I'm so bad about email. I have thousands of them, many if not most unread. I sign up for things...
Anyway, I was making a minimal effort to clean it up when I realized there was a note I hadn't seen from a friend back in Colorado. He sent me the link to this awful letter to the editor published Dec. 26 in the Rocky Mountain News. (Note especially the references to Spielberg's "Munich"):
Unsurprisingly, the word "occupation" did not appear in David Brooks' Dec. 13 column on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict ("Spielberg's 'Munich' omits one thing: evil"). Israel's 38-year occupation of Palestinian lands is the elephant in the room that must not be mentioned. If the occupation and Israeli theft of Palestinian lands, with the concomitant Israeli state terrorism against Palestinians, can be glossed over, it is hard for people to understand what the fighting there is about. It then becomes easier to miscast all Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation simply as acts committed by radical Islamists who want to exterminate Israelis.It blows my mind that the man writes that "all Israeli settlers in Gaza... are there illegally." I don't think he realizes how true that is: since the Expulsion of All Jews from the Gaza strip back in August, it is illegal for a Jew to even be in Gaza, much less live there. Forthofer should go, he'd like it.... it's Jew-free.
It is also important to note that all Israeli settlers in Gaza, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Syria's Golan Heights were and are there illegally. In addition, Israel's "apartheid" wall is stealing even more Palestinian territory.
Acts of terrorism, whether committed by fanatic Arab-hating Israeli settlers, by the Israeli military, or by Hamas or the Islamic Jihad, must be condemned and stopped. However, using even more violence in an attempt to stop the terrorism only provides more fuel to the "perpetual motion machine" of violence mentioned by Spielberg. Instead of using violence, we must deal with the root cause of the conflict by ending the unmentionable occupation and removing all the illegal Israeli settlements.
Thank G-d, my friend responded. I don't know if it got published, but here is his letter to the editor:
While it's hard to understand the racist hatred of Ron Forthofer published in the Rocky's letters to the editor on December 26, 2005, it's clear he wishes the state of Israel did not exist. In raging against Israel's so-called "illegal occupation" of "Palestinian lands", Forthofer studiously ignores well-established facts about the status of the land and its acquisition by Israel. Among Forthofer's oversights is the fact the UN has determined land acquired by Israel in defensive wars dating back to its founding in 1948 is recognized as "disputed" and its disposition is subject to future negotiated between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.
It's difficult to fathom how the UN, not known as a bastion of pro-Israel sentiment, can so clearly enumerate the status of the land as "disputed"while Forthofer, a well-educated man with a Ph.D can draw a much more narrow conclusion. I am at a loss to understand how a man with the dedication and talent to earn a Ph.D, which presumably requires the ability to do research, can conclude "Israeli theft of Palestinian lands" and "illegal occupation"have occurred when in the history of the world, no nation or state by the name of Palestine has ever existed.
Forthofer proceeds to demonstrate his complete ignorance of the Israel/Arab conflict by creating, from whole cloth, the existence of Israeli terrorists.Despite wave after wave of horrible terror attacks which pre-date the modern state of Israel, there has been only one case of Israeli terrorism againstPalestinian Arabs. Unlike the well-organized, well-funded and popularly supported Palestinian terrorists who have posters praising their evil acts posted in their towns, or soccer fields names after them, this single instance of Israeli terrorism was immediately and thoroughly investigated and the lone perpetrator condemned.
In 1948, the modern state of Israel was founded by a long overdue act of the United Nations. Populated descendents of Jews who had lived their for millennia, immigrants from eastern Europe and thousands of sick, horrified, or orphaned Holocaust survivors the newly born state of Israel was attacked by all of its Arab neighbors within hours of its birth. Their goal was to destroy the state of Israel and kill every last Jewish man woman and child living there. Since 1948, the goal of Israel's Arab neighbors hasn't changed and Israel has fought several defensive wars for its very survival.
During these wars Israel has captured land from its enemies. Since then, Israel has become the ONLY nation in the history of the world to cede land captured in a defensive was to its enemies in the hope for peace.
Few acts bespeak a complete lack of humanity more than the Arab desire to erase Israel and its inhabitants from the face of the earth when all they want is to live peacefully in their ancestral homeland. Sadly, when an educated man stands up in defense of evil given ample access to historical fact, I believe this lack of humanity has indeed been exceeded.
Kol hakavod, my friend.