Burch: One-sided justice?

Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 6:14pm
By Michael R. Burch

Nashvillian Fred Westfield, a former Vanderbilt professor, is about to be compensated by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for a valuable painting stolen from his uncle by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Westfield’s uncle, the Jewish art dealer Walter Westfeld, died at Auschwitz.

According to the artlyst.com/London Art Network website, BMFA purchased the painting in question in good faith, but the museum has nonetheless agreed to pay restitution to the surviving Westfields. The amount of compensation was not disclosed but could be substantial. Artprice.com valued a similar painting by the same artist, Eglon van der Neer, as high as $428,000.

According to The Vanderbilt Hustler the Westfield family attempted to sue Germany in 2008. Walter Westfeld’s art collection included works by El Greco and Rubens so there are obviously considerable sums of money at stake.

Being an editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry, I am well aware that the Nazis used racist lies, Jim Crow-like laws and kangaroo courts to rob millions of Jews of their land, homes and property. Even worse, they were deprived of their freedom, hopes, dreams, aspirations — and all too often their lives. Those of us who believe in justice understand why Germany has paid billions of dollars in reparations over the years. But I think the question of whether Americans should pay reparations for art stolen more than half a century ago by Germans brings up another important question: What about reparations for Palestinians?

Do we believe in justice for everyone, or only for the “chosen few” (i.e., self-nominated Jews and Christians)? Obviously it was wrong for Nazis to steal the land, homes and property of Jews. But what about the land, homes and property Israeli Jews have stolen from Palestinians since 1948, and continue to steal to this day? Is a piece of Jewish art somehow more important than the land Palestinian farmers depend upon to feed their families? Why should Jewish professors receive windfalls while Palestinian women and children can’t even eat dirt because it’s been stolen from beneath their feet?

Before 1948, Israeli Jews owned roughly 7 percent of the land of Palestine. Today they “own” about 80 percent of the land without having compensated anyone for it, because they took it by force, and they now control most of the remaining 20 percent via a brutal, repressive military occupation of the West Bank. On a daily basis, Israel goes about the slow process of gobbling up Palestinian land — a housing lot here, a few acres of farmland there. Over the course of time, that theft adds up to “free” treasure for Israeli robber barons, but it also adds up to abject misery for Palestinians and unwinnable wars and massive debt for the American public, since the men who masterminded 9-11 said their main reason for attacking was the suffering of Palestinians at the hands of Israel and the U.S., its patron.

Israel is the only “civilized” nation that regularly demolishes the houses of people based on their ethnicity, then refuses to grant them building permits, in effect cleansing them from their native land. This grotesquely unjust system has nothing to do with Israel’s “security” or “defense” and everything to do with acquiring more “living space” for the “superior” race. In Hitler's Mein Kampf, he claimed that the “superior” German people needed Lebensraum ("living space") that was to be taken by force from “inferior” people. The Nazis went on to ethnically cleanse, enslave and kill Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Russians and other Slavs. Incredibly, unthinkably, Israel has chosen to copy Hitler’s methods — using military power to steal land, homes and property from “inferior” people, while employing a gigantic propaganda machine to assure gullible people that the whole sordid operation is somehow “kosher.” Granted, Israel’s walled ghettoes and concentration camps lack gas chambers and ovens, but what about the quality of life inside those terrible walls for innocent women and children?

How can “justice” that is so one-sided, so blind and so cruel be called “justice”? If Jews and Christians truly believed in justice, surely they would put down their Bibles and join the great march for equal rights, freedom and justice for everyone — and not just the “chosen few.”

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

87 Comments on this post:

By: budlight on 7/1/11 at 6:03

Burch said "How can “justice” that is so one-sided, so blind and so cruel be called “justice”? If Jews and Christians truly believed in justice, surely they would put down their Bibles and join the great march for equal rights, freedom and justice for everyone — and not just the “chosen few.”

I'm so sorry that you don't realize that Martin Luther King was a Christian and that he did join the great march for equal rights, freedom and justice for everyone - and not just the chosen few. He carried his Bible and his beliefs all the way to his death and there are many, like myself who are on board with him. Burch, stop being so hate filled towards Jews and Christians.

You said: "Israel is the only “civilized” nation that regularly demolishes the houses of people based on their ethnicity, then refuses to grant them building permits, in effect cleansing them from their native land."

Burch, are you forgetting that in muslim countries that Christians are regularly rounded up and killed; their homes confiscated; their wives and daughters raped and their churches burned.

Get your head out of the hate hole you have it stuck in.

By: serr8d on 7/1/11 at 6:59

But what about the land, homes and property Israeli Jews have stolen from Palestinians since 1948, and continue to steal to this day? Is a piece of Jewish art somehow more important than the land Palestinian farmers depend upon to feed their families? Why should Jewish professors receive windfalls while Palestinian women and children can’t even eat dirt because it’s been stolen from beneath their feet?

Burch, you are a liar.

Israel was in existence centuries before 1948 when the United Nations 'created' that tiny sliver of land amidst Arabs. The day after Israel was finally recognized by the UN, the 'Palestinians', Arabs, went to war against her, and were summarily defeated. Defeated and driven back. Again, in 1967, Israel was forced into war, and her Arab enemies defeated. There are consequences to starting a war; the losers lose land. Get over it; stop fighting against Israel.

