My take on Israel and Palestine
People may warn me about taking heat about this, but I find that ridiculous as I have taken heat on defending science and the theory of evolution against creationism, and I am by no means ever going to stop sticking it to the Bible-thumping anti-science idiots. I am not going anywhere and I will not be silent.
I generally do not like to talk politics, so this post may not be well written.
I once volunteered at the Museum of Tolerance for nearly a whole year (approx. ten months), and I did so because I wanted to educate the locals about history and the evil fruits of prejudice. The museum provided tours for the Holocaust; the Civil Rights movements by Chavez and MLK; and addressed global issues like human trafficking, child slavery, human right abuses, and much more.
I enjoyed myself there. I worked alongside Holocaust survivors, met some great people and learned a lot. But one thing that we NEVER talked about, in training and otherwise, was Israel. If they did, I was never involved or in the room, but I never learned a thing about Israel. I just assumed it was another great nation that was courageously standing up for itself from it’s oppressors.
It wasn’t until sometime afterwards when I attended a Green Party student meeting. I met a lot of like-minded people there, but one thing strange happened. The meeting also included students from the campus Jewish club. When we were discussing politics and who we should support in local governments, one person spoke out and announced their opposition to the State of Israel. I was amazed and bewildered. The guy’s talk only lasted for no more than two minutes, but afterwards nobody talked about it and we all moved on.
That scene stuck in my head for a few more days. So I decided to check out the history of Israel and learn why is it that this guy would voice his opposition towards Israel. After a while, it started to make sense. But before I get into that, let’s go back a bit.
Growing up, as I am sure is the same case with practically every American child, we are told over and over that America is a great nation — if not the greatest nation. We are told of the great Presidents we’ve had; the brave courageous civil rights leaders; the nations we saved during wars; the brave soldiers who died defending America from the mighty British Empire; the games we’ve won; we landed on the moon; and so on and so on. However…
One thing I always remembered growing up was my constant disturbed feeling I’ve had ever since I have learned the bloody side of American history, especially regarding the Indigenous Native Americans.
I always wondered, how would I feel if a group of strangers came to my home (with a book in their hand and a rifle in their other), came into my home and drove me out. These strangers talk about love and salvation, but they declare it’s “God’s Will” that my home, that has belonged to me and my family for many generations, is no longer my home because God had told these strangers that it now belongs to them. Next, they kill my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, my uncles and/or my aunts but left me and the children live. Of course I would be outraged. These strangers have no right, only their proclaimed self-induced divine right to take away my home. They may continue on to kill my remaining family and neighbors to continue “God’s Will” and achieve “Manifest Destiny” or excuse themselves that they are killing us all out of “self-defense.” It is outrageous.
Granted, most Americans admit the fact that what we have done to the American’s was dramatically wrong — though sometimes I doubt that American’s fully embrace that admission and don’t bear the guilt they should. I mean, 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust and we have museums and everyone feels sorry for them. Several estimates say that the same amount (or more) of Native Americans perished due to ethnic cleansing under the Americans, and hardly anyone talks about it outside of a History classroom. However, if the general American population understands what was done to the American’s is wrong, I wonder why they are silent about the way Israel treats the Palestinians.
I ask them, what if the Mormons came to your home with their Bibles and guns? They claim that the house and land you are on (that may have belonged to your family for generations) is a holy site that belongs to only the Mormons. First they kick you out and then shoot anyone who resists or fights back. I asked them, how would you feel? Without hesitation, they answer they would be 100% against the Mormons. When I compare that scenario to the Palestinians, they say that they would side with the Palestinians. So what’s the deal? I will get to that later.
- Basically, I am not in favor of Israel for the logic behind the whole thing. I think it is wrong to remove a group of people from their homes, especially when the because some religious people say the land belongs to them.
- I am not in favor of Israel for it’s illegal occupation and the numerous UN violations.
