Lets put the rhetoric coming from Iran and Israel into some perspective:
We hear a great deal of talk from Iran questioning the right of Israel to exist and we are now hearing Israel refer to Iran as pre-WWII Germany. To understand what is happening, it is important to examine what is actually happening in the region.Â But that’s almost impossible.Â There can be no open, honest discussion of Israel and its policies without the Jewish being used as metaphorical hostages. On the Iran -Israel counter accusations alone, it is obvious that the American media will never allow an open discussion that includes any criticism of Israel, nor will they consider the merits of anyone who dares to speak against the actions of the State of Israel.
Please keep these points in your mind as the American media spin the reality of that situation to conform to a particular bias:.
1. Iran is not threatening â€œJewsâ€ nor are they questioning the right of â€œJewsâ€ to exist. They are questioning the legitimacy of the decision by extra regional authorities to grant control of Palestine to the Jewish people. They question the legality and morality of the decision to do this.
2. As part of the argument that Iran is making, they cite the mistreatment of the Palestinian people by Israel and they cite the dozens of UN Security Council resolutions (not to mention the 30-40 unanimous resolutions that were vetoed by the US) that Israel has violated over the years. Click here for details on those violations.
3. Israel is not now and never was synonymous with the Jewish people. Israel is not a religion, it is a state. It is the state of Israel that is the target of Iranâ€™s rhetoric and in most cases is the target of anger and outrage of people around the world. You can include me in that mix. And I, like most (not all) of the people who discuss Israel and the actions of the state of Israel, do not direct those comments to the Jewish people or Judaism at all.
4. Discussions about Israel are not discussions about Jews. They are political discussions.
On a personal note: I have often witnessed anti-Semitism. Most of the anti-Semitism I have witnessed took place in the work place in corporate America. Most of this anti-Semitism took place in my presence because I am an avowed atheist and I don’t happen to look as if I have any Jewish (among other) heritage. I actually had a bar mitzvah years before I went neutral as an adult.Â I could not deal with the hypocrisy of religion so I decided to simply be a good person. I did not need an ancient book to tell me how to do this. The anti-Semitism that I witnessed came mostly from white Christian males in very powerful corporate positions. I wintessed it when I worked at computer firms, I saw it at the Associated Press, I saw it at Verisign/ Network Solutions and I saw itat many of the big wig happy hour sessions with fortune 100 clients over the years. It is everywhere. On the other hand, growing up Jewish I also witnessed bigotry by Jews every where I went. The word â€œshvartzaâ€ was used by so many people that I thought it was the real term used to describe black people. I saw everyone who was not Jewish treated as a second class citizen. I have seen prejudice from two sides of the aile, and let me tell you that itâ€™s everywhere. We have enough of it in this world, so please donâ€™t pretend it is not there when it is.Â We have to get beyond the bigotry this time around.
We have to reach a point where we can discuss Israel, its government and its policies without falling back on accusations of anti-Semitism.Â This is not about bigotry, it is about conflict and resolution.Â Can we ever reach the point of looking at both sides of the unending and relentless hostility in the region without hearing about the victimization of the Jewish people?Â Oddly enough, the debate is open and unhindered in Israel, where people are permitted to openly criticize their government and rail against the oppression they perceive in the region.
Let’s get to that point in the United States of America.Â We have to be able to discuss the State of Israel, from every angle, openly and honestly,Â without reverting to the ploy of using Jews as human shields.Â Such emotional blackmail only serves to stand in the way of any progress and to ensure that the precarious situation between Israel and the Palestinians will continue to increase as they have until now, and will eventually inflame the entire region. Think about it.