Sunday, September 03, 2006

How to make peace & why America loves Israel


If Syrians and Palestinians want to trade peace for land, why don't they talk to the Israelis without preconditions, more openly and more often? Peace is not an event but a long process. It is about changing hearts and minds and building trust, so no one should expect a final settlement in less than 20 years. The desired outcome for Syria and Israel should be stated at the outset: the return of the Golan to Syrian sovereignty, free movement of goods, people and capital between the two countries and shared investment in the border regions.

A Palestinian state, as envisaged in the Road Map is a bad joke. It is not viable economically or politically. Both camps are wasting their lives and their children's future by staggering towards a dead end. The Palestinians and Israelis should aim to share the lands under a single secular federated state with different legal structures but one economy. This may take 30 or 40 years but a shared vision gives hope where there is none. Nothing is impossible and where there is a will there is a way!


Here is an interesting comment on the relationship between the US and Israel. It was written more than 4 years ago but remains relevant to recent events. The writer offers an emotional/psychological/social/religious perspective on the relationship rather than a political one, but that does not make it any less valid. I neither agree nor disagree with the writer's view.

The comment is being republished here because understanding makes for a better dialogue between nations and dialogue makes peace possible.

Why America Loves Israel
Contributed by : Carol Gould
(First published on Jewish Comment 27 February 2002)

In recent months, and most strongly since the events of September 11th, there has been a growing call around the world for the United States to “stop its blind support” of Israel. Arab academics have even begun to conjure up an image of a cowering United States being the “lackey” of Israel.

Notwithstanding a feeling of despair at the level to which military confrontation has grown in the territories conquered by Israel after the 1967 War, the concept of “American blind support” must be examined in perspective.

There are many remarkable similarities in the collective destinies of these two young countries. The earliest settlers in the New World were religious sects who had been suffering terrible persecution in Europe. William Penn, who landed in what is now the Port of Philadelphia in the seventeenth century, was a Quaker who, like so many other marginalised persuasions arriving on the shores of the spartan continent, was confronted with native Americans, fierce weather and, in the end, starvation. However “ and much to the present-day shame of politically correct America “ subsequent waves of Pilgrim Fathers and their feisty women took up arms against savage attacks by native Americans who were attempting to defend their ancient land. Soon, the “Indians” as they came to be known, retreated as wave upon wave of new European settlers arrived, but not before many blood-curdling battles had unfolded across the frontier. If the Indians did not die in confrontations, they suffered the devastating effects of European diseases to which they had no immunity. The final great war of white man against the native Americans happened as recently as just over a century ago in South Dakota.

Growing up in North America in the 1950s and 1960s, before the days of political correctness, one was taught of the supreme heroism of the Pilgrim Fathers and of the frontiersmen in resisting the brutality of “savage Indian tribes.” Without doubt the tribes in question perpetrated horrendous atrocities against the white arrivals, including the barbaric practice of “scalping.”

Nevertheless, American history was taught as a series of “us against them” sagas of spectacular heroism, culminating with the defeat of the “Japs” in 1945. My mother and her sister served in the United States Army, and their visceral dread of the Japanese was akin to that I encounter, even today, in elderly British veterans of the Pacific War and in survivors of Japanese POW camps. (Needless to say I was touched by the metamorphoses of human nature and its power to forgive when on a 1987 visit to my late mother she excitedly announced to me that “We are going straight from here for sushi “ when I had just arrived at Philadelphia Airport!)

Just as Israelis celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day) with barbecues and fireworks, so do Americans on July 4th. Just as Israelis observe the major Festivals, so do Americans enjoy the four-day weekend feast of Thanksgiving. (All one has to do is see the African-American, Jewish, Latino and Vietnamese families passionately organising their respective turkey banquets in the film “What’s Cooking” to appreciate the universality of American Thanksgiving.)

Israel, like the American colonies, spectacularly threw off British rule with considerable force and bloodshed. It must be stressed here that The American War of Independence was a protracted, widespread and complicated affair. In Palestine, the departure of the British triggered the War initiated by the Arabs countries against a tiny, ragtag Jewish State already in existence as a sovereign nation but with pitiful resources.

It is therefore natural for Americans to feel an affinity to a small country that excoriated the rule of a large colonial power. It is also of significance that The United States” legacy of the Emma Lazarus “Give me your tired, your poor..” poetry runs parallel to the Israeli “Right of Return” laws. Nearly a million Soviet refugees have become Israeli citizens, as have hundreds of thousands of Jewish asylum seekers from numerous Muslim countries. The “nation of immigrants” concept appeals to Americans, their history books now acknowledging with sorrow the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Native Americans, just as Israelis, still painfully only one generation from the Holocaust, have been forced by Benny Morris to reflect on the issue of displacement of indigenous peoples in 1948.

