The Self-Destruction of Israel
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Israel's strongest supporters are bringing it to destruction.
- The militarist and virulent nationalist government of Israel is leading its nation into military confrontations and oppressive actions that have no end.
- The large American religious right provides moral and financial assistance to Israel and influences the U.S. congress to approve Israel's policies. This destructive religious force intensifies Israel's conflict with the Moslem world and encourages settlements that provoke terrorist actions against Israel.
- The U.S. government uses its veto to prevent UN Security Council resolutions from restraining Israel's destructive practices. Military and financial assistance support Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people. America's policies fuel the conflagration, drive Israel into deeper conflict with Arab nations and augment world hostility against Israel.
- The Israel Lobby and a legion of Israel followers divert attention from Israel's oppressive operations and influence political groups, national leaders and populations to support Israel. Their support encourages Israel to increase its militancy, which decreases its attention to growing internal problems and isolation from an angered world.
The four forces give Israel the sustenance it needs to pursue its policies. They also mold minds by media campaigns and repetitive propaganda that falsify history. A critical appraisal of the fallacies that shaped the agendas of the "four horsemen of the apocalypse" explains the development of the misguided policies that are endangering Israel's existence. The propaganda efforts started with the Zionist movement.
The Zionist Movement
Note: In this article, Zionism will mean Political Zionism, which advocated a homeland for Jews.
The Israeli government and the large camp of Israel followers pose as heirs to the Zionist experience and consider that experience as a guide to structuring present-day Israel.
Zionists had a commendable purpose in attempting to relieve Jews from the burdens of impoverished and discriminatory circumstances, especially in parts of Poland and Russia. However, their principal thrust as a movement to unite all Jews in a common purpose - building a homeland or nation to create a national Jewish identity - had contradictions and initially lacked sufficient support.
Late nineteenth century Jews bridged their national borders with religious attachment and, in certain parts of the world, common social characteristics. Jews had no national identity, other than their identification with the nation in which they resided, which, in many cases, had been for several generations. The Zionists intended to create artificial conditions to establish an identity and then weave citizens into a nation that had negligible relation to their previous identities. They ignored the argument that national identity is determined by centuries of evolving conditions and is then imposed upon citizens who must place their national identity before their group identity. They didn't consider the example of the United States: Immigrant Germans, Swedes, Puritans and Calvinists all compromised their original group identities in order to become Americans. Their descendants have national identities much different from the group identities their forefathers possessed.
Zionist philosophy had little appeal to the Jewish people in the late 19th century.
The first Zionist Congress (1887) was to have taken place in Munich, Germany. However, due to considerable opposition by the local community leadership, both Orthodox and Reform, it was decided to transfer the proceedings to Basle, Switzerland. Theodore Herzl acted as chairperson of the Congress which was attended by some 200 participants (ED: Only 69 of whom were delegates).
The 19th century emancipation movements liberated west and middle European Jews and permitted them to integrate into European society. The Russian Jews, who had major problems, didn't consider Zionism as a relief for their difficulties.
Between 1881 and 1914, 2.5 million Jews migrated from Russia--2 million to America and only 30,000 to Palestine. Another 500,000 went to the large capitals of Western Europe.
Bernard Avishai, The Tragedy of Zionism
Palestine was not suitable for nurturing a large number of Zionist immigrants in the early 1900's. It was part desert, water scarce, populated by Palestinians and under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Besides, Jews had full legal rights in America and in most European nations and were becoming integrated into those societies. Few of these Jews were inclined to surrender their gains. If the Zionists had appealed to the North African and Middle East Jews (Mizrahim), they might have enticed many more Jews to settle in Palestine. These Jews could move within the Ottoman Empire and more easily settle in other places within the empire. By having language and customs similar to the Arab people they would have encountered less resistance from the local populations.
Rather than benefiting world Jewry, the Zionist message endangered it.
Nations were uncertain about Jewish citizens, who were regarded by Zionists to have different consciences and different mind-sets then their fellow citizens. Zionism presented Jews as having allegiance to an external ideal, willing to leave their native country if the opportunity became available.
Statistics show the Zionist adventure didn't progress rapidly. The Jewish population in Ottoman Empire Palestine increased by only 60,000 between 1889 and 1914.