What we see today are whining whiners like Burch and Loner, anti-Semitics at heart who've decried Zion from day one (Loner might be that old; Burch is but a child who doesn't realize any history except what's been taught to him by other self-loathing elitist LeftLibProggs).

Listen to Bibi, who came to our Congress and spoke truth...

Israel has always embraced this path, in the Middle East has long rejected it. In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out. It is different.

As the great English writer George Eliot predicted over a century ago, that once established, the Jewish state will "shine like a bright star of freedom amid the despotisms of the East.” Well, she was right. We have a free press, independent courts, an open economy, rambunctious parliamentary debates. You think you guys are tough on one another in Congress? Come spend a day in the Knesset. Be my guest.

Courageous Arab protesters, are now struggling to secure these very same rights for their peoples, for their societies. We're proud that over one million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades. Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they're all citizens of Israel! ...

So now here is the question. You have to ask it. If the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us? Because all six Israeli Prime Ministers since the signing of Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state. Myself included. So why has peace not been achieved? Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state, if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it.

You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes. The Palestinians said no. In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers, to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War.

They were simply unwilling to end the conflict. And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

My friends, this must come to an end. President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people, and I told you it wasn’t easy for me, and I said… "I will accept a Palestinian state." It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say… "I will accept a Jewish state."

Those six words will change history.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/1/11 at 8:01

Israel was in existence centuries before 1948 when the United Nations 'created' that tiny sliver of land amidst Arabs.
*****************************************************************
In May 1948, Israel became an independent state after Israel was recognised by the United Nations as a country in its own right within the Middle East. If relations in pre-war Palestine had been fraught with difficulties, these difficulties paled into insignificance after Israel became a state in its own right. Immediately on being granted its independence, Israel was attacked by a number of Arab nations. If Israel had faltered at this first hurdle, she would have ceased to exist as a state regardless of what the United Nations had decreed.

By: serr8d on 7/1/11 at 8:18

A Timeline of the History of Israel http://t.co/HdxAdFe

C. 17th Century BCE The Patriarchs of the Israelites, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bring the belief in One God to the Promised Land where they settle.
Famine forces the Israelites to migrate to Egypt

Documents unearthed in Mesopotamia, dating back to 2000- 1500 BCE, corroborate aspects of their nomadic way of life as described in the Bible. The Book of Genesis relates how Abraham was summoned from Ur of the Chaldeans to Canaan to bring about the formation of a people with belief in the One God. When a famine spread through Canaan, Jacob (Israel), his twelve sons and their families settled in Egypt, where their descendants were reduced to slavery and pressed into forced labor.

C. 13th Century BCE Moses leads the Israelites from Egypt, followed by 40 years of wandering in the desert.
The Torah, including the Ten Commandments received at Mount Saini.

Moses was chosen by God to take his people out of Egypt and back to the Land of Israel promised to their forefathers. They wandered for 40 years in the Sinai desert, where they were forged into a nation and received the Torah (Pentateuch), which included the Ten Commandments and gave form and content to their monotheistic faith.

During the next two centuries, the Israelites conquered most of the Land of Israel and relinquished their nomadic ways to become farmers and craftsmen; a degree of economic and social consolidation followed. Periods of relative peace alternated with times of war during which the people rallied behind leaders known as 'judges,' chosen for their political and military skills as well as for their leadership qualities.

C. 13th - 12th Centuries BCE The Israelites settle the Land of Israel.

C. 1020 Jewish Monarchy established.

The first king, Saul (c. 1020 BCE), bridged the period between loose tribal organization and the setting up of a full monarchy under his successor, David. King David (c.1004-965 BCE) established Israel as a major power in the region by successful military expeditions, including the final defeat of the Philistines, as well as by constructing a network of friendly alliances with nearby kingdoms. David was succeeded by his son Solomon (c.965-930 BCE) who further strengthened the kingdom. Crowning his achievements was the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, which became the center of the Jewish people's national and religious life.

C. 1000 Jerusalem made capital of David's Kingdom.

C. 960 First Temple, the national and spiritual center of the Jewish people, built in Jerusalem by King Solomon.

C. 930 Kingdom divided into Judah and Israel.

After Solomon's death (930 BCE), open insurrection led to the breaking away of the ten northern tribes and division of the country into a northern kingdom, Israel, and a southern kingdom, Judah, on the territory of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

The Kingdom of Israel, with its capital Samaria, lasted more than 200 years under 19 kings, while the Kingdom of Judah was ruled from Jerusalem for 350 years by an equal number of kings of the lineage of David. The expansion of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires brought first Israel and later Judah under foreign control.

722 - 720 Israel crushed by Assyrians; 10 tribes exiled (Ten Lost Tribes).

586 Judah conquered by Babylonia; Jerusalem and First Temple destroyed; most Jews exiled to Babylonia.

The Babylonian conquest brought an end to the First Jewish Commonwealth (First Temple period) but did not sever the Jewish people's connection to the Land of Israel. The exile to Babylonia, which followed the destruction of the First Temple (586 BCE), marked the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora. There, Judaism began to develop a religious framework and way of life outside the Land, ultimately ensuring the people's national survival and spiritual identity and imbuing it with sufficient vitality to safeguard its future as a nation.

536-142 PERSIAN AND HELLENISTIC PERIODS

538-515 Many Jews return from Babylonia; Temple rebuilt.

