Friday, November 10, 2006

A LETTER TO MY JEWISH FRIENDS

WITH A MAJORITY OF US VOTERS WANTING THE US OUT OF THE WAR, WHY DOESN’T THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY REPRESENT US?

I miss you. It has been a long time since we worked together in liberal and left politics in the US. Historically, we were together in the Democratic Party, and in the Socialist Party, in the New Deal, in the Civil Rights revolution and in Viet Nam peace marches. You guys, more often than not, provided the leadership, brains, money and enthusiasm for our efforts. I was honored to be invited to your annual Seders to celebrate metaphorically mankind’s universal, timeless struggle to be free.

We now seem unable to agree on public matters of critical importance. You and I need to examine how and why all of this came about.

Looking back, I see that our division began, not with the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, but with the 1967 Six Day War and the permanent occupation and settlement of the West Bank and Gaza far beyond the UN sanctioned borders of the legal State. From that time on, it seems to me, you have been obsessed and preoccupied with the preservation of the State of Israel beyond its legal borders and no matter what Israel does. This defense of Israel became your passion instead of mankind’s quest for justice. First it was Palestinians that you excluded from legitimately sharing mankind’s universal timeless wish to be free that we celebrated together in the Seder. Now your exclusion of people seems to include all Arabs, all Moslems everywhere. Beyond that, it seems to exclude me and everyone else who does not share your passion for the defense of a neo-con Israel, and wishes somehow to make things right for the Palestinians.

You will first attempt to deny this and the evidence that follows, and then you will make an argument for “balance.” As your ace in the hole, you will buttress that with the claim that those with whom you disagree, like me, like anybody who writes or thinks along the lines of this letter, is anti-Semitic.

For years after 1948 and 1967, we goyem were especially sensitive to the charge of anti-Semitism. Your denial, your argument for “balance,” and your charge of “anti-Semitism” worked successfully with us for a long time. We averted our eyes from what Israel was doing in the West Bank and Gaza. We wanted to ignore factual reality out of our long friendship with you and with our own knowledge of the long history of the persecution of the Jews.

This denial of factual reality no longer works for me. I am appalled with what the State of Israel has become domestically, and with what it does beyond its legal borders. I am especially concerned with the hammer-lock grip Israel has on American politics through the Jewish lobbies like AIPAC and the Anti Defamation League. I am appalled that my American Jewish friends uncritically support these lobbies in monolithic fashion, while Jews in Israel openly debate a wide variety of public positions.

Let’s first get at my alleged “anti-Semitism” out of the way. I was and am a passionate defender of Israel’s right to exist within its pre-1967 legal borders. If Jews want a theocracy and a powerful haven for oppressed Jews everywhere, so be it. The long history of antagonism toward the Jews beginning with the four gospels of the Christian New Testament, continuing with the Crusades in the middle ages, with the pogroms in Europe before WWII, with the discrimination against Jews, and with the holocaust makes some special powerful haven for Jews completely understandable, necessary and just.

However, if Zionism means Jewish imperialism outside of Israel’s legal borders, then I am anti-Zionist. That does not make me “anti-Semitic” unless you choose to make it so in your own eyes.

Israelis and Jews everywhere, like most Americans, have become more interested in preserving their material benefits than in justice for others. However, there is one critical difference. I have come to the tentative conclusion that Jews everywhere, because of history, have a kind of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome that partly explains their current attitudes and political behavior that I do not share. I have never experienced anti-Semitism. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins and were not gassed in Hitler’s death chambers. 6 million of my extended family was not recently put to death. I do not have current fears or nightmares that I will be harmed by anti-Semites be they Moslems, Arabs, or local David Duke types. I do not have the guilt and shame from the possibility that one of my ancestors may have been a capo or that others were so immobilized that they did not flee when they could have. Hence, I have compassion for Jews who have this experience and hopefully, some understanding. I thus understand why Jews say “never again,” and choose to arm Israel to the teeth. However, it may be that this Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome of Jews prevents them from acting rationally, realistically, and justly in their own self interest or in my self interest. Whatever the self interest of American Jews may be as now manifest in American politics, it is not in my self interest.