The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire changed the situation.
The Western Invasion
Understated, if not hidden from history, is the actual root of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict - the economic havoc that the entry of Jews brought to the Arab population.
In 1920, after the Zionist population had grown to 60,000 in a Palestine composed of 585,000 Arabs, a reporter noted that earlier settlers felt uncomfortable with the later immigrants. They were less willing to work at agriculture and had no ability to live off the available land.
It may not be generally known, but a goodly number of the Jewish dwellers in the land are not anxious to see a large immigration into the country. This is partly due to the fear that the result of such immigration would be an overcrowding of the industrial and agricultural market; but a number of the more respectable older settlers have been disgusted by the recent arrivals in Palestine of their coreligionists, unhappy individuals from Russia and Romania brought in under the auspices of the Zionist Commission from the cities of Southeastern Europe, and neither able nor willing to work at agriculture or fruit-farming.
The old colonists believe that what is required to help the country is the immigration of a moderate number of persons, who should be in possession of some capital to invest in agriculture, or have technical knowledge of farming; not, as proposed by the Zionist Commission, an unlimited immigration of poor and ignorant people from the cities of Europe, who, if they are unable to make a living in Western cities, would most certainly starve in an Eastern agricultural country. The presence in Palestine of such agricultural experts as the late Mr. Aaronsohn, and Mr. Moses Levine of the Jewish Farm at Ben Shamer, near Ludd, both American Jews of great talent, is of the greatest advantage to the country, and is generally acknowledged so to be by all classes of the population. The arrival of more such colonists would be welcome to all but the whole population will resist the Zionist Commission's plan of wholesale immigration of Jews into Palestine at the rate of one hundred thousand a year, until a total of three millions has been reached, which number they claim the country can support if cultivated to its utmost.
The existing Jewish colonists would protest at such an experiment; but the Mohammedan and Christian Arabs would do more than protest. They would, if able, prevent by force the wholesale flooding of their country by Jewish settlers whom they consider strangers and Europeans. - Zionist Aspirations in Palestine, Anstruther Mackay, originally published in The Atlantic Monthly, July 1920.
English-speaking Jews obtained leading positions in the British Mandate and acquired influence from their positions. External capital from wealthy Jewish persons and organizations provided investment funds and attracted western knowledge for building efficient commercial enterprises that bankrupted less efficient Palestinian enterprises and created unemployment among the Arab masses. Zionist hiring practices preferred Jews for higher paying positions, reduced Arab labor to the lowest wage scale and pauperized many Arab workers. Purchases of land from absentee landlords drove Arab farmers off land that their ancestors and families had tilled for centuries. The Palestinian Arabs realized they would be reduced to a menial laboring class, become subservient to westerners and in many cases, pauperized.
The Histadruth has not been noticeably active in behalf of the Arab workers in Palestine. For many years it has tolerated black Arab labor in the quarries of the Nesher cement works, though not a single Arab is to be found in the factory. These workers, who receive miserable pittances, have struck repeatedly, but the Histadruth has never come to their aid. Every time the Histadruth helped to organize Arab workers it was to "conquer" a place for Jewish workers. At a Histadruth conference Yari openly said: "Organizing Arab workers together with Jewish does not come in place of Zionism, but to strengthen Zionism, immigration, and settlement." For the same reason Zionism has fought and defeated almost every law designed to protect the poor Arab peasant. Realizing that a contented farming population would never sell land, the Zionists have opposed government loans to the fellaheen and have united with the feudal lords in opposition to any law which might decrease the lord's rights over his tenants.
A solution for Palestine by Albert Viton, The Nation, December 26, 1936
(1) What fair-minded and progressive person or organization would encourage immigration to a foreign territory knowing that the settlers would willingly disturb the economic welfare of the indigenous population?
(2) Isn't it expected that a threatened population will retaliate against attacks on their welfare?
The Zionists established Israel but their dream of building a nation specifically for Jews became mixed with other factors. To a large part, the later immigrations came for economic reasons. Nation building was incidental to their economic advancement.
