Israel shares responsibility
Dear Editor:After reading Rabbi Mintz’s and Judith King’s letters in the June 30 Aspen Times, I must again emphasize the fact that my remarks were not meant as a denigration of the Jewish Bible or a criticism of Judaism. Regardless of the current sociological context in which my words were construed by the Jews in the audience, the actual context of my original question was in a discussion of the oppression of the Palestinians by the Israelis. My understanding of Jewish history comes from the Christian version of the Old Testament Bible, which in part describes God’s instruction to the Jews to march into other people’s territories, attack their cities, kill the inhabitants and settle there. This made me wonder if modern Israelis believe it is their God-given right to usurp the Palestinian territories, and therefore lack compassion for the people whose family farms they have confiscated, whose civil rights they have denied and whose children they have killed. Those who believe that, as Rabbi Mintz put it, “…all the old prejudices about the Jewish people are making a calculated reappearance orchestrated by Islamic fundamentalists,” are contributing to the problem. In Islamic teaching, Christians, Jews and Muslims are all “people of the Books,” sharing the same God (only their prophets differ). Historically, Jews and Muslims alike have had more to fear from Christian fundamentalists than from each other. Blaming Israel’s woes on Islamic fundamentalism is just a form of denial. The Palestinian attacks on Israelis are not due simply to religious prejudice. They are the result of decades of oppression, frustration and resentment. One would think with their history in Europe, the Jews would be more willing to tread lightly upon the rights of others.No doubt this letter will spark a heated response from those such as Mintz and King whose hypersensitivity to the persecution of Jews leads them to cry, “Bigot! Anti-Semite!” at anyone who dares to suggest that Israel might share some responsibility in the Middle East situation. Call me whatever you like, I’m no stranger to vicious character attacks because I refuse to tiptoe around the truth and the truth hurts. Especially when the finger of blame is pointed in your direction.There will be no peace in the Middle East until the Israelis end their oppression of the Palestinians. This requires true compassion on the part of the Jews, a real application of their “Golden Rule.” If Judaism teaches that we are all brothers and sisters, children of God, then why don’t the Israelis embrace the Palestinians, give them their civil rights and citizenship in Israel, and willingly share the city of Jerusalem where stand the holy shrines of both religions? Or make a real effort to create a cohesive Palestinian state? To rephrase my original “incendiary” question; why don’t the Israelis obey God’s commandment to “Love thy neighbor as thyself?”How’s that for an agenda?Sue GrayCarbondale
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