Sunday, October 15, 2017

The First Son-in-Law

I don’t like Jered Kushner.  There, I said it and I am glad. It’s not that he is Jewish. To dislike him for that would make me a bigot.  I don’t like him because he wears blinders.

Old time farmers in the south used to put “blinders” on their mules when plowing to keep them from being distracted by their context. Little leather flaps hung about an inch from each eye. Thus, without being aware of anything around it, a mule would respond only to the bridle and the sting of the whip.

Kushner, king of the lucky sperm club, was born into enormous wealth and privilege and moves through life unaware of his context.

He supports settlements on what little land Palestinians have left and he has no idea of how settlements on their land takes food from children whose bowl of soup comes around all too seldom and runs out all too soon. What does he care. He is the president’s son in law.

Israel’s blockade, which is in its tenth year has:

            Demolished over 48,000 homes;
            Confiscated over 586,000 acres of land in the West Bank;
            Created 300,000 Palestinian refugees;
Colonized the West Bank with over 600,000 Jewish settlers;
Enacted over 50 laws that discriminate against Israel’s Arab minority; and
Established an apartheid system with civil courts for Jewish settlers and military courts for Palestinians, including indefinite detention without trial and a conviction rate of over 99%,[1] all in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention;

And then there is Gaza. Abby Smardon, who has visited Gaza every year for the past six years says:

On my sixth visit, including a few months after Israel’s assault in 2014, I have never seen Gaza so devastated. Israel’s land, air and sea blockade has destroyed its economy and allowed for the near complete destruction of critical infrastructure.[2]

I can’t imagine being locked up in a land where electricity is available only a few hours a day, usually in the middle of the night, where raw sewage runs through the country side and empties into the sea, where most hospitals and health clinics have been closed due to power outages and  where an 11-year old child attempts suicide declaring that death would be a relief?

As American citizens, we own this occupation and I am grieved by it. On the other hand, Jered Kushner, blinded by privilege and protected by a battery of lawyers, prances around Israel like a rock star undisturbed. He is the chosen of the chosen…at least in his mind. And he is, after all, the president’s son-in-law.

Thomas Are
October 15, 2017


[1] References to these facts are too many to list.  Just google 50 years of illegal  occupation and take your pick.
[2] Abby Smardon, On My Sixth Visit, I’ve Never Seen Gaza so Devastated.,Mondoweiss.net. 10/12/2017.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Wolf's World

It’s really quite simple.  If it is critical of Israel, it is a myth. If it gives Israel a pass, it is fact.

Wolf Blitzer published a book, in which he promoted one piece of Zionist propaganda after another and denounced Palestinian views as “spurious myths.” It is a myth that Arab citizens were “massacred” at Deir Yassin, a “myth” that Palestinian refugees “were major victims of the 1948 war,” and a “myth” that “Jewish atrocities” caused the Palestinians to flee.[1]

I read his book.[2] He declares that “Arabs formed a majority of the population in Palestine in 1948 is a myth.”  Then once he gets rid of the Palestinian population, it’s anything goes; that Palestinians were the victims of the establishment of the State of Israel, that the Palestinian question is the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, that Israel discriminates against its Arab citizens, it’s all a myth. 

In reality, at the founding of the State of Israel, numerous acts of violence were designed to frighten Arabs into fleeing for their lives. One of the best documented examples was the village of Deir Yassin.  On April 9, 1948, the Stern gang, headed by Yitzak Shamir, and the Irgun, headed by Menachem Begin, conducted the massacre of the Arab village of Deir Yassin.  Jews claim only 100 people were killed, Arabs say it was 250.  The commander of the Haganah, Zvi Ankori described what he witnessed:

I saw cut-off genitalia and women’s crushed stomachs. It was direct murder. Soldiers shot everyone they saw, including women and children. Parents begged commanders to stop the slaughter, to please stop shooting.[3]

No one denies that most of those slashed to death were women and children. Jewish terrorist shot people in their homes and threw their bodies into the streets as a message to neighboring Arab villages. Survivors of the raid tell stories of Israeli soldiers starting to kill early in the morning and continuing all day. They killed everyone they saw, including old people and children. One pregnant woman had her stomach cut open with a butcher’s knife.[4]

Rather than hiding its face in shame, Israel’s leaders promoted the massacre to frighten other villages into fleeing their homes and leaving them for Israeli Jews to occupy, “free of charge.” 

Yet, Blitzer claims that the massacre of innocent Arabs in Deir Yassin did not happen, It’s all a myth.

Blitzer, pro-Israeli lobbyist for AIPAC-turned-news-anchor, has become the face of CNN and CNN has become the propagandist for Israel.

