Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Do You Really Want Peace in the Middle East?


Do You Really Want Peace in the Middle East?

Try Starting The Peace Talks With, "I'm Sorry"

Well, "God's chosen people" are raising unholy hell in the Middle East again. And please don't buy into the nonsense that it's about Israel being attacked, or the defense of democracy, or Israel having the right to exist—it's not about any of that. What this is about is hubris, injustice, and greed. Sure Israel has a right to exist--if that's what the indigenous people decide they want to continue to call it. But whatever it's called, be it Israel or Palestine, Europeans have absolutely no justifiable right to be making demands in the Middle East. They don't even have the RIGHT to be in the Middle East at all. That's the two-ton gorilla that needs to be appeased, but Israel, the United States and Western Europe are bringing up every other issue on the face of the Earth to avoid having to address that very simple fact.

But those who seek the destruction of Israel are being unrealistic as well. Yes, the Palestinians were robbed during the creation of Israel, but the fact is, as funky as that was, what's done is done. They can no more expect the current Israelis to just pack up and leave Israel than Native Americans can expect Americans get on a boat and return to Europe. So there must be a compromise--but the onus of that compromise rests squarely on the shoulders of the Europeans, because regardless to whatever argument you decide to indulge, there's one fact that will always remain constant--there would be no Middle Eastern conflict if the Europeans had stayed in Europe.

The dispute over Israel is nothing less than "The Manifest Destiny" being re-enacted. When the Europeans came to America and began to strip the indigenous people of their land, they justified their unholy atrocities by declaring that it was God's will that they settle, and bring his word to this "uncivilized land"–it was their manifest destiny. So in true civilized Christian fashion, they began to spread the Holy word of God, through the muzzle of a Gatlin gun. It was a brutally unconscionable and gruesome event, but what could these good Christians do—after all, it was God's will that they slaughter those "Godless savages." That is the exact same scenario that is currently taking place in the Middle East today. It began with the "creation" of the state of Israel in 1948, and the campaign continues as I speak—but this time, it's called Zionism.

In 1882, while Jews were being massacred throughout Russia, Leo Pinsker, the founder of the Zionist movement, published a small booklet entitled "Auto-emancipation". It pointed out that Jews would never find equality in Russia, so it was necessary for world Jewry to establish their own homeland. At first, he didn't care where it was located—in fact, the area encompassing Zaire, Africa was even considered. But later, Pinsker recognized that in order to get Jews to immigrate in numbers large enough to establish a homeland, he needed a location that would inspired the Jewish soul, and no location in the world would suit that purpose like Palestine, the land of Zion–the land that God had promised the Jews. The fact that there were indigenous people already living in Palestine never even crossed his mind.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines Zionism as follows:


(zº"…-n¹z"…m) n. An organized movement of world Jewry that arose in Europe in the late 19th century with the aim of reconstituting a Jewish state in Palestine. Modern Zionism is concerned with the development and support of the state of Israel." Thus, Zionism, by definition and design, is a doctrine dedicated to the taking of Palestine–and on May 14, 1948, European Jews did just that.

Between 1944 and 1948, due to their experience with the Nazi's, Eastern European Jews wanted to get off the European continent by any means necessary, so various Zionist organizations created the Bariha (escape) Organization that helped close to 200,000 Jews to leave Europe and settle in Palestine. Prior to that time, in July of 1922, the League of Nations (the progenitor of the United Nations) gave Great Britain a mandate to protect the people of Palestine, but on November 29, 1947 when the U. N. General Assembly passed a resolution to partition off Palestine between the Arabs and Jews, Great Britain announced that it was terminating its mandate. The end of the British mandate was to go into effect on May 15, 1948, but on May 14, 1948 the Zionists declared the creation of Israel, a Jewish state.

But in order for the new State of Israel to have any legitimacy, it had to be recognized by the United States. The U.S. State Department was less than enthusiastic about creating a Jewish state in Palestine, but shortly after President Truman took office, European Zionist, Chaim Weizmann, convinced the president that it was only just that the survivors of the holocaust would be given their own homeland. Truman agreed, and recognized the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, and all hell's been breaking loose every since.

The Israeli-American alliance is a match made in Hell–they don't even trust each other. One of the largest units in the CIA is dedicated to the prevention of Israeli spying on the United States, and one of the biggest spy scandals in U.S. History involved an Israeli spy name Jonathan Pollard, an American of Jewish descent, born in Galveston, Texas. But in spite of that, Israel receives more U.S. Foreign aid than any other country in the world, and we've made them one of the most formidable military forces in the world. The reason for that--oil. Israel stands as an extension of the United States in the Middle East, within easy striking distance of Middle Eastern oil fields. So what we have in the Middle East is an unholy quid pro quo–The United States will help the Israelis steal Arab land, and the Israelis will help the United States steal the oil beneath the land.