The mass immigration to the United States, though resisted by many in Congress and in the predominantly Anglo-Germanic Protestant-American institutions of the day, brought even more prosperity to America. Though Thomas Edison pressured the New York legislature to outlaw the formation of “moving picture” companies by “foreign nationals” (meaning Jews), the “outlawed” Louis B Mayer, Sam Goldwyn, Jesse Lasky and others promptly set up shop in California; the rest is history.

Taking the issue to the present day, there is another aspect of American-Israeli solidarity that is not often discussed. Notwithstanding the fact that British colleagues and friends love to tell Americans what they REALLY studied at school and what America is REALLY LIKE, (fascist, racist dictatorship filled with people who are too stupid and uneducated to recognise that they are victims of brainwashing and oppression) one has to have grown up in the United States to fully understand the impact of organised religion on everyday life. Americans go to church more often in one year than the average Brit does in a lifetime. Christianity ( I am not referring to Evangelism) has great meaning to Americans and the church is often the centre of life even in big cities and amongst sophisticated business people. Likewise, American Jewry is a dynamic community that wears its identity on its sleeve. Both communities are, for the most part, at ease with each other and it is common to find a non-Jew asking for a “heimesche” dish at a local eatery. In my early years, it was common for a non-Jewish friend to attend a one’s Passover Seder.

Conversely, my father, as distinguished a naval architect as he was, would never have gained admittance to the WASP bastion known the Union League, nor would my mother have ever felt welcome at a DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) function. Anti-Semitism is still rife in the United States, but it has not crippled the Jews from making a staggering impact on food, culture, science, architecture, the arts and commerce.

Israel, therefore, holds a significant Biblical symbolism for American Christians. Americans know their “Old and New Testament” and feel comfortable identifying with the events and places that pepper that remarkable document. Church attendance in Great Britain is at an all-time low, and at a recent Good Friday service the local vicar in St John's Wood lamented the tiny turnout. Not so in the United States, be it a Sunday or a festival.

From the days of Benjamin Franklin, the American tradition of a free press has been its salvation; over and over again it has rescued the United States from the grips of its own folly, from slavery to Prohibition to the McCarthy witch-hunts to the Vietnam War. It was the American press that exposed the Watergate scandal, saving the nation from an endless dynasty of Nixon and from mass imprisonments of “Dean’s List” subversives. Israel’s press has always been dynamic to the point of near-irresponsibility. In recent weeks the Israeli media revealed the late Daniel Pearl’s father as a distinguished Israeli scholar, perhaps in the end compromising Daniel’s safety. The Israeli press has always been brutally critical of its successive governments; in the Arab regimes nearby, such press freedom would result in long jail terms or beheadings.

Israel and the United States afford women equal rights with men. Although the Orthodox authority governs Israeli Halachah (Jewish religious law), therefore discouraging the ordination of women rabbis and often perpetuating the problem of agunot (chained wives), women are not vassals of their husbands nor must they be covered lest they be stoned to death...

The United States and Israel have a grand tradition of farming and technological advances. Like the American pioneers, the early Jewish immigrants, alongside their sabra brethren, turned a desert into an orchard under unspeakably harsh conditions and under constant attack from marauding Arabs (as did the pioneers in conflict with the native Americans.) This unites the two countries in a cultural bond that European critics cannot readily comprehend.

In the present situation, the world outside Israel and the United States has decided that Israel must be left to fend for herself (translation: at last the Jews will be wiped out and we don’t have to hear about bloody Israel anymore on the 10 o’clock news), and that the United States must be censured for supporting an “apartheid, racist, terrorist entity.” It is always the case that entities who themselves are seriously inadequate or “racist and terrorist” love to present the United States or Israel as the world’s biggest Beelzebub. Various anti-Israel countries are at present in the grips of so many internal crises of their own that it is a miracle they can function at all. European kingdoms during the height of Empire contain episode after episode of shameful repression, as does the legacy of every country heaping criticism on Israel and the United States.

How interesting that the continent that started World War I and World War II is the most vociferous critic of Israel. Had it not been for European imperialism and massive anti-Semitism culminating in the obscenity of the Shoah, the mass immigration to America of talented Jews would not have happened nor would Israel have had to be created.

Reality posits that Israel is a strategic ally of the United States and that its safety is crucial to the security of the American presence in that region. American money has helped build her massive military arsenal. Israeli genius has also helped develop weapons systems so advanced that the rest of the world drools in envy. Without doubt, the United States has funded Israel’s road to supremacy. But Israel is also a beautiful, free, enterprising, culturally rich and technologically awesome democracy and if the American people want to support her it is their right in a free world. There are 22 Arab states and 55 Muslim nations flourishing in a world with over a billion adherents to Islam. It is offensive to hear the world condemning America for choosing to support a tiny First World oasis in the Third World. It is abhorrent to hear the representatives of the rest of the world, at Durban in September 2001, shouting “Jew! Jew! Jew!” every time an Israeli or Diaspora delegate left the various venues at that shamefully hijacked conference.