The Day after the violent murders of four Rabbis in a Jerusalem synagogue, CNN hosted eight Jewish Israelis, three Jewish Americans but, not a single Palestinian to comment on the violence in Israel… the next day, CNN hosted seven pro-Israel guests including Alan Dershowitz, twice. While 15 pro-Israel guests were hosted in just two days, not a single Palestinian or Arab was asked to comment on the violence in Israel-Palestine. “This one-sided narrative allows the erroneous and self-serving assertions of the most right-wing and hyper-nationalistic government in Israel’s history to go unchecked.”[5]

I guess when Dershowitz said that Israel “has never attacked a mosque,” he forgot about the 73 mosques in Gaza that were completely demolished during Israel’s bombardment in 2014 and the 205 others partially destroyed when they were deliberately targeted by Israeli bombers.

So, I say shame on CNN for committing itself more to propaganda than to news. But, I say shame on us more if we allow CNN to dupe us with Wolf’s world.

Thomas Are
September 26, 2017


[1] Charlottesville is Moment of Truth for empowered U.S. Zionists (Who name Their Children after Israeli Generals.) Mondoweiss, 8/18/2017.

[2] Wolf Blitzer, Myth and Facts 1976, A Concise Record of the Arab-Israeli Conflict., Near East Research, Inc. 1976
[3].Lanni Brenner, The Iron Wall: Zionist Revolutions From Jabotinsky to Shamir, (Zed Books, Ltd. 1984). P. 97. And Ralph Schoenman, The Hidden History of Zionism, (Veritas Press, Santa Barbara, California, 1988) p.33.
[4].Quoted in David Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Root of Violance on the Middle East, Faber and Faber, 1977) p. 141. Cited in Clifford Wright, Facts and Fables: The Arab-Isreli Conflict, (London, Kegan Paul International. 1989) p.19
[5] CJ Werleman, CNN is Israel’s Biggest Cheerleader-in-Chief.  Middle East Eye, February 13, 2015.



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Israel's Greatest Fear

Already you know that I am in over my head. Who could possibly name Israel’s greatest fear? There are just too many from which to choose. However, somewhere in the list would be Israel’s fear of education. I don’t know what Israel fears most.

AN EDUCATED PALESTINIAN?

Why else would Israel go to such lengths to destroy Palestinian schools:

The night before the new school year started, Israeli bulldozers arrived on the outskirts of the Palestinian city of Bethlehem to demolish several caravans recently erected as a school for some 100 students… In the meantime, children study in a tent, without water or bathrooms.[1]

In addition to destroying school buildings, Israel is determined to control the curriculum:

Israel puts financial pressure on Palestinian schools in occupied East Jerusalem in an effort to make them switch over to an Israeli-controlled curriculum, one that teaches that Al-Aqsa is not their holy place, that the Palestinian flag is not their flag, that their land belongs to the settlers and that Ariel Sharon is a hero.[2]

Yet, perhaps more frightening to Israel than an educated Palestinian is an

AN EDUCATED ISRAELI.

Just a little investigation will reveal that Palestine was not a land without a people, that Palestinians did not voluntarily leave their homes in 1948, that Israel chose the war of 1967, that the IDF, Israel Defense Force, is not the most moral army on the globe and that Israel is not a democracy. And most of all, that Zionism is a violation of Judaism.  

However, probably, most frightening to Israel is an

AN EDUCATED AMERICAN.

I have in mind Brant Rosen, who serves a congregation in Evanston, Il. and is fearless in speaking out against Israel from his Jewish heart:

My primary religious motivation comes from my inherited Jewish tradition, in which God commands me to stand with the oppressed and to call out the oppressor…I simply don’t agree with the “official” Jewish community position that Israel’s actions are justified acts of self-defense. Rosen speaks not only as a Jew, but as an American:

I am also the citizen of a nation whose government has essentially given Israel a blank check to take numerous measures that I believe are counter to the cause of peace, including the expropriation of Palestinian lands, destruction of homes, injustice in military courts and widespread building of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, to name a few.[3]

From every angle, education is Israel’s enemy and it’s an enemy that will never be defeated. You just cannot wall out intelligence.

Thomas Are
September 12, 2017




[1] RT News, So sad our school is destroyed: Israel razes EU-funded schools for Palestinian Children. Aug 29, 2017.
[2] Al Jazeera English, How Israel is turning Palestinians into Zionists, August 31, 2017.
[3] Brant Rosen, Wrestling in the Daylight, (Just Word Books, 2012) p. 42.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Normal Society

It all sounded so polite and gracious, when the Zionists were seeking recognition and power. Yitzak Epstein, Jewish activist spelled out how Jews moving into Palestine would improve the lives everyone, including Arab farmers:

The residents will benefit from new scientific farming methods, better health care and education, and will recognize “us as their benefactors and comforters”.

Haim Kalvarisky, expounding on the Balfour Declaration addressed the Arab resistance to Zionist intrusion into their land by declaring:

Palestine constitutes the homeland of all its residents, Jews, Muslims and Christians are citizens on equal footing. Its government would not discriminate against anyone, its administration will be open to all, its schools will promote bilingual education and social services will be provided by the state with no distinction between people on the basis of religious origins.

