I applaud Eugene Weekly for writing about the Israel-Palestine subject [Slant, 4/4]. I believe this subject is the core foreign policy issue that confronts the U.S. today. Therefore, I hope you will continue to publish relevant articles so that the public can stay informed.
With regard to the possibilities for peace between Israel and its neighbors, it is well-known among intelligence circles in most countries, including the U.S., that the Israel-Palestine problem is one of the root causes of Muslim anger toward the U.S. and Israel. If this problem were resolved much of the anger felt by Arabs and Muslims toward the U.S. and Israel would dissolve.
Additionally, as a Jewish former member of AIPAC with relatives living in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, who at one time would have been fiercely hostile to the perspective put forth by the Al-Nakba Awareness Project, I am deeply concerned with the rising tide of anti-Semitism throughout the world, especially in Europe. Clearly, this hatred is a reaction to Israel’s practices in the West Bank and Gaza that dispossess Palestinians of their lands, their homes and, at times, their self-respect.
Although I agree with EW that focusing on the cultural wealth Jews and Arabs share can be useful, I disagree with its possible desire to “abandon” what it mistakenly refers to as “accusations.” Documented fact is not accusation. I have never seen the Al-Nakba Awareness Project criticize Israeli behavior with either innuendo or accusation. Their criticism has always been based on documented fact that anyone who is sincerely interested in the truth can find out for him or herself via Israeli and Zionist sources. It is delusional to think that peace is possible as long as people ignore documented fact and base their beliefs on what they want to be true rather than what is in fact true. The truth is that Israel has always used peace negotiations as a tool to deceive the world into thinking that Israel is interested in peace while it continues its expansion of Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land. This has always been an Israeli objective. And this is not me talking. This is the Israel state archives, Central Zionist archives and many of the most prominent Israeli leaders, past and present, talking.
The “seemingly intractable chaos” in the Middle East that EW refers to is really and truly the unwillingness of those who justify and rationalize Israeli behavior to let go of their intractability by abandoning myth and delusion and looking at fact. The Israel-Palestine problem is the most legally documented event in human history. The real conflict for those who are unwilling to look is not Israel vs the Palestinian people or Israel vs. a hostile world. The real conflict is the refusal to recognize and integrate the hard-to-believe but inescapable knowledge of Israel’s inhumane treatment of non-Jews with unquestioned loyalty to the state of Israel. One consideration acknowledges Israel’s dark side. The other denies a dark side exists.
Furthermore, those who resort to myth and delusion do so not to defend Israel. They do so, unconsciously, to defend a false and idealistic image of Israel as innocent victim of a pathologically hateful Arab society. This image and the belief system it arises out of are ingrained in their minds through indoctrination. The image and the belief system are core elements of their presumed collective identity, which must be defended at all costs. This exact process of projecting one’s images upon the world has provided virtually all oppressors in human history with the permission to conduct their assaults upon the dignity of the “other,” who is the “enemy.” Oppressors can always rely on the explicit support or silence of the majority of their people, who are so indoctrinated they never even think to question their beliefs.
If not for courageous groups like the Al-Nakba Awareness Project, the American public would not only be sorely unaware of the inhumanity their tax dollars help create, it would inevitably be enthusiastic in its support for this inhumanity directed against an indigenous society.