Letters to the Editor

Blind support

November 1, 2011


To the editor:

Amy Zook is absolutely right to remind Christians that Christ liberates humanity from evil, which “separates us from God.” She did not say, however, that this same action is designed to liberate us from the evil that alienates human beings from each other. This includes political and social evils.

I’ll illustrate my point by reference to a gigantic American political wrong that is pervasive, bipartisan, entrenched, fanatical — and evil — both because of what it does to it victims and because of the hatred it generates against America all over the world.

I refer here to our blind, stupid support of the nation of Israel, which annually consumes billions of our tax dollars to persecute more than 4 million Palestinians, every single one of whom bears the image of God and who include Arab Christians.

Christianity historically teaches that Christ speaks for God because he is, in fact, God and that he speaks for humanity because he is, in fact, redeemed humanity, freed from its slavery to evil. As such, he freely binds himself to any word or deed of truth, religious or secular, that promotes or stands against anything that threatens the life of humanity.

America and Israel today threaten the life of Palestinian humanity. This is particularly true of fundamentalist and evangelical American Christians who are too blind or too cowardly to condemn what we have done to the Palestinians. If that condemnation is not a judgment of God, there is no such thing.


Mike Gerhardt 6 years, 5 months ago

What I am gleaming from this letter is that the writer is an anti-semite.

Corey Williams 6 years, 5 months ago

So, just because it's a theocratic Jewish state, it's not alright to ask what they have done for us in return for all the money we've given? I guess that's anti semitic.

esteshawk 6 years, 5 months ago

What does race have to do with Israel? Do you think the modern state of Israel is comprised of Hebrews?

Jimo 6 years, 5 months ago

The evidence that Israel wishes to live in peace with its neighbors is exceedingly thin. Granted, the evidence that Israel's neighbors themselves wish to live in peace with Israel is just as thin. Let's just pretend that there's a good and a bad side here.

Unlike the Palestinians, Israel does not have time on its side. With each passing day, the Palestinians grow in size and power. Israel's threat is -- as you note -- existential in nature. As such, Israel cannot afford to fail to pursue every path toward peace. That would begin at this point with the cessation of its systemic theft of Palestinian land and an offer to negotiate with the Palestinian people. Israel refuses this. The consequence is not merely that there is no peace but also that Israel moves closer to non-existence.

Make a deal today. Tomorrow's deal will be worse. The day after tomorrow there'll be no deal at all.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

"The evidence that Israel wishes to live in peace with it's neighbors is exceedingly thin". Yet they have peace agreements with both Egypt and Jordan. And peace has been honored by both sides for some time. I would say that there is considerable evidence that all three of those countries desire peace and are willing to guarantee that peace by controlling the behavior of the people living within their borders. That's the key, there must be a willingness of the leaders to have peace AND the determination to force it's citizens behave in a peaceful manner. As for Israel's other neighbors, Syria lacks leaders willing to make peace, Lebanon lacks a stable enough government to guarantee much of anything and the Palestinians lack a strong enough government that could control the behavior of it's citizens. For it's part, Israel has, at times, had governments willing to make significant concessions. At other times, they've had some hard line leaders that seemingly would not make an agreement. Today, it appears to be the latter. But it should be noted that it was precisely one of those hard liners who made the deal with Egypt. There is a strong undercurrent within the Israeli population that desperately wants peace. Should conditions change within Syria, Lebanon or with the Palestinians, they will get a peace deal.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 5 months ago

What Arms? The Palestinians have rocks to throw. Is that any deterrent against nuclear possibilities owned by the Israelis?

Being against Israel is not anti-semitic as they claim. It is anti-Israel. The disgust for what Israel has done to the Palestinians is not an attack on Jews or Judaism. It is an attack on the actions of the Israelis against their neighbors. There are many Jews in America and abroad that are against the actions of Israel against the Palestinians. Are they, too, anti-semitic?