Bret Shalom, organized in 1925, based on “absolute political equality,” declared:

Although Palestine was the only place where Jews could become a nation-state, they have to operate together and in equality with the Arabs.[i]

Then came Israel with power.

Arnon Soffer, professor at Haifa University, just looking at Gaza, offered a much less optimistic prognosis:

When 2.5 million people live in a closed off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will be even bigger animals than they are today. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.

He goes on to express concern:

If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist. The only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.[ii]

His concern was right on target. Of all the things that can be said of Israel today, being a “normal society” is not one of them.  

Thomas Are
September 1, 2017




[i] These quotes are taken from Chapter One of Ran Greenstein’s book, Zionism and Its Discontents, (Pluto Press, 2014)  p. 3-18.
[ii] The Gaza Massacre is the Price of a “Jewish State.” , Electronic Intifada, July 25, 2014.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Racism - Unjust, Ungodly and Ignorant

Whether our president should have been stronger in condemning the racism displayed by hate groups this week in Charlottesville, it is clearly condemned by the media, politicians and religious groups all across America. And rightly so. Racism is unjust, ungodly and totally based on ignorance. Racism is rejected, even in the deep south, by all people of good will. We will not condone it and we teach our children to condemn it as well. Unless…

Unless it is practiced by Israel.

In Israel, racism is protected by law. None of its shameful policies is denied or hidden under the rug. Jews are declared to be superior human beings, and are given preferential treatment in commerce, education and health care.  Most of all, Jews are treated with dignity.

On the other hand, those who are not Jews are declared a “demographic threat.”  In spite of 750,000 Palestinians driven by force from their homes in 1948, and millions more displaced in 1967, in Israel’s mind, there are still too many.  How can Israel be a Jewish State with Palestinians around to remind it of how it got to be such.  Thus, Palestinians in Israel are confined to assigned areas. Those in the West Bank are hidden out of sight by an apartheid wall, and those in Gaza are imprisoned in the world’s largest open air prison.

Marc Ellis, Jewish scholar and activist for justice, reflecting on the riots in Charlottesville over the monument to Robert E. Lee,  writes:

I think of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel as among other things, a monument. At Yad Vashem, the dark chapter of Jewish life is highlighted, as it should be. But part of that chapter of Jewish life after the Holocaust, the Nakba, is omitted.[1]

Why does the US media and government declare racism evil in Charlottesville and support it in Israel?  If there is a difference in Steve Bannon and Benjamin Netanyahu, I can’t see it.

Israel, as a Jewish state is unjust, ungodly and based on ignorance.

 Thomas Are
August 18, 2017




[1] Marc H. Ellis, On Charlottesville and Jewish Memory, Mondoweiss, August 16, 2017

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Smothering Palestine

In a quick passing sentence in the Introduction to his chapter, A Country in Darkness, Vijay Prashad wrote:

Palestine struggles alone. Israel turns, hand on the pillow, pushing down and says, “Look, Palestine is threatening us, endangering our lives. Others look away, giving Israel license to push harder.[i]

That image of smothering Palestine caught my imagination. I picture some poor victim being pushed to the floor, thrashing about, feet and hands clawing in the air doing any and everything in his power to push away the pillow so he can breathe.

Now, make the pillow invisible and all the thrashing around looks unreasonable and out of control. Is that not exactly what our US media and politicians have done. They freely talk about the unreasonable Palestinians who simply want to deny Israel’s right to exist.  Make the pillow invisible and every reaction from rocks to rockets looks like the acts of mad men. Nobody is in control. Nobody wants peace. 

In reality:

In January 2004, Sheikh Yassin said he was willing to end armed resistance against Israel if a Palestinian state was created in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi also said that Palestinians would declare long hudna in exchange for independence.

On March 22, Israel assassinated Sheikh Yassin, On April 17, they killed al-Rantissi.[ii]  To this day, most of Palestine’s leaders have either been killed or are sitting in Israeli prisons.  But if Palestine does not resist, it will totally suffocate under the Israeli pillow. And its reaction to Israel’s theft of its land and water,  the continued enlargement of Israel’s apartheid wall, road blocks, check points, illegal imprisonment of Palestinians, including children, the cutting off of electricity, and regular bombardment of Gaza will go unnoticed.

And as long as the good citizens of the US refuse to see the pillow and allow Israel to dictate our conscience, little will change. The pain of the pillow will press down harder and harder.

Thomas Are
August 12, 2017

 [i] Vijay Prashad, Letters to Palestine, (Verso Books, NYC, 2015) p.9.
[ii] Vijay Prashad, Letters to Palestine, (Verso Books, NYC, 2015) p.8

Friday, August 4, 2017

Put the Blame on God

What a great idea. Don’t blame Israel for its cruelty to the Palestinians, blame God.

In 1937, David Ben-Gurion waved a copy of the Bible at the members of the Royal Peel Commission, shouting, “This is our land registry proof, our right to Palestine does not come from the Mandate Charter, the Bible is our Mandate Charter.”[1]

That leaves us with the question;  Whose Bible? Well, it was the Jewish Bible in which the Jewish God, spoke in a language understood only by Jews that declared enormous favor to the Jews above all their fellow human beings. It does cause one to wonder.