The Incipient Israel
The new immigrants, who strengthened the state of Israel, were the very persons the Zionists insufficiently considered - the Mizrahim from the Arab countries of North Africa and the Arab Middle East. From 1949 to 1956 these groups, which numbered 650,000, were the principal immigrants to Israel. A by-product of their emigration has been the destruction of a strong Jewish history and presence in Baghdad, Cairo, Kairouan-Tunisia and other places. Areas that sustained populations of the Jewish people and enabled their survival for several centuries became totally erased to create a new history.
The Mizrahim immigrants came because the escalating Israel/Arab conflict, a disastrous result of the Zionist adventure, grossly affected their acceptance and livelihood. In many situations, they came either to escape from the limited possibilities in deprived nations or to receive the free assistance and often land and housing that had been seized by the Israelis during the 1947-1948 war. Even before they arrived, the displacement of Palestinians and transferring their property to immigrants had begun.
For twenty years, I knew nothing of the Palestinian problem. I was one year old when my parents arrived among the 50,000 Bulgarian Jews who decided to immigrate to the new Jewish state. That was in 1948 when Israel was just born. We settled in Ramle, in a big stone house that had belonged to an Arab family...In the back of the house was a lemon tree, which almost collapsed each year under its fruit... One morning, right after the Six-Day War, a young Arab man turned up at the front door. He said: 'My name is Bashir el-Kheiri. This house belonged to my family.'
He was 26. I was 20. It was the first time I had ever met a Palestinian.
From "Letter to a Deportee," originally printed in The Jerusalem Post, January 14, 1988, quoted in Rene Backmann, "The Letter to Bashir," New Outlook, May 1988 http://www.vopj.org/personalnarr.htm
Immigrants during this period also included 48,000 Falasha from Ethiopia, who were airlifted from feeding camps during an Ethiopian famine. The Falasha, who are not genetically related to Jewish people, (Source: Study links Jewish, Palestinian genes, by Tamara Traubman and Ruth Sinai, Ha'aretz Correspondents ) practice a religion consisting of Christian and Hebrew practices. Their association with the Middle East Jews is not entirely established. Their emigration to Israel, for some undefined reason (was it forced?), compromised the definitions of "Right of Return" (To what were they returning? They were never there.) and "who is Jewish?".
The Israel that emerged from the Zionist program and was strengthed by the immigrations from Arab lands was transformed after the 1967 war - by U.S. cooperation and Soviet Union immigration.
The New Israel
The U.S. Government firmly changed its stance after Israel's capture of the Sinai, West Bank and the Golan during the1967 war.
Until 1967, the United States government had wavered in its policies towards Israel, sometimes showing favoritism and at other times displaying disfavor.
- · The King-Crane Commission, appointed by President Wilson in 1919 concluded:
...a national home for the Jewish people is not equivalent to making Palestine into a Jewish State; nor can the erection of such a Jewish State be accomplished without the gravest trespass upon the "civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." The fact came out repeatedly in the Commission's conference with Jewish representatives, that the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine, by various forms of purchase.
In view of all these considerations, and with a deep sense of sympathy for the Jewish cause, the Commissioners feel bound to recommend that only a greatly reduced Zionist program be attempted by the Peace Conference, and even that, only very gradually initiated. This would have to mean that Jewish immigration should be definitely limited, and that the project for making Palestine distinctly a Jewish commonwealth should be given up.
- President Truman expressed sympathy to the Zionist experience and the plight of the Jewish refugees after World War II. However his March 25, 1945 statement on the United Nation's recognition of Israel, expressed doubt that UN Resolution 181 would resolve the troublesome situation.
The United Kingdom has announced its firm intention to abandon its mandate in Palestine on May 15. Unless emergency action is taken, there will be no public authority in Palestine on that date capable of preserving law and order. Violence and bloodshed will descend upon the Holy Land. Large scale fighting among the people of that country will be the inevitable result. Such fighting would infect the entire Middle East and could lead to consequences of the gravest sort involving the peace of this nation and of the world.
The American president proposed a plan that has not been well publicized:
The United States has proposed to the Security Council a temporary United Nations trusteeship for Palestine to provide a government to keep the peace Trusteeship is not proposed as a substitute for the partition plan but as an effort to fill the vacuum soon to be created.
