Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Betsy's Latest Plea for Peace

Letter to the Editor

I was so pleased to see the letter to the editor statement published in The Trib, 5/16/08, from Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of J Street, a new Israeli lobby and political action committee in Washington, that I zipped off a thank you, thank you, thank you to the paper’s staff worthy of personal note, but not for publication. I was grateful that The Trib provided us all with another option for examination of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. For me, Palestinian supporter to the core, it’s fantastic to be able to have this new group on the radar, because J Street provides a reasonable and hope-inducing alternative to friends of Israel’s “be-for-us-a-hundred percent or die” ideology expressed by the more famous Israeli lobby, AIPAC, and their off local offshoots. The latter group supports the long standing attitude of some Zionist folk who bow to the pain of the Holocaust in a way that makes similar holocausts certain if not for Jews (but, them, too, actually), for those who oppose their religious state plunked down in the Holy Land as an inevitable right. Thank you J Street. If your views are fair enough and supported enough to slant public opinion, Israel may, indeed, get what they’ve fought 60-years and still counting to have and the Palestinians will get a chance for freedom unknown through centuries of foreign occupation. J Street has offered a perspective that endorses the idea of doing what’s right and just for all concerned, not only what’s desired by the most mighty and ruthless set of Zionists willing to wage war no matter how long (100 years, maybe?) and no matter who suffers as a result.

Presenting an excellent example of the difference “between the ideology” of, say, AIPAC and “the foreign policy realism” of J Street,” David Brooks’s Trib column, 5/18/08, took the words in quotes from our potential US statesman, Barak Obama. To whom do we owe appreciation for sharing these thoughtful and more “nuanced” rhetorical presentations: none other than our Tribune. We should be proud to have a local paper that makes us think. In these two articles, we have the premises needed for making politics “the art of the possible.” For those of you who believe that consideration of “a just policy realism” is weak, please remember that choosing or even just suggesting violent reaction simply because you can may be fear inducing, but is not real strength. As we saw in the movie, Schindler’s List, knowing you can be violent and choosing not to be is the kind of powerful choice that can diminish governmental corrosion-within. The ones who will stabilize the world for generations to come need to have the strength of will to face our problems with cautious and calculated trust. This takes the ability to “know” our enemies and ourselves. It takes monumental bravery to choose a path that can stabilize the world rather than destroy it. Will this happen? It sort of depends on whether or not we are tired enough of war and violence to rethink the methods we need to use to win and to let others win, as well?

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