Yet, according to a 2013 Pew Research poll:
           
Forty-four percent of the U.S. general public replied “yes” to the question, “Was Israel given to the Jewish people by God?”[2]

When you consider that about one in five Americans claim to not even believe in God, these numbers are quite amazing. So, with American support and approval, Israel builds settlements, puts those who resist the occupation, including children, in prison, restricts travel, erects road blocks, cuts off electricity and constructs a separation wall blocking farmers from their fields, doctors from their hospitals and children from their schools... all in the name of God.

And that is just in the West Bank. Gaza fares even worse. Because “God wants Israel to have all that land purged of Palestinians”, Gaza has been barricaded from the rest of the world, mercilessly bombarded time and time again.  The U.N. has warned that because of the lack of food, water and medical care, Gaza will be uninhabitable in about three more years. According to Israel, what does the U.N. have to do with anything? God wants it this way. 

However, to come to this conclusion, Israel has to distort its own biblical claims by omitting the “conditions” upon which such a divine donation was made. Such as, the Jews, “shall be just and compassionate, and they shall not oppress the orphan, widow, alien and the poor. (Zechariah 7:9-11). At best, Israel’s claim of God’s endorsement is based on half-truths and over simplification. Again, Washington Report points out:

In order to gain membership in the United Nations, Israel promised that it would allow refugees it created in 1948 to return to their homes. Instead it demolished more than 400 Palestinian villages and killed those who attempted to return.

To this day, Israel has never declared its borders nor established a constitution. Its “democracy, for Jews only” is declared through the barrel of a gun, and it’s all done for God. How convenient.

Thomas Are
August 4, 2017



[1] Tom Srgev, One Palestine,  Complete, London: Abacus, 2001, p.401. Cited in Ilan Pappe, Ten Myths About Istrael, (Verso, 2017) p.40.
[2] God’s Expired Promise, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs,  August/September 2017. p. 7.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Remember Gaza

Lest we forget: Geneva Convention Article 56:

The occupying power has the duty of ensuring and maintaining the medical and hospital establishments and services, public health and hygiene in the occupied territory… Medical personal of all categories shall be allowed to carry out their duties.

Article 33, adds:

The right to health, like all human rights, imposes three types or levels of obligation on States parties: the obligation to respect, protect and fulfill…

Noble obligations to anyone with respect for human need and suffering.  Total gibberish to Israel. Almost like clockwork, Israel bombs into oblivion the hospitals, clinics, and ambulances of Gaza. Rather than health and care, Alice Rothchild, American Jewish Doctor reports of her visit to Palestine that:

Children are routinely tortured by their interrogators… threats of sexual abuse or death; they are put into solitary confinement, have fluorescent lights on twenty-four hours per day, are placed in stress positions, and beaten.[1]

Yet, a kid trying to assist a friend injured in a peaceful demonstration will be charged with assisting a terrorist. Throw a stone at an Israeli jeep and he is accused of attempted murder. Rothchild calls it the “land of official insanity.”[2] Today, there are thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons suffering isolation. Many are tortured. An average of two to three are killed by IDF or settlers every week.

Gaza has been under Israeli control for half a century; everything that goes in and everything that gets out. After three “Gaza wars,” 2008-9, 2012, and 2014, Gaza is a cesspool; no parks or green space, very little drinkable water or sanitation facilities, electricity only a few hours a day and no where to hide when attacked.

I worry about Gaza.  But I also worry about the kind of people we have become. From time to time, especially when one of Israel bombardment campaigns against Gaza hits the news for a short time, we might even think “how sad” after which we seem willing to push it back under the rug with a “those terrorists.” Then it’s back to life as usual. Where are Jewish values and American sense of liberty and justice for all?

Thomas Are
July 25, 2017




[1] Alice Rothchild, Condition Critical, Life and Death in Israel/Palestine, (Just Word Books, 2016) p.126.
[2] Alice Rothchild, Condition Critical, Life and Death in Israel/Palestine, (Just Word Books, 2016) p.5.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Can't Do Both at the Same Time

Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chair of the Joint Chief of Staff under Ronald Reagan, wrote about the consequences of Jewish power over the U.S. policy towards Israel:

I have never seen a president - I don’t care who he is – stand up to the Israelis. It just boggles the mind. They always get what they want. If the American people understood what a grip those people have on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens don’t have any idea what goes on.[1]

Screenwriter and film director, Oliver Stone appearing on the Stephen Colbert Late Show said, “Israel interfered in the U.S. election more than Russia. Why don’t you ask me about that?” That was too rich for the American audience. CBS deleted it. Israel cannot be disparaged on national television.

But, that is the world of politics which I seldom understand.  My question is about the responsibility of the church. The Christian community in Palestine has cried for the church to be their voice and to take up their cause for 70 years. Yet, the pulpits across America have been mostly muted. Marc Ellis, years ago, wrote about the “ecumenical deal” in which the church agreed to never question the oppression of the Palestinian people by Israel in exchange for peaceful relationships with the Jewish community.