Following a decree by the Persian King Cyrus, conqueror of the Babylonian empire (538 BCE), some 50,000 Jews set out on the First Return to the Land of Israel, led by Zerubabel, a descendant of the House of David. Less than a century later, the Second Return was led by Ezra the Scribe.

The repatriation of the Jews under Ezra's inspired leadership, construction of the Second Temple on the site of the First Temple, refortification of Jerusalem's walls and establishment of the Knesset Hagedolah (Great Assembly) as the supreme religious and judicial body of the Jewish people marked the beginning of the Second Jewish Commonwealth (Second Temple period).

332 Land conquered by Alexander the Great; Hellenistic rule.

As part of the ancient world conquered by Alexander the Great of Greece (332 BCE), the Land remained a Jewish theocracy under Syrian-based Seleucid rulers.

166-160 Maccabean (Hasmonean) revolt against restrictions on practice of Judaism and desecration of the Temple

When the Jews were prohibited from practicing Judaism and their Temple was desecrated as part of an effort to impose Greek-oriented culture and customs on the entire population, the Jews rose in revolt (166 BCE). First led by Mattathias of the priestly Hasmonean family and then by his son Judah the Maccabee, the Jews subsequently entered Jerusalem and purified the Temple (164 BCE).

142-129 Jewish autonomy under Hasmoneans.

Following further Hasmonean victories (147 BCE), the Seleucids restored autonomy to Judea, as the Land of Israel was now called, and, with the collapse of the Seleucid kingdom (129 BCE), Jewish independence was again achieved.

129-63 Jewish independence under Hasmonean monarchy.

Under the Hasmonean dynasty, which lasted about 80 years, the kingdom regained boundaries not far short of Solomon's realm, political consolidation under Jewish rule was attained and Jewish life flourished.

63 Jerusalem captured by Roman general, Pompey.

63 BCE-313 CE ROMAN RULE

37BCE - 4CE Herod, Roman vassal king, rules the Land of Israel;
Temple in Jerusalem refurbished

20-23 Ministry of Jesus of Nazareth

66 Jewish revolt against the Romans

70 Destruction of Jerusalem and Second Temple.

132-135 Bar Kokhba uprising against Rome.

210 Codification of Jewish oral law (Mishnah) completed.

313-636 BYZANTINE RULE

By the end of the 4th century, following Emperor Constantine's adoption of Christianity (313) and the founding of the Byzantine Empire, the Land of Israel had become a predominantly Christian country. Churches were built on Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Galilee, and monasteries were established in many parts of the country. The Jews were deprived of their former relative autonomy, as well as of their right to hold public positions, and were forbidden to enter Jerusalem except on one day of the year (Tisha b'Av - ninth of Av)to mourn the destruction of the Temple.

614 Persian invasion

The Persian invasion of 614 was welcomed and aided by the Jews, who were inspired by messianic hopes of deliverance. In gratitude for their help, they were granted the administration of Jerusalem, an interlude which lasted about three years. Subsequently, the Byzantine army regained the city (629) and again expelled its Jewish population.

636-1099 ARAB RULE

The Arab conquest of the Land came four years after the death of Muhammad (632) and lasted more than four centuries, with caliphs ruling first from Damascus, then from Baghdad and Egypt. At the outset of Islamic rule, Jewish settlement in Jerusalem was resumed, and the Jewish community was granted permission to live under "protection," the customary status of non-Muslims under Islamic rule, which safeguarded their lives, property and freedom of worship in return for payment of special poll and land taxes.

However, the subsequent introduction of restrictions against non-Muslims (717) affected the Jews' public conduct as well as their religious observances and legal status. The imposition of heavy taxes on agricultural land compelled many to move from rural areas to towns, where their circumstances hardly improved, while increasing social and economic discrimination forced many Jews to leave the country. By the end of the 11th century, the Jewish community in the Land had diminished considerably and had lost some of its organizational and religious cohesiveness.

691 On site of First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, Dome of the Rock built by Caliph Abd el-Malik

1099-1291 CRUSADER DOMINATION

For the next 200 years, the country was dominated by the Crusaders, who, following an appeal by Pope Urban II, came from Europe to recover the Holy Land from the infidels. In July 1099, after a five-week siege, the knights of the First Crusade and their rabble army captured Jerusalem, massacring most of the city's non-Christian inhabitants. Barricaded in their synagogues, the Jews defended their quarter, only to be burnt to death or sold into slavery. During the next few decades, the Crusaders extended their power over the rest of the country, through treaties and agreements, but mostly by bloody military victories. The Latin Kingdom of the Crusaders was that of a conquering minority confined mainly to fortified cities and castles.

When the Crusaders opened up transportation routes from Europe, pilgrimages to the Holy Land became popular and, at the same time, increasing numbers of Jews sought to return to their homeland. Documents of the period indicate that 300 rabbis from France and England arrived in a group, with some settling in Acro (Akko), others in Jerusalem.

After the overthrow of the Crusaders by a Muslim army under Saladin (1187), the Jews were again accorded a certain measure of freedom, including the right to live in Jerusalem. Although the Crusaders regained a foothold in the country after Saladin's death (1193), their presence was limited to a network of fortified castles. Crusader authority in the Land ended after a final defeat (1291) by the Mamluks, a Muslim military class which had come to power in Egypt.

