Taking the Opportunity

The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Abba Eban

While you’re at it, why not do something practical to end U.S. support for the Israeli occupation, now in its 52nd year? I feel safer in the average synagogue or mosque in New Jersey (and I spend time in both) than I do when I visit the West Bank (as I also do) and face Israeli soldiers who come into the town where I’m living or the university campus where I’m teaching, engaging in gratuitous violence on flimsy pretexts. Your support for Israel is “unbreakable,” but your support for its occupation seems about as stable. It’s hard to see your condemnations of “hate” as anything more than empty rhetoric considering where you stand on the Israeli occupation.

We live in a country that started a war over a 2-year-long military occupation much milder than the Israeli one. Palestinians have shown amazing forbearance in putting up with the Israeli one for decades longer than that. The least we could do is to acknowledge its existence, acknowledge its significance, and speak and act accordingly. I don’t see even that minimal response to reality from any legislator in New Jersey and haven’t, for decades. I regret to say that you’re not an exception to that rule. Consider this note an invitation to become one.

Irfan Khawaja
Readington, New Jersey

One thought on “Taking the Opportunity

  1. The Democratic presidential candidates were asked by The New York Times to answer a series of questions, among them, “Do you think Israel meets international standards of human rights?” The majority of them answered “yes.” Most of the others temporized. The strongest criticism came from Pete Buttigieg, who described Israel’s human rights record as “problematic.” Killer. (Biden didn’t participate.)

    Just to be clear, these are seasoned politicians discussing the human rights record of a country that for 52 of the 71 years of its existence has imposed apartheid-like conditions on millions of people through military force. Nine of the Democratic candidates regard that as meeting standards of human rights. Elizabeth Warren goes so far as to call Israel a lonely paradigm of “liberal democracy.”

    I don’t think it takes much creativity to imagine the Republican response to the same question. Whatever virtues the Democrats may have over Republicans on other issues, as far as Israel/Palestine is concerned, the delusions of the one are the delusions of the other.

    Liked by 1 person

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