So, now, after years of failed “peace talks,” hundreds of check points, major bombardments on Gaza and a settler population of a half million, I find myself wanting to boycott the church of which I have been a part my entire life. I want to find other places for my money and support.

But, the church does so much good, I am told. And that is true. But, if to “do good,” means to sweep decades of gross injustice under the rug, I am ready to separate myself from the church and jump out of its wagon.  Let me be clear, I am not being pushed, I am choosing to jump.

If all the parts of my body work just like they should and just one organ, say, my liver, does not do its thing, I am not 99% healthy, I am 100% sick.  In the same way, if all the missions of the church function just as planned, but it has nothing to say about the injustice done to the Palestinians, supported and financed by our government, and the church remains mostly silent, the church is not almost healthy, it is totally sick.

Do I think my criticism of the church will cause it to speak up and do right.?  Of course not. But even a casual reading of the Old Testament prophets and almost any part of the Gospels should.

The church can continue to comfort its members or it can take a stand against injustice, but I don’t know how it can do both at the same time.

Thomas Are
July 12, 2017



[1] These quote from Thomas Moorer and Olive Stone are confirmed by Philip Giraldi, Israel’s Dirty Little Secret, How it drives US policy exploiting a spineless Congress and White House.,  June 20, 2017

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Money Talks

Haaretz, perhaps the leading newspaper in Israel, reported that on a tour of  Hebron in the West Bank, American rabbis were shocked by what they saw. Yet, only five of them allowed reporters to use their names:

Most of them are unwilling to have their names or photos published. Their congregations back home might not understand their decision to participate in a tour that offers a different narrative about the conflict – one that puts a human face on the other side and doesn’t paint Israel in the usual rosy colors.[1]

I understand the squeeze. In the early 1990s, I preached against the wisdom of a U.S. invasion of Iraq. Members of my congregation warned me that unless I got on board and “supported our troops,” large financial commitments to the church would be in jeopardy.  I was reminded of our commitment to building a medical facility in Ghana and the needs of hundreds of homeless men and families our church was seeking to address.  It was a tight squeeze and I felt it. However, I could not abandon the justice aspect of the gospel to which I was committed to preach.  Did it cost me my job? I would not say so, but it certainly contributed to my decision to seek a more receptive ministry elsewhere.

I feel for the rabbis who would surely loose big donors if they criticize Israel. It is a tight squeeze. At the same time, what do they, or I, have left if we sacrifice our integrity?  Most of those who would criticize them have never been to Israel, never seen the horror of the occupation, or the pain of their wall, the hunger of children or even the humiliation caused by hundreds of check points.

“Money talks,” they say. A prime example was Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to our congress in 2015.  Both he and they were well aware that in the balcony sat Sheldon Adelson, multi-billionaire who had contributed $150,000,000 to the GOP and its friends during the 2012 election cycle. Thus, it was not enough for him to hear the applause of those members of congress, they stood up, over and over, 26 ovations, to be sure that Adelson could see them standing. 

No doubt, money talks, but money has no intelligence, conscience or morals… just power.

Thomas Are
July 9, 2017




[1] US Rabbis Touring Occupation are Afraid to be Identified Lest Their Congregations Find Out. Mondoweiss.net, 7/7/2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

For the Bible Tells Me So

At that time, the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.”  (Gen. 12: 7)

How convenient. A Jewish God, spoke in some language understood by Abram, without witnesses, by the way, declaring that his children would be God’s chosen and as proof, God had in mind to give Israel, who did not yet exist, the land of another people.[1]

There are several problems with this narrative.  

In the first place, “There is no empirical evidence that any God even exist. In fact, there are no peer-review scientific articles that take God’s existence seriously,”[2] much less a God who spoke of a state called Israel three thousand years into the future.

Zionists love to quote Genesis 12:

And God said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you, I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves. (Gen. 12:1-3)

When they quote this, they hope that you will not remember that when this was written, Abram had no children. There was no person or nation named Israel.  The man Israel was born two generations in the future as one of the twelve grandsons of Abram.   He certainly was not a state. Yet, 3000 years later Jewish survivors of Hitler’s holocaust moved to Palestine saying, “That’s us.” All this is a long way from God’s promising the land of Palestine as theirs forever.

Israel’s founders claimed to be atheists. Yet, they claimed the land of Palestine to be theirs because a “God” they didn’t believe in gave it to them.  

The bottom line is this: The land of Palestine is in the hands of Israel because of military might and terrorism, not some kind of divine donation.

For those who need a book, or holy writ; The Old Testament prophets and the entire New Testament demand peace, not war. There are no exceptions. You cannot find one verse which says, in this case or that, it will be OK to take another person’s life or land.