So the Israeli claim that their slaughter of the Arab people is simply an attempt to defend themselves, is nothing but a farce. Granted, when someone invades your home you do have a right to attack them, but Europeans have about as much right to call Israel their home as I'd have of tearing off a part of China simply because I converted to Buddhism.

Far be it from me, however, to say who's a Jew and who's not, but I think we can all agree that European Jews are not the same Jews that were spoken of in the Bible. But, of course, you're not suppose to even whisper such sentiments here in America. To say that European Jews don't belong in Israel, or to speak out on any atrocity that the State of Israel might commit, is considered anti-Semitic in this country. But even that's a farce. There's a big difference between being anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist–to be anti-Semitic is to be against a people, while being anti-Zionist is to be against a philosophy. After all, all Jews are not Zionist. But there's another issue here as well. How can you be anti-Semitic towards Europeans? They aren't even Semites.

So as I said, all of the killing in the Middle East is about hubris, injustice, and greed. But it's also about opportunity and racism. Think about it-- as bad as the Germans and Russians treated the Jews over the years, you'd think the Jews would have been given part of one of those countries. If they'd done that, European Jews wouldn't have even had to leave home. But White folks don't play that–no matter how much they hate each other.



I try to Avoid addressing the same issue in consecutive columns–that's my only defense against my natural tendency to be tedious and predictable. But this past weekend a young man, let's call him Rob, came up to me and said, "Brother, I got to give you props–you really stuck it to those damn Jews last week." As soon as the words came out of his mouth, I knew I was going to have to clarify my message by revisiting the issue of Zionism. I didn't have the time, at that moment, to stand there in front of the store and explain to the young man that my article wasn't against Jews, but on the other hand, I wanted to make sure that he understood the distinction between hating a philosophy, and hating a people. So I asked the young brother to be sure to pickup this week's paper, because this article was going to be written especially, and specifically, for him. So Rob, as promised, good brother–and I sincerely hope, just this once, that God gives me the skill to make my point:

Rob, while my last article had to do with a segment of Judaism, it wasn't intended as a diatribe against Jews. I'm not against Jews. I'm not against any group of people, because as I see it, it would be a pity to go through the pain and suffering that we've experience here in America and not come out with at least some measure of wisdom. One would think that we would have learned through the blood, sweat, and tears that we've shed that trying to paint any group of people with the same broad brush, whether it's to say that they're all good, or they're all bad, is not only the height of stupidity, but is the very mindset that has caused Black people so much misery here in America. How can I claim to detest racism, only to turn around an embrace that very same ignorant philosophy?

No, I'm not against Jews, I'm against the injustice of Zionism–a philosophy which dictates that one group of people are entitled to the land of another by virtue of their religious beliefs alone. But while I argue passionately that Zionism is a gross and unjust philosophy, I always keep in mind that all Jews are not Zionists. In fact, some Jews are more adamantly opposed to Zionism--at least, as currently practiced--than non-Jews.

It's important to recognize that fact, because efficient thought requires that we always recognize subtle distinctions. While knowledge is power, knowledge can only yield its power when combined with the wisdom of truth. Evident of that is the fact that one of the most prolific problems that we have in this vast world filled with knowledge, is our tendency to circumvent that knowledge through thinking with our brain stems. Instead of using our higher cognitive abilities and taking the time to be precise in our thinking, we find it easier to lob preconceived generalizations at every problem--and more often than not, those generalizations cater to the very darkest side of our nature. Look at what we're doing with our knowledge in the Middle East. Instead of using that knowledge to enhance the quality of life for all of humanity, we're using it to spread death and destruction around the entire world.

So we've got to learn to stop thinking in terms of Black and White, Jew and Gentile, or whether a person is Gay or Straight. As long as we think in those terms and continue to antagonize one another, we sabotage every opportunity to form coalitions to fight for our common good. That's why people like Bush and Cheney thrive in a hostile environment. They love keeping us ignorant, because ignorance keeps us divided, and that very division allows them to step in and conquer all of our hopes and dreams as a people. It is a must, therefore, that we develop the wisdom to understand that there are only two kinds of people in this world–good people, and bad people.

Now, I'm not suggesting that Black people forget their history and engage in a rousing chorus of Kumbayah, that would be fool hearty. But it behooves Black people to not only understand, but remember, that while malevolent White men did indeed place us in chains, it was malevolent Black men who made us available to be shackled. We must also recognize that we commit a gross injustice by forgetting the sacrifice, and the families, of the thousands of White men of good character who gave their lives to unlock those shackles.

