POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY GIDEON RACHMAN IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES
There is something almost shameful that an American Secretary of State feels obliged to address the Lobby for Israel on so basic a matter as Israel’s recent behavior towards the United States.
Moreover, Aipac is an organization which has been involved in some very dodgy activities in the past, as reflected in extensive FBI investigations.
Israel publicly insults the Vice president of the United States on a high-level visit and then argues with American officials over their view of the fact.
What other country in the world could get away with such behavior?
And then the prime minister, a man whose intolerance and brutality are a matter of public record, gets a tête-à-tête in the White House?
Israel’s ugly seizure of Arab homes in East Jerusalem violates every international agreement.
Israel’s entire recent behavior – mass murder in Gaza, assassination, brutal blockade, and taking the property of others – is little different to what Serbia was doing when the United States went to war against them.
If you want peace, you talk to your neighbors, you stop abusing your neighbors, and you stop stealing from your neighbors.
But if what you want is other people’s homes and farms, minus the people, in a vast slow-motion ethnic-cleansing, you behave exactly as Israel behaves.
The only nation on earth which can push Israel towards civilized behavior towards its neighbors is the United States, yet because of the campaign-financing efforts of outfits like Aipac under America’s ghastly campaign-finance laws, that needed push is rendered almost politically impossible.
All quite absurd, the most powerful country in the world, a country which has been unbelievably generous towards Israel, has its foreign policy heavily bent by a place with the population of Ecuador.
When people write about Israel’s additional territorial claims in terms of Hebrew Scripture, for most of the world’s people it makes as much sense as modern Greece claiming Turkey owing to the Iliad.
If you can quote Scripture as authority in Middle East affairs, you can justify anything, including killing all non-Jewish residents, for that is what the Biblical Hebrews were enjoined to do, over and over.
Many countries could have a claim on the territory we call Israel if this approach were valid, including the Egyptians (who long, long ago ruled there, the Lebanese (viewed as the descendants of the ancient Phoenicians who also ruled there), and perhaps even the Iraqis.
The silliness of this claim is made even greater by the important research of an Israeli scholar who says that the Palestinians are, for the most part, the actual descendants of the ancient Israelis.
When Rome conquered territories, it typically did not remove the inhabitants and it did not interfere with their religion, so long as they accepted Roman rule. Just because, after two turbulent millennia of history, most of the Palestinians are Muslim does not invalidate this concept. Moreover, DNA testing is tending to support this view.
So what we are really talking about with Israel’s modern activities is removing the descendants of ancient Israel who have lived there countless centuries in favor of new immigrants from New York or London. If that isn’t imperialism, I don’t know what is.
On still another level, Biblical claims must be rejected simply because they are dangerous and de-stabilizing. Greater Israel as it has been defined by Zionist scholars – and mind you, there are no maps in the Bible – includes the West Bank and Gaza and pieces of Syria and Lebanon. Does claiming that, or any portion of it, resemble anything but a certain formula for endless war and unrest?
Personal religious views and 2,500 year-old books have no place in international affairs.
In the end, if Israel wishes to be regarded as a state like any other state, then it must behave as we expect other states to behave, and that does not include undefined borders which constantly ooze out over the property of others.