1291-1516 MAMLUK RULE

The Land under the Mamluks became a backwater province ruled from Damascus. Akko, Jaffa (Yafo) and other ports were destroyed for fear of new crusades, and maritime as well as overland commerce was interrupted. By the end of the Middle Ages, the country's urban centers were virtually in ruins, most of Jerusalem was abandoned and the small Jewish community was poverty-stricken. The period of Mamluk decline was darkened by political and economic upheavals, plagues, locust invasions and devastating earthquakes.

1517-1917 OTTOMAN RULE

Following the Ottoman conquest in 1517, the Land was divided into four districts and attached administratively to the province of Damascus and ruled from Istanbul.

1564 Code of Jewish law (Shulhan Arukh) published.

Orderly government, until the death (1566) of Sultan Suleiman the Magificent, brought improvements and stimulated Jewish immigration. Some newcomers settled in Jerusalem, but the majority went to Safad where, by mid-16th century, the Jewish population had risen to about 10,000, and the town had become a thriving textile center as well as the focus of intense intellectual activity. During this period, the study of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) flourished, and contemporary clarifications of Jewish law, as codified in the Shulhan Arukh, spread throughout the Diaspora from the study houses in Safad.

1860 First neighborhood, Mishkenot Sha'ananim, built outside Jerusalem's walls.

1882-1903
First Aliya (large-scale immigration), mainly from Russia.

1897 First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl in Basel, Switzerland; Zionist Organization founded.

1904-1914 Second Aliya, mainly from Russia and Poland.

1909 First kibbutz, Degania, and first modern all-Jewish city, Tel Aviv, founded.

1917 400 years of Ottoman rule ended by British conquest;
British Foreign Minister Balfour pledges support for establishment of a "Jewish national home in Palestine".

1918-1948 BRITISH RULE

1919-1923 Third Aliya, mainly from Russia

1920 Histadrut (Jewish labor federation) and Haganah (Jewish defense organization) founded.
Vaad Leumi (National Council) set up by Jewish community (yishuv)to conduct its affairs.

1921 First moshav, Nahalal, founded.

1922 Britain granted Mandate for Palestine (Land of Israel) by League of Nations
Transjordan set up on three-fourths of the area, leaving one-fourth for the Jewish national home
Jewish Agency representing Jewish community vis-a-vis Mandate authorities set up.

1924 Technion, first institute of technology, founded in Haifa.

1924-1932 Fourth Aliya, mainly from Poland.

1925 Hebrew University of Jerusalem opened on Mt. Scopus.

1929 Hebron Jews massacred by Arab militants. History Link

1931 Etzel, Jewish underground organization, founded.

1933-1939 Fifth Aliya, mainly from Germany.

1936-1939 Anti-Jewish riots instigated by Arab militants.

1939 Jewish immigration severely limited by British White Paper.

1939-1945 World War II; Holocaust in Europe.

1941 Lehi underground movement formed; Palmach, strike force of Haganah, set up.

1944 Jewish Brigade formed as part of British forces.

1947 UN proposes the establishment of Arab and Jewish states in the Land.

1948 STATE OF ISRAEL

By: yogiman on 7/1/11 at 8:29

Mike is obviously anti-jewish.

Budlight,

I had the privilege of standing along the street when Dr. King made his walk in Montgomery, Alabama.

Actually, there was hundreds of us officers who were sworn in as federal marshals for the walk. We actually looked into the crowd, not at Dr. King.

And you know what; with all of that crowd (and I mean a lot of people) there was very little name calling when Dr. King walked by them down that street. Mostly just looking on.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/1/11 at 8:49

You seem to have forgotten the 2,000 years there was no Israel or is all of this talk about them returning is just a ruse.

By: BenDover on 7/1/11 at 8:56

serr8 just slammed Burch's d*ck in the door.

By: brrrrk on 7/1/11 at 8:58

serr8d,

Have you ever heard of brevity.... or just getting to the point?

By: Captain Nemo on 7/1/11 at 9:02

Ben was that Dick....Cheney?

By: BenDover on 7/1/11 at 9:08

Mark Halperin @ msnbc said Obama was 'kind of a d*ck' and got suspended for it. Expressing your opinion on MSNBC is highly encouraged... unless it's critical of Obama, I guess.

By: BenDover on 7/1/11 at 9:09

And what's up with Madcow running 2nd in the ratings wars? That woman is a nut.

By: brrrrk on 7/1/11 at 9:25

BenDover said

"Mark Halperin @ msnbc said Obama was 'kind of a d*ck' and got suspended for it. Expressing your opinion on MSNBC is highly encouraged... unless it's critical of Obama, I guess."

You're absolutely right!!!! That suspension of Ed Shultz for making comments about Laura Ingraham just didn't happen.... just like the moon landings.

By: conservarage on 7/1/11 at 9:41

sweet moses. does this guy have nothing else to talk about? it must be some kind of obsession. does he spend his whole day thinking of ways to state he believes israel is bad?

By: girliegirl on 7/1/11 at 9:43

Why is Burch allowed a column to spew bigotry?

By: gdiafante on 7/1/11 at 9:44

Where's loner? Does anyone really care about this issue?

Ben, your obsession with circle jerks and d*cks is alarming.

By: dargent7 on 7/1/11 at 9:49

MSNBC suspends/ fires everyone: Ed Shultz, Keith Obermann, another guy about 8 months ago who was excellent....
I don't think FOX News has fired anyone.
All they do is hire failed presonnel from the Republican ranks...Sarah Palin, Dana Perino, Huckabee....
If Bachmann looses, which she will, she'll be a "Contributor" at that station.

