No Holy Ground

The world’s attention has been riveted these past few days by Israel’s assault on Gaza, in an attempt to oust the Hamas-run government and put a stop to rocket attacks on southern Israel. Hundreds of Palestinians were reported killed in a wave of airstrikes, over a thousand wounded, and as of this writing, a ground invasion looms as a continuing possibility. Although the conflict began after a six-month ceasefire expired and Hamas refused to renew it, it’s now Israel that’s rejecting calls for a temporary truce to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The Israeli invasion has drawn a chorus of condemnation from around the world, except in the U.S., where politicians from both parties march in a virtual pro-Israel lockstep. (This despite the fact, as Glenn Greenwald notes, that opinions on the matter among the American public are far more similar to those elsewhere in the world.) The confluence of a hawkish, politically influential pro-Israel lobby and the influence of a major voting bloc of right-wing Christians probably has a lot to do with this.

The Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed is something I’ve never seen the sense of taking sides in. To all except mindless hyper-partisans, it should be obvious that neither Israel nor Palestine is wholly at fault, and as far as I’m concerned, there are plenty of good reasons for blame on both sides. Hamas is deliberately provoking Israel with attacks on civilians, counting on massive Israeli retaliation to cause death and destruction among the Palestinians so that they’ll rise up in anger and rally to Hamas’ banner – callously using the suffering of its own people to shore up its own support. Israel, for its part, is suffocating Gaza with military barricades – preventing even necessities like food and medicine from reaching innocent Palestinians – and using its much greater military power in overwhelming reprisals against defenseless targets, spilling far more blood among Palestinians than any terrorist attack ever did for Israelis. Neither side has made any serious, sustained effort to lower the tension level or restrain itself in the service of a lasting peace.

As in almost all of the world’s lasting trouble spots, this conflict has its origins in religion. Both sides are poisoned by a toxic mixture of beliefs about “promised lands” and “chosen people”, which inevitably inspire hatred and xenophobia against members of the out-group. Two thousand years and more of bloodshed have grown from that bitter seed.

On the Israeli side, these beliefs manifest in the hardcore settlers who believe that controlling the entire occupied territories is their God-given right. In one especially horrifying incident, a mob of settlers tried to lynch a Palestinian family (page has sound), whose lives were only saved by a group of journalists on the scene. These settlements need to be rolled back for there to be any lasting peace, but Israel lacks the political will.

On the Palestinian side and throughout the Muslim world, these beliefs manifest in rampant and vicious anti-Semitism, including teaching schoolchildren the ancient blood libels handed down from medieval Christianity. (See also articles 22 and 32 of the Hamas Covenant.)

Christianity also plays a major, if indirect, role in this conflict. Mostly this is due to right-wing evangelicals, who see the Jews as pawns that need to be moved into place so that they can play their part in the apocalypse by being sacrificed. (This view was most infamously expounded by Pat Robertson when he said that Ariel Sharon’s stroke was because God struck him down as punishment for trying to trade land for peace.) Not only have these groups prevented the American government from applying any significant political pressure to Israel, they themselves have inflamed the conflict by actively encouraging further Israeli settlement in the occupied territories, even getting churches to “adopt” particular settlements.

It’s often stated, as if it were greatly ironic, that the so-called Holy Land is the site of the most enduring and deeply felt hatred on earth. But in truth, that’s exactly what we should expect. The whole point of a “holy land” is that said land is valued irrationally highly, much higher than any material concern would ever justify. Such belief is bound to clash violently with the lives and well-being of humans; that is what always happens when things are valued more highly than people. And the danger is far greater in this case since it’s not just one, but all the world’s major monotheistic faiths that place this insane importance on a tiny and inconsequential strip of ground.

When fanatics of opposing sects go to battle, with each side convinced of its own righteousness and inevitable victory, the only possible outcome is never-ending bloodshed and chaos. In truth, I see only one way out of the destruction that holy-land mythology has wrought on humanity, and that’s for all sides to hear the call of reason and turn away from their suicidal mutual destruction. But with the combatants blinded by self-righteousness and zealotry, I see little prospect of that happening any time in the near future. The fertile crescent that birthed destructive fundamentalism may well be the one place on Earth where it survives the longest.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Dave

    ebon:

    The fertile crescent that birthed destructive fundamentalism may well be the one place on Earth where it survives the longest.

