Thursday, January 29, 2009

War Crimes Indictments Sure to Arise from Israel’s war against Gaza.

The Israeli government is making serious preparations to defend itself from war crimes accusations and indictments. As well it must because the other side is working feverishly to prepare them.

As the case of Pinochet, who was indicted in Spain and apprehended in England for crimes committed in Chile, there is no escape from justice aside from never leaving Israel.

In the Gaza offensive three UN schools were bombed. In one case, Palestinian civilians were told to evacuate their neighborhood because it was going to be targeted. The took shelter in a UN compound which was then hit by Israeli shells resulting in 40 deaths and many more injuries.

In another case a UN school was hit by phosphorus bombs. They are made of many pieces of felt soaked in phosphorus which burns in contact with air. When the shells explode in mid air many burning fragments spread over a wide area.These are legal but only in open areas away from civilians. They cause horrible burns which essentially melt flesh they come in contact with.

In both cases large numbers of people were sheltering from combat zones. Israeli authorities insist their troops were responding to fire from the area (the UN insists not). And if they were being fired on, do you take a chance on killing large numbers of civilians in response to a small number of fighters with only small arms? Not if you care about the laws of war, not to mention human life.

Which only brings up the impossibility of fighting insurgents with a conventional army. Which, unless your intention is indeed to kill civilians, shows the utter and absolute futility of Israel’s war against Gaza.

If anything Hamas was strengthened. If anything, Israel’s callous disregard for non-Jewish life was broadcast to the world.

Seventeen mosques were hit, every one, according to Israel, being used to store munitions. Big deal; Hamas can always get more arms. Consider the impression Israel made upon the Muslim world by purposely hitting houses of worship. Imagine the uproar if Hamas were able to target synagogues in return.

Now less than two weeks after it declared a unilateral cease fire, an Israeli soldier was killed on the Israeli side of the Gaza border by a militant group not affiliated with Hamas. Israel’s response? Kill a nearby farmer and bomb smuggling tunnels. As if that will bring peace and security to its country. After 60 years of ignoring the plight of Palestinian refugees it created and 40 years of murderous suppression of those under its control it still hasn’t learned the essential lesson; that is, it’ll never bring peace to its country through force of arms.

Even if Israel magically turned into a country of peace loving pacifists tomorrow, the hatred it has engendered to date is so strong there will always be some who seek revenge. However, once again for the umpteenth time, it will never have peace until it begins to treat the Palestinians respectfully and fairly as equal members of the human race.

Meanwhile, my fervent hope is that the threat of war crimes indictments will somehow affect the upcoming Israeli elections in a positive manner… but I’m not holding my breath. At this point, considering their overwhelming approval of the Gaza attack and their casual acceptance of its terrible cost in Palestinian lives, I can’t imagine the great mass of Israelis caring one whit about what anyone else in the world thinks.

Hopefully there will be indictments and those in power will think twice the next time before undertaking another bloody rampage.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Israel Declares A Cease-Fire Just In Time For Obama’s Inauguration.

Israel’s breach of the previous cease-fire, when it invaded Gaza and killed 6 Palestinians, was also conveniently timed, in that case to happen on election day in America, November 4th, when people all over the world were preoccupied with more momentous matters.

Why take a chance on Obama pressuring Israel to derail its lust for revenge, just when it’s so strongly approved of by the general population – nearly 90% at one point. Do those Israelis who stand behind the Gaza attack understand that their country has been enforcing a sometimes brutal military occupation of Arab land for 42 years? That large parts of Arab land has been “confiscated”, read stolen, so it could be colonized by Jews? And that the process of settling conquered land is against all international rules and norms?

Are they aware that many of the Palestinians who were ejected 60 years ago from what’s now Israel, who now number in the millions after 3 generations, are refugees living in refugee camps? Do they feel no responsibility for the plight of the descendents of those Arabs who were forcibly driven from their lands; in some cases from properties that were in their families for centuries? Do they have no ethic in their society that stands for justice and fairness on a human level? Or is there one rule for Jews and another for Gentiles, i.e., everyone else?

Do they really believe, when the UN General Assembly votes 189 to 4 against their country (US, Israel and two tiny Pacific countries) that everybody else in the world is wrong?

The offense against Gaza, it can be argued, was undertaken to bolster the chances of the centrist Kadima party to win February 10 elections against right-wing Likud with hard-line Netanyahu as its head. So maybe PM Ehud Olmert of Kadima really had the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart; thinking if he killed and wounded enough innocent terrorists his centrist party would defeat the rightists and eventually make a better deal with the Arabs.

