Response to Something to think of


"The establishment of Israel was conceivably the worst idea ever dreamed up in the history of mankind." Certainly, the Israeli government has made huge mistakes and morally reprehensible policy decisions. The seizure of Palistinian lands and the murders of children and peace activists in the streets must be stopped. Of that, there's no doubt. But Zak, the "worst idea every dreamed up in the history of mankind"? Come on, I'm sure you can think of some worse ideas. Israel as a concept has been alive for as long as there have been Jews roaming the world without a homeland. Many people assimilated over the last thousand or so years, but many more were never allowed to. They were always a community apart, and they were continually expelled from the places they settled. Hitler didn't invent anti-semitism (a term too easily ascribed these days). He played on it and then used it to perpetrate the largest genocide in history. Before 1933, the Jews were blamed for the black death, communism, and WWI. They were accused of the blood libel. They were thought to have horns and tails. How many thousands were murdered by Queen Isabella in Spain? Despite this, they settled and many prospered. King Kazimierz invited the Jews to make a home in Poland (because he knew they could make him money). But that all ended by 1945. We all know what happened during the 12 years of Hitler's terror, though I think we tend to forget that Europe didn't suddenly love the Jews once he was dead. There were thousands of people killed after the war was over (esp. in Eastern Europe), and then Stalin moved through and killed even more Jews and resistance fighters (people who were anti-Hitler were probably going to cause trouble for him too, he said to himself). The remaining survivors had no families and homes to go to, and though they were "free" they were in a hostile environment. So they wanted to go anywhere that wasn't Europe. They went to America, and Australia, and Britain, and Palestine. Why wouldn't they want to go to the home of their ancestors? It is a natural inclination. So modern Israel was born. The people who were in power in the first days after the war, were the people who had been active in the Jewish resistance during it. They were going to make a home and they were not about to let anyone stop them. There were always Jews there. But perhaps if the European holocaust hadn't happened, the influx of people into Palestine would have been a natural migration rather than a mass horde of refugees. But it did happen. To suggest that Israel give "all of it" back is just mad-talk. I think that a return to 1967 borders or a compromise based on those borders is more realistic. Certainly, Israel must cease the wanton destruction of the last bits of Palestinian lands, and they must remove the newest Jewish settlers from those lands. They must stop the ghettoisation. They must stop their rampant militarism. And both sides need to start talking again. In the last 2 years we've seen Palestinian territory shrink to little fenced in islands surrounded by a sea of Israel. We've watched babies being shot in their carseats while waiting at checkpoints, we've watched activists and journalists be rolled over by tanks, we've watched helicopter gunships blasting away indescriminately in civilian streets, we've watched as countless families are made homeless. We've also seen Palestinians blow up themselves and dozens of others on buses and in discos--they don't much care whom they hurt either. They've also killed babies and grandmothers. And so each side retaliates violently for each wrong. But Israel has helicopters and missiles and machine guns and a huge army. Palestine has molotov cocktails and rudimentary explosives and zealous young men who are queuing up to be martyred. Even if violence ever really resolved conflicts, it wouldn't be a fair fight. Whether or not Israel has a right to exist is not our argument. It does exist. And that's what we have to work with. So much of the Middle East/West conflict has its roots in the Israel/Palestine dispute and the US's vehement support of Israel above Arab and Palestinian interests. So why aren't they talking? Why do they continue to blow each other up? Why are so many children having to die? Eyal is right, Zak. Your arguments in this instance don't help peace. They only help war.

Created By: Mollie Huggins