Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ghandi and Gaza???

I recently read an article that said something to the effect that the Palestinian Arabs are beginning to adopt a Ghandi like style of non-violent civil disobedience in confronting Israel, and that the Gaza flotilla was an example which showed how this type of confrontation was successful in winning International sympathy for their cause. The flaw in this assessment of the Gaza Flotilla is that it was not non-violent or Ghandiesque. Ghandi would not have attacked the Israeli sailors who landed on his boat with clubs and knives. Ghandi would not have shot rockets into Israel. Also, it is not the International Community that the Palestinians need to win over if they are really serious, but rather the Israeli people. Israel unilaterally removed the settlements in the Gaza Strip and withdrew as a first step in what was hoped to be the beginning of a separation that would allow the beginning of an independant Palestinian state. But the test failed. The Gazans elected a government (Hamas) that plainly states that it is committed to the destruction of Israel (the Jews) and backs up that statement with frequent rocket attacks across the border into Israel. Under those circumstances, how can anyone expect Israel not to react? Ehud Barak offered Arafat a peace plan that would have dismantled the settlements, given the Palestinian government a presence in Jerusalem, and was not so different than the Saudi Plan. But Arafat rejected it and instead reacted with the Intafada. Most of the Israeli public crave peace and security, but have elected a hard line government because the soft line hasn't worked so far. They would love to deal with a Ghandi, but Hamas would have to change drastically before it could qualify as a Ghandi. Remember, Israel really is a republic elected by its citizens. Show them a reason and a way to reach a settlement and a Palestine that is seriously willing and able to make such a settlement. Then the Israeli people will elect a government that will do it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Israel's Existence

The recent remarks by the news commentator, Helen Thomas, that the Jews should leave "Palestine" illustrate why the people who hate Israel and Jews have prevented peace in the Middle East. In their view Israel has no right to exist. They might grudgingly accept Israel's presence as an anomaly because it is impossible to remove the Jews, but only with strict limitations and always with the understanding that Jewish sovereignty should be regarded as temporary. That is why in their view it is OK for Gaza to fire rockets into Israel, but it is evil for Israel to react. That is why the flotilla to break Israel's blockade of a country that makes war on Israel is regarded as a "humanitarian flotilla."
When Ms. Thomas was asked where the Jews of Israel should go, she said "back" to Europe. Back to Europe? Most Israeli Jews have never lived in Europe and are native born Israelis and/or descendants of refugees from Middle Eastern and African countries. And do you really think that those European, Middle Eastern, and African countries are ready to accept the Israeli Jews with open arms?
Israel has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to live side by side with an independant Palestinian Arab neighbor state. But the Clinton/Barak plan was rejected by Arafat and answered with a violent intifada. Israel's unilateral dismantling of the Gaza strip settlements and withdrawal from the Gaza strip was answered with the election of Hamas which has been firing rockets over the border into Israel. No wonder Israel has elected a right wing government. A decade ago the West Bank settlements were unpopular with most Israelis who would gladly have gotten rid of them to make peace. Now there seems to be no reason to get rid of them.
Israel's right to exist as a sovereign nation with a Jewish majority willing to accept as immigrants whomever they choose to accept and reject whomever they choose to reject is not because of the existence of a Jewish state there 2000 years ago or because of some biblical promise. It is because Israel exists now with a Jewish majority and a commitment to the Zionist promise of a country that will accept Jews from anywhere who choose to live there and has existed as such for 62 years since 1948. It is because the people of Israel have nowhere else to go.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One Can Envy the Young

One can envy the young,
Their futures before them,
Unfolding, uncertain, incomplete.
Let them envy the old,
Our ventures behind us,
Safe, secure, and replete.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Health Care Reform Person

