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Mazin Qumsiyeh: An existential struggle

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    An existential struggle, by Mazin Qumsiyeh It is amazing how little was said in US mainstream media about the decision by Israel s supreme court recognizing
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 6, 2005
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      An existential struggle, by Mazin Qumsiyeh

      It is amazing how little was said in US mainstream media about the
      decision by Israel's supreme court recognizing some non-Orthodox
      conversion to Judaism. Israeli and European papers debated this issue
      clearly revealing that Israel is the only country in the world that
      recognizes members of a particular religion as nationals of the state
      entitled to automatic citizenship regardless of where they live and
      what their current citizenship happens to be (or even if they want
      such "right").

      Despite a concerted propaganda campaign with billions spent, most Jews
      chose to live outside Israel and most are non-Zionist or even
      anti-Zionist. Zionists thus made sure on many occasions that
      persecuted Jews have only one place to migrate (e.g. by pressuring the
      US Congress and the German government not to increase Soviet Jewish
      migration to the West but to insist on migration to Israel).

      This issue, poorly understood by many because of a media blackout on
      open discussion is at the core of the failure of US foreign policy.
      Prior to Truman (who was pressured by an emerging Zionist lobby), no
      US president supported Zionism. Such support is actually contrary to
      US constitutional mandates separation of Church and state and not
      promoting religion. Yet, even Truman and those who came after him to
      support Israel because of the cold war, understood that such a state
      was created based on a deep injustice to the native Palestinians
      (Christians and Muslims).

      The West Bank and Gaza together comprise 22% of historic Palestine but
      even here, some 450,000 Jewish colonial settlers control over half the
      land while 3.5 million Palestinians are squeezed into smaller and
      smaller areas not different from Indian reservations (now being
      surrounded by walls and fences). The other 78% of Palestine is now
      home to 4.5 million Jews and 1.2 million remaining Palestinians. But
      those Palestinians are by no means equal Israeli citizens (even if
      they have a right to vote). Even excluding the continuous racist
      paranoia about their "demographic threat", nearly one quarter of them
      are considered by law "present absentees" meaning that they did not
      join their relative in Lebanon or Gaza as refugees but their land is
      confiscated and turned over for Jewish National Fund use under the
      "absentee property" basic law. Over 100 of these remaining Palestinian
      towns and villages are "unrecognized" by the state and thus receive no
      governmental services (water, roads, schools, electricity etc.).

      As for Palestinian refugees, over 500 of their villages and towns were
      destroyed (see PalestineRemembered.com) and now they constitute
      two-thirds of the 9 million Palestinians in the world. This process,
      while accelerated under the fog of five wars, never stopped. In the
      past four years alone, over 16,000 Palestinians lost their homes by
      Israeli army demolitions (per the Israeli Committee Against Home
      Demolitions, ICAHD.org), a process now going unchecked and unreported
      since the Palestinians declared a cease-fire and the myth of "peace
      process" resumed. How is it fair that any Jew, including converts to
      Judaism (now adding non-orthodox conversions), can come live on
      Palestinian land while Palestinian Christians and Muslims are denied
      their basic right to return? Studies show that such return of native
      people is possible and desirable without displacing Israelis and
      even improving standard of living for all.

      This basic injustice of political Zionism is the reason for continued
      instability in the Middle East. It is why a Zionist like Henry
      Kissinger would state that under his leadership, the policy was to get
      Iranians and Iraqis "to kill each other" (the Iran-Iraq war took one
      million lives and the US give aid to both parties!). It is why
      Zionists like Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz were instrumental in
      violating the UN charter by invading Iraq. In 1996-1997, these same
      folks explained the benefit to Israel.

      In one of their studies, they said it would be difficult to sell this
      program of "preemption" and hegemony "save for a Pearl Harbor like
      event" (Project for the New American Century). These words uttered
      before 9/11/01 are chilling when one combines them with the fact that
      so far we spent $250 billion to support Israel's destruction of
      Palestine and $160 billion for the occupation and destruction of Iraq
      (not counting the 11 years of destruction before the last invasion
      that took one million Iraqi lives due to US led sanctions and
      infrastructure destruction). The costs have been staggering in terms
      of lives lost and destroyed: thousands of Israelis and Americans and
      hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Iraqis.

      All for what? Is it so that the "only democracy in the Middle East"
      can decide in its Knesset and Courts whether Reform Jews are
      equivalent to Orthodox Jews in their conversion and thus "rights" to
      settle on Palestinian land? Is it so that we can continue to prop up
      undemocratic regimes like Egypt and Jordan so long as they have signed
      peace treaties with Israel or if they keep the oil flowing at cheap
      prices while propping rich US military and other corporations (e.g.
      Saudi Arabia)? Is it not time for everyone to demand a rational US
      foreign policy that recognizes native rights and puts people rigst
      ahead of corporate greed? And for those of us (Palestinian or
      otherwise) who are not part of the elite, is it not time we recognize
      that this is an existential struggle shared by all humans?




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