After Israel declared a provisional government and on the day before Britain's withdrawal from its mandate, Truman recognized the new state. Interestingly, the U.S. president changed several words in the original document. The document:
- President Eisenhower forced Israel to retreat from its capture of the Sinai after the 1956 war.
Despite Israel's attack on an American ship, the U.S.S. Liberty, which resulted in the loss of many American lives (Israel claimed it mistook the Liberty for an Egyptian naval vessel. The more accepted version is that Israel feared the Liberty had intercepted messages that could compromise its military efforts during the 1967 war.), America did not contest Israel in the 1967 war and has been mostly supportive of Israel's positions since that date. The reasons:
- The Arab nations were in social revolution and Israel could contain their ambitions.
- If Arab oil were denied to the United States, America needed a land base and close friend in the Middle East.
- Arab nations were obtaining weapons from the Soviet Union during the Cold War and Israel could assist the U.S. to thwart possible Soviet ambitions in the area.
After the 1967 war, the need to increase Israel's population and the desire to inhabit the West Bank with persons of Jewish descent solicited a new wave of immigrants. They came from the United States, from religious fundamentalist communities and mostly from the Soviet Union. The latter sought opportunities and an escape from a communist country that gave them little hope to fulfill their aspirations. From 1970 until today, more than 1 million former citizens of the Soviet Union have migrated to Israel. Many of these immigrants had little attachment to Judaism. Some of them had not considered themselves Jews, while others were either atheists or non-Jews who were married to Jews.
The Russians, who were partly non-Jewish, eventually changed the political landscape of Israel. When arriving, they favored the Labor party. They used their education and backgrounds in engineering, factory management and commercial ties to prosper. They established their own party and later merged that party into Ariel Sharon's Likud Party. Many of these immigrants, led by Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, have become ardent supporters of Israel's expansion and are unwilling to recognize their oppression of the Palestinians.
Israel today is a nation that calls itself Jewish but actually contains a dominanting number of Jews, 20% Palestinians, ambiguous ethnicities and a large percentage of atheists. It is a country of contesting groups held together by virulent nationalism, militarism and exclusionary laws that favor those who call themselves Jewish and which reduces other citizens, such as Palestinians to 2nd class status. The discriminatory life in Israel contradicts the beliefs of Western democracies. It is amazing that it is tolerated.
As doubts grow as to the legitimacy of Israel's expansion into territory not given it by the United Nations Resolution 181, fraudulent "facts" and an ahistorical Bible are used to justify Israel's expansion.
The Historical Record and Archaeological Discoveries
The American Religious Right and Jewish extremists took advantage of Israel's seizure of the entirety of Jerusalem and the West Bank to promote the concepts that Jews had a strong ancient empire in the area and that they are entitled to return to their ancient lands. These groups are deceiving themselves. They neglect the facts of history and the course of history and attempt to modify the present course of history so it corresponds to unsubstantiated myths.
In "The Bible Unearthed," Israeli archaeologists, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, who have done extensive excavations and research in Israel, indicate there were kingdoms containing Hebrews, a large prosperous Israel in the Northern region until the 8th century B.C.E. and 150 years later a more religious directed Judah in the Southern region. However, evidence of a United Kingdom under one temple and one leader is lacking. They "cast doubt on the familiar account of ancient Israel," and reveal that the Bible is part myth and part exaggeration.
The Historical Record
No ancient Egyptian narrative mentions Hebrew tribes or slaves in their midst except for a reference to some starving tribes that were given land to cultivate in northern Egypt. No record exists that Hebrew tribes wandered through the Sinai desert, nor are there any mementos or memories - no pottery shards, no burnt ash, no bones, no graves, no weapons, nothing. Jericho was not in existence during the era attributed to the Hebrew conquests. No historical record portrays a King David or King Solomon, who had lavish palaces, administered extensive trade or supervised magnificent constructions. There were Hebrew tribes and areas of Hebrew administration - no doubt about that - but no Hebrew Empire that left a significant legacy.
