Sunday, February 26, 2006

Hamas, Israel, and the "Right to Exist"

In my previous post regarding more pseudo-christian nationalists supporting Israel, I said that I supported Israel's "right to exist." A Muslim relative pointed out something, however, that I feel compelled to note. I think I'll simply share her words on the topic, then log a few responses and reflections of my own:


Jon, you wrote: "I support Israel's right to exist, and I hope the new government of Palestine also sorts that issue out." I doubt that any Palestinian organization will ever acknowledge such a thing (sincerely, anyway), if it it phrased like that, and it usually is. What Israel and the West ought to be asking Hamas to do is acknowledge Israel (within the 1967 borders, not including West Bank settlements or East Jerusalem or the Jordan Valley) as a fait accompli, one that is not likely to go away. In fact I have already heard Hamas leaders doing this - one said last week (I can't remember the exact words) that no one could destroy a nuclear power with a few homemade rockets and bombs. Hamas is smart - they know that they can't destroy Israel. They might be able to make the West Bank settlements too expensive to hang onto, as they did the Gaza ones, but the WB ones are much larger and more entrenched, and furthermore are in an area that Israel thinks God gave to them, so I don't expect them to have too much luck in getting rid of them. Israelis would have to decide to do that by themselves.

To ask Hamas to acknowledge Israel's right to exist would be to demand that they acknowledge that European Jews had the right to invade Palestine and take the land away from the Palestinians, and they certainly never had that right, either legally or morally. They might have had the right to take Bavaria, considering that it was the Germans who tried to exterminate them, but to take Palestine, making 1/3 of the Palestinians the new Wandering Jews with no right to return to their homeland ever, and another third or so prisoners in refugee camps for 58 years and counting, and the rest miserable people living under permanent occupation? NO WAY did they have that right. Palestinians had never done anything to deserve this catastrophe happening to them, any more than the Indians deserved what our ancestors did to them. The fact that many of these Jews who came from Europe were descended or partly descended from people who lived in Palestine 2000 years ago is no argument at all to anyone who does not accept the Chosen People or Rapture things. If Hamas said that they agreed with the formation of Israel on Palestinian land they would be either lying or crazy.

To ask that Hamas acknowledge pre-1967 Israel to be a permanent fait accompli ought to be enough. To have the arrogance to demand that Hamas agree that it was OK to have their country stolen is unspeakable.
Thanks, cuz. If I hear you right, the term "Israel has a right to exist" placed in the mouth of a Palestinian would be for him or her to say that God approved of what was done to Palestinians by the west and Israel from its founding until now. Remember, the central issue theologically for Zionists and right-wing Christians is this: both believe that God's creation of Old Testament Israel was in effect a "forever" thing. That is, the land then, now, and forevermore belongs to the Jewish people.... an idea Palestinian Christians as well as Muslims reject. (Amazing how Palestinian Christianity is completely ignored in the Christian Right rhetoric on Israel's "rights.")

There could be a different reading of history than the usual one we in the west encounter as fact. Start with the holocaust. No, Muslims shouldn't mock or deny the holocaust, as some have done. But why have they? Are they simply unreasonable, violent, and hateful by nature... unlike we civilized Judeao-Christian types? (Daisycutter, anyone?) Or is there a deeper subtext here, perhaps explaining some of that anger?

Who's fault was the holocaust, anyway? Did Hitler rise in a vacuum, or in an anti-semetic culture which had taught its citizens for 1900 years that Jews were "Christ Killers," even had secret ceremonies in which they drank the blood of gentile babies? Could this western culture, faced with the horrors of the 6,000,000 Jews who died due in part to such vicious theological ideas, hunt for the easy way out of our collective guilt? A new Christ, perhaps, to nail on the cross ourselves in place of the six million we'd already crucified? Did we try to erase the images of skeletal children and piles of gassed bodies by "giving" a slice of Palestine to the tattered remnants of the holocaust? It seemed a perfect solution. Our western guilt was eased, our Christian guilt over labeling fellow human beings "Christ killers" and other cruel and inaccurate names was eased. And all for the price of a slice of land no-one -- except intially Britian -- seemed all that upset about losing.

No one, that is, except Palestinians. No one but -- as an evangelical relative I admire much less than my Muslim cousin said to me once -- "those ragheads."

Maybe we can arrange another holocaust for them? Maybe then we can take someone else's land and give it to the shredded remnants of their families displaced by western occupiers.

Bottom line? How can the Islamic world relate to our suffering -- whether the suffering of Jews or the suffering of Christians -- when we refuse to recognize their suffering, or even their existence as persons?

I think current events offer abundant evidence answering these questions.

11 comments:

Jerry Price said...

Jon - on your bottom line: Good point. I hear your empathy level. Why do you suppose "we" (whoever the "we" are) refuse to recognize the suffering and existence of Islamic people as persons? It's a complicated mess isn't it? What would happen if the "we" did recognize their suffering and existence? Would the killing stop? This is a big problem we have in our world: the sadness of it all is felt deeply for both the Islamic and the Israeli. Clearly, only Christ can break this barrier down in the "heart" of the matter. A changed heart, something on the inside of us all, something only the Spirit of God can do is the answer. Short of that, politically, it won't happen. At least in my thinking, I see it that way although it doesn't mean we don't try to understand the Islamic world's suffering and existence as persons. Jon, thank you for stimulating my thinking.

Secret Rapture said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jon Trott said...

Sorry, but I deleted the last comment as it was, in my opinion, spam.

Anonymous said...

Since when is calling 'em as I sees 'em , Spam?

Jon Trott said...

In my opinion, posts that do little but direct readers to your website, without having much at all to say about the topic here at hand, are spam. Sorry.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jon Trott said...

Oh, I guess the problem with posting as "anonymous" is that others post with the same tag. Your other post questioning my sexual orientation is still here; I found it kind of heart warming. As far as asking me why I am in an alleged "cult," I suppose all I can say is that since my brain was sucked out with a straw via their advanced brainwashing techniques, I cannot intelligibly answer your question. In fact, I'm amazed I can even type.

Jon Trott said...

For anyone else confused, two folks posting under "anonymous" -- one leaving an odd web site URL, the other leaving an even odder message -- are being discussed here. The first guy's post I deleted. The second guy's I left here: www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=11057324&postID=114075287090785265

The second guy became confused over this series of events; thus his second, equally complementary, post. So far, for those keeping score, according to this nameless correspondent I am a bisexual liar... and white. The last at least is true, by the way, though technically I'd go with a slight pink rather than white...

Jon Trott said...

Sorry, things are even more confused now. I had to delete the second person's riff because he talked about other persons' personal lives here; that is outside the lines, buddy. You can trash me all you want, no problem. Have at it. But do not use names of others here or I will delete your posts, and if necessary, disable the ability to post "anonymous" posts.

Koelpien said...

I kind of like the ambitiousness of the other "anonymous" post, as it not only impugns your manliness (after a fashion) but also manages to drag your spouse into the discussion, and imply some sort of conspiracy between you two devolving into debauchery. All in one sentence! And therefore, because there's a pair of fur-lined handcuffs in your top dresser drawer, you are now ineligible to discuss zionism and jingoism. Now that's masterful writing!

Jon Trott said...

Fur-lined handcuffs?! Nah. But as I pointed out to yet another anonymous poster some time back, the usual dodge of right-wing Christians when dealing with the evils of this administration is to attack the messenger... often using sex. It would be laughable if not so wearisome... and apparently so effective among certain crowds (our evangelical one, for instance?). Wearisome.