But obviously not a good deal, certainly - based on their actions over the last few years - not one any self-respecting Palestinian could accept. Israel wants the Palestinians to accept a West Bank divided into three cantons, each completely surrounded by Israeli territory: a scenario that would require Palestinians to sometimes go through Israeli road blocks to go from one village to another. Considering how Israel blockaded Gaza because it didn’t approve of their democratically chosen government, how could any Palestinian accept that?

Even as Olmert, to the surprise of many, said recently that Israel will have to leave almost all of the West Bank to make peace, he’s presided over a large-scale expansion of Jewish colonies there. No country is stupid enough to spend billions building gleaming new cities in places it plans to abandon in short order. In other words, from Israel’s side, there’s no possibility of a negotiated peace. Only a powerful push on the part of Obama, who’s until now held his cards close to his chest, so is a largely unknown quantity, can change the dynamic.

However, no amount of political pressure or voice of reason or appeal to fairness will remove the majority of settlers from the West Bank. When you look at the resistance put up by the mere 8000 Jewish settlers who were removed from Gaza, a place that has no historical significance for Jews, you can imagine the gargantuan task of uprooting half a million people: 60% of that number are religious zealots who will resist removal by force. It would take Jews killing Jews to make it happen.

In that context, a one-state solution would be no harder to achieve. It would be equally impossible to imagine happening but, in context, no more difficult to contemplate.

The great irony of Israel’s policy of purposely pauperizing the Palestinians, in the vain and vague hope that they will somehow leave or disappear or willingly accept permanent subjugation, is that it has massively increased the Arab birth rate. While it’s true that Muslims around the world tend to have more children, it’s also axiomatic that the wealthier a population becomes the fewer children they have. Israel’s policies have, in effect, accelerated Palestinian population growth to the point where the two peoples have about the same numbers.

If Jews want to live in the West Bank, that’s fine, a one-state solution provides for that. The only change is that they’d have to purchase the land rather than steal it.

On the Palestinian side, they should be compensated richly for their pain and suffering, enough so that if they really want they can return to their ancestral communities and purchase presences there.

It could be like Belgium or Bosnia where there are individual parliaments for two separate groups of society – in Belgium there are the Dutch speaking Flemish and the French speaking Walloons; in Bosnia there is a Serb republic and a Muslim-Croat federation - and a single parliament for the country as a whole.

And what’s the problem with treating everyone equally? Is there anywhere else in the world where it’s okay to give special privileges to one group? It happens in many places but can it ever be considered a progressive idea? An idea that belongs in the 21st century?

The time is long past when Jews needed a dedicated homeland for self-protection. Jews live freely and comfortably and safely in many countries in the world, and can do so also in Israel/Palestine if they treat their neighbors honestly and fairly and respectfully.

In fact, the Palestinian people are among the most advanced and modern of all Arabs. In addition, they’ve had free and fair elections and shown themselves to be more democratic than Israel itself, considering the Jewish state has discrimination built into its very fabric.

It’s time for Israelis and blind supporters of Israel to get over their persecution complex. The Holocaust is history, there’s no need to wallow in its grotesqueness. The IDF (Israeli Defense Force) has not been used to defend Israel for a long time, but solely to enforce a brutal occupation and to collectively punish a people who’s only crime is to legitimately seek their freedom and demand their right to live normal lives.

Yes, they have used terrorism, but so have Israelis in the past and so would they today if they were in the Palestinians’ shoes. Tzipi Livni, Israeli Foreign Minister and candidate for Prime Minister in the coming election rails on about Arab terrorism. She should know about the practice, her father played a central role in Jewish terrorism of the 1940’s.

Time for Israel to grow up and join the family of modern civilized nations. That can only happen with a strictly secular government based on justice and equality for all.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

David and Goliath

In the early days of Israel’s existence it was David surrounded by the Goliath of 250 million Arabs. I, as well as, I imagine, Jews everywhere took seriously the Arab threat to drive the Jews into the sea. Coming so soon after Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’ one would have to stand behind the Jews of Israel, even if one wasn’t a Zionist per se. I was surprised at the prejudice against Jews that still existed in America in the fifties: Don’t they have any sympathy for what we went through?