There is no reference in Egyptian sources to Israel's sojourn in that country and the evidence that does exist is negligible and indirect. The few indirect pieces of evidence, like the use of Egyptian names are far from adequate to corroborate the historicity of the biblical account. - Biblical Archaeology, Lee I. Levine, professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Similarly ambiguous is the evidence of the conquest and settlement of Canaan, the ancient name for the area including Israel. Excavations showing that Jericho was unwalled and uninhabited, clearly seem to contradict the violent and complete conquest portrayed in the Book of Joshua. ...there is an almost total absence of archaeological evidence backing up the Bible's grand descriptions of the Jerusalem of David and Solomon. Ibid
Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation. Michael Massing, New Torah For Modern Minds, The New York Times, March 9, 2002, reporting on findings of Tel-Aviv university archaeologists.
...anyone attempting to reconstruct the history of Jerusalem through archaeological means would find himself in very difficult straits when it comes to this span of half a millennium ( 500 B.C. to 1 A.D.). The only material available is common to all artifacts, all of them small objects, architectural finds - meaning the remains of buildings-are almost entirely absent. Of course, we hoped that our own dig would change this sorry situation, but our hopes went unfulfilled. Neither our excavations below the Temple Mount nor any of the other digs carried out in the Old City after the Six-Day War uncovered any architectural remains.
Meir Ben-Dove, In the Shadow of the Temple, P.64
...from the tenth century B.C.E. there is no archaeological evidence that many people actually lived in Jerusalem, only that it was some kind of public administrative center...We are left with nothing that indicates a city was here during their supposed reigns (of David and Solomon)...It seems unlikely, however, that this Jerusalem was the capital of a large state, the United monarchy, as described in Biblical texts. Margaret Steiner: It's Not There: Archaeology Proves a Negative, Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August, 1998.
The Landscape of Present-day Israel
Jerusalem has become the focus of the new Israel. It is portrayed by Christian and Jewish fundamentalists as being extremely significant to the Jewish people. Yet few, if any, significant religious structures (monuments, architecture, religious institutions), that were constructed by a Hebrew civilization and have been historically verified, exist in Jerusalem today. The Western Wall, often directly related to the Temple, is actually a bearing wall for Herod's platform. According to historian Karen Armstrong, Jews did not pray at the Western Wall until the Mamluks in the 15th century allowed them to move their congregations from a dangerous Mount of Olives and pray daily at the Wall. At that time she estimates that there may have been no more than 70 Jewish families in Jerusalem.
All of which finally leads us to those who have distorted the use of history and are now distorting the trajectory of an Israel state - "the four horsemen of the apocalypse."
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The Israeli Government
Israel's Prime Minister Sharon has talked of a 75-year war to secure his nation's future. By his methods for accomplishing the task, he has underestimated the time interval - it's closer to eternity.
If the extremist elements of the Israel population demand this area, which they probably will, Israel could be in a difficult position.
By populating the West Bank and constructing a barrier wall that completely encircles Palestinian communities and essentially places them into concentrated camps, Israel has created animosity and enemies that will last beyond the halting of this severe oppression. Israel has nowhere to safely go. Wherever Israel extends itself, it will border with an adversary.
Israel fought the 1967 war from a territory that did not include the West bank or the Golan and easily won the war in four days. A neutralized Sinai Peninsula became a buffer with Egypt. A demilitarized West Bank and Gaza can also be buffers for Israel. So, why isn't the barrier being built along the Green Line to give Israel the added protection it claims it wants? It is obvious that the overused word "security" is only a disguise for what Israel actually wants - it wants the land and therefore can only be protected by oppression and a militarized society.
Sharon's nation cannot maintain military superiority forever. Israel does not have sufficient population to subdue the entire Middle East (or divide it, which seems to be the strategy) and it certainly does not have the resources to dominate, control and occupy all of it. In efforts to establish a nation, designated as Jewish, the Palestinian population within its midst will have to be controlled or shuffled out. The locked-in Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza will eventually have insufficient food and water and be forced to leave. Brutality and nuclear terror will become Israel's weapons to maintain its territorial gains. The world, including the United States, will not allow that.
The deceptions - use of the Holocaust to gain sympathy, inciting terrorism by violent actions against the Palestinians and false accusations of anti-Semitism against Israel's critics - are being exposed and becoming less effective. The time will eventually come for an aggressive international response, which might consist of sanctions, isolation and even possible military action. The response will force Israel to react positively to the multitude of Security Council Resolutions that declared its occupation to be illegal.
