Finally Some Hint of Fairness in the Arab-Israeli Debate
I have been waiting for decades for some sign of breakthrough in the debate about the Arab-Israel situation. And finally Barrack Obama has provided a hint of fairness in this debate. I have always kept out of the debate because it seemed to me that it was hopeless for Americans to be reasonable about the situation. For decades it has seemed the United States has almost been totally blind to the sufferings of the Palestinian people and the feelings of the Islamic world.
I have a simple rule in these questions of an abused minority and a privileged majority. I always side with the abused minority, regardless of who it is. The blacks versus the conservative whites, I'm for the blacks. The Jewish versus the Aryans, I'm for the Jews. The Irish Catholics versus Great Britain, I'm for the Irish Catholics. The Palestinians versus the Israelis, I'm for the Palestinians.
This does not make me anti-Semitic. Nor does it make me anti-American, anti-German, anti-Britain or anti-Protestant. It's a simple rule. Side with the people that are being screwed over, being abused.
Historically speaking, I have always seen the Jews as political allies. They have usually been on the side of the little guy being unfairly treated. Jews in America have always been a positive force for greater fairness and I am grateful for that. But on the Arab-Israeli question, they are not so fair. In the United States it was virtually impossible to talk about fairness for the Palestinians and the Arabs. There was just too much massive commitment to the Israeli side. Who spoke out for the Islamic world in the United States? Virtually no one. Not even the Democrats were reasonable on the question. The Jews are a valuable supporter of the Democratic Party in the United States and they have a lot of influence, which is usually a good thing. But on the Arab-Israeli question, the American Jews have been primarily concerned only about Israel and not the idea of fairness. The charge of anti-Semitism is usually trotted out if anyone speaks up for the Palestinians. And the same charge of unfairness applied virtually to all mainstream American politicians and American political thinkers.
One reason this terrible situation in the Middle East has been drawn out for decades has been the unwillingness of the United States to have even a hint of fairness or balance in the debate. It was always all Israel or nothing. Along with a pro-Israeli attitude was the cultivation of an anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and anti-Islamic attitude in the United States. This latter attitude was made all the worse by the hysteria created after the 9-11 bombing of the World Trade Center in the United States. And the hysteria led the United States not only into one war but into two wars in the Islamic world and the unforgivable use of torture. The hysteria led the dark forces dominate in America and to the betrayal of any sense of decency and balance in the nation. The internal debate was always so unfair that people were afraid to ask for some greater balance of the Arab-Israeli situation.
The United States has been so overwhelming biased for Israel, that no really rational discussion was to be had in the USA. And this American attitude, I think, has to seen as one of supreme arrogance. Virtually the entire world has been begging for more fairness in the discussion, but the USA has always had the attitude of we don't care what the whole world thinks. The United States is going to stand by Israel, no matter what anybody says or anybody does. It's arrogance to deny any validity to the calls of billions of people asking for greater fairness. It's like the USA says to hell with everyone else. We are right and will do whatever we want, regardless of the complaints about bias in America. (This is related to the whole question of redneck culture in the United States -- a culture that is fundamentally racially and religiously biased against others not like us. This is an attitude that thinks it's okay to be unfair to people who are mistreated and abused just because they are different.)
And because of this pro-Israeli and anti-Islamic attitude, the United States has never put enough pressure on Israel to make sufficient concessions to create an independent state for the Palestinians. The terrible situation has dragged on primarily because of the unfairness of the United States. And someday the United States is going to have to force a two state solution on reluctant Israel, which now has an a virtually extremist right-wing regime in power in Jerusalem. The question is not about what Israel wants, but about what is a fair and lasting solution to this ever on-going conflict between Israel and all its neighbors (and even the rest of the world except the United States).
If the United States will not be reasonable on the Middle East situation, Israel will never give in sufficiently to bring about a lasting peace in the Middle East. Why should they? Their big brother will defend them regardless of their behavior, good or bad, and reward them regardless of what Israel does or doesn't do.
I have put a great deal of time, effort and money into pushing for greater civil rights in the United States. I hope this commitment to fairness gives me some political capital to argue for fairness in the Arab-Israeli situation. It's not anti-white to ask for greater fairness for blacks and Hispanics in the USA and it's not anti-Semitic to ask for greater fairness in the Arab-Israeli situation. And, frankly, it is unfair to use the charge of anti-Semitism to silence people who wish to help the abused in the world. In addition, it is a contradiction to the great liberalist influence of the Jews in the USA, an influence of which they have great reason to be proud.
So here's congratulations to the great Barrack Obama for finally trying to be fair to the world of Islam in general and the Palestinians in particular. It's a wonderful initiative he has taken. And now, hopefully, we can talk about real fairness in the Middle East without being accused either of anti-Semitism or of being anti-Israel. After all, the USA is always there to make sure Israel is not treated completely unfairly. The USA is committed to the existence of Israel. It's just that they also should be committed to an idea of overall fairness and the existence of a separate Palestinian state.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
June 6, 2009
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