The solution is very simple—-stop the Jewish settlements on the Left Bank now. But the questions to this are the how and why do we accomplish this. The how is to simply tell Netanyahu “The gravy train stops” until you do. “All aid ceases as of now, our umbrella of military support ends as of now, and never mind those “friends of Israel lobbies” that have wielded a completely unjustified influence over American foreign policy because as of this moment our ears are deaf to their demands. As to why—-because it’s the only right thing to do. Justice demands it.
I used to think of Israel as this tiny nation, where the survivors of the holocaust emigrated to, valiantly defending itself against its Arab enemies and winning in the face of overwhelming odds. So I cheered whenever Israel won because I equated its conflicts as battles between the forces of the righteous underdog against the forces of evil. Until—that is, my second trip to Israel when my wife and I boarded our flight to Egypt in Tel Aviv.
On the plane we met several Californians distributing their literature describing the oppression of the indigenous Palestinian population. On that flight we learned how the Israeli state systematically cowed Palestinian males into accepting their underdog status by jailing practically every Palestinian youth by the time he was twenty on one pretext of the other. We learned the truth about all those wondrous Jewish settlements and kibbutzes providing homes for Jews emigrating to Israel from all over the world, especially from Russia and other Eastern European countries. The truth was entire villages were being forced at gunpoint to move elsewhere to make room for the newcomers. Never mind the fact that such villages had vineyards and orange groves that had existed for thousands of years in Palestinian hands. Never mind that one’s family had lived in the same house for several generations or more. If the Israelis wanted you out, you might have just three days to move your possessions somewhere else before the bulldozers came in.
The Californians were members of a large Christian church congregation that had paid their travel expenses to Israel so that they could find out and spread the truth about all the atrocities Israel was committing against the Palestinian people. But after returning to the United States my vision of Israel had not been tainted completely until the revelations of the Californian church group were aired on sixty minutes. And that did it. Not only had I learned about the bull dozing of all those Palestinian homes and the forced ejections of their owners from the mouths and handouts of the Californians, here I was actually watching it all happen before my very own eyes on television. From that moment on I stopped being a fan of Israel. But that was back in something like 1990. Twenty-two years have gone by since then and nothing’s changed.
But Israel is our great ally in the Mideast, right? Yeah, since when? We supply the jets, the M-16 rifles, and the money and Israeli turns around to become the world’s greatest supplier of MIG parts by shooting Russian built planes out of the sky. But seriously, what has Israel ever done for the U.S.? Its occupation of Jordanian and Syrian territory ever since the successful conclusion of the 7 day war of 1967 has given Americans nothing more than a seedbed for terrorism and one huge headache. And oh yes….a reason for cheering on the sentimental underdog–those feisty outnumbered survivors of the Holocaust fighting back against tremendous odds. Oh those poor Jews.
But don’t think me for one moment to be anti-Semitic though. The members of my maternal grandfather’s family are buried in Chicago in a Jewish cemetery, and it was this revelation together with the fact that two of my grandfather’s sisters were named Esther and Lydia that caused my sisters and I wonder if our mother wasn’t 50 % Jewish. It’s not that Jews are bad, it’s just that certain groups are very bad news, not just for the rest of the world, but for the more progressive, intelligent members of Jewish society.
I will not point out two incidents involving the Orthodox Israeli Jews of Mea Shearim just to show how diverse this thing, called Jewishness is, and how what seems to benefit one group of Jews is of no benefit to others and might go so far as to undermine the goals and aspirations of such other elements of the Jewish nation of Israel. The first was on my first trip to Jerusalem. Our tour guide, David, used a cane to help him walk because of injuries he had suffered while fighting in four of Israel’s wars. Our group that was composed both of Christians and Jews had just gotten out of our tour bus in the middle of Mea Shearim when suddenly we were confronted by what appeared to be a lynch mob of bearded men wearing the black robes and hats of Israeli Jewish antiquity. Our group nearly incited a riot because of the appearance of most of the women getting off the bus whose dress had exposed their arms and legs. To the inhabitants of Mea Shearim such a “public display of nudity” was an unforgivable atrocity. Our group ended up retreating into our tour bus as David raised his cane to fend off the mob.
The second incident was during my second visit to Israel. My wife and I had just gotten off the plane in Tel Aviv. We accosted a taxi and asked the driver to take us to our hotel in Jerusalem and then we climbed into the cab. Before our driver could get underway, a bearded Israeli wearing the funny hat and clothes started speaking to him in Hebrew. Then the man got in. Our driver then waited another ten minutes for three of the funny looking man’s friends to arrive and then he took us all to Jerusalem. It takes roughly thirty minutes to get from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but this time it took us at least one hour to get to our hotel because the driver took his new passengers to Mea Shearim which was way out of our way before depositing us at our hotel.
For me, the inhabitants of Mea Shearim are the product of a very odious time warp. Furthermore I cannot see them doing anything good for the modern Israeli state. From my understanding Israel doesn’t police Mea Sherim nor does it have any of its military in Mea Sherim. I believe the Orthodox Jews of Mea Shearim are exempt from military service and perhaps even of having to pay taxes to the Israeli government.
But whereas Mea Shearim might be a curious eye sore and a pain in the butt for most Israelis, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his right wing supporters are just pure evil, ironically in the same sense as those S.S. who were responsible for the Final Solution’s treatment of Jews during the Second World War. Their game plan is to keep building new residential areas in the left bank so that this entire area that would be part of the Palestinian portion of a new two state division of Israel would resemble a checkerboard which would later give the Israelis reason to claim that a two state solution is impossible.
And it is this perpetuation of illegal settlements on Palestinian lands that Netanyahu has given our president Obama as a take it or leave it proposition. All of this amounts to Netanyahu pointing a gun at Obama’s head and saying…..”You try and stop us from continuing to dispossess these Palestinians and I am going to convince my American friends of Israel to combine all of its considerable political and economic power to cost you this next election.
So…it’s Israel first and American second. “We have more power than you have, Mr. Obama so if you think we are behaving the same way Americans did during the Westward expansion as they were exterminating American Indians to make room for new settlers in their native lands, there is simply nothing you can do about it.
These are not the actions of an ally. It’s time for Israel, to have to take care of its own back from now on. It’s the only just thing to do.