So while we witness the horror and atrocities that the state of Israel is committing against the Palestinian and Lebanese people, and we lean toward condemning all Jews, we must keep in mind men like Joel Elias Spingarn, also a Jew, and a prominent literary figure of his time. He not only gave great support to the Harlem Renaissance, but helped W.E.B. DuBois to establish the NAACP as a driving force for change in America. Spingarn also established the Spingarn Medal in 1913-- and to this day, it's awarded annually for Excellence in African American Achievement. So as we're formulating our opinions about Jews, we should remember this man, and his contribution to the African American people as Chairman of the Board of the NAACP from 1913 until his death in 1939. We should also consider that during that period the NAACP board was predominantly Jewish–W.E.B. DuBois was the only Black man on the Board of Directors. In fact, the NAACP didn't elect its first Black president until 1975. Think about that.

But it's become less than politically correct to bring up issues such as these–probably because many of us are afraid of becoming associated with Black opportunist, turncoats, and White apologists like Clarence Thomas, Alan Keyes, Larry Elder, and the like. But it's important that we keep these facts in mind and pass them down as part of our history. Facts such as these represent valuable knowledge to our youth. It's a source of knowledge to young people that says, as the three misguided Black men mentioned above clearly demonstrate, everybody that looks like you is not your brother, and conversely, everybody that doesn't look like you is not the enemy.

That's an invaluable lesson, not only for Black people, but for all of America, because we will never truly overcome until all people of good faith come together as a coalition–and that will never happen, until we begin to recognize that true brotherhood is not of the skin, but of the soul:

Rabbi Shifren,

I thought you might be interested in this--it's in two parts. The first part discusses my view on Zionism and its impact on the Middle East, and the second part instructs a young man on the importance of being able to oppose a philosophy without opposing an entire group of people. I think that's the key to finding piece in the Middle East.

Please feel free to correct any errors in my assessment of the politics involved. If I've missed something, please allow me the benefit of your specialized knowledge in this area. I would much rather be proven wrong than to remain ignorant.

Dear Eric

I truly admire your search for truth and more than that, your ability to be independent and not in lock-step with prevailing views in America, regardless of color or background. And while I'm at it, I want to reiterate how thoroughly I enjoy your column in the "Sentinel". Something tells me your voice at times might feel "lost in the wilderness" with all the apologetics we get in this city.

As an orthodox Jew, having received my ordination from Jerusalem and studied the scriptures thoroughly, perhaps some perspective might be in order. BTW, don't think that Gentiles are, in many cases, unaware of the politics and background of the present. THE VAST MAJORITY OF JEWS ARE ALSO CLUELESS!
Like many Jews, growing up in the 60's was a process of finding out who I am, where I "fit in", in America. Coming from a totally assimilated family, I had nobody to show me which path to follow. Irony of ironies, it was the BLACK PANTHERS that gave me my first feeling of "peoplehood", of "belonging"! Just as the Black man necessarily sought out a way of self-expression and identity, so I too, in like fashion needed to remove my self from the often times confused Jewish community, that seemed to me to be just copying their "gentile neighbors."

As part of my discoveries, I became fluent in Hebrew. I mean, REALLY FLUENT. I didn't want some dude TELLING ME what to think, I wanted to read it in the ORIGINAL (The Bible). For I believed, and believe now, that every people that wants to survive, must know where they came from, their roots, in order to know where they shall go.

There I found the following: "....and G-d said, ' I shall give this land to you and your seed as an eternal inheritance.'"

Now, this is our (truly, mine as well as yours) challenge. Interestingly, it is only the JEWS that have a problem with this. I have not met one believing Christian that misunderstood the above quoted passage from Genesis. After the latest exile (70 AD), we have been driven to the four corners of the globe. But wherever we were, we recited in our prayers 3 times daily, despite pogroms, inquisitions, crusades and massacres big and small: "..may our eyes witness your return to Zion." Truly, this applied to the Jew in Germany or Russia, as it did to the "black" Jews of Ethiopia and Yemen. I have to tell you that no matter how I, with my ignorance and boorish prejudices, would attempt to define "who is a Jew," I'd always end up with mud on my face! The Jew that we see here in Los Angeles has absolutely nothing in common with a Jew from Algeria or Izbekistan. Nothing at all, except this: the same Torah that was given on Mt. Sinai.

So I guess I will keep being amazed about the fact that we have survived all these years and are, despite all odds, thriving. When I pass on, I will do so quietly, knowing with absolute certainty, that my children believe as I do, and will pursue and follow that which was bequeathed to Abrah am so many years ago.

Hope you found some relevance in my words, though they be written simply and without embellishment.

Keep up the great work. I know that our paths were destined to cross.

Blessings to you and yours,

Rabbi Nachum Shifren

Lecturer and Author, "Kill Your Teacher: An Expose of Corruption and Racism in LA Schools" & "Surfing Rabbi: A Kabbalistic Quest for the Soul"

Eric L. Wattree

A moderate is one who embraces truth over ideology.

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