TO GET REAL
Perhaps, I'm just getting old. I don't seem to have the tolerance for nonsense as I once did. Nevertheless, I can't take it any longer. I want to buy time on CNN and al-Jazeera and scream so the entire world would hear, "Get real! It's time for America and the Muslim world to get real." I hate sounding like Dr. Phil, but someone is going to have to say something. Both parties in this "clash of cultures" need to get real-before it is too late.
America has to realize that our stance in the Middle East doesn't make sense to anyone except Israel. Most of the rest of the world thinks that we are wrong in our near total support of the Israelis. Even the British, who originally messed up this situation with the Balfour Declaration in 1917, don't back us up on this matter like they did with the war in Iraq. This is in spite of the fact that it was the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour, who wrote to Lord Rothschild giving tacit recognition to the creation of Israel. What was he thinking? Why should a British Foreign Secretary decide what the Middle East would look like? Answer: the British were running the world back then, and they made the rules. Haughty? Yes, and also arrogant. What is even worse than that is that many in Washington have this hegemonic attitude about the Middle East today-just like the British nearly a century ago.
To help us get real and sensitive to how the Palestinians, Muslims, and the rest of the world feels on this issue, imagine for a moment what you would think and do if a Native American came up to your home and said, "The Great Spirit gave this land to my people hundreds of years ago, and we want it back." To make matters even worse, suppose a military force like the Russians were backing the Native Americans in their bid to retake their land from you, your family, and neighbors.
You protest by telling the Native Americans that you purchased your property legally and that they hadn't been on the land for a couple centuries. Nevertheless, they with Russian military assistance forced you off the land. This resulted in you and your family being sent to a refugee camp with all your neighbors. There you stayed for generations. Tell me, how would you feel about the Native Americans and that international force that made it possible for them to displace you and your people?
However, we are supporting Israel that hasn't had a nation in the Holy Lands for nearly two millennia. And we wonder why the Palestinians are so upset and resort to terrorism. If someone did that to me, I would be rabid, and the Native Americans and their sponsor would call me a terrorist. Get real. It is time for us as Americans and Washington in particular to get real and apply equal pressure on both sides in this run-up to Armageddon. Everyone else has gotten the message; it is time for us to get real when it comes to Israel.
Now, the Palestinians and the rest of the Muslim world need to get real and come to terms with reality of the state of Israel. Israel is there. Therefore, refugees need to be helped by the rest of the world to resettle them in their Palestinian state. Israel needs to withdraw to the borders set out in the Roadmap for Peace. In turn, the Palestinians need to reign in on the terrorist groups. Terrorism begets terrorism and killing begets more killing. The result of an eye for an eye Middle East policy on both sides is that both lose their sight in blind hatred.
In addition, the Muslim world is also going to have to get real with modernity. The world's attitudes and understandings about women and religious tolerance have changed. Whether Christianity and Islam once thought that God and Allah mandated sexual or religious intolerance, we have to realize that we were both mistaken. Modernity is a reality also; deal with it. God doesn't show partiality toward anyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.
Grant it, getting real is going to cost all involved a great deal. However, not getting real is going to lead us to Armageddon. That is a price no one will want to pay. Now is the time to GET REAL.
This article appeared in the Dixon Telegraph on 9/24/03.