Thomas Are
June 28, 2017




[1] It is worth noting that the first seed of Abraham was Ishmael, not Isaac.
[2] Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus, A Brief History of Tomorrow, (Harvill Secker, London, 2015) p. 115.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Biggest Myth

Trying to identify the biggest myth is a little like trying to decide which size circle is the most round. But you can’t identify Israel without myths.

Among the list is: A land without a people for a people without a land. Neither side of that is true.  More Jews were living outside Israel, with success and respect, than have ever lived in Israel, before or after the establishment of the state.[1]  Nor was Palestine a land without people. In fact, Israel brags about ethnically cleansing over 700,000 Palestinians from their homes during the first year of establishing their state of Israel.  Without doubt, A land without a people for a people without a land was a big one. But, probably the most significant myth of our day is the claim that Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East.”

When I think of a democracy, warm feelings come to mind of a nation seeking the best education, health care and well-being of all its citizens. That has certainly been my experience. However, this is not true in Israel and it is even less true for those trapped in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

When I think of a democracy I think of a land where every man or woman has the right to vote, where anyone is free to live in any community, buy any home they can afford, to send their children to a school of their choice, to drive on the public highways, use the public library and be cared for in a hospital in case of an emergency.

When I think of a democracy, I do not think of Israel where none of these freedoms are respected. In Israel, half of the people living under its military rule cannot vote,

I can imagine two major parties in Israel’s democracy; The Zionist, the party in power, and the Palestinian “party”. However, in Israel’s democracy, only one of these is privileged. The other, well:

The (privileged) regime allows even the lowest-ranking soldier in the IDF to rule, and ruin their lives. They are helpless if such a soldier, or his unit commander, decides to demolish their homes, or hold them for hours at a checkpoint, or incarcerate them without trial. There is nothing they can do.[2]

Some would say that a democracy has a responsibility to care for the weakest and most needy among them.  Ilan Pappe says, “the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ behaves as a dictatorship of the worst kind.”[3]

Of course, Israel says that all these undemocratic measures are temporary. But, it has been temporary for fifty years, and more. In the meantime, this only democracy in the Middle East continues to brutalize the people under its control, including children, confining them to ghettoes, killing and torturing them in Israeli jails, confiscating their land and stealing their water.

Some democracy!

Thomas Are
June 20, 2017



[1] As of July 2014, 6,451,000 Jews live in Israel while 7,282,000 live in the U.S.
[2] Ilan Pappe, Ten Myths about Israel,  (Published by Verso, 2017) p. 86
[3] Ilan Pappe, Ten Myths about Israel,  (Published by Verso, 2017) p. 91.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fiftieth Anniversary

I had lunch with a man “greatly concerned” about the Israel/Palestinian situation. Yet, he said that he had never heard of the USS Liberty.  I spoke to a church group and asked if anyone there had heard of the Liberty and only a very few raised their hands.  I don’t think Americans can understand our submissive relationship with Israel without knowing the story of the USS Liberty.  We owe it to the survivors of the Liberty as well as the people of Palestine to know their story.[1]

It was a warm, clear midsummer’s day, exactly fifty years ago on this day, June 6, the sky was blue and the waters calm, as the USS Liberty performed its responsibility on a reconnaissance cruise in the international waters of the Mediterranean. Captain McGonegle had every reason to relax and feel safe. Israeli planes circled his ship and Israel was our special friend and ally. A very large U.S. flag waved in the wind. Then suddenly, without warning, these friendly jets turned on the Liberty firing bullets and dropping bombs.  Torpedo boats fired rockets blowing a forty-foot hole into its side at the water line. When the captain ordered abandon ship, Israel strafed our sailors in their life boats. Everything possible was done to sink the Liberty. Why? To stop messages from reaching the world that Israel was preparing to invade Syria and occupy the Golan Heights.

The first attack deliberately knocked out its antennas to prevent the Liberty from sending an SOS. Sailors, dodging bullets, rigged a homemade shortwave and called for help. “Liberty under attack, on fire and taking water.”  When that word reached Washington, rather than immediately sending help from our aircraft carriers nearby, Lyndon Johnson ordered that no rescue effort be launched.  It was 16 hours before any assistance arrived. In the meantime, the ship’s one doctor ran out of drugs, pain killers and bandages. One hundred-seventy-one sailors were injured. Thirty-four had died.

On orders from the president, the Liberty docked in Malta. Every sailor was ordered to not speak to anyone about what had happened. To this day, there has been no official investigation.

What happened to the Liberty was tragic. However, the bigger tragedy is that Israel learned that it could do anything and there would be no reaction from the US. That is true to this day. And why? Because of the lobby and Israel’s control on our political leaders. We are, in fact,  according to Paul Craig Roberts, Israel’s puppet.  Now, that’s a tragedy.