This tactic of crying anti-semitism goes way too far. No one is against Jews, not even Arabs. They are against the policies of a tyrannical state that denies Arab Christians and Muslims the rights that should be given to every human being. Even if you are anit-semitic, so what? You have a right to your own opinion. And Semites include Arabs too.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 5 months ago

Do those rockets hit any thing like the constant destruction of Palestinian land, its olive trees, its vineyards that are ancient? Hardly anyone dies from the rocket attacks unlike the bulldozing of Palestinian homes. Visit there if you want proof. I did and I was alarmed.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 5 months ago

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gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 5 months ago

If by rocks you mean rockets you'd be correct.

oldvet 6 years, 5 months ago

"I believe it is peace for our time." Neville Chamberlain

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 5 months ago

Do you mean that war creates a "healthy" state? Or an "unhealthy" one?

cato_the_elder 6 years, 5 months ago

Israel is a sovereign state and a member of the United Nations. The primary reason that the "Palestinian problem" can't be solved is that too many Palestinians will not agree to recognize Israel's right to exist and are committed to its complete destruction as a nation. For decades now, whenever Israel makes concessions those concessions are thrown back in its face.

The United States of America has a strong Judeo-Christian heritage, and should continue to support Israel's right to exist in the face of those who refuse to recognize that right and seek its destruction.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 5 months ago

You make it quite clear that your grasp of the subject is minimal.

esteshawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Why do you say Israel has a right to exist? The UN, who the Right typically bashes, made up this state sixty some years ago. Why should palestinians believe Israel has a right to exist? Because Hebrew mythology sys so?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

Following that line of thinking, then the Palestinians should never have a country because they've never had a country. In fact, why should any country exist.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

"Following that line of thinking, then the Palestinians should never have a country"

Israel obviously agrees with that line of thinking. Do you?

Getaroom 6 years, 5 months ago

And the beat goes on... it's_just_math has it all figured out again, but what's new. His solution and answer to everything with which he takes issue is: blame it on the "liberals" or "the left". When in fact, it is the narrow minded thinking that is at issue.
The weapons were already in hand during the initial takeover of Palestine by Jewish immigrants during the formation of The State of Israel. It is because those weapons were already made available that they were able to do what they did. And all this because of yet another scripture, guided by the hand of GOD, that said it was their land - the land of the chosen ones. Obviously with GOD on their side and the ultimate landowner they were emboldened to overpower the inhabitants of those lands, drive them from their homes of hundreds of years and either kill or enslave them in concentration camps to starve to death. Sound familiar to anyone? Did "Leftist Liberals" do that? Did Liberals keep pushing deeper into their lands, even today? Every day someone who calls themselves Christian, Muslim, etc. commits crimes against humanity in the name of a GOD backed up by a scripture considered HOLY and all of those writings rest above any mere human to be judged as truth or not. What now? It seems people with opinions like: its_just_ math have it all figured out - blame the "Lefty" "liberals". Must be an unusually frustrating world for people like "... math", the view lacks any middle point since everything is seen as black and white. The biggest problem rests with the observers and not with that which is being observed. Does its_just_math have a calculator with a column for, Intolerance? Hypocrisy? Greed? Maybe a mirror is a better tool for that.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 5 months ago

Liberty_One (anonymous) says… "The problem is when you pick sides you gain new enemies. We don't need to be involved in this one way or the other. It's none of our business."

Paul R Getto 6 years, 5 months ago

BAA: I'd argue, while we do promote the myth of Israel in our foreign policy, that the real issue is power and control of at least part of this region. Gods are pretty cool actually. I would argue that religion is what harms most of the god's reputations. I do have a favorite and his picture is above my stove: Zao Jun http://chineseculture.about.com/od/chinesefestivals/a/Chinese-New-Year-Kitchen-God.htm

Katara 6 years, 5 months ago

So what about the Arab Christians? Israel pushes them around too.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 5 months ago

