Monday, July 24, 2006

A War, Between Friends



"We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon--no alternative." Golda Mier

My colleague, comrade and great friend Jesse Kornbluth (aka beliefnet.com's Swami Uptown) and I have been talking about Israel. In emails. IM's. And now, on our blogs.

We are both Jews. We are both Liberals. We are both Humanists. We are both passionately committed to Ideas.

We often debate. Discuss. Exchange thoughts and sentiments and beliefs. We don't always agree. But we do listen to each other with respect.

And sometimes--but, we hope, with humility and humor--we even argue existential concepts.

There's nothing existential about the current war in the Middle East. It's brutal and bloody. It's polarizing even the best of friends, including us. But it hasn't beaten us. Because we agree on our secret weapon -- Communication.

Jesse and I have been burning up cyberspace with our differing opinions on the Middle East conflict. I am fully--but not blindly--behind Israel. Jesse is far less sure. He is justifiably concerned about the wanton destruction wreaked on innocent civilians by Israel. I am more concerned with the unending havoc and destruction rained down on Israel's citizens by Hezbollah.

So our debate escalates, opinions and articles buzzing fast and furious through the cyber ether. In the process, I'd like to think we're each learning something valuable from the other. Perhaps you could learn something too.

Jesse has aggregated and distilled our recent exchanges here Two Jewish friends debate the new war in the Middle East (Oy, vey).


If only the countries of the Middle East were as receptive to a thoughtful exchange of ideas.

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3 Comments:

Blogger David Goldenberg said...

There does not have to be a delineation between black and white, good and bad, pro and con here. There are many shades to what this conflict means both to the future of the region, and the world, and what has been derived from the past. I know, because all of these ideas swirl back and forth within me alone without any outside help.

Sally--you are dead right about the indoctrination: "A society of people worn down by conflict and poverty and displacement, then spoon-fed images of an evil scapegoat and uplifted by promises of milk and honey in return for rage will respond in kind. How could they not?"

I also mentioned this on my blog Friday July 21:
" I just watched a Lebanese woman interviewed on CNN telling about the promises Hisbullah made to her to rebuild her shattered home and life once the current fighting stops. She hopes that more Israelis are killed, because they are the enemy and the reason for her suffering. If I taught my children that anything missing in their lives was because there are too many Mexicans in California, they would believe it and repeat it. This Hizbullah woman has been indoctrinated as have millions of Jews and Arabs since birth, to hate each other. They don’t even know why any more—the hatred is an entity all by itself."

The key here is that the issue has become a Swiftian nightmare where one group hates another simply because of which side they break their eggs, in other words, for no reason except inner frustratation and turmoil.

The other problem I can't resolve, whether or not I think Israel overreacted to be attacked or whatever other differences I feel--the one age-ld truth in this war is that history proves, time after time, that when faced with calamity, and when abandoned by all sorts of friends, the Jews have ultimately had to stand alone and fight for survival.

The world stood by in the WWII Holocaust, in so many documented cases knowing the killing plan of the Nazis for the Jews of Europe, and let it happen anyway. When Morgenthau came to Roosevelt with evidence of concentration camps and genocide, the answer was that the US has a war to fight, in which the murder of Jewish civilians was an ancillary annoyance, not the main target.

There is a bottom line here however, that is abundantly clear even though I haven't been to Israel, and I don't believe Lebanese people hate Jews, and that is that violence will not solve this problem. It can't, especially by itself. And the absence of US intervention to stop the violence is the overwhelming atrocity of this war. The ability to exercize the solution lies in the US power of its military and its dollar. Unfortunately for the ongoing pain of innocent children, there is no brilliance of intellect or will with which to utilize the power. The US leadership is inded impotent, in all the ramifications of the semantics of that word. And as constituents of this representation, we should all, as Americans, be really ashamed.

8:45 PM  
Blogger PuckPan said...

You, John Bolton, George Bush, ands Ann Coulter - you make a great team. Israel brings empire-builders together. Doesn't it?

10:43 AM  
Blogger psonica said...

Greets to the webmaster of this wonderful site! Keep up the good work. Thanks.
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11:59 AM  

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