By: gdiafante on 7/1/11 at 9:49

"Mark Halperin @ msnbc said Obama was 'kind of a d*ck' and got suspended for it. Expressing your opinion on MSNBC is highly encouraged... unless it's critical of Obama, I guess."

I would think that using the term d*ck was what he was suspended for, not where the term was directed.

I think it's interesting that you completely ignore the inappropriateness of using that term by a professional and instead focus on the usual partisan BS. It's interesting but not surprising.

By: budlight on 7/1/11 at 9:50

Yogi, Dr. King also came to Danville, VA. I was there. I have always respected and admired him, even as a high school student. We lived next door to a black family in the country on Route 29 in Danville. My family, to my knowledge, never "hated" or discriminated against any skin color. My brother and the kid next door were friends. My brother was fired from his first real job in FL (USO Club) because he advocated for black servicemen at the "all white" dances. That was a long time ago, Yogi.

My how time flies and people still hate. I will be the first to admit that I do not believe in 2 men marrying, or 2 women marrying. However, that is not a skin color issue. That is a life style issue. So we all have the right to not like or advocate for any certain life style. However, no one has the Choice of their parents or their skin color, so we should love everyone - red, yellow, black or white.

I love the people from China, but not their policies, ie, communism.

By: gdiafante on 7/1/11 at 9:54

"...so we should love everyone - red, yellow, black or white..."

Now where have I heard that before...

By: dargent7 on 7/1/11 at 9:56

The middle 3rd of Burch's article talks of Israeli Jews "gobbling up" Palestine. With no compensation.
Sounds like a redux of America stealing American land/ territory from the Mexicans and especially the American Indians.
Not to mention the Hawai'i Islands from King Kamehameha and Queen Liliokalani.
And what is this nonsense, repeated every week, that bin Laden and his band of 19 hijackers flew 4 planes into American targets due to our support of Isreal and the subordination of the Palestinean people?

By: brrrrk on 7/1/11 at 9:58

girliegirl said

"Why is Burch allowed a column to spew bigotry?"

For what it's worth, there's a big difference between being anti-semetic (which is what I assume your referring to by using the word bigotry) and having issues with the creation of the state of Israel.

By: Mike Burch on 7/1/11 at 10:38

serr8d,

If you're buying Bibi's Bluff, I have some nice swampland to sell you. Israel has been stealing land from Palestinian farm families for 60+ years, leaving them increasingly homeless and destitute. If this is the "will of God" then Jews and Christians must believe God is a cruel, racist, intolerant bigot. Of course that is what Hitler and the Nazis believed: that they were the "chosen few" and everyone else was just a steppingstone for them to acquire Lebensraum ("living space").

Anyone can say, "I am God's gift to the earth and he wants me to have your land at the expense of your family's lives and welfare." People who believe such racist BS should have their hearts and brains examined.

Mike

By: Mike Burch on 7/1/11 at 10:43

budlight,

I am an editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry. I don't have my head "stuck in a hate hole." I do, however, find it odd that so many Christians say that they side with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said that all earth's children should be treated equally, then side with Israel, which claims that Jewish babies are born with vastly superior rights to Palestinian babies.

What I am criticizing is the hypocrisy of Jews and Christians who say they believe in equal rights, as long as the babies are not Palestinian. If the majority of American Christians acted in accordance with Dr. King's beliefs, we would not be funding and supporting the racial injustices of Israel.

Mike

By: Mike Burch on 7/1/11 at 10:50

Nemo,

Fighting a war is one thing. Practicing ethnic cleansing against non-combatant farm families has nothing to do with Israel's "security" or "national defense."

If the US successfully defends itself in a war, should it then persecute and ethnically cleanse farmers who never lifted a finger in the war? In Iraq and Afghanistan if our military accidentally harms noncombatants or destroys their houses, we compensate them, even during an ongoing war.

More than 40 years after the 1967 war, Israel continues to demolish the houses of noncombatants outside the legal borders of Israel. This is not for purposes of "security" or "defense." This is clearly Israeli robber barons using US taxpayer dollars and weapons to obtain "free" land. The price to Americans has been billions of dollars in cash paid to Israel, 9-11, and two terrible wars.

If we want peace, we need to understand the difference between Israel defending itself and dragging us into its land grabs, which will mean continual strife against nearly two billion Muslims who don't agree that Jews have superior rights to Palestinians on their native soil.

Mike

By: budlight on 7/1/11 at 10:51

What I am criticizing is the hypocrisy of Jews and Christians who say they believe in equal rights, as long as the babies are not Palestinian. If the majority of American Christians acted in accordance with Dr. King's beliefs, we would not be funding and supporting the racial injustices of Israel.
Mike

Thank you for your response. I agree with you that we should "act in accordance with Dr. King's beliefs" - both democrats and republicans.

Are we supporting and funding any other country that supports any type of racial injustices (such as Afghanistan, Iraq, or others)? America needs to clean up America's own back yard before we clean up others' backyards.

We seem to be the pot calling the kettle black!

By: brrrrk on 7/1/11 at 10:51

Mike Burch said

"If the majority of American Christians acted in accordance with Dr. King's beliefs, we would not be funding and supporting the racial injustices of Israel."

