Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, November 2010
Thomas Friedman and Other Lovers and Friends of Israel Speak Out
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, November 2, 2010
Dov Weisglass, wrote for Ynetnews, "Thomas Friedman is one the world’s foremost journalists and a New York Times columnist. Last week, he published an unusually harsh critique of the Israeli government over its policy on the Palestinian issue. Among other things, he likened Israel to a “spoiled child.” One NYT reader responded with a letter charging that Israel is not only acting like a spoiled child, but one who ran away from home yet keeps using the family’s credit card.
“Later on, Friedman was interviewed by Meet the Press on Israel’s Channel 2. As disturbing as his article was, listening and watching him provoked truly deep concern. In the interview, he explained that the Israeli government’s conduct on the Palestinian front increasingly erodes Israel’s status in the US: Support for Israel is declining among US government circles, the general public, and the Jewish community, especially among young people.
“Friedman was a little agitated, emotional, and at times even angry, yet it was clear how pained he is by the current state of affairs. His words are doubly difficult because they were uttered by a lover; a person who does not hide his deep, unalterable sympathy for the State of Israel…His words should provoke great concern here. We need to listen to Friedman closely; listen and change, as soon as possible.” [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3975716,00.html ]
On 18 February 2010, I wrote: The Brutal Truth About With God On Our Side and The Ninth of Av
Many Christians ascribe to a theology that teaches that the Jews have a divine right to a piece of real estate and thus, uncritically support the Israeli government’s policies that privilege any Jew without any historical tie to the land at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians, and this is the fuel of much of today’s Anti-Semitism and distrust of and anger at America.
The heretical religious fundamentalism espoused by the likes of John Hagee:
And the tedious “Left Behind” series of pap combined with a limp and fawning Corporate Media, have colluded to deceive good Christians and many Americans and has lead to over six decades of human rights abuses inflicted upon Palestinian Christians and Muslims which is what threatens Israel's and America’s security the most!
Everywhere but in America the last 43 years of Israeli Occupation of Palestine is viewed as a USA-Israeli collaboration and the empire’s claims of supporting democracy, freedom, equality and justice while enabling misery and death is blatant hypocrisy and nothing more than blowing idiot wind!
Khalid Sheikh Mohammad involvement in the terror upon America, “By his own account…stemmed from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.” 
Abdulmutallab’s Christmas Day 2009, attempt to blow up a plane was fueled by “his sympathies toward the Palestinians and anger over Israel’s actions in Gaza.” [Ibid]
Dr. Ilan Pappe, an Israeli born historian said:
"On March 10, 1948, eleven men had a meeting in the Red House headed by Ben Gurion. The eleven decided to expel one million Palestinians from historical Palestine. No minutes were taken, but many memoirs were written about that fateful meeting. A systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine began and within seven months the Zionists managed to expel one half of all the Palestinian people from their villages and towns. "The New York Times followed Israeli troops and reported the truth of the expulsion and separation of men and women, and of the many massacres. The world was well informed in 1948, but a year later not a trace was reported in the USA press or books. It was as if nothing ever happened. "From March to October 1948 the USA State Department stated what was happening was a CRIME against humanity and ethnic cleansing. When ever one ethnic group expels another group they should be treated as War Criminals and the victims should be allowed to return. This is never mentioned in the USA about Palestine.
"Israel is so successful in their ethnic cleansing because the world doesn't care! The ethnic cleansing continues via the apartheid policies of the Israeli government and because of the denial of the truth by the USA media. "To claim Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East is bullshit!” 
Both Israel and Hamas should be investigated for war crimes perpetuated during the 22 days of assault on Gaza which began two days after Christmas day 2008, when the Israeli military launched Operation Cast Lead, that killed 1,400 Palestinian and 13 Israelis. Over 5,000 Palestinians were injured, 400,000 were left without running water, 4,000 homes were destroyed, rendering tens of thousands who are still homeless because of Israel's targeted attacks upon them, their schools, hospitals, streets, water wells, sewage system, farms, police stations and UN buildings. The 22 days of Israel's attack on the people of Gaza was enabled by US-supplied weapons and we the people of the US who pay taxes provide over $3 billion annually to Israel although Israel has consistently misused U.S. weapons in violation of America's Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts.
Just before Christmas 2009, President Obama, signed into law the biggest aid pledge of the year. NOT for we the people or for struggling countries on the World Bank's list, but for another $30 billion to Israel over the next decade. During the 22 days of Israeli assault on Gaza, "Washington provided F-16 fighter planes, Apache helicopters, tactical missiles, and a wide array of munitions, including white phosphorus and DIME. The weapons required for the Israeli assault was decided upon in June 2008, and the transfer of 1,000 bunker-buster GPS-guided Small Diameter Guided Bomb Units 39 (GBU-39) were approved by Congress in September. The GBU 39 bombs were delivered to Israel in November (prior to any claims of Hamas cease fire violation!) for use in the initial air raids on Gaza. 