As a teenager I immersed myself in the horrors of the Holocaust – it wasn’t even called that then. The level of cruelty and sadism displayed by the Nazis was almost too great to grasp. The Germans, being good at most things, definitely perfected the macabre arts. In fact, I’ve often thought they might’ve more successfully prosecuted the war if they hadn’t devoted so much energy to killing Jews. Even right at the end, when Allied forces were advancing on Germany, they emptied out the concentration camps and put the remaining Jews on forced marches that brought death to most of the remnant. They could’ve abandoned the camps and let the Jews be rescued and thus had additional troops to fight the enemy, but instead couldn’t bring themselves to let the last few alone.

One can only imagine what good Israel could’ve done with the billions they’ve spend on their military and colonization programs; how easily they could’ve fully compensated the Palestinians instead of occupying and repressing them.

It’s hard to imagine any nation ever approaching Germany’s monstrous deeds, though others have tried in their own little ways. The Hutus, the Serbs, even America indulged in massacring whole villages, a la Mai Lai. Now it’s Israel’s turn to join the ranks of tainted nations. Nations who will never be forgotten for their lapse from humanity.

In Israel’s case it gained a foothold when it began to colonize conquered land. It continues in its nasty, hard-hearted ways day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year, decade-to-decade. More than 700 Arabs killed in the latest conflict, a significant percentage civilians. Many of the non-civilians were in fact police officers who took the job to feed their families. Israel’s near total blockade of Gaza has destroyed the private economy, the only jobs left are with the Hamas government or NGO’s.

If you keep up with the numbers, you’ll hear that Israel (out of the goodness of its heart) is letting in 80 truckloads of essential goods, but were you also aware that 1.5 million people require a minimum of 400 truckloads per day? One of Hamas’s conditions for agreeing to a cease fire was the opening of the crossings to bring a semblance of normal life to the people of Gaza. It never happened; the blockade was maintained full force.

Israeli Jews would not stand for one minute the treatment they mete to the Palestinians every day. In the West Bank, an area the size of Delaware, America’s second smallest state, there are about 620 checkpoints where Palestinians are routinely made to wait, sometimes for hours, for passage – babies have been born at them, elderly and ill have died for want of passage. Maybe it was only to a nearby town or to a field they own. No matter, Israeli soldiers will not let them through without dosing out a little humiliation first.

Every bit of forceful opposition to occupation is called terrorism. Jews know all about terrorism, they used it famously, productively and ruthlessly to foster and speed the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Ah but now the roles are reversed. Now Israel is Goliath avenging the death of four of its own by killing 700 of the enemy. ‘We’ll show them who has the power’ – paraphrasing PM Ehud Olmert. Did the Palestinians sorta not know Israel has one of the world’s largest, best equipped armies? Were they maybe unaware that Israel is not afraid to kill large numbers of civilians, as in Lebanon in 2006?

Hamas made a chilling warning to Israel as it invaded Gaza. They said they have more than 200 suicide bombers, both male and female, ready for martyrdom. Israel has stolen all hope from those young people, they feel they have nothing to live for. There is no normal life for them on the horizon.

If you listen to unfolding events in the conflict, you often hear references to refugee camps. Same when Israel waged its war against Lebanon. Does Israel think those Palestinians it displaced at the birth of its nation in 1948 will just eventually disappear? That it can allow generations to fester in hopelessness without consequences? That it can ignore the needs and rights of those people without staining its national morality and psyche?

The Biblical David won out over Goliath because he had God on his side. There is no God within my conception of a supreme being that would cheer Goliath on or take Israel’s side in this conflict. Whatever fears I might have had for Israel’s safety or survival in its early years were laid to rest in 1973. Since then its belligerent ten-eyes-for-an-eye violence has been totally gratuitous. It has been necessitated not by survival but solely to fend off legitimate opposition to its occupation and theft of Palestinian land.

The worst part is I see no cause whatever for optimism, though there’s always a tiny smidgen of hope that Obama will work some of his magic to force an equitable outcome to this most intractable of situations.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Siege of Gaza

After five months of a cease fire in which Hamas fired no rockets into Israel from Gaza, Israel invaded and killed 6 militants and then proclaimed that they didn’t think that constituted a breach of the cease fire. Since the Palestinian militants didn’t quite agree that their compatriots could be killed without repercussions, they resumed their crude rocket attacks. Crude because they have no way to accurately aim them and only cause damage when they are lucky.

This led to a tightening of the siege of Gaza by Israel; one that began when Hamas won Palestinian elections nearly two years ago. There were two good reasons why Hamas won: 1. Fatah was hopelessly corrupt whereas Hamas was noted for its honesty, efficiency and fairness, 2. Fatah’s attempts to negotiate a fair peace deal with Israel had achieved exactly nothing.

