U.S. has to end its loyalty to Israel
It hasn’t been easy being an American this past year. Whether favored by birth or anointed by the New Colossus, we have all been forever wounded and changed by the events of Sept. 11, 2001. But as we have just observed the first anniversary of the cataclysm, I have to wonder what has been changed for the better, and what has been done to ensure that the horrific images we all witnessed that day are never repeated?
Sadly, the answer is nothing. As a superpower, we often dismiss the forces at play in the world beyond our borders: We are America, all-knowing, all-powerful, infallible. Right or wrong, our will shall prevail, even though that will is often politically misguided, self-serving, and yes, sometimes imperialistic. No nation – nay, no people on Earth – are deserving of the terror we experienced that morning a year ago. But are we free of impetus, free of collusion?
No, we are not. To wave Old Glory proudly is a stirring and rightful thing; to wrap oneself in it blindly is folly. Where is the anger, where is the rage at our governments’ policies that fuel the fire of al-Qaida, that feed its reign of terror against us?
While I still never miss the opportunity to vote, I no longer believe our politicians really care about us. All they care about is getting re-elected as many times as possible, and that private health insurance and lifetime pension paid for by you and me. Fealty to Israel means re-election, demanding justice for the Palestinians does not, and anyone who doesn’t see that is delusional. If you believe otherwise, then life must be looking pretty good through those rose-colored glasses of yours.
It’s time to wake up, America, time to break the mirrors and blow away the smoke of deception that is being perpetrated by our government. We’re engaged in a “war on terrorism” that strangely doesn’t produce prisoners of war, only “detainees” and “unlawful combatants.” How artfully our government plays the semantics game to avoid compliance with the Geneva Convention, and how willingly the media play along.
So let’s play the semantics game. Roget’s Thesaurus lists among its synonyms for “terrorist” the word “revolutionist.” By this measure, every one of our founding fathers would be a terrorist, and while I feel few Americans would consider them such, I’ve no doubt King George III did. It all boils down to which side you’re on, and who’s writing the history books.
It would follow, then, that due to the pro-Israeli slant of our media, it’s unlikely that many Americans are aware that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and many of his predecessors were once terrorists themselves; or have ever heard of Haganah, an illegal Jewish underground military organization in Palestine from 1920 to 1948. In defiance of the ruling British, Haganah organized most of the youth and adults in the Jewish settlements into an armed force, initiated extensive military training programs, and established depots for the stashing of illegal arms smuggled from Europe, all the while supporting illegal Jewish immigration.
Why do we allow ourselves to be persuaded by our government and by the media that Palestinians fighting for a homeland of their own are terrorists, while the very nation they are struggling against was born of terrorism and illegal armed struggle itself?
The Palestinian people in the occupied territories live in abject poverty and unemployment, disheartened and desperate. Those fortunate enough to work in Israel often lose their jobs every time Israel decides to seal the borders with the West Bank and Gaza; the families and children of someone even suspected of terrorism are made homeless when their houses are bulldozed; martial law and frequent total curfews keep their economy in ruins; and their only recognized representative, the Palestinian Authority, has had its infrastructure so battered and destroyed by the Israeli military that it is virtually powerless to stop suicide bombers or any other terrorist activity.
Like all Americans, this Sept. 11 I was once again filled with an enormous sense of sadness and loss for the tragedy our nation has suffered. Wherever the day may find you, as you mourn for those lost and grieve for the pain of the living, please, take time to understand why the events of a year ago happened. Look beyond the rich bountifulness of our land to the poverty and suffering of a people who have no one to champion them, no one to fight for them. In memory of those fallen a year ago, demand of our president and Congress an end to carte blanche support of Israel, and an end to the stalemate in Palestine that has brought this cancer to our golden door.
Stephen Dryburgh lives in Grass Valley.
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