    How unfortunately true.

  • Sus

    *sigh* I just hope neither side is close to aquiring dirty bombs/nukes. That would just be peachy.

  • Pete

    Call me a cynic, but I no longer care about the Middle East. It’s been going on for too long and it will never stop. Peace is impossible, so let’s all enjoy the show. Hey, if a bunch of fanatics wanna kill each other, I’m a happy guy. Do I feel sorry for the civilians? I can’t tell anymore. Let me put it aphoristically: ancient old hatred meets modern weaponry – the Middle East: great family entertainment.

  • gruntled atheist

    I have wondered if making Jerusalem an international city under U.N. control but if that is a good idea someone would have already thought of it.

  • prase

    International control only freezes the problems, at best. Foreign occupation was almost never successful in reducing hatred and hostility. Look at Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, Haiti…

    And not only religion is responsible for the conflict. It is also nationalism which plays major rôle. The first Palestinian terrorist organisations were rather secular. The Arabs have no historical experience comparable to World war II, nationalism is not viewed as a destructive ideology in that part of the world. The Jews, on the other hand, feel that they have suffered enough and now it is their turn. I am a bit afraid that those people will need to survive the same horrors as the West has experienced in the 20th century to get further.

  • http://www.atheistrev.com vjack

    I find this unquestioning U.S. support for Israel detestable. As you suggest, the American people are far more similar to broader international perspectives than are our politicians. And yet, this is an issue that never seems to come up in campaigns, at least not in any meaningful way. I understand that Israel is an ally, but that does not make them magically free from any possible wrongdoing.

  • Louis Doench

    “I have wondered if making Jerusalem an international city under U.N. control but if that is a good idea someone would have already thought of it.”

    What a wonderful and elegant solution. Which is sure to piss EVERYONE off!

  • Tom

    What a wonderful and elegant solution. Which is sure to piss EVERYONE off!

    Yes, but pissed off in equal measure – call me a cynic, but that’s generally the mark of a successful compromise. And since it seems that absolutely everyone there is already about as pissed off as it’s possible to get, there’s really nothing to lose by such an action!

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    the Middle East: great family entertainment.

    Unless it’s someone from your family who’s caught in the crossfire.

  • exrelayman

    Re blood libel: see also ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ and ‘The Jews and their lies’.

    Showing my age a bit. This post called to my mind the song ‘Spiritual Fantasy’ on the Steppenwolf the Second album. Worth checking out if you haven’t heard it.

    Sadly, religion is the great divider into ‘We who believe correctly”, and ‘everyone else’. I love Ambrose Bierce’s definition of scripture.

  • lpetrich

    I don’t think that the Middle East’s troubles are all a result of the various religions there; the story is a rather complicated one.

    On the Zionists’ side, the earlier ones were largely secular ones who wanted to build a place where Jews would not be unwelcome guests, as they had been in much of Europe for centuries. The religious Jews who are belligerent Zionists are mostly “modern Orthodox” as opposed to the black-hat Orthodox, who tend to stick to themselves. Though it must be said that some of them are very adept at pushing certain Christians’ buttons, like how God chose the land of Israel as their home.

    And on the Arab side, secular Arab nationalism used to be a big thing half a century ago. But the farthest that Arab nationalists got in achieving Arab unity was the Egypt-Syria United Arab Republic, which Syria pulled out of because its officials were tired of being treated as junior partners in it. Of the remaining Arab-nationalist regimes, Iraq is conquered, Egypt is neutered, and Syria’s leaders are likely grateful that GWB’s conquest of Iraq has been such a Pyrrhic victory.

    Saudi Arabia’s policies have the side effect of encouraging Islamists. The Saudi leaders suppress all opposition to them, and secular opponents do not have hiding places the way that Islamists do, because Islamists can organize themselves in mosques. Furthermore, the Saudi government promotes an extremely strict brand of Islam, the sort of thing Islamists can point to as the way to go.

    And Iran? Islamists definitely have a great triumph there, successfully unseating the pro-western Shah. They also succeeded in beating back Iraq’s invasion of Iran, though at a big price.

  • http://www.dougpaulsen.com Doug

    *sigh* I just hope neither side is close to aquiring dirty bombs/nukes. That would just be peachy.

