I am sure we all are concerned about the crises that are occurring in the Ukraine and in the Middle East as these seem to be our major flash-points for a future major war unless we can defuse them ASAP.
This letter deals primarily with Israel vs. the Palestinians and, to a lesser extent the rift between secular Arabs and moderate Muslims vs. the religious fanatical brand.
A well-thought out article in the latest PROGRESSIVE magazine (Author un-named; September, 2008) sets forth how the growth of religious fanaticism on all sides: the new ISIS (Iraq and Syria); orthodox hardline Jews in Israeli who have taken over that country’s armed forces and government; hardline Christian Neo-Conservative fundamentalists in the U.S.; etc. increases the danger of the current conflict spilling over into outright world war.
One of the biggest ironies in this story is that Israel, despite its stronger democratic values for Israeli citizens, has had foreign policy relationships since 1948 that contradict its once cosmopolitan progressive Judaic western values. It supported Apartheid South Africa that also came to power in May or June of 1948 despite the fact that several whites in South Africa still had the same pathological hatred against Jews as they did against non-white people. Several white South Africans before and during the Second World War openly supported Hitler despite South Africa’s alliance with the British. Israel also supported the violently anti-Semitic Galitieri regime in Argentina prior to its 1982 overthrow following the Falklands War. Indeed, one of the Argentine dictatorship’s chief victims, a Jewish person named Jacob Timmerman who described his ordeal in PRISONER WITHOUT A NAME; CELL WITHOUT A NUMBER, came down very harshly on Israel’s practice of siding with anti-Semitic and other repressive rulers over the world. The hardliners in Israel falsely accused Timmerman of being anti- Israeli, a charge that Timmerman indignantly denied. In addition, Israel along with some other western powers, helped mass Ugandan murder Idi Amin come to power when they trained him and his army how to kill and torture their enemies more effectively. As long as Amin confined his victims to black leftists, Israel never protested. Not until Amin made the mistake during the 1972 Olympics in Munich of killing several Israeli athletes did Israel and the rest of the West started yelling, “bloody murder,” against Amin.
Israeli soldiers are divided among themselves about whether or not to serve in Gaza instead of only inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Several have risked courts-martial and prison for their refusal to serve in Gaza. Also, allegations that Israeli soldiers may have received orders to use Palestinian civilians (including children of both genders) and unarmed POW’s as human shields is very disturbing. Additional allegations that the Israeli military command is killing its own Israeli combat soldiers to prevent them from being taken alive by the Palestinians is also very troubling. Apparently, Israel’s command fears that any Israeli soldier taken prisoner by the Palestinians might make embarrassing political statements that could damage Israel’s international standing.
The West, who depends on Middle Eastern oil, has chosen since the 1940’s to align itself with violently anti-Semitic and anti-western regimes like Saudi Arabia (before 9/11) instead of with progressive more leftist regimes like General Nasser in Egypt (pre-1970) or with Iran’s Mossadegh (pre-1953). The West allowed its over-dependency on oil to cause it to support rulers who, despite their previous alliances with us, despised our democratic way of life in the West. Osama Bin Laden may have developed his anti-western hatred as a result of our supporting anti-democratic elements in Saudi Arabia like the Saud Royal Family. This country also once supported Saddam Hussein prior to his August, 1990, decision to invade Kuwait. Hussein was just as bad before, as he was after August, 1990.
The point is that religious fanatics often pose a greater threat than secular nationalist fanatics in that the religious group is generally more irrational than the secular group.
Those of us who believe in a sensible foreign policy that protects our people WITHOUT entangling us into any reckless warfare (especially one involving ground troops) need to assert ourselves now!
William R. Delzell