Actually a good dialogue here. I do not denigrate believers in anything and assume they are sincere. Religion overall has done much good, but some followers of their 'loving' gods seem to fall into the trap of 'my god can beat up your god.' I suppose this is my objection. Politics is about pure power. If religions fall into this trap, they betray their fundamental truths. At least that's my opinion. Also, if these gods are all powerful, I fail to see how mere humans can affect their standing or their followers when they are 'attacked.'

seriouscat 6 years, 5 months ago

"Israel to shift tax burden to the rich and corporations"


On Saturday, Israeli drones bombed a group preparing to fire Grad missiles into Israel, killing five members of the Islamic Jihad, which responded with a shower of some 20 missiles, during the next 48 hours, over Israeli population centers.

The social justice demonstration in the main city of Israel’s South, Be’er Sheva, was cancelled as a result of the unrest and only 20,000 people participated in the main rally in Tel Aviv.

The mere mention of “only” 20,000 protesters shows how far Israel’s political arena has shifted in the two months since half a million people took to the streets around the country, in what was the largest demonstration in the nation’s history.

David Reynolds 6 years, 5 months ago

The writer needs a refresher in history before writes this type of thoughtless comment.

There has been thoughtless hate & wars between nations & peoples since the beginning of recorded history. There has never been a nation, existing today or in the past, that wasn't created by taking the land in one method or another. In this case the history is strong.

The problem with the Palestinian nation & other middle eastern states is they have failed to modernize by developing their own economies.

When one is poor it is always easy to claim a common enemy/oppressor. You need look no further than here at home.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

LO makes the point that it's none of our business and that we should stay our of it. Perhaps. But what happens when all heck breaks out in the region. Because we've spent so much time minding our own business, we have no influence in the region. A nuclear power like Libya, Iran or Iraq (remember, having no influence in that region has caused these countries to develop their own nuclear weapons to counter what they see as regional threats) were to attack another nuclear power like Israel, we'll just sit on the sidelines and wait for the fallout to reach us. Meanwhile the world's flow of oil is disrupted sending the planet into a steep depression causing millions of deaths in Africa due to starvation. We'll mind our own business while nuclear powers India and Pakistan duke it out, causing tens of millions of deaths and a world depression that will make the Great Depression seem like the good old days. We can mind our own business and let the whole world settle centuries of old scores all the while watching the world's population reduced from today's 7 billion to a couple of hundred million, while we sit on our hands and watch. What does that say about us? Meanwhile, we muddle our way through the Middle East in very much the same way we muddle through the rest of the world. We try to make the best decisions even when we know our choices are either bad or very bad. We take two steps forward, then two back. With the benefit of hindsight, we see that some of our decisions didn't work out well, while others worked out in ways we clearly didn't anticipate. But the only think worse than continually making mistakes in that region, and others, is to do nothing. That would be a prescription for disaster.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

Support for Israel has absolutely nothing to do with protecting US interests in the region. To the contrary, it actually works against US interests.

And it's the height of cynicism to essentially require the Palestinian people to live in a permanent state of siege, while Israel steals more and more of their lands, simply because Israel threatens nuclear war if it doesn't get its way, 100%

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

I was responding to LO's hypothetical of what would happen if we disengaged from the region. I speculated about what might happen and that what might happen would be significantly worse for everyone, ourselves included. You're free to speculate about what might happen if we behaved differently. And of course we can all speculate about what might happen if Israel, the Palestinians, other Arabs, Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc. behaved differently. And if different decisions were made a decade ago or a century ago, we'd be in a different place. It's all speculation. No one "knows", not you, not me.
What we do "know" is that decisions were made by both sides that have led us to this situation at this point in time. Perhaps we are at an impasse, perhaps we will look back at this time and see the opportunities that were squandered. Maybe we should all behave differently. But again, my comment was my opinion about disengagement. I believe it would be a mistake.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

Israel is an established fact. It's not going to disappear, and the great majority of Arabs (including Palestinians) accept that fact.