    Actually, Israel has nuclear weapons. The chance of them using them on an area that Israel itself covets is remote, though.

  • John
  • Jim Baerg

    nuclear weapons. The chance of them using them on an area that Israel itself covets is remote, though.

    I don’t see coveting the area as at all relevant to the question of using nuclear weapons in the area. Hiroshima & Nagasaki were rebuilt almost immediately after WWII and are perfectly fine areas to live.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroshima
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagasaki

    There are other reasons to avoid nuclear weapons, but the notion that nuclear weapons make an area unlivable for some long period afterward is a curiously common delusion.

  • staceyjw

    When it comes to civilians, the saddest thing is that 90% of civilians on both sides would just love to forget the whole thing and just live together. Im not saying there is not any, often warrented, hostility towards the opposite side from the population. Of course there is. BUT most people just dont harbor the fanatical, deep, hatred necessary to keep this going. Maybe its war fatigue, maybe its modernism, I dont know. But I was surprised to encounter so many people with this attitude. Even military kids (and they are kids) would rather give it up already.

    The problem seems to be a combination of the uncompromising fanatics on both sides, and the fear of the people. Plus, the desire to end the fighting is just that, something wanted but without a clue how to do it. There is no practical plan, and leaders on both sides dont seem interested in providing this.
    This was just my personal experience, of course.

    Also, its horrible when one side can attack with planes, tanks, even nukes, and the other side has the sacrifice of their people and some low grade missles. Palastinians lose 100 people for every Israli. This does seem to be the face of modern warfare though- rich military nations attacking people/countries that can barely fight back.

    We Americans should pay more attention to this conflict. Besides the fact that it directly effects us, we have fanatical parts of our nation with more power than their numbers warrent too. All it takes is a minority with a “decree from god” to ruin it for the rest of us. We dont have the same historical mess as they do, but that doesnt mean that we are safe from them!

  • staceyjw

    It WOULD be nice to round up the fanatics, put them together and let them fight it out.

    When I was in Jerusalem, it struck me how all 3 monotheistic religions have their holiest structures in the same few square miles. Instead of taking that as a sign that they are all the same, they choose to fight over it. I know this mirrors their belief that they have the only truth, but it is just ironic.

  • John

    Apparently Israel has started ground operations against Hamas

    http://www.haaretz.com/

  • jack

    It is a sad situation, especially since it so utterly unnecessary. The Palestinians could long ago have had their own state, peaceful coexistence with Israel and a good standard of living, if only they had had a powerful and charismatic leader like Gandhi or M.L. King, and the courage and wisdom to take the path of nonviolent resistance. The content of Islam in general, and the doctrine of Jihad in particular, may be largely to blame for the fact that nothing like this ever happened.

    Another wrong turn of history seems to be the establishment of the state of Israel as a specifically Jewish state. American support for this seems an especially ironic blunder, since separation of religion and state is so central to the success of America.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Since I became an atheist, I have found myself hating it whenever reporters refer to the land of Israel and the Palestinian territories as the “Holy Land”, as if a strip of territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is more important than any other land in the world.

  • Christopher

    Pete,

    Call me a cynic, but I no longer care about the Middle East. It’s been going on for too long and it will never stop. Peace is impossible, so let’s all enjoy the show. Hey, if a bunch of fanatics wanna kill each other, I’m a happy guy. Do I feel sorry for the civilians? I can’t tell anymore. Let me put it aphoristically: ancient old hatred meets modern weaponry – the Middle East: great family entertainment.

    I second that thought – both sides are dead-set on the complete destruction of the other (the only thing keeping them apart is the Western oil interests in that region – thus the reason for that sham “peace process” to delay the inevitable slaughter so our governments can squeeze the mineral wealth out without much fuss…) and no amount of diplomacy is going to change that! We’re better of ending the whole charade and finding energy sources elsewhere…

  • http://www.dougpaulsen.com Doug

    I don’t see coveting the area as at all relevant to the question of using nuclear weapons in the area. Hiroshima & Nagasaki were rebuilt almost immediately after WWII and are perfectly fine areas to live.

    Well, yes, but that is not what I meant. I meant that if Israel considers Gaza holy ground it is not likely to nuke it, regardless of whether it could be rebuilt.

