What is interesting in reading George's posts, in my opinion, is that while I do not seem to discern a pro-Palestinean position, I do seem to discern a continued critical eye towards Israel. Now this does not make him an anti-Semite. But, it does put him, I believe, in the separate category of one who does not seem to be either pro-Palestinean, nor pro-Israel. Just critical of Israel, it seems to me. Now that is not an anti-Semite. How would I know how George feels about Jews?
But, since so many of the Middle East news fans (another baseball reference) do take sides, and wear their rally caps, so to speak, whenever news comes out of the Israel/Gaza ballfield, I do scratch my head as to what George's feelings are based on?
Perhaps, without his specific education, I do not see the world as he does. But then again, many must not either, since so many are choosing sides. They are pro-Israel, or pro-Palestinean, and therefore anti the other side. George does not seem to be pro-either side, only a critic of Israel.
So, I wish George can share with readers what motivates his concerns regarding Israel? I am guessing, but perhaps, he sees his viewpoint as not a subjective viewpoint, but an objective viewpoint, based on a lifelong belief in certain moral/ethical/religious teachings? I hope he never therefore had a moral/ethical dilemma when he served the nation, since his morals and ethics appear to me, in my opinion, to be so highly refined.
Amidst all the shouting and invective that too often infests these threads it is pleasant to encounter a relatively dispassionate inquiry, particularly one that doesn't appear to prejudge the response.
I am very critical of Israel, chiefly because I believe that it is Israel's insistence on its continued existence as a Jewish or Jewish dominated state, combined with continuing expansion into the former West bank territory through usually government-sponsored settlements that for the past few decades has been, and continues to be, the chief barrier to any progress towards peace and justice in the region - for itself and for its neighbors. I believe that Israel made a fateful error of profound consequence after the 1967 war when it took control of the external boundaries of the West Bank and began the systematic settlement of Jews there and the attendant isolation of the Palestinain population , initially through checkpoints and roadblocks and now through walls and limited access roads throughout the area. This was a clear message of permanent apartheidt readily detectable to all, particularly the subject Palestinian population. Add decades of military rule with no political rights and a physical arrangement that precludes normal economic development, and you have the present situation. These are the conditions for hostility and insurrection that history repeatedly shows us can last for centuries.
There is plenty for which one could criticize the Palestinians and their external Arab supporters. However, it is Israeli intransigence on the above issues, that limits progress today and has prevented it for the past forty years. Worse, as time passes and Palestinian resistence continues, the body of self-deceptive rationalizations with which Israel reassures itself and its remaining supporters in the world becomes ever more a grotesque distortion of truth and common sense. One here is reminded of Oscar Wilde's "Picture of Dorian Grey".
I will readily concede that, if Israel were to do as I wished, a host of Palestinian/Arab issues would come to the fore and become limiting factors. However one must begin, and the sequential resolution of these contradictions and the attendant beginnings of mutual trust and tolerance are inescapable precursors for peace and justice in the region, however it is eventually organized.
Instead, the parties are merely intensifying the conflict, each behind walls of increasingly intransigent, false and destructive ideas. When in a hole, one should stop digging.
I have outlined before how I see powerful analogies between the situation in the Middle east and that which existed in Northern Ireland until recently. It didn't end until the external sponsor (the UK) became weary and disguisted with its oppressive client state (the Stormont government) and the parties in the struggle each gave up their extremist dreams. Though it was labelled as a religious/cultural struggle between Catholic Irish and Protestant Scots (or whatever) it was, in fact, a political and economic struggle between "haves" and "have nots" who could merely be readily identified by religion. I believe that, beneath all the inflated rhetoric, this is the essential reality today in the Middle East.
I am attracted both by the historical logic of that analogy and my own experience of it. My parents were both immigrants from Ireland who came here as children during the civil war there.
We all have only one life. The treasured (and often carefully selected) cultural memories of past sufferings, indignities and oppression are just that - memories. They don't really enter into the equations for our own lives.
I am reminded of a verse from a pretty good song that came out of the "troubles" in Northern ireland in thw 1970s "The Town I loved so Well".
The verse was;
"What's done is done; what's won is won;
And what's lost is lost and gone forever."
I don't think my views on this issue or my moral sense are particularly "highly refined" as Foofie suggests: merely practical and vetted by history and common sense.