I voted for Barack Obama, and I think he is doing a great job in the short time he has been president. I believe that there is a problem with the distribution of healthcare in the USA, and that problem needs fixing. Having said that, I have some concerns about the choosing of the person to lead us into health care reform. Senator Daschle seems like a nice guy, and probably would have been good at ramming whatever plan through Congress. Now that he is out of the picture, the television pundits are talking about various politicians as his replacement. President Obama chose a scientist rather than a politician to head the energy endeavor. Shouldn't he do the same for healthcare? Is it more important to choose a politician who can sheperd legislation through Congress, or to choose a healthcare person who is more likely to create a good plan? It is more important to have someone who can create a good product than someone who can sell the product.
Mr. President, I would like to make a suggestion to you. Oliver Goldsmith retired about 5 years ago from being the medical director of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group. He successfully led one of the largest medical groups in the USA through difficult times, was active in organizing the Permanente Medical groups at a national level, is a great speaker, and has a good sense of humor. I think he could give us a good product.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Israel Must Defend Itself

I see in the news that hypocrites all over the world are denouncing Israel because of the Gaza war. They don't care that Hamas has been terrorizing the civilian population of Israel by shooting rockets over the border for years and recently stepped up the pace. Israel left Gaza as a start of the peace process, but Hamas rejects the peace process. They insist on one Palestine under their rule from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, in other words no Israel and no Two State Solution. What do they expect? Do they really think that the Israelis are going to voluntarily disappear for the convenience of Hamas. The plight of the civilians in Gaza is tragic just as is the plight of the Israelis who live near the border and have to live in bomb shelters. But who's fault is it? The surrounding Arab countries who regularly denounce every effort by Israel to survive are the very same countries that began the problem in 1948 by invading Israel/Palestine. At that time Israel declared its independance in its part of the U.N. partition and called on the Palestinian Arabs to do the same in their part. And when the war ended, Jordan and Egypt simply annexed the parts of Palestine that they had conquered. Where was the desire for an independent Palestine then? The tragedy is that for many years an approximate solution to the Israel/Palestine problem has evolved, and has become obvious to all rational people involved. I say approximate because there are details to be ironed out,but the rational people on both sides have actually been close for some time. The Clinton Plan which Ehud Barak offered to Yasser Arafat almost a decade ago when the good will between the Israeli and Palestinian people was at an all time high, and which Arafat rejected resulting in the Intifada, was very similar to the plan recently offered by the Saudi government. But Hamas rejects it, calling instead for the destruction of Israel. That plan involves returning to approximately the 1967 borders, the dismantling of most of the Israeli West Bank settlements, keeping the Israeli Jerusalem neighborhoods in what was once the West Bank in Israel, and allowing for some kind of Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem. There are differences in what and where the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem should be, but those things can be worked out. Israel also cannot allow the return of all Palestinian refugees to Israel. That would not work.
Hamas does not appear to be willing to accept the peace plan, but if they were only to stop shooting rockets into Israel, Israel would stop bombing them. They could simply remain a separate country from Palestine. Israel and Palestine on the West Bank could make a peace treaty without them, and things between Israel and Gaza could slowly evolve into some measure of normality.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Faith Based Soviet Union

The Soviet Union was a faith based government. Their faith was atheism. I believe that faith base was a contributing factor to their collapse. Because of that faith base, they made all other religions illegal and in so doing unnecessarily restricted the personal lives of their people. Had they been more pragmatic, less ideological, less concerned about pushing their ideas on everyone else, and had a true separation of church and state, the Soviet Union might still exist.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Which Party is Monetarily Responsible?

Listening to the Speeches at the Republican Convention, it is interesting to hear the old Republican mantra that they are for "lower taxes, less spending, and small government" as opposed to those Democrats who favor "high taxes, more spending, and big government." But this is so blatantly untrue. George Bush inherited a balanced budget and destroyed it. When it comes to spending, the Republicans are not shy about it. They just spend on different interests. In the past 8 years, the money we spent in Iraq makes any money spent on public welfare look like small change. And how did the Republicans spend so much without raising taxes? They borrowed the money. And who will pay this debt? You and I.