    Also, I don’t think it likely that Israel would resort to genocide at this point (though many might argue that that is what they are already doing.)

    At any rate, Israel nuking Gaza is a very remote possibility.

  • Justin

    Jack,

    It is a sad situation, especially since it so utterly unnecessary. The Palestinians could long ago have had their own state, peaceful coexistence with Israel and a good standard of living, if only they had had a powerful and charismatic leader like Gandhi or M.L. King, and the courage and wisdom to take the path of nonviolent resistance.

    The Palestinians have had charismatic leaders, such as Yasser Arafat (as for nonviolent resistance, not so much). IIRC, much of the Palestinian “leadership” is hopelessly corrupt and international aid money does not get used for its intended purposes.

  • staceyjw

    Doug,
    The Israelies ARE commiting genocide, just in a slower fashion; I guess slaughtering people en masse draws too much notice these days. Most Americans only hear one side of the story.

    As for non violence, it is not appropriate for every situation. Do you think the Native Americans would have had sucess with peaceful resistance? Or Jews against Nazis? Sometimes non violent resistance just makes people easier to destroy.

    You can only kill, maim, steal from, humiliate and destroy people so long before they have nothing to lose, and fight back. When people are desperate,
    they are more suseptible to fanatical religion, which only aggrievates the situation.

  • Johan

    staceyjw: In what way is Israel committing genocide? The Arab population, both in Israel and the Palestinian territories have according to my knowledge increased since 1948.

    I can’t see how the Israelis and Hamas are somehow equally bad. Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. Israel warns beforehand – sending sound messages in Arabic – which areas it will bomb, urging civilians to leave. Hamas however, integrates their positions in civilian parts of Gaza, hoping that as many civilian Palestinians as possible will die, so as the world will blame Israel. So one faction is trying to save as many civilians as possible on both sides. The other side is trying to have as many civilians dead as possible on both side. How are they equal? I’m not saying that Israel is perfect – far from – but Israel has the right to exist, and since its creation, it has fought a legitimate battle for survival. And Israel is – importantly – much better and more moral than the Palestinians, and especially Hamas.

    I would love to see the critics of the current Gaza bombings answer those nine questions: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Articles/Gaza-Bombing.htm

  • KShep

    I used to wonder if the problems of the Middle East could be permanently “solved” by announcing that say, in 6 months time, a 5-megaton nuke will be detonated in the center of Jerusalem. All residents have until then to get out. Destroy everything those idiots are fighting over.

    Of course, that’s not a good solution. But what is? They are fighting over a strip of land that their holy books proclaim to be theirs and theirs alone. This conflict will never end.

    I once had the pleasure of meeting a group of Israeli musicians. Classy guys. One of them told me he knew 11 people who had been killed by suicide bombers. Eleven!! They were here in the states trying to spread the message that Israeli people are good people, peaceful people. I believed him. Like Stacey JW said above, 90% of the residents there want this stuff to just stop. Yet their leaders just keep the bombs dropping. It’s all so depressing I can’t even allow myself to give it a great deal of thought anymore, I just run myself down over it.

    Years ago, Peter Jennings hosted a program where he dissected the roots of the conflict there better than I had heard before or since. It was truly heartbreaking to see a perfectly kind, thoughtful, normal transplanted American turn into a vile, hate-filled jackass when a small parade of (I think) Orthodox Jews passed near his house. This is what religion does to people. I don’t know how someone can live that way.

    Eh, I’m depressing myself again. Gotta stop that.

  • bbk

    The peace process will never work because the rest of the world keeps trying to appeal to the nobility of religion, as if there was any. The rest of the world needs to start telling these people that they’re a bunch of insufferable fools who only have their irrational beliefs to blame for their own misery. I think we’ll see peace only after there is an organized atheist movement around the world. From what I understand, there is a large number of atheists in Israel but they have absolutely no political power.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    The Peace Process will never work because neither side is truly interested in peace. The Palestinians want to eradicate Israel, and the Israelis (or at least a sizeable chunk of them), want to achieve their Greater Israel. The thing is, neither side will ever achieve its goals, so the conflict will go on and on.

    The only solution that I can see is a binational state, but that would require a massive paradigm shift among both populations.

