Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Liberal Jews support Obama in part because they blame the Jews too


By Ted Belman

I recently assembled most of facts illustration Obama’s Muslim Connection. The insulting mail I received from Jews was very upsetting mainly because they dismissed everything I wrote as lies and distortions. For them Obama was the great black hope. No amount of facts to the contrary was enough to dislodge their adoration. The article I posted today from the Rabbi was sent to me by one of them.

One of the points I have been trying to prove is that Obama believes that the Israel Lobby is too strong and not in America’s interest. To this end I have cited many of his foreign policies advisers if not all, as people who share such a view, namely Powers, McPeak, Malley, Brzezinski and so on. MY argument made no dent, no doubt because his followers, liberal Jews included, agree that it is too strong.

Now It appears that Obama 08 under senator Obama’s editorial control, in the blog section had a blog entitled A Middle East Peace Initiative for President Obama said as much and more.
[..] He (Jimmy Carter) has recently published a controversial book, “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid” which I believe shows the way for the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign to a new peace initiative that can change the world.

The key to peace in the Middle East is the Israel/Palestine conflict. It has political and religious significance going back thousands of years. If this central conflict can be truly resolved, I believe there will be such a relaxation of tension that we will see a new era of peace and progress in the Middle East and the whole world. If it cannot be resolved - and it is getting worse every day - I think it likely that it will ultimately lead to nuclear war and the destruction of civilization. An issue of that importance is what is needed to inspire our people.

The current U.S./Israel alliance is a marriage made in hell. The current situation in Israel is intolerable to anyone with a genuine concern for human rights. There are millions of people living in the West Bank and Gaza and in refugee camps in Lebanon, who have no country of citizenship and no rights. In the West Bank they have lived under military occupation for 40 years, while Gaza is virtually a concentration camp. Palestinians have watched while Israeli settlements are built in open defiance of international law, with the obvious intent of eventually absorbing the whole of the West Bank and expelling its non-Jewish population, by making their lives so miserable and intolerable that they (or their children) will eventually leave.

Yet Israel keeps maintaining that it is a beacon of peace and democracy and that there is no problem but Palestinian terrorism. That is because Israel is constituted as a “Jewish state”, which means that that it puts what it considers to be the safety and security and rights of Jews above human rights.

Israel therefore should not be considered a democracy. It is in fact an apartheid state, similar to South Africa, and should be treated as such by the United States, until it changes its policies to come into conformity with universal principles of human rights and international law.

As long as it does not do so, terrorism against Israel and the United States will continue to grow. The United States must alter the nature of the relationship, by conditioning further support of Israel on its respect for the human rights of non-Jewish people and its obedience to international law. In the name of national sovereignty, the U.S. and Israel have combined to undermine international law for forty years.

They have virtually destroyed the United Nations as an effective institution. They have rejected the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. These sorry, reactionary policies must end forever. The strengthening of international law is the only way to really “spread freedom and democracy”. It is also the only right way to deal with terrorism - not bombs, not invading countries, and not “Jewish self-defense”. We must all understand how critical it is for national sovereignty to be exercised within a context of the rule of international law, which applies to all countries equally, whether large or small. It is that vision of the world that we must set before us.

Israel and the United States are politically isolated from the rest of the world, and as its only friend, Israel desperately needs U.S. support. It therefore naturally does everything possible to influence U.S. policy to continue that support. It makes maximum use of Jewish-American citizens to accomplish this. There are many organizations in this country that look out for Jewish interests, such as AIPAC, the ADL, etc. These organizations have every right to exist in our democracy. In the past they have existed to protect the civil rights of Jews in this country, and so have contributed to American democracy. But in recent years they have become advocates for Israel and its policies which violate international law and the rights non-Jewish residents of the territory under its control. They exercise a constant message discipline saying that Israel is a democracy and the only problem is Arab terrorism. They exercise this discipline by smearing anyone who suggests that this image is false as an “anti-Semite” - or, if the critic happens to be Jewish, as a “self-hating Jew”. This policy has worked to intimidate and silence Americans, Jewish or non-Jewish, who might otherwise speak out against Israeli behavior and policies.

[..] There is a way to break through the censorship and misdirection currently exercised by this Israel lobby. It is to rely on the support of democratic, progressive Jewish Americans whose democratic values and humanitarian instincts (for which Jewish people in general have always been known) do not allow them to support anti-democratic Israeli policies, in spite of their concern for the safety and security of Jewish people living in Israel. These courageous and principled Jewish Americans are speaking out in ever-larger numbers. They can protect non-Jewish Americans whose only concern is democracy and human rights from scurrilous charges of anti-Semitism. Such charges only vitiate the concept of anti-Semitism and give real anti-Semites respectability. There certainly are plenty of real anti-Semites and their number is growing alarmingly. Anti-Semitism has been around for thousands of years, as a result of Christian dogma and superstition. This pre-existing social disease was used by the Nazis to gain power in Germany.

