I had hoped the rabbi’s recent rant would be disregarded by your readers as the specious partisan pandering it obviously is to anyone who understands even the smallest bits of Middle Eastern history and contemporary realities “over there.” However, given that more than a week has passed, and now today’s follow-on huzzahs by a reader willfully blinded to any point of view that does not resonate with his own, I must ask if you intend to publish the response sent to you, the same day the rabbi’s opinions were published, by my friend Janna Weiss.
Janna is an Israeli peace activist and student of Buddhism currently residing in Tibet. She and I correspond frequently, and while we occasionally disagree on minutiae, her Jewish perspective is always enlightening. I have my own disagreements with Fox’s flummery (included below for your entertainment), but those have been aired before and little will be accomplished by reminding your readers of my points of view. If you have decided against printing Janna’s letter, I hope you will reconsider, or at least give her a chance to edit any parts you find objectionable.
Hot Springs, Arkansas
These are a few of my objections to the rabbi’s opinions:
Fox: Nuclear weapons are the ultimate guarantors of Israel’s continued existence.
Me: Interesting that a religious leader/teacher would ignore his own sacred texts. Psalms 20:7 (KJV) says “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” Isaiah 31:1 confirms that sentiment with “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!”
Fox: Israel ascribes to a notion called the “Samson option,” based on the story of the Biblical Samson…
Me: Ironic, since Samson was the first Palestinian suicide bomber.
Fox: What frightens me, and many others, is that some Muslim or otherwise rogue nations may even now support a leader who is not sane…
Me: That phrase “some Muslim or otherwise rogue nation” belies blatant bigotry. What is it about Muslims that you consider “rogue,” my Jewish or otherwise principled/scrupulous friend? Beyond that unsubtle slight, we Americans don’t have to look further than our noses and yon Bush to find a rogue nation that even now supports a leader who is demonstrably irrational…
Fox: The pro-Israel AIPAC lobby is very effective in its work. I applaud AIPAC, I am a member of AIPAC. Although lobbying organizations are not popular among some people, that is how government is run in this country. Until we change to a different system, pro-Israel Americans (who are both Christians and Jews) have a perfect right to promote the interests they believe in.
Me: What dubious ethics from a religious leader/teacher! Everyone does it, so we can, too. By this logic, it’s OK to resort to bribery, nepotism, all manner of chicanery, and even spying on your friends, if it promotes what you believe in. Rather than working to change or reform a flawed government, the message here is that it’s better to take full advantage of those flaws to advance your own selfish interests.
And here is a copy of what Janna sent to you the day Rabbi Fox’s opinion piece was published:
—– Forwarded message from Janna —–
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2008 01:41:07 +0300
Subject: Response to: What Israel Stands to Lose by Rabbi Fox July 2, 2008
The opinion piece by Rabbi Fox (July 2, 2008, What Israeli Stands to Lose) has many untruths, which is a kind word choice, at best. One wonders why 70% of Israelis don’t agree with Rabbi Fox, and are willing to exchange land for peace. There is no amount of land that will give Israel the security it purportedly seeks. Sadaam’s Scuds settled that question long ago. Security will come only when Israel and the Palestinians (and surrounding neighbors) choose a path to peace, to cooperation, to mutual respect, exchange, understanding, acceptance, healing of wounds and building a joint future.
There is a new alternative to AIPAC, J Street, (www.jstreet.org), for American Jews, and others, who support the 67% of Israelis and 62% of Palestinians who don’t want to kill each other and don’t buy seeing the other as enemy (“Stop the Clash of Civilizations,” www.avaaz.org, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxnCObZyTT0). If the $3 billion figure that Rabbi Fox cites is indeed accurate, and indeed gets poured back into the US military industry, then there seems to be a strong incentive by some to discourage the building of ties, and to maintaining an enemy other. Sadly, Rabbi Fox seems to count among them. Rabbi Fox might do well to do some more of that self-searching he most likely recommends for his flock, and hopefully find peace within. And if that proves difficult, he might then begin with some fact finding, regarding the existence of Israelis who support the controversial right of return for Palestinians (http://www.zochrot.org/index.php?id=582), regarding “who bombed who” first in 2006, and Sadaat’s possible alternative motives for his bold peace move besides Israel’s bomb. Sadaat well knew he risked his own life by going to Jerusalem, yet that peace, though it could be warmer, and despite his assassination, still holds, thirty years later. Israel is now engaging in the prisoner/body exchange and dialogue with Hizbollah it might have engaged in instead of bombing Lebanon in 2006, in response to the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. Better late than never. It’s not clear to me why the majority of people worldwide continue to be ruled by belligerent leaders, Israelis and Palestinians notwithstanding.
Just for the record, in 2006 I evacuated my home when one of Hizbollah’s bombs fell across the street (41 Oranim, Qiryat Tivon, Israel).
Jiangsu Rd. 36
Lhasa, Tibet 850000