To Israel and the US, its strongest backer diplomatically and financially, democracy is only acceptable when the electorate chooses leaders to their liking, so they began to try to destroy Hamas. The thinking goes that the Palestinians will eventually vote in someone else more pliable to Israel’s demands if Israel makes their life difficult. The fact that repression and humiliation and siege have never succeeded in bending the Arabs to their will has never been a deterrent to Israel’s need to act tough and take revenge.

Now Israel is churning up a bloodbath ostensibly to defeat Hamas once and for all and concurrently turn the people against Hamas for causing all the death and destruction that’s being wreaked upon them. This sounds to me a lot like the war against Lebanon in 2006 where Israel was going to get its two captured soldiers back and Hezbollah was going to be crushed once and for all. The result? Hezbollah was strengthened and 1000 innocent Lebanese civilians were killed along with billions of dollars worth of civilian infrastructure destroyed. Once Israel launched a ground invasion, they began to lose soldiers so fast they turned tail and ran.

Israel is like a broken record; no matter how many times its violent reactions have not worked to bring the Palestinian people to their knees, it’s the only trick they have up their sleeve. A recent poll reported on BBC had 67% of Israelis supporting the attack on Gaza, but only 44% thinking it would do any good. In other words, nearly a quarter of Israelis are in favor of killing Palestinians and destroying infrastructure for no good reason: blood lust seems to be the only motivation. We have to do something, they say, but that never seems to include negotiating a fair peace.

The idea that Palestinian militants will cease their rocket fire into Israel because they see the great destruction wrought by Israel and feel sorry for what they have done is pure delusion and nonsense. The militants, along with every Islamic radical in the world, couldn’t be happier about Israel’s disproportionate reaction. Bin Laden is unquestionably thrilled, since he could ask for no better recruiting tool for his jihad. What more obvious way to display to the world Israel’s cruelty and ruthlessness?

We hear over and over again how Israel has a right to defend itself: very true, but the other side of the same coin is that every people has a right to resist military occupation, and do it by any means necessary. Israelis point to how they left Gaza to the Palestinians, but seem not to be aware that they control every access point on land, sea and air and as a matter of policy have been denying 1.5 million Gazans the essentials of life: food, medicine, fuel. Gazans regularly die from lack of medicine or from lack of fuel to provide electricity to life-necessary medical equipment. They also don’t have fuel to keep sewage treatment and water treatment plants functioning. Forty six percent of Gaza’s children are malnourished, stunting their physical and mental growth. Can you imagine anything much lower on the humanity scale than purposely denying adequate sustenance to innocent children?

Israel has boxed itself into a corner. They can’t bring themselves to make a fair peace deal because they can’t give up the idea of Jewish hegemony over historic Palestine. They adamantly refuse to consider compensation for Palestinian refugees while still demanding reparations for holocaust victims. As a nation they seem to lack a basic sense of fairness.

Israel is doing everything in its power to preclude the possibility of a two-state solution by continuing to expand the Jewish population of lands conquered from the Arabs in 1967; which by all standards is contrary to international law and morality. I happened to be in Israel in 1994 just as the Oslo Accords began to take effect. It was a time of heady optimism. There were then 125,000 Jews living on colonized land.

Digression: The term settlement is really not appropriate for what Israel is building in Palestine. The term congers up the image of a smallish number of people living on a frontier, whereas some West Bank “settlements” are lush, gleaming, modern cities of 30,000 people. It’s important to note that while the majority of Jewish settlers are religious zealots who are there to claim the land for Jews because God said it was theirs thousands of years ago, about 40% are economic migrants; that is, people who moved to the colonies because housing is subsidized by the state to encourage people to migrate there. Subsidized, I might add, by the US taxpayer, since Israel could not afford to be building there if not for the billions of aid given by America.

Between the time the Accords were signed in 1994 and 2000, when Israel made its final offer - one which was so unbalanced and unfair the Palestinians couldn’t possibly accept - the settler population had nearly doubled to 225,000. If the Jewish state actually wanted to make an honest peace deal, that’s the last thing they would’ve done. Now, only eight years on, that population is approaching 500,000. Once again a trampling of the potential for peace. Once again practically precluding a two state solution for Palestine/Israel.

