For the past three weeks, I've been on vacation, purposely avoiding news of any kind as I sought to refresh my soul. The very first thing I read upon resuming my vigil on the world's affairs was a report describing those despicable Israelis cold-bloodedly murdering a group of innocent peace activists bringing much-needed aid and comfort to the Israeli-victimized Gazans and a companion piece filled with the world's condemnation of Israel.
Having followed Middle East events rather conscientiously for a number of years, I immediately suspected that there was a great deal more to this story. Having watched a Western press grow more and more willfully blind and downright anti-Semitic over three decades greatly increased my skepticism. Seeing my American president blink, blink, and blink again while blathering more inanity about irrelevancies, unable to discern right from wrong, brought me to the brink of gut-wrenching nausea.
What has happened to us? The West, I mean, and more specifically, America?
The Israeli Defense Forces are not stupid, for one thing. They had clear video of individual soldiers legally enforcing a two-nation naval blockade for purely defensive purposes. The boat boarded by the IDF had multiple warnings and were peacefully informed that the ship would need to be boarded and inspected for weapons before it could pass to deliver the aid purportedly on board. All perfectly in accordance with international law. Instead of “peace activists,” the soldiers — not drones or missiles or mechanized artillery, mind you, but real men, sons, brothers, husbands, fathers — were met by an army of savages wielding steel pipes, who overwhelmed the soldiers and beat them without mercy.
The savage gang was fired upon, and nine of them were killed. It was called an Israeli-perpetrated massacre.
And I daresay there is not a single American adult who would not defend the actions of the IDF if the men being beaten were among their own sons, brothers, husbands, or fathers.
A Chicago police officer attempting to inspect a car trunk for illegal drugs who is surrounded by a gang and beaten with steel pipes certainly has the right to use his gun and depend upon his partner to do so. An American soldier disarming people by law in the wake of Katrina, if met by a gang wielding clubs against him, would fire in self-defense. Would we have the same difficulty condemning the real law-breakers? I don't think so.
Figuring out who is right and who is wrong in this situation is not hard stuff. It's not the kind of moral dilemma which anyone over the age of twelve ought to have difficulty resolving. No, it isn't Auschwitz, at least not yet. It isn't the blueprints for massive “ovens,” at least not yet, but the leaders of Israel's enemy states have publicly declared over and over again their intentions to perpetrate Holocaust II at the first opportunity.
No, understanding the Israeli position as the only morally defensible one in the region is not difficult. It's the kind of elementary morality that any good parent hopes to have instilled in his children before they reach middle school.
So again, I ask myself, what has happened to us as a civilization?
Why are the Israelis having to spend precious time and energy trying to convince the rest of the world of the justness of their cause? A cause that is simply about surviving in peace while surrounded by historical throwbacks to the 7th century?
When the Israelis finally bent to world pressure in 2005 and left Gaza — forcefully uprooting their own people, and even being so thorough as to take the dead Jews from their cemeteries — they were acting in good faith, attempting to trade land for peace. The Palestinians could have become good neighbors, could have asked for the helping hand of do-gooders around the world for rebuilding moneys and assistance. The world would have been generous. The Israelis themselves offered such assistance.
Instead, the Palestinians took to using Gaza exactly as they had before the Israeli occupation: to perpetrate war. Nearly ten thousand rockets have rained down on innocent Israelis since the land-for-peace deal was made. Those rockets have killed hundreds of Israelis, nearly all civilians. And, in fact, the Israelis do send food and medicine daily into the Gaza that assaults them without mercy.
Now, if peace is really the only objective, the Israelis could have peace by this time tomorrow, and the only thing they would need to do to achieve it is to march quietly into an Iranian-built “oven.” The Arabs would all be happy. The Muslim world would rejoice immediately, and all would be well in the entire region. All American troops could come home from the Middle East. President Obama could bow as much as he pleased and play golf the rest of the time.
About a year ago, I shamelessly berated a dear Jewish friend for becoming paranoid about unfolding events — not in Israel, but right here in America. She, naturally, sees things differently from how I do. She was noticing the telltales in American foreign policy under the new administration. She was calling my attention to signs I couldn't then read. Perhaps a part of me simply wanted to believe — with all my heart and soul — that nothing whatsoever similar to the Holocaust could ever happen again because we good Americans would never, ever, ever permit such a horror on our watch. I argued this point with my friend vehemently. For a while, we were so passionately at odds on the “Jewish question” that we stopped corresponding and talking on the phone. Now I shake with guilt and shame over my callous insensitivity, and I wonder where I found such faith in the American people and such naïve blindness about human evil.
We have clearly elected an anti-Semitic president. I say this with due trepidation; I take the charge as seriously as any I know. Barack Obama's anti-Semitism is so transparent that I tremble to consider that it may not even be merely an intellectual Israel-vs.-Arab-nation prejudice, but may actually be racist, or even a soul-disordered hate for all things deigned by God.
Consider Obama's presidential record on judging events. When lawyer Obama heard only scant details of Professor Gates' arrest, he didn't bat an eyelash before publicly declaring that the police “acted stupidly.” When President Obama learned of Chávez-wannabe Zelaya being exiled from Honduras, he took the side of Zelaya without even the slightest hesitation, and he even threw the weight of the entire U.S. government against the tiny, struggling Honduran democracy. When Eric Holder announced that he intended to grant the 9/11 terrorists civilian trials in the heart of NYC, President Obama needed no time to study the issue, gather all the facts, or hold any public investigations on the matter. President Obama seems to have no difficulty whatsoever taking sides.
Yet whenever the president is confronted with events in which Jews or Muslims are concerned, we encounter an altogether different Obama persona. We see the dodger. We see the presumed thinker. We see the lawyer calling for all the facts, all the wider ramifications, all the possible contingencies. In every instance of terrorist killing or foiled killing since taking office, President Obama has dodged the one word that fits: “Muslim.” He has removed every mention of Islam from all intelligence material on terrorism. Since day one of his presidency, we have seen a man seemingly going out of his way to soothe the hurt feelings of Muslims, all the while publicly insulting and humiliating the Jewish Prime Minister of Israel. Now, with clear film showing soldiers mercilessly beaten by a savage gang and firing in self-defense, the president dithers, joins an immoral U.N. condemnation of the Israelis, and continues to “gather facts.”
Remembering the fears of my Jewish friend, I must now ask whether Barack Obama is signaling to the entire Muslim world that Israel is theirs for the taking, that America will stand aside and twiddle our collective thumbs while Iran and her Muslim neighbors finally get to carry out Holocaust II.
And for the very first time in my life, I am ashamed of my country.
The only thing I can add is that I now declare myself, a devout Catholic, Jewish too. And it would seem the only moral thing any of us can do is to proclaim this as loudly and as furiously as we can. When Helen Thomas says the Jews need to go back to Poland and Germany, and those on a “peace flotilla” tell an Israeli soldier to “go back to Auschwitz,” and a president looks the other way while evil parades as good right under his nose, then the time for silence has passed. There is a quirky verse in the book of Genesis which any God-fearing person ought now heed, in my opinion. Speaking of the Jews, His chosen people, God told Abraham: “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.”
I say again, shouldn't we all be Israelis now? Yes, we should.