You my Jewish friends do not confront and you do not criticize the powerful Jewish Lobbies that pressure the US. You support and finance following positions of AIPAC, ADL and the other American Jewish lobbies and interest groups that are not in my self interest:

  • Actively lobbying for the US to invade or bomb Iran
  • Lobbied for the Gulf War
  • Lobbied for the Iraq War and lobbies for the War to continue
  • Lobbies for ever more monetary aid, loan guarantees, and armaments for Israel
  • Supports the 15,000 new Jewish settlers in the West Bank and ongoing settlements outside the legal boundaries of Israel.
  • Opposed every two state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict so far proposed
  • Opposes any US intervention or brokering or pressuring or even handed mediation of the conflict
  • Urges the US to veto any UN Resolution critical of Israel or sympathetic to Palestine.
  • Opposes peace groups in the US and labels them “naïve.”
  • Support Israeli spying in the US including the theft of atomic bomb secrets.
  • Support for a War in Iraq and Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza that creates more and more enemies of the US that are full of rage.
  • Opposes every Democratic candidate for Congress who stands for ending the Iraq War.

It is this last position that is grossly offensive to me. These Jewish Lobbies, through their neck-lock control of House and Senate Democratic leaders in control of campaign funds, have carefully selected pro-war candidates and successfully eliminated pro-peace Democrats in the primary elections. Let me be blunt: American Jews thus prevent the Democratic Party from implementing the wishes of a majority of rank and file Democrats that we get out of Iraq.

American Jews will say: “no that could not be true, or if peace candidates have been eliminated it is due to the power of the Armaments Lobby, many other K Street lobbyists, and the evil controlling power of money in American politics.”

The truth is that these other K Street lobbies do not have the kind of hammer-lock control of Congress that AIPAC does.

How does AIPAC get this level of influence and control of our Congress and of the Democratic Party?

There are many Democratic leaders in the House and Senate whose allegiance to Israel and AIPAC is so complete, that one suspects that their paramount loyalty is to Israel, and not to the United States. Let me name some of those persons: Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut; Senator Charles Schumer of NY; Senator Diane Feinstein of California; Senator Barbara Boxer of California; Senator Hillary Clinton of NY; Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California; Congressmen Tom Lantos, Howard Berman, and Harvey Waxman of California; Congressman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois.

Two of these persons are of critical importance now in the 2006 elections:

Senator Charles Schumer is Chairman of the Senate Campaign Committee and Congressman Rahm Emanuel is Chairman of the House Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and both have control of the massive millions available to help re-elect of new Democratic Congress.

In my own Congressional District a qualified, attractive veteran, Jeff Latas ran in the primary election on a platform of opposing the War. His primary election opponent was a young woman, Gabriel Giffords, a former Arizona State Representative. Gabriel chose conservative positions. She supported the War. She supported massive federal funding to build a fence on the Southern border to keep out hungry Mexican immigrants. Congressman Rahm Emanuel gave her lavish campaign money and gave Latas none. Latas, having insufficient funds, got only 7% of the vote. Giffords won. Continuing Democratic support of the War is assured. The majority of Tucson voters who oppose the War were denied political effectiveness. These disenfranchised rank and file Democrats were forced to vote for the “lesser evil” even though their principal concern was not implemented.

This is my local example. Senator Schuman gave campaign money only to vigorously pro war Senatorial candidates around the US who supported the War. Congressman Emanuel did the same for Congressional Districts across the nation. Of the 22 Districts where change is possible, Emanuel supported 20 hawks, even digging up a candidate to run against a popular anti-war Democrat in one case. 20 won. The fix was on. The War will certainly go on even if the Democrats win. See http://www.counterpunch.org/walsh10142006.html

Elected officials in Washington are terrified of AIPAC. If they propose that the US undertake balanced brokering between Israel and Palestine, if they falter in support of what Israel wants, or if they propose a little aid for Palestinians, AIPAC will throw its resources in to defeat that public official at the next election. AIPAC thus helped to defeat Congressman Pete McCloskey, Senator Charles H. Percy of Illinois, Congressman Bob Barr, and Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Washington elected officials heard the message “loud and clear.” They cringe and dare not oppose AIPAC or risk having them labeled “anti-Semitic.”

