[I take the liberty of sending on a note to the Israel_Palestine list by Dorothy Naor.  We are of the same era, both having been born in the U.S. within a year of each other, which means that we shared many of the same experiences.

My own awakening really required some time out of the U.S. as a British public school student which broke the ‘group think’ patterns of being an American. Among other things, I hiked as a teen with young Germans in a peace-making effort, lived briefly with my French pen pal family, worked with fellow teens in the poorest section of London as well as flying high with the British upper bourgeoises of that era. What I share particularly with Dorothy is concern for decent treatment of those over whom we have the power to abuse.  Ed Kent]

Dear Neal,

I’ll be 75 in March.  In other words, I am of the Holocaust generation, as is my spouse (who will be 79 in a month).  The difference being that he escaped from Vienna and the Nazis with his parents and younger brother at the 0 hour and came to Palestine, I grew up in the US (during a time when there was a quota system for Jews, restricted neighborhoods, and the like).  My spouse was fortunate that his father had the money to pay for the certificate to come to Palestine, because no other country in the world (including the US) wanted the refugees.  He was 11 at the time. The remainder of his large extended family all perished in the Camps.  No wonder that he believed that the Jews needed a homeland.  In the US we also were impacted on by the pictures of the Camps, by stories of refugees who the US began to let in, and so on.  My spouse came to the States to study, we met, married and returned to Israel to raise our children as Israelis, as Jews in a Jewish country.

I’m relating all this to you so that you realize that from then till where I am politically now was a very long and painful process.  I now realize that a Jewish country is in itself undesirable for reasons that I won’t expand on here (read Ed’s report on his own experience in growing up with prejudice, and how he managed to finally avoid being racist; it contains much of my thinking on the issue).  Moreover, since 2000 and the 2nd intifada my spouse (his name is Israel) and I have learned much from experience–experience from reading early Zionist texts, and experience from finally after so many years meeting Palestinians, working with them to stop the injustice done them, and forming close friendships with quite a large number of them.

What right did the UN have to give the Jewish people 55% of historic Palestine, when Jews owned actually but 6%?  And, moreover, when Palestine was largely rural and Muslims were 70% rural while Jews were barely 20% rural.  There is more than a tinge of racism in the UN act.  After all, why build a Jewish state at the expense of a people who never did anything to deserve being exiled and deprived of their lands, to a people who did not deserve being dispossed?  If indeed the Jews needed a country of their own, why was it not established in places where Jews had been mistreated–in Europe or the US?

True, the Palestinians (Jews, Muslims, and Christians) had lived under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and after the British Mandate, but neither the Turks nor the Brits colonized Palestine, nor exiled Palestinians, nor demolished 400 of their villages so that there would be no place for the exiled to return to.

Finally (to make this story short), the notion that the Jews need a country of their own for their safety is a myth.  Had the Nazis completed their plans, the Jews would have been no more safe in Palestine than they were anywhere else in the world.  Palestinians were lucky that Rommel did not succeed.  If the US stops supporting Israel with $2.5 billion in military aid and $10 billion in credit guarantees, Israel will cease to be.  And that will undoubtedly happen some day.  Israel, even with all that military aid (great for war profiteers, but not for most of us) cannot even protect its own population much less others.  More Jews have been killed in battle and by violence in Israel than any place else in the world since WWII.  Israel has gone through 10 wars since 1948!  No wonder most Jews prefer to live abroad.

We (spouse and I) also began in the belief that the Jews need a country of their own.  Today I dispute that.  Much healthier to live as Jews, Christians, and Muslims did in peace and cooperation in Palestine for some 9 centuries prior to the onset of Zionism.  Much healthier to live in a mixed society as the US and most of Europe than in an ethnographic state, so fearful of negative demographics that it is doing everything to prevent any other people from living here–be they Philippines, Rumanians, and certainly Palestinians.  Israel has taken over the West Bank as it took over what is properly Israel today, and will probably commit genocide in Gaza, because fewer immigrants are coming, and the Palestinian population (in contrast to Jabotinsky’s belief that the iron wall would bring them to their knees) refuse to give up.  Even with 11,000 prisoners–mostly male between the ages of 18-45–kept from their families, families continue to grow.

Not until the Palestinians have peace, have freedom, have justice, will Jews feel safe here again.  They will wisely continue to emigrate (did you see the stats on Canadians yesterday?  since 1948 some 7,000 Canadian Jews immigrated to Israel, but today 30,000 ex-Israelis live in Canada; need to checkout the stats for the US).

I don’t agree with you that Fisk is one-sided.  My personal experience has taught me to see things much as he describes them. And the fact that he does not complain about other countries does not lessen Israel’s evils, does not make him one-sided.  That’s another tactic that people who want to defend Israel at all costs use.  Two wrongs do not make one right.  And 10 wrongs do not make one right.  Sure, there are lots of wrongs in the world.  But the fact that Fisk concentrates on one instead of on all does not make him one-sided.  The same goes for me. Except that I have a personal interest at stake–my children, grandchildren, future great-grandchildren, neighbors, etc.  I want them to have security and I want my Palestinian friends to have security.  That will not come about via the Greater Israel and the continued use of force.

As you might have gathered, I am no longer Zionist.  Knowledge has brought me to realize that Zionism was a crime–born in Europe, nurtured mainly in Eastern Europe, where the Jews suffered at Christian (not Muslim) hands, it came to build a country on the backs of a people who had done nothing to deserve the fate of the Zionist dream come true (as far as concerns the establishment of a state; as far as concerns the idea of a refuge, Israel never became that).  In fact, after the Inquisition, those Jews who left Spain for Arab countries lived quite well.  They did not suffer pogroms and the iniquities suffered by Jews in Europe.

I can’t continue now. Have important things to do.  I will close only by saying that I am a firm believer in the principle of ‘don’t do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.’

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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