Thursday, May 6, 2010

Israel Won't Sign NPT, American Jewish Debate, Guns

Gail Collins
Michael Sheehan

"I think you’re going too far here.” - Senator Lindsey Graham
"The subject of guns turns Congress into a twilight zone. People who are perfectly happy to let the government wiretap phones go nuts when the government wants to keep track of weapons permits." - Gail Collins
“We make it so easy for dangerous people to get guns. If it’s the Second Amendment, it doesn’t matter if they’re Osama bin Laden." - Paul Helmke
“I am all into national security. ... I want to stop reading these guys their Miranda rights..." - Lindsey Graham

I've been making the rounds of doctors the past couple of days, and probably won't post anything until Friday evening. I hope that what I have written has been making sense. as I have been distracted. This getting older surely sucks, I never imagined that I would be in the situation I am in, regarding my health, and physical and mental condition: "... last year for the first time, another type of search crossed into first place... marking a profound demographic shift that public safety officials say will increasingly define the future as the nation ages: wandering, confused dementia patients." So far, I haven't gone out the door to roam the neighborhoods in an Alzheimer induced fog, but I will admit to getting lost and wandering for hours in the snow before. Enough self-pitying, it happens every time I have to go to the hospital for testing... Been feeling my mortality, especially after reading that the Nigerian president Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua died late on Wednesday, at age 58, after a long battle with kidney and heart ailments. He is the same age as I am, and even though I never will have the responsibility of an African nation or a US city, it saddens me when someone else of my generation dies, part of our collective dreams die, too.

I know that I am obsessed with the Middle East, I would like to see some kind of peace established there before I die. Thankfully, the dream of peace in Palestine is one that spans generations. Martin Indyk, who served as US ambassador to Israel under two presidents, has suggested that Barack Obama visit Israel to explain his position to the people there, that it would calm down the shrill, anti-Obama rallies and effigy-hangings. The surrounding Arabian countries are worried that the Obama administration will fall back on the attitude of previous administrations, giving Israel full, unconditional support without making any criticism.
"We must distinguish between the Israeli people and the Israeli government." - Nick Clegg
Here in the US, the Question of Israel is just as emotional and contentious. It appears as an either/or question, brooking no middle ground. There is the traditional, conservative leadership that has been in charge of producing the fundamental American Jewish policy, who feel that any criticism of Israel is to deny its very foundations and legitimacy. And then there is everyone else who are tired of having to kiss their asses... Yeah, I have pissed off a lot of my Jewish friends in the past.
“You cannot really engage in that conversation. You raise a question about the security forces or the settlements and you are suddenly being compared to a Holocaust denier. It’s just not a rational discussion"  - Phillip Moore
But most people, especially those of the younger generations, have mixed emotions. They love and support Israel, but not everything that the Israeli government does it right, and they have made many mistakes regarding the Palestinian problem. And they get tired at being labeled as anti-Semitic Jews: "The recent tension between the Obama administration and the Israeli government over the stalled Middle East peace process has put the questions underlying those long-avoided family discussions directly in the public spotlight. They have raised serious questions about whether the traditional leadership of the American Jewish world is fully supported by the mass of American Jews."
Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, predicted that Mr. Obama’s approval ratings among Jews would soon reflect what he called “a deep distress” over his approach. “People are angry,” he said. “Americans do not want peace shoved down the throats of the Israelis.”
As an American, Mr Foxman, I really don't mind shoving peace down your throat, especially if it will change your shrill tone. Time to step aside and let someone younger take your place, or at least concentrate on situations where there is actual anti-Semitic emotions being expressed.

Even with the younger, more liberal Jewish folk, there isn't an easy answer. The unfortunate truth is that, for an actual two-state solution to take place, Israel will have to make some major concessions, and this is why they have been flopping down on the road, daring George Mitchell to pick them up and carry them to the table. It's estimated that about 40-50,000 settlers in the West Bank will have to be kicked out, and they are the most vehement and violently against it. When you live your life in hostility towards others, you will reap nothing but violence as harvest... not bad, I just made that aphorism up, but I know there is something similar, somewhere. It's time for these people to step up to the plate and start embracing true Jewish values:
"Israel is not just the homeland of Jews but of Jewishness, and should be known for its embrace of the values at the core of Judaism — truth, fairness, kindness, freedom."  - Phillip Moore

To further muddy the waters, is the wish to declare the Middle East a nuclear weapons free region. The US sees this as directed towards Iran, and hopefully preventing a nuclear arms race that might result in turning this vast area into a glowing, radiation-filled beacon that can be seen from space. The Arab states sees this as forcing Israel to give up the weapons they have already stockpiled, but won't confirm they have, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Israel says that the NPT didn't stop Saddam from pursuing weapons of mass destruction, though that's a weak argument in the light of recent history. They say that they will sign on once an Israeli - Palestinian treaty has been created and signed, ignoring all past signed agreements between the two... In the meantime the big news is that Benjamin Netanyahu met with George Mitchell for a second day in a row, now that's progress... Mahmoud Abbas claimed that Hamas is cracking down on militant behavior in Gaza while smuggling out guns and promoting violence in the West Bank. Sounds about right, Hamas has ended up being the worst thing the Palestinians ever supported.

Now that it looks like Nashville will be the new Haiti, the upcoming national discussion will be over guns once again. It's an irrational subject much like the state of Israel: if you are against the NRA's positions then you are downright un-American, compadre... With the increase of homegrown terrorists buying guns, the government would like to either not let them buy a gun, or at least be able to keep track of their permits. Crap, another round of gun-toting, lard-assed sissies crowding into Starbuck's for another set of demonstrations. I guess they prefer gun-metal tea to coffee these days...

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