Monthly Archives: July 2012
Here’s one perspective on relations between the U.S. and Iran.
Do you agree or disagree? Continue reading
I met an American-Jewish lawyer this morning who visits Israel frequently; she is a strong supporter of our country, and a proud Zionist. She has been on the liberal side of American politics her whole life, like most American Jews.
She fought for civil rights in the 1960s. She was against the war in Vietnam. She was proud of Israel in 1967, worried in 1973, confused by the first Lebanon war, dismayed by Israel’s continued presence in Lebanon for 18 years.
She saw the first intifada as the birthing ground for a peace process with the Palestinians based on mutual recognition. She was inspired and hopeful when Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn in 1993. She was devastated when Rabin was assassinated. She continued to believe in peace and was convinced that the two-state solution was the best way to fulfill Zionism’s dream of a sustainable Jewish nation-state in the land of Israel.
Now, she is challenged within her own Jewish community on the viability of a two-state solution and she finds herself becoming part of a rapidly shrinking group of American Jews who hold firm to the belief that it is the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Settlement leaders, writing in The New York Times and other local and international newspapers, tell us that there is no two-state solution, and they claim, there never was. They tell us that the Zionist dream is the fulfillment of the Jewish state in all of the land of Israel and make believe that there is no thing called the Palestinian people.
Every week “talkbackers” to my articles in this newspaper make the same claim. I still have not heard one of them – or any credible settler leader – explain to me how we make peace with our neighbors by implementing a one-state reality.
I have heard some of them say that peace is not in the cards. That is certainly true if we continue to implement the plans that they dictate to the country. They are right: there will be no peace if we deny the Palestinian people their right to self-determination. If we deny them their freedom – if we continue to confiscate their land and build more settlements for Jews only – there will be no peace.
From the Christian Science Monitor:
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told Jewish donors Monday that their culture is part of what has allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians, outraging Palestinian leaders who called his comments racist and out of touch.
Romney did not mention the crippling restrictions that Israel imposes on Palestinian trade and movement. The reaction of Palestinian leaders was swift and pointed, as Romney continued to make missteps on a three-country trip designed to bolster his foreign policy credentials while challenging President Barack Obamafor the November election. The Israel visit was designed to appeal to the Jewish vote in a tight race.
“It is a racist statement and this man doesn’t realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation,” said Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“It seems to me this man (Romney) lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people,” Erekat added. “He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority.”
The economic disparity between the Israelis and the Palestinians is actually much greater than Romney stated. Israel had a per capita gross domestic product of about $31,000 in 2011, while the West Bank and Gaza had a per capita GDP of just over $1,500, according to the World Bank.
What do you think?
Is Romney’s claim that cultural superiority is the reason for the economic disparity between Israelis and Palestinians racist?
Why or why not?
That was before the foundation of the State of Israel. Since then, the term Zionism has been elevated to the status of a state ideology, if not state religion. Everything the state does is justified by the use of this word. Some would say that Zionism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
When I visited Prague for the first time, right after the fall of the Communist regime, I was shown a hotel of incredible luxury – chandeliers from France, marble from Italy, rugs from Persia, the lot. I had never seen anything like it before. I was told that the place – or palace – had been reserved for the communist elite.
It’s then and there that I understood the essence of a state ideology. Communist regimes were founded by idealists, imbued with humanist values. They ended as mafia states, in which a corrupt clique of cynics used the communist ideology as justification for privilege, oppression and exploitation.
I don’t like state ideologies. States should not foster ideologies. Continue reading
Thought you might enjoy a little Middle East humor.
This appears to have been shot in Saudi Arabia.