A European Union poll already demonstrates international impatience with Israel. Europeans consider Israel to be the greatest threat to world peace,
And the anger is reaching new -- and disturbing -- levels: A poll of 3,000 people published last month by Germany's University of Bielefeld showed more than 50 percent of respondents equating Israel's policies toward the Palestinians with Nazi treatment of the Jews. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed specifically believed that Israel is waging a "war of extermination" against the Palestinian people.
Germany is not alone in these shocking sentiments. They have been expressed elsewhere, and often by prominent figures. In 2002, the Portuguese Nobel Prize-winning writer Jose Saramago declared, "What is happening in Palestine is a crime which we can put on the same plane as what happened at Auschwitz." In Israel just last month, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, the Irish winner of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize, compared the country's suspected nuclear weapons to Auschwitz, calling them "gas chambers perfected."
Moreover, in a Eurobarometer poll by the European Union in November 2003, a majority of Europeans named Israel as the greatest threat to world peace. Overall, 59 percent of Europeans put Israel in the top spot, ahead of such countries as Iran and North Korea. In the Netherlands, that figure rose to 74 percent. In Europe, an Unhealthy Fixation on Israel, Robin Shepherd, Washington Post, January 30, 2005.
Israel is under verbal attack due to the Amnesty International 2005 Report that covered events from January - December 2004:
The Israeli army killed more than 700 Palestinians, including some 150 children. Most were killed unlawfully - in reckless shooting, shelling and air strikes in civilian residential areas; in extrajudicial executions; and as a result of excessive use of force. Palestinian armed groups killed 109 Israelis - 67 of them civilians and including eight children - in suicide bombings, shootings and mortar attacks. Stringent restrictions imposed by the Israeli army on the movement of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories caused widespread poverty and unemployment and hindered access to health and education facilities. The Israeli army destroyed several hundred Palestinian homes, large areas of agricultural land, and infrastructure networks. Israel continued to expand illegal settlements and to build a fence/wall through the West Bank, confining Palestinians in isolated enclaves cut off from their land and essential services in nearby towns and villages. Israeli settlers increased their attacks against Palestinians and their property and against international human rights workers. Certain abuses committed by the Israeli army constituted crimes against humanity and war crimes, including unlawful killings; extensive and wanton destruction of property; obstruction of medical assistance and targeting of medical personnel; torture; and the use of Palestinians as "human shields". The deliberate targeting of civilians by Palestinian armed groups constituted crimes against humanity.
Opportunists and religious zealots seek their aggrandizement in a greater Israel. These groups complement an already virulent nationalistic and militaristic population formed from decades of struggle. Together they make an explosive mixture of insensitive combatants who see only their own fortunes and not the misfortunes of others.
It will soon be recognized that Israel today is a nation whose people have conditions, problems, purposes and values that are different from Jews around the world. These characteristics aren't derivatives of a three thousand year-old part urban and part tribal society but are associated with a specific 21st century industrial society. The specifics create an Israeli identity that is not aligned with the identities of Jews in other nations. Israel is attempting to make all Jews into good Israelis and redefine the meaning of being Jewish.
The Sharon government, similar to other virulent nationalistic and militaristic governments, has intensified internal dissensions; militarist vs. pacifist, expansionist vs. containment, brutal vs. peaceful, privilege vs. equality, religious vs. secular. Coupling the growing internal strife with external strife that encompasses the Arab world and many Moslem countries, and which has strained the impatience of most other nations, makes Sharon's Israel a condemned nation.
The American Religious Right and Christian Fundamentalism
In a Middle East where Islam is supreme, where many nations subdue their Christian minority or the two religions struggle with one another, such as in Lebanon, the Palestinian Christian and Muslim communities successfully tolerated one another. Since Israel's inception, Christian influence and population have severely declined in the Holy Land. By unconditionally supporting Israel, the American Religious Right is contributing to this decline.
The committee also drew attention to the fact that the construction of the separation wall is worsening the already intolerable situation that is forcing the exodus of Palestinian Christians." In this respect, its members expressed their fear of the imminent extinction of the indigenous Christian church in the Holy Land.