If it weren't for the pro-Israeli lobby in the US (arguably the most effective lobby there is) then US policy in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict wouldn't not be so lopsidedly slanted towards Israel, and a Palestinian state would be quickly established.

That wouldn't mean all of the problems of that region would magically disappear-- water rights alone, just as in the rest of the world, is itself a problem that could very likely ignite wars all around the world.

But allowing Israel to arrogate itself anything and everything in that region merely because it gets $3 billion a year in US aid that for all practical purposes gets funneled straight into its military is a much bigger threat to its security than if it actually had to deal with its neighbors in a respectful and equitable manner.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

What's the other side of the story, Bozo? There are 22 Arab counties and 55 Muslim counties. Add to that the number of countries that are dependent on Middle Eastern oil and you have a significant amount of support for the Palestinians. The U.S. support for Israel offsets that. Ending the lopsided U.S. support for Israel works only if the lopsided support for the Palestinians also ends. As to your statement that the great majority of Palestinians and Arabs now accept Israel as a reality, well, I wouldn't stake my life on that statement. That's exactly what you're asking the Israelis to do, stake their lives on the truthfulness of your statement. Given the history of that region, that's a lot to ask. I would understand if the Israelis said no thanks to that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

"The lopsided support" for Palestinians is nothing but recognition of the huge injustices that have been committed against them over the last nearly 100 years-- something the uncritical supporters of Israel are incapable of doing. For them, screwing the Palestinians is just God's will.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

"nothing but recognition of the huge injustices" Well, that and a whole bunch of missiles and weapons to continue the fight to eliminate Israel, in sharp contrast to your statement that the majority of Palestinians/Arabs support Israel's right to exist.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

Israel gets many, many more times the amount of weaponry from the US, and it's much more sophisticated and deadly. And they use it, with the result that many more Arabs are killed and injured than Israelis, and millions of Palestinians are kept in a permanent state of siege.

But you don't describe that weaponry as being used to eliminate Palestinians, even though a very large percentage of Israelis (and Americans) would like nothing more than to see all Palestinians, even Israeli citizens, driven out of the entire region so that Eretz Israel can be created.

Not that you're capable of acknowledging that.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

Yes, Israel gets many times more weapons and much better weapons. They also are facing an adversary that has many, many times the people, territory and natural resources than Israel possesses.
But look to not only what they do with those weapons, look to what they do not do. We know Israel did not possess nuclear weapons during the 1967 war and we're pretty sure they had some by the 1973 war. So let's just say 1970. That's 40 years they've possessed them yet they've not used them. Estimates I've seen suggest they have between 200-300 nuclear weapons. Certainly it's correct to say they possess overwhelming force, but it's equally true to say they've shown enormous restraint.
You mentioned the injustice that has befallen the Palestinians. Absolutely true and there is no denying it. I would never try. You've used the term "ethnic cleansing" on several threads. Look it up and what you will see is the 700,000 Palestinians displaced when Israel was created. You will also see the 800,000-1,000,000 Jews displaced from Arab countries and an additional 200,000 Jews displaced from Muslim countries. Any act of ethnic cleansing is deplorable, but things need to be put into context. You deplore Israel's expansion, yet never mention the many attempts and continuing statements by regional powers that it is their goal to eliminate Israel. These are the very people that committed the ethnic cleansing and the very people you now want Israel to trust that they accept their right to exist, despite their rhetoric. And speaking of rhetoric, I note that several comments have been deleted. I have not asked that they be deleted, though I would caution that the conversation remain civil.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

So, you're saying that Palestinians deserve the revenge Israel metes out to them for the actions of other Arab countries who were acting out of retaliation for the founding of Israel and the subsequent ethnic cleansing of Palestinians?