The Arab population of the area is now about equal to the Jewish population, yet Israel cannot bring itself to give only 22% of the land to the Palestinians. Every day the Jewish population of the West Bank increases. The wall that Israel is ostensibly building for self-protection often encroaches on Arab land and is essentially confiscating another 6% of Palestinian territory.

The Jews of the West Bank – ok, a small minority – also delight in making life hell for neighboring Palestinians. B’Tselem, an Israeli peace group, has been trying to document abusive settler actions by handing out video cameras to Palestinians. One of the first videos to appear on Youtube showed three masked Jews clubbing a fifty-year-old Arab woman. Not long back I came across a picture on the net of a six-year-old Palestinian boy from Hebron beaten bloody by Jewish thugs. Only six-years-old yet he must pay the price for living on land coveted by crazed fundamentalist Jews. Hebron is the one place in the West Bank where Jews live among Arabs. There about 600 Jews, protected by about the same number of Israeli soldiers, live in the middle of 170,000 Arabs.

Not saying the Palestinians don’t do everything in their power to harm Israelis in their midst, but they at least have just cause on their side. To repeat: Every people has the right to oppose military occupation.

What exactly so riles Israel about Hamas that would lead the Jewish state to collectively punish 1.5 million Gazans? For one, they were supposed to renounce violence. Coming from Israel, one of the most violent countries in the world, a macabre joke. The occupied should be non-violent while the occupier invades, imprisons and murders at will? Nevertheless Hamas did propose a long term truce, which Israel rejected out of hand.

They were supposed to accept previous agreements. Every agreement Israel has made with the Palestinians has required it to cease settlement building, so to ask Hamas to accept accords which Israel has regularly broken is disingenuous.

Finally, the most complex problem is the insistence that Hamas recognize Israel’s right to exist. Hamas has stated its goal of destroying the Jewish state, however they are not talking about destroying the Jewish people, only the state. In an interview with a Hamas spokesman I heard on BBC (something I can’t imagine you’d ever hear on American media) he made that point clear by saying they recognized that the Jews of Palestine were there to stay. Just in practical terms, they have to know that removing the Jews would be impossible.

On the point of destroying Israel as it’s currently organized I wholeheartedly agree: There’s no room in the 21st century for a sectarian state where one group is singled out for special privilege and all others are relegated to second class citizenship. That would not be considered acceptable in any other place in the world.

Since Israel has made a two-state solution to the conflict impossible the only alternative is a single, strictly secular state with separate Jewish and Arab components where all citizens are treated equally and all have the right to live everywhere.

That is the pattern that was imposed on Bosnia after the conflict there and the pattern used by Belgium for a long time. Whatever good the state of Israel has done in the past for the Jewish people, it has long past worn out its raison d’etre.

Today it is a black mark on the name of the Jews, a thorn in the side of all Muslims and an embarrassment to all civilized nations.

There is no need for Jews to have a separate state that removes them from the progressive mainstream of humanity. Jews are valued and productive citizens in many countries around the world. With the exception of rare incidents, mostly provoked by the actions of Israel, Jews are safe from harm everywhere they live outside of Israel itself. Prejudice may be alive but only in small isolated and inconsequential pockets; discrimination is a relic of the past.

Israel, through its unbridled arrogance and disregard for simple truths of humanity, has made a fair and equitable two-state solution impossible. A one state solution is now the only alternative.

Not that I think that is any more likely than the goal of two states, but it’s really the only equitable, 21st century way to make a fair deal for everyone and needs to brought into the discussion.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

On Being Jewish and the State of Israel

Before I can begin any discussion of Israel/Palestine I need to talk about the bile, vitriol and wild accusations one receives when voicing any criticism of Israel’s actions or policies. There are only about 50 people on this email list who actually read this stuff. Judging by the number of comments received on the recently established blog (almost none) not many more there. Yet last time I discussed the Jewish state I had an Israeli ask me why I hated them, a relative who called me a self-effacing Jew and reminded me of the Holocaust (as if any Jew needs to be reminded of that monstrous time) and a friend who told me not to send anything critical of Israel because they weren’t interested in reading it.

On the first point, I don’t hate Israelis. I’ve met many in my travels and expat life and during my short time in that country who were good-hearted people. Many Israelis are devoting their lives into campaigning for a fair settlement for the Palestinian people – I wish I had the energy, dedication and space in my life to join them. I am, however, disheartened, dismayed, discouraged and almost distraught at times at the inhumane and dastardly actions of the Israeli state, which its people are responsible for voting into power. They have created an apartheid state and I’m not even talking about the West Bank which is under brutal military rule or Gaza which is under siege.