Now, I knew working at the Museum of Tolerance, practically half the Jews I met there were actually atheists like myself. They were only Jewish to maintain their “heritage and culture.” I have no problem with that, I also know of a couple of atheists at a local Atheist Meetup spot who were brought up Jewish and continued to call themselves Jewish for some time while they knew they were atheists. Honestly, they can call themselves whatever I want for all I care. I know, and every atheist knows, that atheists are very diverse and we will never agree on everything. Some say atheists are like a herd of cats, which is kinda true. But bottom-line, we all agree that we don’t believe in any god(s). Call themselves by whatever name they like (Infidel, FreeThinker, Bright, etc) but we all agree we don’t believe in god(s).
Anyway, now that I made clear atheists have a different opinions on many things, numerous times I asked them: can you give me a non-religious reason why I should support Israel?
I have received tons of responses, all of them (except one) said I have no reason to support Israel whatsoever. The only one who said otherwise basically said “I guess just to side with American allies.” Nice try.
After that did not get me anywhere, I thought maybe a Israeli soldier could give me a reason. I met a Israeli soldier once in college. But when I visited his Facebook page, turns out he already gave his answer.
This tells me two things.
- He already knows it’s “illegal” and therefore it is wrong, he just doesn’t care.
- He thinks that his religion overrules international law. I ask: how is this different than some Sharia Law jihadist or whatever who thinks that their particular religion has power over the law of the land?
I no longer consider him a friend. I sincerely thought he was a nice guy when I met him, but he has become something entirely different than when I met him.
Now, I don’t want or ever wanted Israel to go away or the Jews to leave or anything. I always promoted peace. If West Germany and East Germany can reunite, and if America can reunite after a Civil War, why can’t Israel and Palestine reunite?
When I speak ill of American history and their treatment of the Native Americans, which I still do to this day, people often say things from I am “un-American” or racist. That never made sense, and doesn’t make any sense to a thinking person. I am born American law-abiding citizen and tax payer, just like my critics. But talking about the bad parts of my country doesn’t mean I hate it. Similarly, if a German citizen in 1939 spoke ill of the Nazi Party and the invasion of Poland, how ludicrous would it seem if his fellow German citizens called him “anti-Germany” or “unpatriotic”? Finally. I am a male white guy, just like the European settlers and colonists who were killing Native Americans and driving them from their land, but when I say that was aweful of them, somehow I’m the racist? The European settlers and the colonists committed unethical acts of ethnic cleansing, that’s it. I am not dissing the entire populace, I am addressing the atrocities done and they should not be forgotten or seem less important.
That being said, I don’t want to give out the impression that anything bad (or less than good) I say about Israel be taken as I somehow hate Jews or I’m racist or anti-semantic. That sort of comeback never made sense to me, nor should it to any thinking person. First of all, speaking out against Israel does not make me a racist. Even Jews on Jewfaq.org admit Jews are not a race. Second, the argument “diss Israel means you are anti-semantic” is rather blown out of the water when Jewish Holocaust survivors like Hajo Meyer speak out against Israeli treatment of the Palestinians.
And not just with Jews like Hajo Meyer, there are also the waves of Orthodox Rabbi’s like Neturei Karta who oppose Zionism and claim that the State of Israel does not represent Jews. They have their reasons for not agreeing with Israel, but I doubt anyone calls these Rabbi’s “anti-semantic.” (and if they do, I would stand corrected as well as being shocked.)
I also don’t want to give out the impression that I am pro-Islam or anything. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like Islam at all. But to be fair, I think ALL religions are dangerous and poisonous. Besides, when I talk about Americans unethical treatment of Native Americas, that does not mean I am suddenly pro-sun-worship and pro-rain-dance or whatever. Besides, when I side with Palestine (the victims), it should be noted that there are Palestinian Christians as well as Palestinian Muslims, and the Christians are being victimized just as much as the Muslims. So to side with Palestine does not mean who are somehow pro-Islam.
Anyway, the topic of “Israel” is not one of my strong suits, I focus on history and science. But I think I will end this by addressing one more thing.
Often I hear from people that Israel should take the land away from the Palestinians because the Jews suffered during the Holocaust. I can’t believe these people. So one Holocaust justifies 1) the removal of thousands of people from their homes and 2) the ethnic cleansing of the same people? That’s immoral and ludicrous.
I don’t know what else I can say on the matter. To me, support of Israel, as well as the policies and actions of Israel, are illogical and unethical.