Should there ever be an end to the tit-for-tat cycle of violence and pogroms?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

I didn't say the Palestinians deserved anything. But the suffering of the Jews in that region at the hands of it's neighbors should not be forgotten. Both were equally tragic. You frequently mention one and never voluntarily mention the other. I would love to see and end to the tit-for-tat that has plagued Israel/Palestine for my entire lifetime. How that can be accomplished has been the hang up for all of that time. I've said frequently, we can bring up the past until we are all blue in the face or we can deal with certain realities. There are some things that can happen and some that never will happen. Both sides need to recognize that and deal with it or live with the never ending cycle. But whatever reality we're dealing with today, it will change in ten years and change again in another ten years. The leaders then will undoubtedly be dealing with different realities. Magically saying "1948" or "1967" makes no sense today. It makes as little sense as saying "The Bible says....".

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

"You frequently mention one and never voluntarily mention the other."

That's you listening to your own straw men, not to what I have to say.

What I consistently say is that 3 billion in US tax dollars allow Israel to act with near 100% impunity, and make absolutely no attempt at seeking accommodation with its neighbors.

And your consistent response is that Arabs/Muslims are imperfect, which in your eyes is sufficient justification for Israel to do whatever it damn well pleases to them.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

I think that U.S. intervention and influence, along with the intervention and influence of everyone else in the world probably does create an atmosphere where small conflicts are fostered while simultaneously preventing conflicts from escalating into World War 3 proportions.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

One might conclude that because the U.S. had a significant isolationist policy between the wars, that that helped create the imbalance that led to full scale war. But seriously, there are too many variables to conclude anything with any certainty. The more variables you add the more uncertain you become. With WW 2, it was multiple countries, old rivalries, the Great Depression, etc. With today's Middle East, it's countries, tribes, religions, etc. Too many to say for sure. I was just giving my opinion with the above post. But if you've followed my line of thinking in this area, you'll know that it's my belief that we and many others, just muddle through, making decisions that we think are correct at any given time, without really knowing what the consequences of our actions will be.

voevoda 6 years, 5 months ago

FalseHopeNoChange, It is inappropriate for you to insinuate that anyone is deserving of derision because that person has an Arabic name. There is nothing inherently wrong in having an Arabic name, any more than there is anything inherently wrong in having a Jewish name, or a German name, or a Spanish name or a good old Anglo-Saxon name. None is better than any of the others, or more appropriate for Americans.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

Can't you just picture David having to pause to wipe the spittle off his monitor as he typed this LTE?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

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Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

I generally avoid the vein-popping rage the LTE writer is exhibiting, but I suppose that is too subtle of a distinction for you to make.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

This thread had the potential for somebody to go full shoemaker, looks like we're being let down again.

jaywalker 6 years, 5 months ago

"I refer here to our blind, stupid support of the nation of Israel, which annually consumes billions of our tax dollars to persecute more than 4 million Palestinians,"

The support is not blind, nor is it stupid. And it's tasteless hyperbole to suggest that we give aid to Israel just so they can persecute Palestinians. This is a country that's been under attack since the very day it was born, and would almost certainly cease to exist if we don't have their backs. The walls wouldn't need to be up if human bombs weren't blowing up pizza shops. I wish the two could live peacefully, but one side has too many of their number who apparently won't allow that to happen. Israel definitely deserves their portion of the blame in this perpetual humanitarian tragedy, but then you have to ask yourself how you'd be responding after 60 years of perpetual hostility and terrorism on your doorstep.

"every single one of whom bears the image of God and who include Arab Christians."

Does the inclusion of Arab Christians make your case more righteous for some reason?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

"Israel definitely deserves their portion of the blame in this perpetual humanitarian tragedy, but then you have to ask yourself how you'd be responding after 60 years of perpetual hostility and terrorism on your doorstep. "

One thing you leave out here-- they had to steal that door step from the Palestinians and drive them out of their homeland with a good deal of terrorism of their own-- terrorism that has only become more professional and well-armed over the last 6 decades.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