Reminds me of a quote (of which I still can't find the source.. but remember hearing it), "If America was as good as it's word, we would have no enemies in this world."

By: Mike Burch on 7/1/11 at 11:15

serr8d,

It's not nice to call people liars in public.

Obviously, we have a difference of opinion. The fact that I disagree with you does not make me a "liar."

If Jews can return to claim land their ancestors occupied thousands of years ago, then Americans should hand their land and houses over to Native Americans, who never left and owned the land just a few hundred years ago.

The question is whether in the modern world people have the right to buy and own land lawfully, or not. If a Palestinian's deed to his land and house is no good, why are the deeds of Americans of any note? If I write down an a piece of paper that God wants me to have your house, would you hand it over to me? Of course not.

Many Americans and Jews are being hypocrites. They want to strip Palestinians of the basic rights they claim for themselves.

The Jews in large left Palestine in diasporas that began thousands of years ago. Other people we now call the Palestinians bought the land and cultivated it for many centuries. When the Jews began to return, the people who owned the land had every right to keep it. To say that one group of people can show up anywhere in the world and say, "God gave me your land and I want it back without paying for it" is sheer insanity.

This insanity lies at the root of 9-11 and the current wars. The Muslim world will never agree that Jews have the right to steal their land and take it by force. The Bible says the Hebrews claimed all the land between the Nile and the Tigris and Euphrates. There are nearly two billion Muslims who will never accept this unjust idea. No American would hand his land and house over to someone who claimed God gave them to him. Why should we expect Muslims to become homeless because someone else has a religious belief?

Mike

By: Mike Burch on 7/1/11 at 11:20

yogiman,

I'm an editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry, not "anti-Jewish."

I do oppose the racial injustices of Israel, just as I oppose the racial injustices of Nazi Germany.

I disagree that Americans should oppose the Nazi Holocaust, yet fund and support this new Holocaust of the Palestinian people.

I believe Palestinian babies should have exactly the same rights as Jewish babies.

I dislike the hypocrisy of those Jews and Christians who use the Bible to strip Palestinian women and children of human rights and dignity. I don't think Jesus or the Hebrew prophets would have done what so many Jews and Christians do today: preach "equal rights" and "justice" for themselves, while ignoring the rights of women and children of other races and faiths.

This is not my being anti-Jewish, but simply my being for equal rights for all human beings, without exception.

Mike

By: gdiafante on 7/1/11 at 11:21

And, if Muslims become homeless, would they be able to sell papers in Brentwood?

But seriously, as long as this country is largely Christian, the U.S. will never change their policy toward Israel.

By: Mike Burch on 7/1/11 at 11:46

dargent7,

Reza Aslan, an expert on the Middle East, recently pointed out that 90% of the people in the State Department admit that the policies and actions of the governments of Israel and the U.S. contributed greatly to 9-11 and thus to the current wars.

It is irrational to believe that we were attacked because other people disagree with our "values" and "way of life," as if we are morally superior to other people and they hate us for it.

Muslim extremists have told us over and over, in their own words, why they commit acts of terrorism. The American public simply refuses to hear what they say themselves. We were attacked because:

(1) The Muslim world identifies with the Palestinians and opposes the racial injustices of Israel, which are funded and supported by the U.S. government to the tune of billions of dollars per year in cash and advanced weapons. Israel uses the money and weapons to continue its military occupation of the West Bank, stealing land from Palestinians on an ongoing basis. This is ethnic cleansing, a terrible crime, and Muslims have every reason to oppose it.

(2) Many Muslims want the US military out of the region and they don't want the US government interfering in the internal affairs of nations in the region. Anyone who has studied what our government has done can hardly blame them. The CIA engineered a coup of the first democratic government in the Middle East, in 1953. When the US preached "equal rights" and "democracy" then turned around and toppled the democratic government of Iran in 1953, it started a chain reaction that led to the repressive government of the Shah of Iran, which then led to the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini, which led to the US backing Saddam Hussein with billions of dollars and weapons, which of course led to the Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq. How much death and destruction has our government created, in the region?

Many Americans don't want to hear such things. They want to believe that the governments of Israel and the U.S. are "good" and that everyone who opposes them is the Devil Incarnate. But many people in the Muslim world would point out that Israel and the US have committed major acts of terrorism against Muslims, using far more lethal methods.

Were Americans attacked because Muslims are irrational, or were we attacked because some Muslim men want to defend their loved ones? Sting once wrote a song that asked, "What if the Russians love their children too?" What would American men do if other nations were causing our women and children to suffer? We would use force to defend them. But there is resistance to the idea that other men have the right to use force to defend their women and children. Muslim nations cannot take on Israel and the U.S. militarily, so the men who oppose our government use guerrilla tactics. But far more Muslim women and children have suffered and died at the hands of Israel and the U.S.

Ironically, Americans would be much better off today if we simply did what our enemies suggest: tell Israel to play fair, and treat the Palestinians as human beings with equal rights, and get our government and military to stop interfering in a region where we don't belong and only make things worse and worse.

Mike

By: Mike Burch on 7/1/11 at 11:56

budlight,

I think most Americans would agree with what you said:

"Are we supporting and funding any other country that supports any type of racial injustices (such as Afghanistan, Iraq, or others)? America needs to clean up America's own back yard before we clean up others' backyards. We seem to be the pot calling the kettle black!"