In a 71-page report released March 25, 2009, by Human Rights Watch, Israel’s repeated firing of US-made white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes. "Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza," provides eye witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza. "Human Rights Watch researchers found spent shells, canister liners, and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on city streets, apartment roofs, residential courtyards, and at a United Nations school in Gaza immediately after hostilities ended in January. "Militaries officially use white phosphorus to obscure their operations on the ground by creating thick smoke. It has also been used as an incendiary weapon, though such use constitutes a war crime. "In Gaza, the Israeli military didn’t just use white phosphorus in open areas as a screen for its troops," said Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. "It fired white phosphorus repeatedly over densely populated areas, even when its troops weren't in the area and safer smoke shells were available. As a result, civilians needlessly suffered and died." [Ibid] During the 22 days of attack on Gaza, the UN Security Council, Amnesty International, International Red Cross, and global voices of protest rose up and demanded a ceasefire, but both houses of Congress overwhelmingly endorsed resolutions to support a continuation of Israel’s so called "self defense."
As President Lincoln said, "Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side."
Porter Speakman, Jr., the Director and Executive Producer of “With God on Our Side” wrote:
"Good intentions can still have devastating effects. Some of the most tragic events in history have occurred from a bad interpretation of biblical texts and understanding of who God is. Any approach to the Middle East must be one that sees the needs of all people, not just one, because at the heart of who God is, is a God of love who commands us to love one another, whether that be our neighbor or someone we consider our enemy." 
Coming to America is his film, "With God on Our Side" which illuminates a biblical alternative for Christians who love and want to support the people of Israel and to promote peace and reconciliation for both Jews and Palestinians.
In 1948, American Mark Braverman was born into a devoutly religious and Zionist home, but the scales fell from his eyes when he experienced life in the West Bank. In FATAL EMBRACE he speaks as a Jewish prophet and also explains Walter Brueggemann’s analysis of ‘the land’ as a metaphor:
"On the ninth of Av, when I stood on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a Jerusalem I now saw marching to its own destruction. I felt like the prophet Jeremiah and like Jesus eight centuries later, overcome with grief…[Jeremiah mourns] for the brokenness and imminent disaster awaiting the people. But the mourning is not about victimhood: it is about the self-inflicted nature of disaster to come." 
For Brueggemann, the land is a "core metaphor for the drama of God’s people struggling to come to terms with the divine imperative to live justly…it is at once the promise and the problem…Possession of the land is totally conditional on obedience to God’s plan as expressed in the covenant…The land…is a powerful force for well-being characterized by social coherence…security and freedom…the land is a vast metaphor about home, homelessness, loss, transgressions, forgiveness and redemption…God’s promise of land to Israel…is at the heart of the covenant…Christians cannot speak seriously to Jews unless we acknowledge land to be the central agenda. [It is] the locus of meaning [and] the issue of identity…there is an entitlement that must be acknowledged…What would the prophets say?" 
"From Moses to Jeremiah and Isaiah, the Prophets taught...that the Jewish claim on the land of Israel was totally contingent on the moral and spiritual life of the Jews who lived there, and that the land would, as the Torah tells us, 'vomit you out' if people did not live according to the highest moral vision of Torah. Over and over again, the Torah repeated its most frequently stated mitzvah [command]:
"When you enter your land, do not oppress the stranger; the other, the one who is an outsider of your society, the powerless one and then not only 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself' but also 'you shall love the other.'" 
Christians are called to be peacemakers, to forgive and love their enemies and to try to reconcile with all people.
And the cross is also a metaphor!
2,000 years ago the cross had no religious symbolic meaning and was not a piece of jewelry. When Jesus said: "Pick up your cross and follow me" everyone back then understood he was issuing a POLITICAL statement, for the main roads into Jerusalem were lined with crucified agitators, rebels, dissidents and any who disturbed the status quo of the Roman Empire and Military Occupying Forces.
Christians could indeed change the world; if they would only pick up that cross!
1.WRMEA, March 2010, page 35
5. Mark Braverman, FATAL EMBRACE, pages 155-156
6.Braverman, pages 157-159
7.Rabbi Lerner, TIKKUN Magazine, page 35, Sept./Oct. 2007
Eileen Fleming, Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org Staff Member of Salem-news.com A Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu" Author of "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory" and BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010 http://www.youtube.com/user/eileenfleming Only in Solidarity do "we have it in our power to begin the world again."-Tom Paine
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