Friday, August 04, 2006

Irresponsible Patriotism

I honestly do not understand why this country is so solidly behind Israel. Ok, sure, they've been persecuted since the beginning of time, have been claimed as God's chosen people, but even they turned from Him, and in the ultimate rejection refused to acknowledge God's own Son when He was here on earth. To be sure, that was necessary in order for God's grace and love to be spread to the rest of the world.

But, c'mon. Ever since the re-formation of the country of Israel, they have been nothing but trouble. Every few years, someone buzzes around their head like a fly. So they get out machine guns and shoot in the direction of the fly, without any regard for whatever else or who else they might hit. And this seems to be their only policy. So how can things ever change?

To be sure, it's really difficult to negotiate or find common ground with countries who blend religion with politics and whose religion has been twisted to demand death of anyone who thinks differently. To be sure, the U.S. has a strong interest in making sure that a democratic non-Muslim presence remain in that part of the world. To be sure, there are plenty of familial connections between Israel and the United States.

But over 800,000 people are now displaced and with roads and bridges and airports/airfields destroyed, ports blockaded and the indiscriminate destruction by Israeli forces with no guarantee of safety for aid workers, the situation only gets worse. It's a crime and we are complicit in this. And it's not going to win either country favors with the rest of the world. Kevin spoke the other day of China really not caring what the rest of the world thinks. A concept that's true but hard for me to wrap my brain around. I don't think the U.S. has that luxury, it does and has to care what the rest of the world thinks. And blunders, misteps and stupidity of late do nothing to help our image.

I'm not saying "Can't we all just get along" but I'm asking why we're sitting idly by while this gets worse. The minute a U.S. State Department-chartered boat out of Turkey or Georgia or wherever was blocked by Israeli freighters, we should have stopped being a passive bystander just watching half-amused and quietly rooting for Israel.

Which is just dumb. The policy has never worked. You all know the saying... Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The U.S. is insane and Israel is flipping certifiable.

I might be getting this wrong, but I think it was Rabin who once told the story of two hunters who had shot a large buck. Dragging the large deer towards their car they entered a thick brush and soon became stuck. They struggled, pulling really hard. The progress was really slow. Eventually one of them suggested to the other that they go to the other side of the animal and pull it by its legs so that the antlers were at the back. The other agreed and they went around the animal and began pulling. After awhile the first turned to the second and said "There. This is much better." The second replied, "Yes, we are making great progress now. But we are getting farther and farther away from the car."

I don't even completely understand how to unpack that. But it's time for a change. It's time for a cease-fire, it's time for guarantees of safe passage/protected corridors through Southern Lebanon to help displaced people, it's time for a new, intelligent approach to living on this planet by the state of Israel.

Maybe it's been too long since I watched West Wing. Say what you will, I think it did a good job of conveying how many layers any decision has. So let me look at it with my very simplistic, action-oriented mind and say that it's time the U.S. the right thing.
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