Reflections by an American on Israel-Palestine

11 Aug

 Jan 23, 2009

I had grown up in the USA watching the movie Exodus, respecting the proud Mosha Dayan, honoring Golda Meir as a strong and just woman, honoring Israel’s technological success in turning the desert into fertile land, a bit confused about Isael’s socialist almost communist agendes, eg. kibbutz since the USA was in the cold war against socialism. However, this was the image of Israel that was given to the Americans as Israel became a nation. Arabs were little discussed and it seemed fair to Americans that after the holcaust in Europe, Jews be given a nation where they could be secure and not persecuted. It was said it wasn’t a lot of land for Israel and the Arab population would have their own land – less of course, and the Arabs could live as their own nation as the same for Israel.

Ok, this was the story told the American people and supported by Hollywood, the government and newsmedia. Remember this was way before the internet or even sophisticated satellite communications.

When Arab nations attacked Israel this was seen as unfair to Israel and America supported Israel’s right to exist. And this story continues to be told.

I believed this story. I believed that the Iraeli people were a just people wanting to be fair yet firm with thier Arab neighbors.

However, now, I see that story as a myth. Now I see after reading reports from credible international organizations, reports from Israel, and the actions of Israel in it’s attacks on Gaza now and before, Israel is a nation in the grips of anti-Arab racism and it is de-sensitized to the suffering of the Palestinian people. While this is, of course, not the only reality in the complex situation which has unfolded over the past fifty years or so, it is, I believe, a major variable in the present conflict.

Today there is the news about the Palestinian doctor whose three daughters were killed in their home. This man had worked tirelessly to build bridges between Israel and Palestine. Even as this man was being interviewed, in his grief and shock of having lost his only three children, some Isaerlis shouted at him to go back to Hamas, etc.

My story of Israel has been re-written. I now see the dark side of Israel clearly. It is not a new dark side for nations – racism- but it is a horrible darkside because the people who are disciminated against are seen as sub-human, evil, worthless except for contempt or worse.

We in the USA know of Racism and it’s ugly manifestation and consequences. But, fortunately, we have had the strength of some to help us understand and fight against this ignorance. And in the soul of America, there has been a response of confirmation to those calls to stop racism.

However, right now, I don’t see that happening in Israel and the consequences are an almost total destruction of way of life of a people living in what is called Palestine.

I don’t believe the old story anymore. A new disturbing story has become clear. Now, for us who are disturbed by such things as injustice and racism, we must continue to tell the accurate story of what is going on in Israel.

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