But in recent years, anti-Semitism has been growing primarily owning to the Israel/Palestine conflict, where Israel’s policy of putting Jewish security above human rights has antagonized the whole Arab world and is the perfect cover for anti-Semites to promote their thesis that Jews are lying, scheming evil people attempting to manipulate and control the world. Such anti-Semitism is then used by Israel as a further justification for its actions. It also puts pressure on Jews living in countries where anti-Semitism is growing to immigrate to Israel. Seeing where this is all going, democratic Jews in this country are repudiating the uncritical support of Israel and forming organizations to combat the pernicious influence of the Israel lobby.

One such organization, of which I am a member, is the Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP). Its founder is Rabbi Michael Lerner. It puts out an excellent political affairs monthly magazine called Tikkun, which means “healing transformation” in Hebrew. Everyone, Jewish or non-Jewish, religious or secular, is welcome in the NSP. I recommend that everyone take a look at the Tikkun web site and consider subscribing to the magazine and becoming a member of the NSP. That’s www.tikkun.org. Do check it out. The lead article in the latest issue is “The Israel Lobby: Bad for the U.S., bad for Israel, bad for the Jews”. Join with Rabbi Lerner and all progressive, democratic Jews in this effort. Let those Jewish organizations which continue to identify Jewish interests with the current policies of the state of Israel support Republicans. That is the appropriate party for people, Jewish or non-Jewish, who don’t care about human rights.

I am proud to say that Rabbi Lerner has seen fit to publish one of my letters in this month’s issue of Tikkun, followed by his response. If you read them, you will see that although he and I have broad areas of agreement, we also have an important point of disagreement concerning the remedy for the conflict. He holds to the view that Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state, and that justice for the Palestinians (without which there can be no peace, as we agree) therefore lies in the formation of a Palestinian state.

He wants Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders as required by international law, and give the illegal settlements built there to the Palestinians. This solution is acceptable to the Arab League and endorsed by the United Nations. It would seem that the only thing standing in the way is U.S. and Israeli intransigence. An Obama administration would only have to take a stand for human rights and vote for implementation of this solution in the United Nations, and Israel would not be able to resist. What would happen is that Israelis would elect a peace-oriented administration which would end the intransigence and comply with international law and world opinion.

This may be the most practical and best approach, and I hesitate to contradict Michael Lerner, a man who has vast experience, whose family was among the founders of Israel, who has personally known David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Abba Eban, and other famous Israelis. But I would like people to consider an alternative solution.

It is that instead of implementing a permanent partition of the land into an “Israel” and a “Palestine”, to see the very partition of the land as a mistake, and instead to solve the conflict by reunification of the country and repatriation of those who have been excluded from Israel as a Jewish state. This is is called the “One Democratic State” solution or ODS, as opposed to the more generally accepted “two-state” solution. It is to see the conflict as an internal civil rights struggle within Israel. It is to see it as analogous to South Africa, where the answer was not separate “Bantustans” for blacks but peaceful integration into one multicultural democracy. This was accomplished successfully in South Africa owing to the leadership of the great Nelson Mandela. Afrikaners today, although a small minority of South Africans, are proud to be citizens of a modern multicultural democracy that is a model for the world.

I believe Israel could accomplish such a transition also, with the support of the United States, the United Nations and the international community. In this case the problem becomes a civil rights movement for the right of non-Jewish people to be full and equal citizens of Israel. As long as Israel is constituted as a Jewish state, as the national expression of the will of Jewish people, non-Jewish people are left out. That includes Arab Israeli citizens, who are about 20% of the population of Israel.

These are peaceful people who are treated decently by Israel, but they are still second-class citizens without real power. They are beginning to form a common front with their Arab brethren in the West Bank and Gaza, and are therefore coming under increasing suspicion by the Israeli government.

For this reason there is a movement gaining support in Israel to “transfer” all non-Jewish “citizens” out of Israel. This has to be seen as pure racism, but I see it as the logical consequence of the very project of a ‘Jewish state”. I believe this idea is anachronistic and undemocratic, and it is time for it to be given up in favor of the kind of multicultural democracy the United States prides itself on being. Israeli Arab citizens are currently proposing constitutions that will make Israel a country of all the persons living in it, with an integrated army and an integrated court system that will protect the rights of minorities whatever their religion or ethnicity. An Obama administration should contact these people and support their efforts.

So let me see. He is against the Israel Lobby, he wants Israel security to take a back seat to human rights, he wants a one state solution instead of a Jewish state and so one.

The reason my facts aren’t getting traction among some Jews is, not that they don’t get it, but that they do and agree.

Posted by Ted Belman @ 10:25 pm

From: Laura665467 (Original Message)


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