Saturday, August 05, 2006


UP FRONT News August 5, 2006
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
“The paper that can’t be bought and can’t be sold.”


My friend Wael Sharaydeh, is a Palestinian-American who lives and works in Staten Island. I met him about shortly after I moved to Staten Island in the spring of 2005 when he managed a small grocery shop a short distance from the ferry terminal. (He now man- ages a grocery elsewhere in Staten Island.) We soon found something in common, a mu- tual interest and involvement in politics.

Mr. Sharaydeh, some of whose family lives in the occupied West Bank, is unequivocal-
ly opposed to the Zionist belief in a Jewish state, which he believes is inherently racist. Mr. Sharaydeh, however, also believes that Jews, like Palestinians, have very right to live in a land they call Israel that is also known as Palestine. It is his belief, one which (no matter how far-fetched it seems to many) I share, that ultimately a secular state, compris- ing what is now Israel, the West Blank, and Gaza, in which all citizens, regardless of ethnicity or faith, have equal rights, can mean peace there.

Mr. Sharaydeh has written a long essay (which I have edited) on the so-called “One State Solution.” His essay is very critical of the United States for supporting the Israeli occupa-
tion of Palestinian territories and comments at some length on the irony of the victims of Hitler’s Holocaust perpetrating a similar crime against Palestinians. Mr. Sharaydeh, how- ever, most assuredly does not subscribe to the Iran/Syria/Hamas/Hezbollah Islamic-fas-cist fantasy of the destruction of Israel.

There are some peace activists in Israel who support the concept of the secular one state solution but who recognize that generates opposition from right-wing Zionists who inter- pret the Old Testament in a way that implies that God made some people more equal than others. Mr.Sharaydeh is fully aware that the Iran-led “let’s wipe Israel off the face of the earth” bunch, of which Hezbollah is a part, have no use for the one state idea either, ex- cept if that one state had no Jews in it.

At this point, the notion of a secular state consisting of, among others, Jews and Arabs sharing equal rights, is beyond pipe dream, but certainly something to strive for. In the meantime, no matter what some on the neo-fascist Lyndon H. LaRouche-influenced “left” might desire, Israel, like every nation, has the right to defend itself against aggres-
sion. As has often been the case in response to military provocations by for example Ha- mas, Israel has responded to what may described on a scale of ten as level-two (soldier abductions) actions with a level-nine air and ground war. The fact is also that Israel’s re- sponse should be no surprise to Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah, since over the years, particu- larly under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, has included military excess as an integral part of his foreign policy.

My belief is that the dictators who run things in Iran and Syria, among some other places in the Islamic world, have been fully aware that for example a Hezbollah soldier abduct- tion would lead to war. I believe also that the Iranian leader means it when he says, re-
Peatedly, that Israel must be destroyed. It is apparent also that there are some, like Osama bin Laden and the religious extremists in Iran, who want war because they feel that Allah has guaranteed them victory over the “infidels.” Infidels, by way, include, (aside from the all too obvious Jews), Christians, Buddhists and just about anyone else who doesn’t see religious things their way. A similar view, from an atheist perspective, is also held by those in charge in Communist China. It is not just a handful who believe in a surprisingly sexually blissful eternity, with 72 virgins for each suicide bombing martyr.

Although George W. Bush’s motives are by definition suspect, he made a rare good point when he graphically suggested that the prospects for at least an absence of overt war would be better if Iran and Syria put the clamps on the Jew-hating Nasrallah and his rather Nazi-sounding colleagues in Hezbollah. I also find myself in rare agreement with Hillary Clinton, who has been quite clear as to Israel’s right of self-defense. The Lyndon LaRouche/Lenora Fulani candidate, Green Party boss Howie Hawkins, is taking a pro-Iranian line (just like LaRouche by the way). And the increasingly robotic Democrat Jonathan Tasini, who is grateful for the Iraq War, (otherwise he would have almost nothing else to talk about), has hopped on the Hezbollah-is-okay noisy bandwagon.

The notion that Hezbollah, even though the organization provides important social serv- ices to Arabs displaced by Israel, is some kind of do-gooder group, like the Henry Street Settlement, a notion promoted by the deeply anti-Israel-biased LaRouche-oriented “left”, is a fiction. No Police State Coalition list-serve manager, Roman Shusterman, who is sup- porting my Democratic write-in candidacy for the U.S. Senate, has urged that, even as the fighting continues while a cease fire is sought, the U.S. should focus on using our considerable resources to rescue civilians on both sides. And since both sides do not want to continue to be justifiably accused of killing civilians, I would hope that for example Israel will hold its fire while we come to the rescue of the Lebanese. And Hezbollah needs to do the same as we help civilians in Haifa.

And, as far as the future is concerned, there is reality to be faced by both sides. The Jews are not clearing out. Neither are the Arabs. And so, as Wael Sharaydeh suggests, both sides may as well stop fantasizing about it.

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