GENEVA, 23 February 2004 ,Lutheran world Information
According to reliable sources, the number of Christians of all denominations today in Israel (including Jerusalem), the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip is in the neighborhood of 150,000. Christians in Jerusalem number around seven thousand. Between 1947 and 1967, the Christian population dropped from over forty-five thousand in the Old City and its environs to twenty-eight thousand. The trend is clearly towards an emptying out of the city's dwindling Christian population: "Emigration has for some time threatened to reduce Jerusalem to a museum of Christian history rather than the center of a living Christian community." Norman Horner, A Guide to Christian Churches in the Middle East.
Since 1948, some 234,000 Christians have left the Holy Land, and in recent times some 830 Christians leave every year. Keeping Christians in the Homeland, Judith Sudilovsky, October 13, 2002 , Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, Inc.
The Christian Fundamentalists don't seem to care that Israel's relationship with them has one purpose: manipulating their influence in the American government and in the American churches for Israel's benefit. Israel doesn't care that the Religious Right intends to convert Jews to Christianity and that its more extreme elements anticipate a "Rapture" that will elevate Jews to heavenly Christianity or finalize an Armageddon that will destroy Judaism. Israel won't show concern because the Religious Right voted 80 percent for George W. Bush in 2004 (ED: Evangelical Christian claim) and is exercising considerable influence within the Republican party. Israel isn't ready to discard one of its major supporters and one of the few that will probably remain in the future. Israel is stuck and tarnished with the proselytizing, back-ward looking, hypocritical and ignorant Creationists and their associates.
Fundamentalist Christianity, which is not agreeable to world Jewry, is Israel's best friend. Israel is strengthening one of the great antagonists of Jewish and progressive peoples. But of course, there is still Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and America.
The American Government
The U.S. government realizes that its overwhelming support for Israel has provoked Arab nations, stimulated terrorism against it and generated dissatisfaction from many nations. Nevertheless, the U.S. persists in the same policies.
The principal feature of U.S. foreign policy concerning Israel is that the policy has neither been able to lessen the Middle East conflict nor curb the oppression of the Palestinian people. U.S. policy only keeps the conflict going to a dangerous end - destruction of the Middle East and Israel. Without U.S. support, Israel would have been forced to seek a solution at the negotiating table rather than increasing its conquest of Palestinian lands while pretending to be negotiating. The U.S. political investment in Israel is so great that it has become glued to that investment. It can't change policy without admitting the policy has been wrong and it can't continue the policy without further harming itself and others.
America and Israel continue along, trying to incite other nations against Syria, Lebanon, Iran or any country that contests their policies. Hand in hand, America and Israel travel together on a path of mutual destruction. They arm each other, which harms each other. In the present world lineup, they only have one another.
AIPAC, Israel lobbies and Israel's Followers
Imagine a large lobby of American citizens for France that successfully steered U.S. foreign policy so it supported France's policies - what a scandal. Yet, we have an influential group of Americans that raise money and manipulate media to promote the interests of Israel without considering its effects on American foreign policy. The Lobby gives America problems. It gives the Israeli population greater problems.
The Israel government in Jerusalem and the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) in Washington behave as a super-state with two capitals, each depending upon one another to survive, and each silently contesting the other to shape the destiny of the Israeli people.
- The Israel government needs AIPAC to persuade the American government to supply it with funds, arms and support.
- AIPAC needs an endangered and dependent Israel in order to continue the mission that it seems proud to perform.
- The Israel government wants to be the sole determinant of the course of its nation but its dependence on AIPAC means it must listen at times to the lobby.
- AIPAC realizes the dependence of the Israeli government on its largess and can take advantage of Israel's dependence. However, until now the lobby seems to operate as Israel's servant.
The Israeli government is stuck with AIPAC in a similar manner in which it is stuck with the Religious Right. At the moment, the directions of Israel and its lobby seem to coincide but the future might be different. AIPAC might demand a greater voice in determining Israel's affairs. On the other hand, if legal restrictions or civil complaints one day curtail AIPAC's actions and effectiveness, Israel will be left with a hole in its dependent support.This hole might be starting:
U.S. to indict two senior AIPAC officials under Espionage Act
By Nathan Guttman, Haaretz Correspondent
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department is expected to file indictments against two former senior staffers at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) - Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman - and, according to sources familiar with the affair, the charges will be subsumed under the Espionage Act.
