POSTNOTE March 22, 2019: Golan Heights, etc. Read and reflect on “Not Thinking Things Through”, Just Above Sunset for the first day of Spring, 2019. It is an important piece for the conversation about the issue of Israel.
I have found it dangerous to express opinions on the topic of Israel, but I need to again take the risk: for many years I have felt, and occasionally said, that Israel, even more than Oil, is the long term crisis in the Middle East. It is the tinderbox, and all that is needed is somebody dangerous to strike a match. I have further said that AIPAC is no friend of the Jews…it is not an easy sell…but I hope the Democrats stay away….
No different now: history is filled with splendid little wars that are valued by tyrants to validate themselves. In the longer term, these never end well, note even the Big and Glorious ones like the Third Reich, but oh, they feel so good at the beginning.
I’ve seen the Golan Heights, if only from a distance. It was part of a brilliant sunrise at Nof Ginosar on the east shore of the Sea of Galilee in January, 1996. A little later we took something dubbed the “Jesus Boat” (after an ancient relic of a boat preserved there) down to Tiberias for a fish dinner. It was a delightful day. I don’t know if Golan extends to the Dead Sea, but if it is, we saw it closer up at the now-resort place infamously remembered as Sodom.
The most recent splendid little war for the U.S. was Iraq, of course. “Mission Accomplished” May 2003? Now the Current Occupant and his assorted entourage seem to have devised their own winning formula for the Middle East. I’ve watched the dominoes, like Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran…. But tyrants are doomed to lose, but they take down with them their dreams of dominance and control.
Caveat Emptor. Beyond the “big yawn” is a future we will regret.
(Original Post, titled Ilhan Omar, March 9, 2019)
Earlier this week came the “firestorm” of commentary about Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. At the end of the week came the anti-hate resolution passed near unanimously by Congress. In between came a flurry of comment about the issue within my own personal list.
Personally, I support Rep. Omar’s rights to speak out on issues, and I believe her comments were appropriate and respectful. I think the Congressional resolution was and is appropriate, and I hope those who regularly rely on hate speech are at minimum reminded of their own abundant sins when using words to “kill” others, like “illegals”, Muslims, and on and on.
Following is the conversation earlier this week: (the comments are passed on with permission)
I – The comments received March 7 about my own comments;
II – My personal comments on March 6, which preceded the responses in # I;
I – (sent only to those who had commented by March 7, 2018):
from long-time friend: Interesting discussion. If I may put forth some thoughts on the subject. Since Ilhan Omar is a Semite she can hardly be accused of making an anti-Semitic statement by just talking about the American Jews being so supportive of the Apartheid Government of Israel.
I too, believe there are times when politicians are pressured into supporting Israel and/or Israel’s political leaders when it has not been the best interest of the USA. Not supporting Israel may give you the label of not supporting the Jewish community, which should not be the case.
from Norm: Omar has to learn as did Wellstone when to speak out to be taken seriously as well as when not grandstand as she has been doing and no doubt will continue to do as long as she is in congress or until she has a come to whomever talk with some who will hold her attention.
Wellstone did the grandstand bit at the Viet Nam Memorial as a protest against sending troops somewhere into SW Asia.
He quickly learned that was a dumb-ass thing to do as most VN vets thought that using their memorial as his pulpit was disrespectful of their service let alone that of their friends and buddies with names on the Wall.
He did learn quickly and well as indicated by the great number of his colleagues from both sides of the aisle coming to town for his funeral.
There were there to show their respect for a colleague with whom they often disagreed but a fellow and important colleague never-the-less.
They did not owe Wellstone a damn thing as the dumb ass Rich Kahn claimed that they did during the service beyond just showing their respect for him as they did with their attendance.
Israel is no angel here as you implied, Dick, but the Palestinians in many cases are not either.
Omar has to learn when to speak up to be effective let alone taken seriously.
I hope that she figures that out very soon but I am quite sure that she will not do that any time in the future.
She is a product of condescending political correctness and the group hug folks and, as such, does not have any good pollical sense of how to be taken seriously s a new congresswoman.
Wellstone learned the hard way how to do that and hopefully, Omar will as well…but I seriously doubt that she ever will…or will ever even want to for that matter.
from Ed: I appreciate the letter in support of Omar’s right to speak. As a member of two progressive Jewish groups who oppose the current Israeli policies on dealing with the Palestine issue, I am happy to support Betty McCollum’s positions on this controversial issue, which are close espoused by Omar.
Omar is a first term representative who would be wise to emulate Betty. Skip the Tweets and get to work like Al Franken did and become an effective representative for the 5th district.
Omar should follow the lead of Betty, a more senior progressive representative who knows how to work the system. Omar is on a self-destructive path which is sad for all her constituents. She is too eager to be in the limelight, She should shift gears now.
from Paul: Thanks for the link, Dick. It brings much clarity to this latest kerfuffle.
from Jeff: [About] Ilhan Omar and the weaponisation of antisemitism [Guardian, March 6, 2019, Joshua Leifer]
from Donna: Another interesting article about Ilhan Omar’s statements. Thanks for you blog. [Washington Post Plum Line Blog March 5, 2019]
AIPAC and Netanyahu are not neutrals in this issue. Over the years I’ve paid most attention to the Pro-Peace Pro-Israel group J Street. If you go to their website you will see their position on the issue du jour. My interest is human rights for Palestinians.
A few comments & quotes regarding this continuing chronicle.
You wrote: “She has the same rights as anyone, including allies of AIPAC, to express her opinion. At the same time, I’m nervous about writing and sending this e-mail”. A few years ago the distinction was made & respected: criticism of Israel & Zionism is fine as opposed to anti-Semitism (usually taken to mean attacks on Jews & Judaism although Arabs are Semites as well) which is wrong. Nowadays criticism of Israel & its policies is becoming increasingly taboo especially in the US which is more royalist than the king – even in Israel many criticize their state’s policies. In France, where anti-Semitism is already outlawed, there is a suggestion to ban anti-Zionism & in the UK the squabble about anti-Semitism is threatening to split the labour party.
Writing about the secular Zionist leadership, Ilan Pappé said: “though they did not believe in God, He had nonetheless promised them Palestine,” & he goes on: “the Bible was not taught as a singular text that carried any political or even national connotation . . . leading rabbis treated the political history contained in the Bible, and the idea of Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel, as marginal topics in their spiritual world of learning. They were much more concerned, as indeed Judaism in general was, with the holy writing focusing on the relationship between believers, and in particular on their relations with God.” Now Pappé is an Israeli Jew living & working in the UK so I guess he can get away with such opinions without being attacked. The whole question of (a single dominant) identity has come back with a vengeance & combined with the return of unrelenting nationalism in many parts makes for an explosive mixture.
Ilhan, Ihlan let’s call the whole thing off!