Condemnation of the United States for supporting Israel, most recently in “The Guardian” newspaper, ( they refer to the Jewish State as “Palestine,”) is a dangerous and frightening development that can be equated with anti-Semitism. It is the equivalent of saying, “If you don’t stop helping Jews, you too will be taken away” (Gestapo, 1933 to 1945.) Whatever Israel’s shortcomings and grave, trigger-happy miscalculations in this new Intifadah, she has as much right to allies as do any other sovereign nations. The Palestinians have had the support of a clutch of Arab League countries for decades. The American media have even suggested that the most diabolical of extremist movements ‘ all haemorrhaging money -- have infiltrated Palestinian strongholds on Israel’s doorstep.

Those of us who have lamented the proliferation of settlements “ and America’s lack of criticism of this post-1967 phenomenon-- would nevertheless like to know if Arabs who have inhabited the hundreds of thousands of Jewish homes in lands from which Jews were forced to leave are also going to vacate those homes.

Much as one wishes to continue to support the Israeli peace movement, it is with increasing concern that one sees the non-Jewish press referring with excessive venom to “illegal Jewish settlements” and to “provocative Jewish claims on the Temple Mount.” (The Temple Mount is of profound importance to Jews.) When has a Muslim been turned away from a synagogue in the rest of the world, or been stopped from living in any neighbourhood they choose in London, Chicago or Paris” Except for the madman Baruch Goldstein, when have settlers set out to instigate waves of terror against their Arab neighbours” The settlers I met were hard-working Jews who wanted their children to lead virtuous lives out of harm’s way. They were not teaching their children to hate Arabs. What good does the British “Boycott of Israeli Goods” campaign serve when it is Palestinian workers (on settlers” lands) who are also deprived of a livelihood” The disproportionate condemnation of Israel by the world is becoming distasteful and merits regular vetting by Jewish communal protection groups in every corner of the Diaspora.

The accusation that a “Zionist lobby” drives American politics is another folly. Had this “lobby” been so all-powerful would the Al Gore/Joe Lieberman ticket not have buried George Bush in last year’s election” The number of Jewish legislators is pitifully small and the huge majority of influential American businesses are still run by the old Protestant families. It should also be pointed out here that Jews around the world would deplore the instigation of any violent act against Muslims despite the deaths of so many Israelis since September 2000 and despite the appalling rise in violence against Jews in France. Furthermore it would be unthinkable for any Jewish cleric anywhere in the civilised world to exhort his or her congregations to go out and kill Muslims. The Israeli and worldwide Jewish peace movement is substantial and it would be refreshing to see such outreach occurring in the Muslim world.

The United States should continue to support Israel. It would be nice to wake up one morning and read European newspapers staunchly supporting the brave little Jewish State and hearing Arab media lauding the rich maelstrom of Israeli cultural life. America loves Israel because it is a mirror of itself, and the reflection is more attractive than anything else on offer on the rest of this carping, resentful planet.

18 comments:

Nobody said...

The Palestinians and Israelis should aim to share the lands under a single secular federated state with different legal structures but one economy.

----

Come on, your imperial majesty. Please, get real.

Philip I said...

nobody

OK, you cannot wipe each other off the face of the earth, so what's your recipe for a lasting peace between this and future generations of Israelis and Palestinians?

Nobody said...

Two states. High Fence. Mine fields in between.

Nobody said...

We and the palestinians are like Tom and Jerry. . .

mmmm. . . Actually Tom and jerry are two arabs.

Read this about Tom and Jerry -- > Tom and Jerry are Arabs

Ok. We are like day and night. But the two state solution may do.

I may seriously consider this possibility in a few years. Right now let me recover from our last attempt at this

Radha said...

There is no solution to the Middle East issue, but peace. Mahatma Gandhi, who got independence for India by his philosophy of non-violence & non-resistance, famously said, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

عشتار said...