Thomas Are
June 6, 2017


[1] I urge you to Google, Howard Films, LOSS OF LIBERTY. It’s a history that we should know.   To learn more, Read the book, Assault on the Liberty, By James Ennes, the officer on deck during the attack.  The latest book on this that I have read is Attack on the Liberty, By James Scott, the son of one of the officers on the Liberty.  Again, this is a history that we should know if we are to understand how the US defers to Israel, time and time again.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What Kind of People

What kind of people would enjoy a sumptuous meal in front of a starving child and simply say, “Go away kid, you bother me.”?  None that I know.  What kind of people would deliberately withhold food and destroy the means of growing food in the context of abundance surrounded by children reaching out for crumbs from the table and simply say, “I don’t care?”  I don’t personally know anyone so calloused because I don’t personally know any Israeli Zionists.  

Next month, Israel will be celebrating its 50th anniversary of occupying Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.  Is that something of which to be proud?

Since the Six Day War Israel has:

            ---Demolished over 48,000 homes in the West Bank and Gaza;
            ---Confiscated over 586,000 acres of Palestinian land the West Bank;
            ---Created 300,000 Palestinian refugees;
            ---Colonized the West Bank with over 600,000 Jewish settlers;
            ---Enacted over 50 laws that discriminate against Israel’s Arab minority, and
---Established an apartheid legal system with civil courts for Jewish settlers and separate    military courts for 4.5 million Palestinians, including indefinite detention without trial and a    conviction rate of over 99%.[1]

Why do we Americans, who years ago quit believing in a “superior race,” continue to support and fund a nation which brags about being a nation for a superior race? What has happened to the voice of those who believe there will be peace for all only when there is justice for all?  As long as America continues to insist that the Palestinians are all terrorists and demand that our friends call them terrorists who are just out to kill Jews, there will be little hope for peace there or living with a clear conscience here.  And Israel will continue to kill, imprison, torture and steal land and water from the Palestinian nation. Over 800,000 Palestinians have been arrested since the 1967 war Israel celebrates this week.[2]

And, what kind of people would look the other way in the presence of such injustice.  Well, my fellow Americans, perhaps we all should look in the mirror.


Thomas Are
May 30, 2017




[1] Fifty Years on…A Call for Liberty and Justice for All,  mailchi.mp, 50 Years of Illegal Occupation. May 26, 2017
[2] Mondoweiss, Letter to President Donald Trump from Families of Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails, May 24, 2017.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Friends

When I thought I had heard it all, I was jolted to read that there were nearly 700 “Friends of…” organizations operating in the United States raising billions of dollars every year for Israel.[1].  Their influence is not limited to fund raising. They bribe politicians, intimidate the media and threaten academia.  They  exaggerate  the pain of Palestinian resistance and insist that Israel is the innocent victim. No matter what happens, the Palestinians are to blame.

One such organization calling itself  “Friends of the Israel Defense Forces”  states that their job is to look after the (Israeli Defense Forces) IDF:

True to that motto, the money this ‘charity’ raises benefits exclusively the soldiers of a foreign country that has not fought a war longer than 33 days in 40 years and whose primary duties have been to protect Israel’s illegal settlements, demolish Palestinian homes, make the lives of ordinary Palestinians miserable, and suppress Palestinian resistance to its ongoing ethnic cleansing by whatever means necessary.[2]

The irony of this friendship is that it actually does more harm than good. The old AA adage, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk,” makes my point.  By any measure, Israel is drunk with its own arrogance, power and sense of importance. Its future as a democratic, Jewish only state is little more than an impossible dream in desperate need of an honest friend to lift up the sober truth. The world will accept brutality and look the other way in face of injustice, but not genocide.

On the other side of the coin. In spite of what Golda Meir announced, the Palestinians exist and they are growing. They also have friends. Millions of friends. I know because I am one of them.

Thomas Are
May 11, 2017




[1] Grant F. Smith,  Big Israel, How Israel’s Lobby Moves America. (Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, Inc. 2016) p. 27.
[2] Grant F. Smith,  Big Israel, How Israel’s Lobby Moves America. (Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, Inc. 2016) p. 67.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

And Israel Gets Away With It

It seems no matter what, Israel gets away with it. From the imprisonment and murder of children, to blockading an entire nation of people, Israel gets away with it.  There seems to be an unquestioned support of Israel that “keeps out eyes shut, our mouths closed and our wallets open,” no matter what Israel does.[1] The powerful Israeli lobby makes sure that Israel gets away with it.

Grant Smith, author of, Big Israel; How Israel’s Lobby Moves America, describes the Israel lobby as:

A $3.7 billion nonprofit ecosystem with 14,000 employees, 350,000 volunteers and a paying membership of 774,00.

And what does Israel get for all this investment to influence public opinion. It gets an American government willing to look the other way, a news media seldom raising an objection and millions of Christian Zionist putting a biblical halo over Israel’s atrocities.  