I think Dr. King would agree that we need to abandon racism abroad, just as we have increasingly been abandoning it at home. We also need to get the beam out of our eye before we try to help other people with their "vision" problems.

Again, I am not "against" the Jewish people, or any people. I simply do not want my tax dollars to support any nation that practices racism and ethnic cleansing. If we do that, the victims will see us as their oppressors. Because they cannot wage war against the US, they will invariably resort to acts of terrorism, as a way of forcing us to "back off." After ten years of war, we need to consider whether it would make more sense to stand for equal rights and justice for everyone, than to favor an increasingly racist, brutal Israeli regime that drags us down to the level of the KKK in the eyes of the Muslim world.

Why not tell Israel to do what Americans did ourselves, when we abandoned Jim Crow laws, kangaroo courts and the oppression of innocent women and children for having been "born wrong"?

How many American lives will we squander, and how many trillions of dollars in debt will we assume, so that Israeli robber barons can steal land from Palestinians? Is this what we stand for? Why not follow in the footsteps of Dr. King abroad, as well as at home?

Doing so would save lives and money, and allow us to bring our troops home with honor, where they belong.

Mike

By: Mike Burch on 7/1/11 at 12:07

brrrrk,

I think girliegirl is confusing my opposition to the racial injustices of Israel with "bigotry" against the Jewish people. But I am an admirer of many Jewish people, including Albert Einstein, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, and many thousands of Jewish human rights activists who oppose the racism and fascism of the present government of Israel.

And I am not saying that Israel should cease to exist as a nation. What I am saying is that Israel should stop practicing racism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, while pretending to be a "democracy" and bilking Americans out of hundreds of billions of dollars.

When Americans opposed the government of Nazi Germany, that did not make us "bigots." After the war, we helped the German people rebuild a much better, more democratic nation. Bigots don't help the people they despise.

There is a big difference between saying we should only help Israel when Israel is doing the right things, and being bigots. If the people of Iran established a democratic government and did the right things, most Americans would welcome Iran as a friend and ally.

The real question is why we oppose other nations for doing the wrong things, but in the case of Israel toss the principles of equal rights and democracy out the window, and provide billions of dollars that are used for terrible anti-democratic purposes.

Mike

By: brrrrk on 7/1/11 at 12:20

Mike Burch said

"I think girliegirl is confusing my opposition to the racial injustices of Israel with 'bigotry' against the Jewish people."

And what a lot of people don't realize (and especially those on the right) is that there's a large percentage of jews (here, and in Israel ) that seriously oppose what the Israeli state is doing to the Palestinian people.

By: Mike Burch on 7/1/11 at 12:24

gdiafante,

I sympathize with what you said but don't completely agree:

"But seriously, as long as this country is largely Christian, the U.S. will never change their policy toward Israel."

It is unfortunate that the Christian religion contributes to so much suffering in the Muslim world. That suffering makes peace seem impossible today, and it very possible that unthinking American Christians will bring World War III and financial ruin to the United States. But this is not a foregone conclusion. At times in the past, the Bible was used to justify slavery, the burning of non-Christians (and even Christians with slightly different beliefs) at the stake, and all sorts of horrors. Christianity has been evolving for 2,000 years, and will continue to evolve.

Many Christians are torn between believing in a loving, wise, compassionate God and a God who commands racism, intolerance, slavery, sexism, homophobia, etc.

I think we may be in a race against time. Will the unjust version of Christianity start World War III before the majority of Christians stop believing in a God who is a racist, intolerant bigot who favors Jews and Christians over billions of other people?

Right now the race is hard to call. I wish more Christians would read the verses in the Bible that command slavery, sex slavery, ethnic cleansing, genocide, etc., and use their heads to figure out that they no longer believe in those verses. If they can stop believing in slavery, they can stop believing that God commanded ethnic cleansing and genocide in the past. Then there is no reason to support Israel until Israel changes course today.

But many Christians claim to "know what they know" without reading the Bible honestly. How can a just God command slavery, matricide, infanticide, ethnic cleansing and genocide? Rather than accept the obvious answer (parts of the Bible were written by men like Hitler), they "believe" the parts of the Bible they have been told to believe by other people.

I know because I was raised in evangelical Christian churches around the world. They all taught parts of the Bible as "infallible" and either ignored the palpably evil verses or taught that murdering women and children was "the will of God."

Mike

By: brrrrk on 7/1/11 at 12:34

Mike Burch said

"If Jews can return to claim land their ancestors occupied thousands of years ago, then Americans should hand their land and houses over to Native Americans, who never left and owned the land just a few hundred years ago."

A point that I've brought up a number of times. For those criticizing the Palestinians actions ask yourself this, what would you do if an outside organization told you that you had to give up the land that you live on; land that may have very well been in your families name for literally hundreds of years; to a group of American natives who claimed prior ownership? I suspect that it would not go over very well. And this is essentially what was done to the Palestinian people.

Not surprisingly, no one has ever answered that question. And until Americans have the chutzpah to honestly answer this question and address that issue, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict will continue.

By: revo-lou on 7/1/11 at 12:48

If one believes in god, and this is all “here for us”, then the land “ownership” issue is a moot point, and the vast majority of “those” people have missed the point anyway.

If one does not believe in god, then we, as humans, have stolen everything from all the “others” that were here before us, and it is a survival of the fittest existence.