An easy example of this power: AIPAC, several times a year proposes resolutions that uncritically support Israel in order to see if its influence is still effective and to demonstrate its power... No Senator or Congressman dares vote against these resolutions. The resolution giving unqualified support to Israel during its controversial invasion of Lebanon and urging Israel not to negotiate with Lebanon in August, 2006, is typical.

See the author’s blog for 2 other articles about the makeup and activities of AIPAC at

http://www.thenewliberator.blogspot.com/

John Walsh wrote in Counterpunch on October 14, 2006:

"’Democrats Split over Timetable for Troops; In Close Races, Most Reject Rapid Pullout,’ the headline atop page one of the Sunday Washington Post informed us as the election season got underway (8/27). Stories like this abound these days, and they should all be prefaced with the single word, "betrayal." Only 17% of rank and file Democrats are for "staying the course," 53% want immediate withdrawal and another 25% are for gradual withdrawal. Among all voters, only 30% want to stay the course, 37% want immediate withdrawal and 26% a "gradual withdrawal (Gallup poll - 9/24/06). According to recent Pew Polls, 52% of voters want a timetable for withdrawal while only 41% oppose setting a timetable.”

http://www.counterpunch.org/walsh10142006.html

So the military industrial complex and its money for campaign contributions and lobbying is one reason the United States cannot get out of the War. The reason the Democratic Party cannot lead the nation to get us out of the war, as the rank and file Democrats wish, and the cause of the Democratic Party’s betrayal of its majority rank and file base, is the Jewish Lobbies like AIPAC and ADL. It is also those of you who give uncritical support to Israel and AIPAC.

See also The Israel Lobby and The Peace Process by Marshall Windmiller, Professor Emeritus of International Relations San Francisco State University at

http://www.middleeast.org/marshall1.htm

So you and I are now taking profoundly different positions. Now I am in a conflict with you, a dangerous and potentially deadly conflict accompanied by libel and slander suits, political retaliation, loss of jobs, and by death threats against those of us who examine the facts. It is not I who has changed. It is you, my Jewish friends. We who wish to bring peace and justice to this planet will unfortunately have to find other allies. We miss you. We will continue to struggle to implement the metaphorical message of the Seder even if you do not.

Dated: November 2, 2006

Douglas R. Page

dougpage2@earthlink.net

5 comments:

Brendan said...

Beautifully said. As an American Jew who supports Israel's right to exist but very little else of what they do, I agree that there's no place for ethno-religious partisanship. The mere fact that the U.S. has a recent history of friendship and advocacy for global Jewry does not validate an "Israel, right or wrong" mentality.

It's embarrassing, to be truthful, to hear pro-Israel Jews excuse any violence on the part of the Jewish state as defensive, and condemn any willing to make this point as being anti-Semitic and/or pro-Hezbollah.

Again, bravo for such a brave and unequivocal statement.

Anonymous said...

What you said gives some hope for Muslims that whats happening in Palestine, isn't a clash of civilizations or even religions but a clash of politics. A clash of the oppressed and the oppressors.

Good job on that post.

Mohy-Eldin Ameen said...

Wow, is this really the opinion of a non-Moslim or non-Arab? It's been a long time since I have read an opinion that is not so corrupt with what the Media has been feeding us forever! I wish for the American people to see the light and finally stand for the truth. We will all benefit from uniting and upholding what's good for America, not Israel. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

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Fac ut vivas said...

You letter is remarkably insightful and spiritually sound. Thank you. I invite you to view my blog which I have given over to covering the trial of the Holy Land Foundation:
http://theenemyshallnot.blogspot.com
It is much more directly political than yours, but I think you will see that we agree on many things.