But, there is another side to the story. At the founding of the State of Israel, acts of violence were designed to frighten Arabs into fleeing for their lives. One of the best documented examples was the village of Deir Yassin.  On April 9, 1948, the Stern gang, headed by Yitzak Shamir, and the Irgun, headed by Menachem Begin, conducted the massacre of the Arab village of Deir Yassin.  Jews claim 100 people were killed, Arabs say it was 250.  The commander of the Haganah, Zvi Ankori described what he witnessed:

I saw cut-off genitalia and women’s crushed stomachs. It was direct murder. Soldiers shot everyone they saw, including women and children. Parents begged commanders to stop the slaughter, to please stop shooting.[2]

No one denies that most of those slashed to death were women and children. Jewish terrorist shot people on their homes and threw their bodies into the streets as a message to neighboring Arab villages. Survivors of the raid tell stories of Israeli soldiers starting to kill early in the morning and continuing all day. They killed everyone they saw, including old people and children. One pregnant woman had her stomach cut open with a butcher’s knife.[3]

Rather than hiding its face in shame, Israel’s leaders promoted the massacre as a propaganda tool to frighten other villages into fleeing their homes and leaving them for Israeli Jews to occupy, “free of charge.” 

Also in the minds of Americans should be the USS Liberty.

Fifty years ago, this month, Israel deliberately attacked a US navy ship, killing 34 sailors and wounding 171, machine gunned our life rafts in the water and did everything it could to sink the USS Liberty.  Why would Israel attack an American ship?  To stop messages from reaching the world that Israel was preparing to invade Syria to capture the Golan Heights.  And to this day, the lobby prevails. The US Government has done NOTHING to protect or protest the assault on the Liberty. Israel has well learned that it can do anything, even kill Americans, and the US will sweep it under the rug.[4]  

No one is safe from Israel’s lobby or its self-proclaimed “right to defend itself.”

As the father of a mentally disabled son, I not only read about Nanar Mujahed, I feel her story. Just last week, (April 21, 2017), Israeli occupation soldiers opened fire on this disabled Palestinian young woman. She certainly posed no threat to them. Frightened and confused as she was, they even put her in handcuffs at the hospital. Now, in addition to having a mental handicap, Manar Mujahed is also paralyzed.[5]

No matter what, Israel gets away with it.

Thomas Are
May 3, 2017


[1] Filmmaker, Tom Hayes, Quoted by Delinda Hanley in the Introduction to the fourth “The Israel Lobby and American Policy” conference, Washington, D.C., March 24,2017.
[2].Lanni Brenner, The Iron Wall: Zionist Revolutions From Jabotinsky to Shamir, (Zed Books, Ltd. 1984). P. 97. And Ralph Schoenman, The Hidden History of Zionism, (Veritas Press, Santa Barbara, California, 1988) p.33.
[3].Quoted in David Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Root of Violance on the Middle East, Faber and Faber, 1977) p. 141. Cited in Clifford Wright, Facts and Fables: The Arab-Isreli Conflict, (London, Kegan Paul International. 1989) p.19
[4] I urge you to Google, HOWARD FILMS, LOSS OF LIBERTY. It’s a history that we should know.   To learn more, Read the book, Assault on the Liberty, By James Ennes, the officer on deck during the attack.  The latest book on this that I have read is Attack on the Liberty, By James Scott, the son of one of the officers on the Liberty.  Again, this is a history that we should know if we are to understand how the US defers to Israel, time and time again.

[5] Mondoweiss, Israeli Soldiers Opened Fire at Mentally disabled Palestinian.  April, 21, 2017.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Israel Celebrates

To this day, Israel sanctifies the massacre and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in what it calls its war of independence in 1948. The indigenous residents of Palestine were pushed into refugee camps all across Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Gaza. Israel actually brags to its own people about reclaiming the gift from God to the Jews.

Then, two decades later, Israel launched a surprise attack on its neighbors and gained what it calls “the liberation of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights.” Yet, what it calls a “liberation” was actually the occupation of the land, labor and resources of a weaker and mostly unarmed people. Israel celebrates five decades of demolishing homes, stealing water, erecting hundreds of checkpoints, putting Palestinians, including children, in Israeli prisons, building a wall through the West Bank separating kids from their schools, farmers from their fields and the sick and wounded from their hospitals. Israel’s Six Day War also built an effective apartheid system.

Meretz chairperson of Zehava Galon said the celebration is of a massive human rights violation:

Israel has controlled millions of people for 50 years, treads on them every day anew and denies them rights and sovereignty.

And, that’s not the worst of it. Haaretz notes:

The 1967 war led to the growth of unbridled national arrogance, which exacted an awful price in blood over the past 50 years and turned the military victory into a moral defeat. In retrospect, it should be called the 50-Year War, and judging by the political situation, its life expectancy appears endless.[1]

This fifty years of oppression should be a source of shame, not a reason for celebration.

However, Israel does have cause to celebrate. It has over powered its non-Jewish citizens and neighbors for half a century and at the same time convinced the world, especially the United States, that all this time it has been the victim. Now, that is quite an accomplishment.

And Donald Trump grins in a total fog.

Thomas Are
April 25, 2017




[1] Both of these quotes come from Israel Will Celebrate 50th Anniversary of ’67 War in – an Illegal Settlement,  Mondoweiss, April 17, 2017