The bottom line is that, time and time again, the human race has shown itself to be the stupidest creatures on earth.

By: gdiafante on 7/1/11 at 12:56

I don't know, revo. The duck-billed platypus is pretty stupid.

By: Mike Burch on 7/1/11 at 12:58

brrrrk,

I agree. If we have a sense of justice, we cannot claim rights for ourselves that we deny to other people.

Jesus saved all his harshest criticism for hypocrites, so it is odd to see so many American Christians who consider the land, houses and property they own to be protected by law, in effect saying that from thousands of miles away they can invalidate the deeds of Palestinians.

If I can legally own my land and house, why can't a Palestinian legally own his land and house? Israel continually ignores the rights of Palestinians, demolishes their houses, and claims the land beneath as "unoccupied."

How can a nation that does such things to its neighbors claim to want "peace"?

How can the United States hope to avoid acts of terrorism and future wars, if it keeps funding this unjust system, while nearly two billion Muslims and the rest of the world watch in horror?

By: revo-lou on 7/1/11 at 12:59

No, gd, only our name applied to it.

By: brrrrk on 7/1/11 at 1:01

revo-lou said

"The bottom line is that, time and time again, the human race has shown itself to be the stupidest creatures on earth."

"In discarding the monkey and substituting man, our Father in Heaven did the monkey an undeserved injustice." - Mark Twain

By: Captain Nemo on 7/1/11 at 1:03

Mike Burch

I find it amusing how well the extremist right can always goes into spasm over historical facts. serr8d gets so disconcerted if he thinks his eccentric view of world maybe not the method his has created is his head.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/1/11 at 1:07

If we pay taxes, then the land is our God given right. However if the Tea Party gets their way and there are no taxes, then the land goes back to God. Just a thought.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/1/11 at 1:12

I have more than once heard by some (too far right) that think that since they pay taxes it government must do has they want. It doesn’t matter if 52% or 99% of others thinks differently. Since they pay taxes it has to be done their way and only their way.

Remember idgaf…it is my tax money. lol

By: Captain Nemo on 7/1/11 at 1:15

“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.”

Mark Twain

By: Mike Burch on 7/1/11 at 1:19

revo-lou,

It is possible for religious people and non-religious people to agree to some earthly system of justice. The American founding fathers had very different religious beliefs, but they were able to agree on matters of human rights and justice despite their differences.

But I think the U.S. has taken a big step backwards in the Middle East, and the Christian religion is a big part of the problem. Many Christians try to believe two contrary things:

(1) That God wants justice
(2) That God favors Christians and Jews, which means people of other faiths can be treated like dirt, if they occupy dirt that Jews want to take without paying for it

Ironically, most American Christians would not take other people's land by force today (hopefully), but they support and fund Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinians because they want to believe verses in the Bible that say God "gave" Palestine to the ancient Hebrews, while ignoring the verses that clearly say Moses, Joshua, Caleb and King David murdered women and children as they took the land the old-fashioned way, via ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Such beliefs cannot be reconciled. A just God obviously cannot command that women and children be slaughtered. No rational human being can say, "God wants me to have your land and house," then take them by force, without expecting his victims to retaliate. And yet millions of American Christians simply can't understand why 9-11 happened. In their minds, both things are true: God is just, but God gives away land, allowing innocent women and children to be exterminated in the process.

I wonder what the do-dos would make of man's superior brainpower?

By: revo-lou on 7/1/11 at 1:30

"The human race is challanged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery, not over nature but of ourselves." - Rachel Carson

"The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction" - Rachel Carson

By: Mike Burch on 7/1/11 at 1:30

Nemo,

I'm not all that happy that serr8d called me a liar, when I actually studied the history of the Middle East and thought independently. It seem obvious to me that the US has nothing to gain and perhaps everything to lose if we fight World War III in order to allow Israel to keep stealing Palestinian land. What do we get in return for the great risk we're taking? What has Israel ever done for me? If I invest in a stock, the more risk I take, the greater the reward I hope to earn. Why should we risk the lives of our children and grandchildren, and possible bankruptcy, for absolutely nothing?

This "eccentric view of the world" on the part of conservative Christians is getting our soldiers killed and bringing us to the point of financial ruin.

It would make a lot more sense to tell Israel to establish fixed, permanent borders and bring its military inside those borders, and use it only for defensive purposes. Within those borders, Israel should treat everyone as equals. If Israel fails to do what every civilized nation must do, why should the U.S. supply Israel with billions of dollars in financial aid and weapons, when we know that money will be used in ways that will cause the Muslim world to hate and despise us?

By: gdiafante on 7/1/11 at 1:31

IMO, no rational person can say God wants anything...this would indicate some form of consciousness that just doesn't exist.

And if it does, it doesn't meddle in the affairs of men, which should be obvious. There is no God-given right other than life. Everything else is on us.

By: brrrrk on 7/1/11 at 1:34

Captain Nemo said

" 'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.'

Mark Twain"

Watch it Cap'n, you're stompin' on my turf.... :-)

By: Captain Nemo on 7/1/11 at 1:36

Mike-

Maybe God call the Jews the Chosen Ones, because they are to show how not to do it. Or maybe they just call themselves that as to make their neighbors think Israel is the top dog.

At any reason, I believe that people see themselves as the chosen ones and what they think is God’s Law.