The Palestinians left for a variety of reasons. Some were terrorized into leaving by Jewish militias. Some were encouraged to leave by their own political, military and religious leaders. Many speeches were given by these leaders encouraging the civilian population to fall back behind the lines of the multiple Arab armies that would come and drive the Jews into the sea. And some left, simply not wanting to live in a Jewish state. And some stayed. To those that were terrorized into leaving, they were victims of a grave injustice. No one should be forced from their homes. To those who left because they listened to their leadership, you made a bad choice. To those who didn't want to live in a Jewish state, that's your choice. And to those who stayed, I hope they remain in what becomes their home for centuries to come. But again, Bozo, you fail to mention the Jews who faced similar circumstances throughout the region. Jews in multiple Arab countries and extending into non-Arab, yet Muslim countries faced the same conditions Palestinians faced. Many moved to Israel where they were welcomed and resettled, in sharp contrast to the refugee camps the Palestinians were put in by their Arab brothers. And there they remain, in squalid conditions where hate and resentment have been allowed to fester for a couple of generations now. Had they been allowed to integrate into society, we might bee facing a different set of circumstances.

jaywalker 6 years, 5 months ago

That's a convenient skew of history. But they did not "steal" anything, nor did they drive Palestinians out until they had no recourse but to do so because of the terrorism being inflicted on them. The U.N. and Britain created the state of Israel after 50 years of immigration to a lost homeland when they had nowhere else to go.The Palestinian exodus started when 7 Arab nations decided to attack the day Israel became a nation, and it seems a majority believed they were just leaving for a short period until the Jews were wiped out. Besides, the vast majority of Palestine is on the east side of the Jordan, once Trans-Jordan, now just Jordan. The Jews were relegated to the west side of the river in the smallest concentration of land. The Jews have been constantly attacked since refugees started moving there in the early 20th, and it's never stopped.
I ask again, how would you be responding after living in constant fear for decade after decade?

Abdu Omar 6 years, 5 months ago

You really have no clue about the events that lead up to the creation of the State of Israel. I highly suggest that you find a way to learn the truth. Palestinians have been on that land for centuries. Some of them are the Children of Israel that converted to Islam and Christianity after the Jewish exodus. I am certain that these facts are different from your mythology but after reading the books by KU Professor Goener and others on her staff, we have found this research to be solid.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

W_O, I believe it was you who said a couple of weeks back that no Jew had ever been expelled from any Arab country. That's clearly a myth. So let's put myths aside and talk reality. Definition of who and what makes a person a Palestinian is difficult. I've mentioned before that Yasser Arafat was born in Egypt, yet is considered Palestinian while Ariel Sharon was born in Palestine and has never been considered Palestinian. Maybe that's because we define things differently. But mostly it's because we're confusing ethnicity with statehood. Arafat was ethnically Palestinian and Sharon not, but statehood has never existed. As far as citizenship goes, no one has ever been Palestinian. In that manner, the Arab peoples of that region as well as the smaller Jewish people who inhabited that region for centuries were equally Palestinian or non-Palestinian, with the latter being more accurate.
Even beyond those two groups, there were other who came and went in that area. Some stayed for a while, some were nomadic but the region was always ruled from afar. Again, a separation between ethnicity and citizenship should be noted. The area was sparsely populated, many parts were virtually wastelands. Into that region came Jews from Europe beginning in the late 1800's. They came to escape pogroms in Europe, they came to re-settle their ancestral home. They bought lands from Arabs and then lived on those lands. With the increase in Jewish population came resentment and violence. I'm speaking of the time prior to WW II and prior to the large migration of Jewish refugees after that war.
All of those people were equally citizens of whatever country held the land, Ottomans, British. Some may have been ethnically Palestinian, but none were citizens of a political entity called Palestine. That has never existed. To imply it has is a myth.

jaywalker 6 years, 5 months ago

I appreciate your opinion, w_s. But to state I have no clue and liken my knowledge to mythology just makes you look silly, and screams more to bias than anything else.
And not for nothin', but after suggesting I need to learn the truth you chose to lecture me on two points I haven't mentioned nor disputed? Rebutting something I've actually posted would be a better way to back up "you really have no clue."

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