Saturday, May 26, 2007

Talking about Peace - Israel/Palestine ??

After a several hour discussion with my brother-in-law and my mother about Israel/Palestine I'm tired. My brother-in-law's mother lives in Northern Israel and has been there recently. He talks of a world view where Israel wants peace but the Palestinians prevent it.

We agree on the need for a Palestinian state including Gaza and the West Bank - with secure borders and a true peace. Jerusalem - he says Israel will never give up any of. I don't know how Jerusalem can be resolved between mutually exclusive demands of both sides.

I see a need for trust building. I see a need for American Jews to confront the U.S. Government and help change how the U.S. Government treats the Israeli Governent as well as others in the Middle East. He believes that I am wrong in opposing Israeli Government positions.

It is hard to face the truths of the divides among American Jews. Building peace will take time and breaking down barriers between us. It will be hard to imagine a peace when "liberals" like my brother-in-law and I disagree as strongly as we do.

Listening to each other is important. Talking with each other is important. Thanks!


poodledoc said...

Behind blind patriotism, Palestinian, American or Israeli, is fear. The Israelis will never "win" in Gaza just as the Americans will never "win" in Iraq. It's almost impossible to talk with a blind patriot. They hunger for revenge, not justice. Yes, Geo, it is tiring. Hungering for revenge seems to turn people into their oppressors. I read in the Fisk book I'm plodding through about how the Israeli army studied the Nazi "operation" to "liquidate" the Warsaw ghetto for use in the "occupied territories". They have become their oppressor, taken on that identity. Because they are afraid?

geo said...

I agree with you about blind patriotism. Moving beyond it is hard when all feel "oppressed".

My brother-in-law is no "blind patriot" at all. His mother lives in a town which has frequent incidents of missiles landing in and around.

Israelis have real fears. Palestinians have real fears. Politicians in this country build up and play on the fears of Americans.

I must think of my theories of "oppression" - to get some balance here.

Some of this is semantics, but I see important differences. My partner and other People of Color can do many "bad" things (at least in theory) to individual White People.

They are not "racist" if they do something against a White Person because they are White. This would not make what they did "right" of course.

Women can be insensitive to Men. They are not "sexist" in a similar way if they treat me badly solely because I am a Man.

There is no Hierarchy within the United States where Blacks and other People of Color are "superior" to White people within a System of Oppression.

Palestinians face a daily occupation as well as for many an exile from their homeland because of the occupation.

I hesitate to support comparisons with the Nazis! What is done is wrong and is systemically wrong.

The Nazis fears of Jews, Gypsies, Gay Men and "mentally deficient" people were a totally irrational fear - that in part was allowed to grow as a result of what happened beginning in 1918 in Europe.

Israeli Jews fears of Palestinians are different. Some radical Palestinians wish to drive the Israelis out of the Middle East.

The fears of Israelis and many American Jews come out of both the Holocaust and their experiences related to what transpired in Palestine and then Israel.

This doesn't justify what Israel and the United States are doing! Fisk no doubt has solid evidence showing many things that the Israelis have done which are wrong.

I don't see a balance between "extremist acts" of Palestinians and what Israel has done to Palestinians. Israel in my mind has clearly been "much more wrong" at the very least over much of the time since at least the late 1970's.

I don't doubt the sincerity of those like my brother-in-law who see things in many ways the opposite of the way I see things! I think it important to reach many people like him. We will never reach others who are far-to-the right of his views. People "in the middle" are important!


poodledoc said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Geo. I will give them some more thought. Fisk does try to show that the Palestinians committ many atrocities of their own, but would probably agree with you that Israel is "much more wrong".