In our local newspaper, several weeks ago, a Jewish friend wrote to complain to the editor about an article concerning the recent presidential election. However, his main concern seemed to be an article written several years ago by the same writer which contained criticism of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. He wrote:
I do not know how this woman gets away with such large press. She is either blindly naive or truly has a frightful agenda. Her previous “opinions” on Israel are unconscionable as she portrays Israel as the big bad bully. Israel for its proportion of the world population (less than .02 percent of the world population) has contributed more to modern society, medicine, science, technology and humanitarianism than any other nation.The Jewish people over the centuries have contributed more to civilization than any other people in proportion to their population size in terms of moral-ethical values, human rights, science, medicine, philosophy. Count how many Jewish Nobel prize winners compared to Muslim prize winners … with 16 million population of the Jewish faith compared to a billion Muslims. (1)
I do not know anyone who says that Jews are not smart. The debate is over the morality of the Zionist government of the State of Israel. The Germans, in the 1930s, were smart people. Brian McLaren raises the question of how a country like Germany, “the epicenter of the enlightenment with it rationality and its mind-set could sink into the barbarism of Nazism and all it entailed.”
The intellectuals realized that Nazism was an excessive growth of confidence ---confidence in their national ethos, in their rational and interpretive powers, in their scientific prowess, and so on. When this confidence grew out of proportion, it became malignant, giving the “us” of Germany a kind of manic hyper-confidence to claim racial superiority and global dominance even if that meant extermination of those who were determined to be “other,” “them” or “not us” (2)
The holocaust happened because good people turned a blind eye to evil policies. This does not take anything away from the IQ level of the German people, it simply points out that smart people can choose to ignore the darker side of their own government. Just this week, Israel announced 3,000 new settlement units and the world is still waiting for the outcry of the “moral-ethical values, human rights” Nobel prize winning Jews of Israel and America to shout, “stop it.” Surely they are smart enough to know what is going on.
The simple question facing the population of the world is: Is Palestine a part of Israel? That is not a hard question. Israel with its Knesset and Supreme Court has had 62 years to figure it out. Does Palestine belong to Israel? Yes or No?
If the answer is yes, then why does democratic Israel not have all its citizens living under the same law? Why not equal treatment? If the answer is “no,” then by what right, moral or otherwise, does Israel have to tear down Palestinian homes and replace them with Jewish only houses, to transfer water into Israel, to exploit labor by denying opportunity for Palestinians to work for themselves? What right does Israel have to keep 2.5 million Palestinians shut up as in a prison?
My Jewish friend has every right to defend Israel's expansionism, but at least he should have the integrity to call it what it is: Israeli imperialism.
Thomas AreDecember 24, 2012
(1) Smoke Signals, Letters to the Editor, November 2012.(2) Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change, (Thomas Nelson, 2007) p.36.