Striking a balance on Israel

Douglas MacLean is a student at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Re “Why We Must Defend Israel” [RN&R Guest Comment, Dec. 27]:

Richard Waller’s comments perpetuate the abuse of facts that have kept America shackled to one side of the Middle East tensions. Having studied the conflict for some time, it is clear to me that the only way for America to be an effective peacemaker is to step back from our close relationship with Israel and work as a neutral third party. But in order to do that, we need to disabuse ourselves of the rhetoric Mr. Waller and much of Washington uses.

Point one: Israel was created due to Western guilt over anti-Semitism. “They are us.”

I cannot think of a greater irony than using our guilt to aid the oppression of innocent people. If the West felt such remorse, then it should have created a state within one of its own countries, or at least welcomed back the Jewish communities with open arms. Relocation of the Jews to Israel, while certainly a blessing in their eyes, was also a way for many countries to purge themselves of large Jewish populations. Guilt indeed.

Point two: “We support Israel because we are moral. Israel is a democracy.”

How does our support make us moral? Israelis, as much as radical Palestinians, sends down horrific destruction on innocents, making them no better than the extremists they are fighting. Supporting bloodshed is counter productive to the peace process.

Point three: The Arab nations are at fault for not taking in the hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Mr. Waller, the creation of the Israeli state created the refugees! These are people who were moved off of their own land, denied equal rights by the state of Israel and forced into horrid conditions. The fault lies with the Israeli government.

Point four: The conflict in the Middle East is about “pushing Jews into the sea.”

From the birth of Islam on, one of the safest places for Jews to live was in Muslim lands. The Muslim religion is actually friendly to the Jewish people. The conflict is against an oppressive government, not an entire people. If we truly want to end the destruction, we must convince Israel to reform their policies, which means cutting off the aid they have used to fund their attacks. At the same time, we must keep pressure on Mr. Arafat to crack down on extremists. We need to be neutral in order to end hostilities, and removing exclusive support of Israel is the best way to do that.

Finally, Mr. Waller claims that Palestinians are only interested in raising suicide bombers. This is blatantly false. The number of Palestinian bombers is perhaps 1 percent of the population. The other 99 percent are merely trying to survive, having little time, money or opportunity to create a productive society in a state that denies them equal rights.

Israel has demonized the Palestinians for the last 50 years in an effort to justify their oppression. It is a tactic of the Holocaust, which is a sick irony indeed.

Until we end our obvious favor of one side, we will have no chance of ending the destruction of innocents, Israeli and Palestinian.