Friday, May 12, 2006

Sympathy for the Devil

I know I am going to catch hell for this, but oh well. I found some quotes the other day tucked in a report authored by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt and released by the John F. Kennedy School of Government, of Harvard University. The report, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, takes aim at a lot of the issues brought about by the United States’ seemingly unconditional support of Israel, since its inception. They also go further, looking at the pro-Israeli lobby that helps to foster such support within our government. It is a fascinating article, a real eye-opener to some of the positions we have taken, and the political power that this lobby wields over our Congress and President.

But the quotes I mentioned are interesting, in my humble opinion, regarding the perception of Israelis towards the Palestinian movements. It is more interesting to note that they arise from prominent Israeli politicians, some of whom were the most Zionist in their approach to a Jewish state. The quotes seem to indicate an understanding of the Palestinian cause and root of the conflict. It also implicates the Israeli people as being complicit, even accepting, of terrorism as a means to get what a group wants (this is no new news; the Zionist movement used terrorism extensively in their fight against colonial Britain). Thus, how can the state of Israel as a whole denounce the Palestinians’ motives and methods, when they are rooted in the Israeli’s own history and collective psyche? Seems a bit hypocritical to me, but I will leave you with these things to ponder on a Friday afternoon.

David Ben-Gurion: “If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country…. We come from Israel, but two thousand years ago, and that is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?”[1]

Ehud Barak: “[had I been born a Palestinian, I] would have joined a terrorist organization.”[2]

Yitzhak Shamir: “Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat.”[3]

1 - Nahum Goldmann, The Jewish Paradox, trans. Steve Cox (NY: Grosset and Dunlap, 1978), p.99.

2 - Bill Maxwell, “U.S. Should Reconsider Aid to Israel,” St. Petersburg Times, December 16, 2001.

3 - Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999), pp.485-486.

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