  • Johan

    bbk: But the conflict isn’t religious in nature. Israel is a Jewish state in the same way that Jordan is an Arab state. I don’t think the land of Israel was chosen for religious reasons – the early Zionist thinkers were secular (Herzl was an atheist) – but rather for historical and cultural reasons. That land is after all the birthland of the Jewish people.

    Only 10% of Israel’s Jewish population counts as ultra-Orthodox. The majority are made up of secular Jews, which I think include atheist Jews. From what I know, they are all opposed to the ultra-Orthodox gaining too much influence, and the ultra-Orthodox are also disliked because they don’t serve in the military. But of course, the secular majority doesn’t want Israel’s destruction, which Hamas wants. It’s lunacy to believe that secular Jews are somehow more happy about the concept of destruction of Israel – why would they?

  • yaab

    I can only imagine the mental gymnastics that Christian apologists will need to perform if this whole situation reaches an unfortunate end (like a nuclear exchange) and Mr. Jesus still fails to materialize.

  • Mathew Wilder

    I think it is a mistake to view this as a conflict of religions. Yes, religion exacerbates the problem, but is not the cause. After all, there are many Palestinian Christians who are just as oppressed as Palestinian Muslims.

    The idea that this conflict stretches far back through time is a false one. The conflict between Palestinians and Israelis does not have roots in the Muslim conquest of the Middle East. The medieval Muslims were much more tolerant of Jews living there than, say, the Christian Crusaders. (That really holds for medieval Jews, whether in the Middle East, Europe, or any Muslim-controlled areas. The Muslims were more tolerant than the Christians.)

    The problem is more one of politics, especially nationalism. The area was not a hotbed of conflict until it was colonized by the British and the French. Zionism, after all, is a political movement, rather than a religious one. It sometimes uses religion to legitimize it’s goals, but there were/are plenty of secular Jews who were/are Zionists.

    The British promised Jews that they could have a homeland in Palestine, but then reneged on the deal. This lead to widespread conflict between the British and Jewish settlers at the time. What most people don’t know is that the British were also pretty repressive towards the Palestinians, which lead to conflict between the two parties as well.

    When Britain finally ceded control of Palestine to the Zionists after violent revolt, the Zionists essentially forcefully exiled thousands of Palestinians from their own homes. Israeli encroachment on Palestinian land has only continued to this day.

    Now, this does not necessarily excuse Palestinian terrorism against the Israelis, but if it one’s only weapon, well, it’s not hard to see why one would use it.

    Laying blame doesn’t seem to be a particularly useful excercise, but if anything, the major part of this conflict can be laid at the feet of colonization. We have seen this pattern repeat itself in any number of places around the globe. Colonization took place without regard to any political, ethnic/cultural, or other divisions, and when colonization ended, countries were left behind that really had nothing to bind the varying groups together. This has lead to civil conflict time and time again.

    Like I said, laying blame doesn’t help resolve the situation. What is needed, after an understanding of how the conflict developed, is how to solve it. I think the Palestinians definitely deserve their own homeland. They will never be able to reclaim all of the land which was stolen from them by the early Zionist settlers, but certainly some portion of Palestine should be returned to them. I think this should be regardless of what Hamas does. I agree with Ebon that Hamas is cynically sacficing “their own people” to garner sympathy, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that most Palestinians live lives full of fear danger and oppression.

  • bbk

    Mathew, the problem is that Israel controls the majority of fertile land in the area, while the surrounding areas are just about worthless. The only way to bring about peace is to dissolve Israel as a sovereign Jewish state and figure out how to assimilate the cultures and share the land. I realize that the state of Israel was not a religious idea to begin with, but that doesn’t mean that religion doesn’t play a major role in the conflict now. And even if it was a secular idea of sorts, it still used religious scripture as a “cultural” justification for usurping the land, which is just about the same thing. The Jewish people seem to lack any sort of cultural identity aside from their religion, which sucks for them, but it’s not an excuse. The Crusades, Inquisition, and the Holocaust were all politically motivated as well, if you want to nitpick. Stalin turned to religion for his defense of Stalingrad, too. As far as I’m concerned, the manipulation of religion is ipso facto religion. I don’t believe that heartfelt religious sentiment is required in order to commit religious atrocities.

    Incidentally, while some fundamentalist Jews in Israel refuse to serve in the military, largely because they are wealthy enough to be stuck up pricks, they 1) still have political power and 2) the Israeli military recruits fundamentalist Jews from around the world, including the USA.

