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Sunday, May 18, 2008


Bush's speech to Knesset

Two very disturbing themes emerged from this obstacle to peace. One was the specific and repeated references to Israel's "historic" "right" to be there, going back to Abraham. The other was the militaristic pep talk that faded to obsequious silliness towards the end. Had it ended on that note, I would have fully expected Bush to lead the Knesset-army out marching and take over Gaza and the West Bank at the end of the speech.

As usual, I couldn't believe what came out of Bush' mouth. His speech writer must be a member of the AIPAC and a big Zionist bigot.

A reference to Ariel Sharon, man of peace - A moniker that still puzzles me. At least he got the warrior part right. Dude loved a fight.

In one paragraph, he hits on two contentious points.
1. "natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate."This is a quote from their Declaration of Independence. The Jews have this right and no one else does, apparently. Why not say all people do, if that's what you believe. They don't believe that, that's why. Israel is a state for Jews, not its citizens and has been since its inception.
2. "...redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham and Moses and David — a homeland for the chosen people Eretz Yisrael."The previous was a political opinion. Now, here, Mr. Bush, you're messing with the Bible. Not only is this unhelpful in our quest as an unbiased mediator, but it is Biblically incorrect. Bush repeats this misconception that in 1948, a Biblical prophecy was fulfilled about Jews returning to a homeland. At one time, the Israelites were God's chosen. With Jesus' death, resurrection and acension, that is no longer the case. Not to mention that the Israelites and today's Jews aren't the same. God did promise the Israelites land and they obtained it, but keeping it was conditional on following God and they turned away. God told them in detail what would happen if they turned away- kicked off the land, pestilence, wars, etc. Bad stuff. A lot of that happened in AD70 when Jerusalem was invaded and temple destroyed. This was symbolic of the fulfillment of the old and coming of the new (Christianity/Jesus). Talk in the prophets of the returning of God's people to Zion after their rejection is symbolism for everyone coming to God through Christ, rather than literal Jews coming to literal Israel. The language is clear if you read it (also Hebrews discusses it).

"unbreakable alliance", "friendship", "shared spirit of our people, the bonds of the Book, the ties of the soul" - more obstacles that prevent the US from helping in any way. In fact, it is detrimental to any peace, justice or positive development in the region. And there is more still of Bush bestowing on Jews the religious right to ethnically cleanse Palestinians in the name of freedom and democracy.

In a mention of the holocaust, Bush again, wrongly, references the “promise of God,” or Israel.
He quotes Golda Meir. This deluded woman has also said there is no such thing as Palestinians.
In a paragraph about the “struggle” for independence, Bush makes them sound heroic-”in spite of the violence, in defiance of the threats”. The part about welcoming immigrants is a half truth. They are welcome if they are Jewish. The Arabs that have lived there since the beginning and who are citizens aren’t even welcome. I found this lie particularly funny and out of place, seeing how many Americans are aware of Israel‘s war crimes: “love of liberty, a passion for justice, and a respect for human dignity”. Yeah, imprisoning people for political reasons, denying fair trials to Arabs, and treating people like cattle at the many checkpoints, and generally oppressing and collectively punishing an entire population for the crimes of a few. That sounds like liberty and dignity, all right. I guess the Iraq disaster has taught us Israel and the US share a desire to carpet bomb Israel’s neighbors and torture “suspects”. We do have that in common, at least. Worked for peace and fought for freedom?? I’m just not buying it. I’d buy state sponsored terrorism. That fits. Aparthied. I’d buy that. Worked for peace? No. It just doesn’t match the facts on the ground.

He mentions an agricultural miracle?? Whaa??? He’s totally buying into the old myth that Israelis made the desert bloom. What happened was that they expropriated the most fertile land, then diverted most of the Palestinians’ water resources to the dry areas they stole. Today, Palestinians have a serious water crisis and have to look thirstily at the green yards and full swimming pools in illegally built settlements. No miracle there. Palestinians were left with a lot of rocky areas they had to work hard to get any use of- that is more of a miracle, but since it is a positive Palestinian development, it is totally ignored by the US.

Bush mentions several Jewish tourist attractions he visited and said that he’s seen Israel’s character. He didn’t visit any Israeli Arab or Muslim sites (that he mentioned)-guess they don’t factor into Israeli character. Only Jews matter and Bush is applauding and supporting this racist view. He says this, then wants to talk peace and compromise. It is easy to see who will be expected to compromise.

He speaks of moral clarity, value of life, right to a peaceful life, without so much as a nod toward Palestinians.

He says he’s ashamed of the UN for trying to do what no one else dares- to put Israel in it’s racist, oppressive place.

He condemns anti-Semitism (the Jewish kind), which is good, but stops just short of repeating another lie, that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. Why don’t free people have the right to examine and question a state’s right to exist, or right to oppress, right to extra-judicially assassinate, right to demolish homes, right to cause a humanitarian disaster, right to influence or control another population’s elections, right to collectively punish?

“On the one side are those who defend the ideals of justice and dignity with the power of reason and truth. On the other side are those who pursue a narrow vision of cruelty and control by committing murder, inciting fear, and spreading lies.”

Ok…I know where Bush is going with this, but Israel’s definitely in the latter category. I think Bush is of the opinion that terrorists are different than Palestinians in general, but with this speech (and other sentiments like it), you’d never know it. In speeches like this, you’d think all Palestinians or Arabs are terrorists or that there are no Palestinians-just Israeli Jews and the Terrorists.

As for breaking ties with Israel, Bush gives no real reason why we reject it. We just do. He says it’s propaganda, so he must be right. He was right about WMD’s, so, let’s all get on board with this, ok?

He leaves an opening for attacking Iran-home run in Israel. Israelis are ready to elect him PM now. Maybe Bush is trying to get elected over there. Maybe this is a stump speech. It would explain a lot.

“to prevail in this struggle, we must offer an alternative to the ideology of the extremists by extending our vision of justice and tolerance and freedom and hope”

He just said a few paragraphs ago that he doesn’t expect anyone to talk to those they deem terrorists and here we are extending tolerance? Extend our vision and offer tolerance?? Seems like everyone has to do it our way and anyone who has a different idea is a terrorist.

A rather anti-diplomacy speech. Political problems need political solutions, not threats of carpet bombing or worse. Peace won’t come without justice. Bush may be right that peace follows democracy, but there is a need for justice that the US is incapable of overseeing. Some may say it’s not our job, but our government seems to think it is. If they are going to do it, I say, do it right. Acknowledge both sides’ suffering, concerns, violations, progress, etc. Dish out criticism to whoever is doing wrong, not just the people you can’t identify with.

If I had just 3 words, they'd be: obstacle to peace.
Until later...

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