editor New Era:
"Two of your rabid Right-Wing columnists have written recently on Middle-East
violence. Both staunchly take Israel's side. Cal Thomas opts for driving
the Palestinian Arabs out of the region. Mona Charen labels Palestinian
culture one of 'poverty, religious fanaticism, and bottomless hatred stoked
by their corrupt leadership' unworthy of even-handed treatmernt by the United
"Your columnists' approach to the issue is myopic and historically blind.
"Arabs controlled and predominated in Palestine for 1,300 years. from the
rise of Islam in the 7th Century. Zionism, Jewish return to the Holy Land,
began in 1882. It culminated in 1948 with the establishment of the state of
Israel in accordance with a United Nations mandate.
"True, the mandate was violated by both sides. Arabs fought to keep Israelis
out. Israelis overran what was supposed to become the Palestinian state.
They 'perpetrated over 30 massacres of Palestinian civilians and conducted a
campaign of . . . ethnic cleansing,' according to Alain Epp Weaver of the
Mennonite Central Committee in the May 3 issue of the Christian Century.
Their country was born, Weaver says, in 'original sin.'
"How would Thomas and Charen like it if a more creative and technologically
advanced people bulled their way into our country and forced us to move, en
masse, to the upper plains and mountain states? Would they, would we, say,
'Fine, they're better than we are, they deserve the land'?
"Our daughter Beth is a Presbyterian minister. She has traveled to the
Middle East four times and talked to persons on both sides of the conflict.
Not in any way brought up to be a religious or ethnic bigot, she is
nevetheless strongly pro-Palestinian.
"The state of Israel is blood-money for the horrors of the Holocaust. That
price is just. But the wrong people have been forced to pay it! Israel
should have been carved out of Germany, not Palestine.
"Suspect Biblical listeralism by Fundamentalist Protestant Christians and
Orthodox and Zionist Jews undergirds the rationale of a Palestinian Israel.
As Prof. Jack Fischel of Millersville University of Pennsylvania said in a
lecture at our church 12 years ago, it is an alliance forged, at least on the
Jewish side, in self-deception.
"Edward C. Appel
Dr. Fischel, an historian, is Jewish. In his talk of a dozen years ago, he
was, of course, not advocating the end of the Jewish state. Quite to the
contrary. He said that support for Israel, or lack thereof, is the litmus
test of one's friendliness to the Jewish people. He didn't go as far as to
say that anti-Israeli sentiment is the form that contemporary anti-Semitism
inevitably takes, as others have said. But that enthymeme, so very current,
usually implies, incorrectly, that if one is in any way anti-Israel, one is
ipso facto anti-Semitic.
I am not in favor of an end to the Jewish state. It is there. It is a fait
accompli. The United States has to support it for more reasons than I want
to elaborate on here. What I would like to see is a free and independent
Palestinian state, also. I'm not certain at all that such an accommodation
would bring peace to the region. I'm not sure that peace is even possible in
anything like the foreseeable future, no mater what turn our diplomacy, or
Israel's, may take. What I do advocate, vis-a-vis all the violence and
turmoil our posture toward the various parties in the Middle-Eastern dispute
has wrought, now searingly visited upon our own homeland, is recognition of
(1) the historical claims to this land the Arab's rightly possess, and (2)
the intolerable oppression Palestinian Moslems and Christians live under,
not, of course, dealt with in any way in my letter.
I have still more to say on this issue. What about history prior to the 7th
Century C.E.? Am I ignoring the long occupation of this land the Ancient
Israelites enjoyed, courtesy of God's inviolate Will orthodox Jews and
Christians believe. What would I advocate we do in respect to what happened
on Tuesday, something Michael would like to know in respect to my
vulnerability to USAmerican "ideology." Am I a crypto-, and now perhaps not
so crypto-, anti-Semite? What bona fides can I lay claim to in demonstration
of my ecumenical goodwill?
I plan to return to these and other germane questions in the eventful days
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