Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gaza, Jews and Anti-Semitism

Letter to a Jewish Friend

I suspect neither of us will change our views of what happens in the Israel/Palestinian situation. Reason seldom wins over passionate conviction.
As with most of my Jewish friends, we are willing to let friendship conquer our desire to be right. We leave that rancorous social-political issue best left un-discussed.

Support the Poor and Disenfranchised

I will always support the poor and the disenfranchised, the weak and the powerless. The U.S. backed Israeli government oppresses the Palestinian people and has done for fifty years. Little or nothing has been done to change the poverty and miserable living conditions of the Palestinian people. Nothing has been done to change the infrastructure of Israel to relive the poverty and powerlessness of the Palestinian people.

Non-Violence

I also do not believe violence does anything more than create violence.

The Israelis and Palestinians continue to kill each other. Americans tend to support one side or the other. Each side sees the other side as good or evil depending on their point of view. Neither side admits they are wrong. Each side demonizes the other. Self-righteousness abounds on both sides.

Most Israelis, Palestinians and Americans approve of violence as appropriate response to grievances.

Those of us active in the non-violent peace movement call for negotiations between warring parties as necessary steps toward bringing an end to the hostilities in Gaza. Labeling either side as terrorist dehumanizes them. Statements that say we do not negotiate with so-called terrorists keep parties from the negotiating table.

As a follower of Jesus the Revolutionary, I want to follow the path of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. “My peace I leave with you.”

Anti-Semitism, Conscience and Speaking Out

Many fear being called an anti-Semite if we criticize Israel. I have been called that. Only I can judge whether I am an anti Semite or not. I must gather in and monitor my conscience. Anyone else’s statement that I am an anti-Semite remains in the world of pious opinion and nothing else. I alone know if I am one who loves or hates Jews. I am clear that I am not an anti-Semite because I disagree with Israeli policies.

I also believe that powerful and wealthy American Jews have forced our legislators into silence or compliance on Israeli policies about the Palestinians. This includes the Clintons, the Bushes and Barak Obama. They have threatened to defeat politicians who are not supportive of Israel and have done so. This statement also is regarded by some as anti-Semitic. We on the liberal left and in the peace movement must not be deterred by threats of being labeled an anti-Semite. We can trust our consciences.

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