They love to tout their country as a democracy but in reality it’s more like the segregated American South than a modern egalitarian state. Israeli Arabs, which make up about 20% of the population, are exempt from military service – they obviously couldn’t be used to subjugate their own people – which excludes them from many benefits that only accrue to ex-military personnel. Their schools receive far less per pupil than Jewish schools, just like in the old South where schools were separate but never equal. In every facet of social and economic life they are second class citizens.

I don’t hate myself for being a Jew. I’m proud of the important contributions to culture, science and politics we have made over the centuries and inspired by the amazing story of a people dispersed for two millennia who could come together after the tragedy of the holocaust to create a new nation. Israel, moreover, is a beautiful, stylish and ecologically conscientious place. I was impressed by seeing nearly every building there equipped with solar water heaters.

However, a beautiful place does not make an ethical or moral place any more than saying a lot of prayers and not eating pork makes a person a righteous person. I must admit to some ambivalence towards Jewishness; that is, the ceremonial and community part. I have no feeling for observing the holidays. They seem to be relics; inspiring stories from the past without a whole lot of spiritual foundation, mostly Chosen People stuff. But chosen for what? Two millenniums of persecution and objects of loathing?

Part of my problem has to do with having ascribed to the Jesus story for a long time. It’s a story of tolerance, inclusion and mercy as opposed to the superiority, zealotry and fundamentalism of many Jews of his time. They rejected his message – given by the greatest of all Jews – because they were looking for their Messiah to be a temporal ruler who would smite their enemies and make them all kings, whereas he was talking about turning the other cheek and Good Samaritans. The Samaritans were despised by the Jews of their time: The essence of the story is that the lowly Samaritan stopped to help the person in need while the good, observant Jews passed by.

If they were chosen it was to bring the new message to the world, but after Jesus kicked the money changers out of the Temple, the rulers of the Jews, afraid of losing their power and wealth, asked Herod to have him offed. The Jews of Israel are fighting the same battles today. As a secular, egalitarian state Israel could be a beacon to the world. As a sectarian state focused exclusively on Jewish privilege, it represents the worst of humanity. It is a nation so fixated on real estate, on expanding its territorial hold, it’s become a rogue state in contempt of all international humanitarian laws and norms. It has become a pariah state noted for cruelty, oppression and heartlessness.

But let’s be clear: The only place in the world where Jews have any problem relating to their neighbors is in the Middle East. There will always be small pockets of bigotry and occasional tensions in any multicultural society but by and large we get along well and make positive contributions to the larger community everywhere we live outside of Israel. There the same stubborness and fanaticism of the first century is alive and well.

I know I’m ranting but it all seems tied together. I have no problem getting along with anyone, including other Jews, but I have no desire to seek out Jewish groups or ceremonies; to separate myself, in other words, from the melting pot of humanity. I’ll never deny being a Jew but also never shrink from my duty to speak out against injustice not only wherever it occurs, but especially when it is perpetrated by my own people.

When Ariel Sharon, after one of his bloody attacks on the West Bank, said he was doing it to protect Jews everywhere, I practically screamed at my radio, NOT IN MY NAME!!!

I absolutely reject the premise that Israel’s actions are beyond reproach. There is nothing in existence that is beyond being questioned. When Jimmy Carter, one of the fairest, most respected and altruistic people in the entire world is accused of anti-Semitism for speaking truth to Israel’s power, you know he must be right on the mark and that the defenders of Israel at all costs are simply unable to face the truth and honestly answer his charges.

I’m reminded of the time I worked in a Wall Street bank back in 1960 (don’t worry, it was the lowest paid job in the company and I only lasted a year). I started in the filing department - a whole floor of filing cabinets - and was on my feet all day. It was a time when shoes were nearly always uncomfortable; especially on my budget as I earned $48 per week. My feet were killing me so I started walking around in my socks. It didn’t matter that nobody of any importance ever strayed there, this was 1960 in a Wall Street bank, and a clear and obvious transgression. When called to account on the matter I accused the manager of anti-Semitism; which was about as relevant to walking around in socks as answering Jimmy Carter’s criticism with shrill cries of prejudice.

So once again, if you have a problem with the concepts of fairness, of evenhandedness, of equal respect and dignity for all human beings then avoid at all costs any posts with Israel in the name. It’ll just make your blood boil, as mine is now at Israel’s despicable and bloodthirsty actions in Gaza.