  • Christopher

    I can only imagine the mental gymnastics that Christian apologists will need to perform if this whole situation reaches an unfortunate end (like a nuclear exchange) and Mr. Jesus still fails to materialize.

    They’ll probably say something like “the state of Israel wasn’t the ‘true’ nation of Israel mentioned in prophecy” or “Jesus did return, but it wasn’t observable to non-believers” or some other such bullshit. If there’s one thing that apologists are good at it’s moving the goalposts…

  • Alex Weaver

    I’m not at my most lucid, but I think perhaps there’s a better argument for “all ground is ‘holy’” as a perspective.

  • staceyjw

    Johan,
    While I never said both sides were equal in their tactics, I just dont see how constant military opression against a barely armed populace is superior.

    So what if you warn of dropping bombs when you are stil dropping them on civilians in the most populated strip of land on earth. Their warnings are so helpful that hundreds of civilians die during every assault.

    Hamas surely doesnt help by putting their operations in and around neighborhoods, but its not like they have land for a base, and even if they did how long do think Isreal would leave it standing? They arent allowed a military, so they do what they can to fight back. Their tactics are deplorable, but what else can they do? How about we fund their military, then let them fight it out with equal firepower?

    The Palestinian population may be increasing, but that doesnt mean that since the formation of Isreal there hasnt been genocide. The decimation of a targeted group based on cultural, racial, political or religious identity is genocide, even when its not completely successful. If they could get away with mass slaughter, like when the country was conquored (aka founded), they would.

    And what about Isreali tactics? Constant low level harrasment, economic strangulaion, bulldozing of entire neighborhoods, persistant killings,squalid jails with torture used for control of the populace, not to mention Bombings and Ground Assaults!!! There is little doubt of the gross human rights violations against Palestinians, why is this Ok?

    Hamas wants to wipe Isreal iff

  • staceyjw

    oops, sorry, Im on PDA.

    …off the map in the same way you might want to kill a group if armed thugs that took over your home and slaughtered half your family. As for Isreal, when you forcibly take land while killing and moving the inhabitants, expect to fight!

    I have no good ideas on how to fix this. I just hate how this conflict plays out in westrn media. I do like Isreal, but they are doing horrible things in the name of security. Could both groups agree on a peaceful arrangement? I think its more possible than most others do, but it would need to start with recognition of historical wrongs.

    Isreal just picked the wrong time to take the land. Only a hundred years ago they couldve killed with impunity, calling it manifest destiny! And people think we havent made any progress…

  • velkyn

    I agree with simply not caring about the middle east anymore. Let’s get off oil and make one glassy plain of it. If they want to compete over who has the most holy claim to a radioactive plain, let them in finest bronze age fashion.

  • TommyP

    Hmm, anyone who involves themselves physically in the middle east is taking their life for granted.
    I feel sorry for the people who are born out there or who go there trying to help, and just end up getting killed. I think we need to withdraw all support, let them kill each other, and shelter anyone who wishes to escape to peace. These people’s beliefs are killing them, and the only ones who really ought to be rescued from it are the innocent children and the adults willing to stand against the tides of faithful bloodshed.

  • John Nernoff

    N: What’s with the overpopulation there? The birth rate is horrendous. I guess they have nothing else to do but procreate. Why would anyone want to live there? And 50.6% of the “Gazaians” voted FOR Hamas. What were they thinking? Hamas is carrying out their bombardment while these dim civilians look on, vote for them and harbor them. What do they expect from the Israelis?

    This whole situation is absolutely stupid; worse than gangs of vile teenagers. I sympathize with those who would turn away and let them destroy each other. But remember, we taxpayers support Israel to the extent of thousands of dollars per capita per year. I wouldn’t be surprised if we also give foreign aid to the Arabs there. Congress IS that foolish.

  • shifty

    I see a common misconception repeated that the two sides want to wipe each other off the map. Not so. Perhaps the 1st step would be for the Arab nations to recognize the existence of, and the right for Israel to exist. Instead of their goal to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Not that this would solve things, but it sure is a more sound foundation from which to build. Yes, we can legitimately discuss the questionable origins of Israel, but then we can do the same about most of colonial Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Perhaps more thought should be focused ahead rather than behind.