If “Dysfunction knows no boundaries” , as I quoted in my last post, dysfunction is alive and well, and self-sustaining in the Middle East.
I was recently speaking with a friend about the current situation between Gaza and Israel, and cited a facebook post I’d seen where Jon Stewart was asking where the Gazans should go, as their borders are locked up by Egypt and Israel, and all that’s left is the sea. My knowledge of that part of the world is limited, so I began to research, beginning with geography and maps of the region, showing the locations for the Palestinians and the Israelis.
The maps tell a very graphic and dramatic story of what some people would call a ‘land grab’. And just looking at the maps alone, it is evident that Israel has been pushing itself into Palestinian territories that existed long before the ‘nation’ of Israel was set forth following World War II.
Some people see the Israelis as aggressors toward the Palestinians, while others feel that Israel needs to protect itself from terrorism. In the larger picture, however, in my view, the story is one of displacement, pride, retribution, and hypocrisy. And pain. Lots of pain.
From “Googling” maps I found a web site that delineates the history of the Israeli nation and the policies that the United States created in dealing with the Middle East and Israel, specifically, since 1947. In her recently published book, Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U. S. was Used to Create Israel, former freelance journalist Alison Weir describes her journey in uncovering stories that the mainline media gave/give no attention to. You can read about her at http://alisonweir.org/welcome/
She writes, “Like many American policies, U. S. Middle East policies are driven by a special interest lobby. However, the Israel Lobby, as it is called today in the U.S. (1), consists of vastly more than what most people envision in the ‘lobby’.” And, “Components of it, both individuals and groups, have worked underground, secretly and even illegally throughout its history, as documented by scholars and participants.”
Wikipedia offers the following definition of the Israel Lobby:
The Israel lobby (at times called the Zionist lobby or sometimes the Jewish lobby) is the diverse coalition of those who, as individuals and as groups, seek to influence the foreign policy of the United States in support of Zionism, Israel or the specific policies of its government. The lobby consists of Jewish-American secular and religious groups. The most famous and visible group within the Israel lobby is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC and other groups within the Israel lobby influence American public policy in a variety of ways such as through education, responding to criticism of Israel, and putting forth arguments in support of Israel. The Israel lobby is known for its success in encouraging U.S. lawmakers to support the policies that it supports.
The history of the Israel Lobby goes back to the 19th Century, when Christian Restorationism became of interest to the public. The idea was to restore the Jews to the land of Israel, where they could be converted to Christianity. Another effort of Christian Restoration was to persuade President Benjamin Harrison to pressure the Ottoman sultan to deliver Palestine to the Jews. By 1914 American Zionism began to grow as Jewish Zionism. For more information visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_lobby_in_the_United_States
Ms. Weir created the web site “If Americans Knew” to place her knowledge into public and social awareness. There is much information there, some of it from early in 2001. She writes a blog http://www.ifamericansknew.org
As a slight aside…When I was writing my post on “Captive Children and Boundaries” my mind went back to a song I learned to the words written by Emma Lazarus. Lines from her poem The New Colossus appear on a plaque placed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden shore.
Emma Lazarus was a Jewish writer, who later in her life became interested in her ancestry and began to support efforts to aid indigent Jewish refugees. She is considered to be an activist as a forerunner of the Zionist movement. She argued for the creation of a Jewish homeland well before the term ‘Zionism’ was coined.
I was going to use the poem as a mirror to U. S. citizens, asking “Do we mean it?” And then I wondered if it was really only meant for the suffering Jewish people in Lazarus’ heart.
The impasses between these two warring entities – the Palestinians and Israel – will only lead to more suffering, homelessness and death…most likely for the Palestinians. And when they are all dead, they will be in the ground, the ground the Israelis covet.
Source for maps: http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/mapstellstory.html