We are now on the brink of another Arab/Israli war. O joy, another war! Man we must pray our you know what's of. I am sick of seeing wars happen! Let's go out in the street today all over the world and sing "give peace a chance."
I have followed the conflict in the middle east all my life. I remember the "June war" (1967) we call it "the six day war" over here. It was really amazing how they just zipped through the attacking forces. The popular American sympathy was clearly with Israel in those days. They still had cultural capital from being victims of Hitler and most Americans saw Israel as the alternative to the fear of future persecution. The man who killed "Bobby" (Robert F. Kennedy) was an Arab who apparently was reacting against Kennedy's support of Israel. So that tended to taint the arab cause in the American mind, an collective mind already reeling from the newly discovered possibility that racial prejudice was wrong. It was a big enough feat to realize that black people were ok (I lived in the south and I speak of the average southern American of the day in 1967). It was a bit harder to go further and say the Arabs are ok. We knew so little of Arabs back then. I think also the fact that a great many Arabs are of another faith, and a faith little understood by American Christians. Fortunately, today a good many Americans realize that everyone is ok.
This is not the case today. There are so many Moslims around us now, which is a good thing, that we find people croping up who seem totally American (and they are) they lived here 20 years (from birth) and turn out to be Moslim, it's kind of neat and kin of amazing. There is still a lot of prejudice. After 9/11 there were threats to Mosques here and there. I check with Arabic and Persian friends to make sure they weren't getting threats. I told them if they were to call me I'd try to help. None of them had gotten any, fortunately.
But I also care about Israel. I suppor the Palestinian cause. I see that the Israeli government has done a lot of harm and abused it's power, but I agree with the fundamental right of Israel to exist. I also think the Palestinians have a fundamental right to exist. There isnt' much land or water there, but I still think it's possible for both people's and two states to live side by side in peace. Everyone actsl ike its' just too great a task toe ven imagine. Well the asnwer is obvious, both sides have to give up things they currently hold as non negotable. I am not sure what excactly those things would be, but both sides must give them up. The most fundametnal thing they both must give up is the tendency to ratinoalize violance with "but they did this to us."
I find the coflict between arabs and Isralis goes all the way back. I've studied an indicident in Damascus in the 1880s called the "blood Libel" where Jews got stuck with balme for the murder of a Christian Preist. No one knows who really killed hinm but It led to a mass exodus of Jews from Syria to Jeruslaem and a big boost for the Zionist movment. That's all violence acomplishes, more violence. There are records of arabs killed by Jews and Jews killed by arabs going back to the middle ages, and even beyond. The conflict probably does really go back to Issac and Ishmael.
I just hope that the Peace Now movment can bring sanity to the actions of the Israeli government.But there needs to be a counter balacing peace movement among the Arabs. I undersand why there is not, because most of their energies are focussed on a liberation movment especially for Palestinians. Dont' forget a lot of Palestinians are decendents of the original Christians and they are Chrsitian even today. But that means they more anyone should be able to forgive and to work for peace.
Now is the time for all good radicals to speak up for rational action and peace.