Complementing AIPAC are a huge number of organizations and legion of followers that attempt to raise funds for Israel and shape U.S. opinion to favor Israel. Some of these ardent supporters of Israel generate hatred against the Arab peoples and inflame the conflict by circulating vicious e-mails. One example:
Israel Builds for Nobel Prizes, Arabs Build for Suicide Bombers, by Farid Ghadry
The news this week that two Israeli scientists, in addition to an American, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, should be read with interest in the Arab world.
This win says a lot about the state of affairs of the Middle East. While Israel builds its future with Nobel laureates, the Arab world fills its future with suicide bombers.
Others speak a standard propaganda line at meetings and lectures by asking questions such as:
When will the Palestinians give up their intention to throw out Israel from sea (Jordan River) to sea (Mediterranean)?
Of course it is militarily strong Israel that is throwing out the militarily miniscule Palestinians from sea to sea. Imagine an American in the 1800's asking: "When will the Indians give up their intention to throw us out from sea to sea?"
Many of Israel's supporters consider themselves progressives, caring about the welfare of the suppressed, weak and powerless. Do these persons ever ask themselves?:
- Why do they support a nation that oppresses a weak and defenseless Palestinian people?
- Why do they support a nation that collaborates with the Religious Right, an antagonist of progressive and liberating forces?
- Why do they support a nation that collaborates with President George W. Bush, considered by progressives to be America's most destructive force?
- Why do they support a nation that will leave a legacy of having destroyed the Palestinian people; a haunting legacy for all time?
The sum of AIPAC and the legions of Israel's supporters that act as an extension of the Israeli population create a phenomenon rarely seen in any country of the world - citizens organizing and acting in the interests of a foreign nation. The nature of their actions is contradictory.
Only those affected by the operations of their government have the experience, the knowledge, the inclination and the right to control the workings of that government. AIPAC and Israel's followers don't have the true sense of the problems that move the "citizen in the street," and which are not limited to problems with the Palestinians. Their external operations distort the social and political policies of the Israeli government. Each nation has its unique economic and social problems. To resolve those problems each nation responds to its own people and listens to its own people. By arbitrarily supporting the Israeli government, providing it with public relations, funds and access to American government legislators, AIPAC and Israel's followers assist in maintaining Likud's power and policies no matter how they affect the Israeli and American people. External support for Israel has deflected the Israeli people from responding to difficult problems in the appropriate matter.
The Self-Destruction of Israel
Unless their power is beyond contention, nations can't survive by continuous oppression, by seizing lands under disguise of preventive war and by making themselves the pariahs of the world. Land is not possessed by sketchy memory, awakened dreams and 3000 year old unproven genealogical connections. In nations of law, land belongs to those who legally acquired it. This legality can be a paper deed languishing for centuries in a bureaucratic drawer or, if the deed is not available, the right by inheritance of those who tilled and nourished the land for generations and hammered the rocks that provided shelter. Legality has been ignored in the resolution of the Middle East crisis.
The foreign intrusion, which replaced the labor of the indigenous people, started the Middle East conflict. The illegal usurpation of the land and failure to apply the legal mechanism to determine ownership intensified the Middle East crisis. The involvement of four forces, "The four horsemen of the apocalypse," skewed the battle to unrecognizable causes and confused the route to an honorable solution.
Israel is in an endless war with the Arab world and possibly soon with other nations. Mostly, it is in war with itself. Taken to its final conclusion, "the four horsemen of the apocalypse," are helping the extreme Fundamentalist Christians achieve their apocalyptic vision of Armageddon, laying waste to the land of Israel before the return of the Redeemer.
Israel can remedy the situation. By listening to its peace forces and to a world community that has offered resolution to the conflict, by allowing social justice to govern an unjust situation and by heeding those who propose either a viable two-state or a bi-national state, Israel's people and indirectly, the Jews of the world, will be saved from a terrible ordeal. Let us hope that an Israeli government will one-day come to its senses and develop into a nation that demands less of others and more of itself.
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