Philipe
Me as palestinian was one of those who dreamed about one secular state for both palestinians and jews in palestine , however its too good to be true and too far from reality
For israelies judaism is not only a religion but also a nationality and therefore the concept of secularity is not very relevant here , even the secular jews from the far end of the left wing aim to keep the jewish nature of israel ,that was one of the strongest allegation of those who supported the withdrewal from gaza and thats why israel didnt try to impose israely citizinship on palestinians in the first place ,(neither on the syrians in the occupied jolan heights) .
demography was always an issue for israel , as the growth of palestinians was always higher than the jews , to solve this problem israel ofers lot of facilities for jews who want to immegrate from any place in the world , after the the perostroika they managed to bring more than one million jews from the past soviet union.Israel had never hid its concerns from the growth also of the 1948 palestinians and some israelies even Shemon Perez who is considered as a moderate has called the 1948 arabs as the "cancer" of the jewish state.
From the other side the palestinian society is also not ready for this kind of solution , unfortunatly it had become very religious oriented as all other societies in the middle east , we need time to overcome the Hamas efect , we got lot of problems to solve in between us and with the gaps getting widened between fatah and hamas lets first of all hope that we are not heading for civil war.
We should aim for an independent palestinian state in the the west bank and Gaza , thats the most realistic solution and the least the palestinians should get.
As for the article you are posting , abviosly its very israely biased , israel is not the only democracy , actualy its democratic for its own people but lets not forget thats its still an occupying force which abviosly contradict democracy , neither its the only country who gives women their rights nor the only country who has developed technology , and above all unlike america who's gates were opened for immegration from all over the world israel offered immigration for JEWS only , so there are no real basis for this comparison between the usa and israel and doesnt realy explain the reason of why the usa should support israel this way.

Anonymous said...

عشتار,

First of all I'd like to express my appreciation of your post: In my Opinion (I'm from Israel) it is a an honest, Logical, and persuasive presentation of the palestinian side. If a majority of palestinians believe as you do, then peace is definitely achievable, and soon.

Your observation of Judaism's Uniqueness as both a faith and a nationality is correct, and rare (the only other example I know of are Japan and the Shinto faith: And that's an "iffy" example). Of course this is a direct result of a unique history: nearly 2 millenia of life as an ethnic, sometimes persecuted minority.

I would also like to point out that Israeli Arabs are have full equal right under the law. roughly 10% of parliament Are arabs. Arabs have served as government minsters, Ambassadors, and judges - Including the supreme court. Other than (ironically) Iran, and Turkey (neither an arab country) I know of no other Middle eastern country that extends this priviledge to Jews - including Syria (with butchered jewish citizens in 1947), and Palestine.

Personally, I like the solution of eventual integration: However, until both nations are comfortable with each other: I see no solution other then two VERY separate states. As the saying goes "tall fences make good neighbors".


Philip's article points out what, in my opinions is the Palestinians' best weapon: Israel's need for global legitimacy - fueled by by its history as a nation of immigrants, its culture, and its export-based economy. Once the palestinians wielded that weapon, instead of rockets and suicide bombers, The 2-state solution will be realized.

Philip I said...

عشتار
Ashtar

Thank you for your comment and thoughts. Of course a federated secular state is a long-term vision, not a realistic option in the short to medium terms. As you say, let's at least start with a two state solution and see how it goes. I just hope, when peace has prevailed for a number of years between the Palestinians and Israelis, that leaders on both sides would start thinking out of the box for a better and more viable shared future (I say shared because you will always be more than just neighbours with many Palestinians still living within the 1948 State of Israeli and remaining a part of its history, mosaic and culture). I saw your response to howie on amarji blog. I just want to say that you both can deliver robust political punches. The height of political maturity is to be able to take the punches while keeping the dialogue going, which is exactly what you are both doing.

You make good points and valid observations about the article by Carol Gould. The purpose of re-publishing it here was simply to show how some people see the US-Israeli relationship, how passionately they feel about it, how they defend it when it comes under attack, and whether it offers any lessons for those who want to understand or influence US and Israeli public opinion (assuming of course that Carol Gould's view bears any relationship to reality).

Philip I said...

anonymous

Welcome to the blog.

No political system is perfect but there is absolutely no doubt that Arabs should learn lessons from Israeli democracy and, in doing so, not allow themselves to be blinded by the killings and animosity on both sides.

Whatever one thinks about Hamas, some of their leaders, like Hanniyeh, have tried to behave in more democratic and honest ways towards the Palestininan people, irrespective of any hidden or different long-term agends that might or might not exist in their minds. What I am saying is let's be careful not throw out the baby with the bath water; let's acknowledge the progress that has been made, however superficial it may seem, and not undermine that progress . I think Gerry Adams, leader of Northern Ireland's Sin Fein is visiting Israel this week to say something along these lines and encourage more dialogue.

If you have time, please see my previous post on Azmi Bishara and the links at the bottom of that post.

FromIsrael said...

Thanks for the welcome, Philip

I Have read your article on Mr. Bishara. A truly Unique Character - but one who requires a democratic environment to emerge (do you see someone like this rising in Syria under the present regime?)

one point made earlier about the Israel's allowing immigration mainly to Jews. This policy is not unique: There are Many countries who open their doors to members of specific (usually their own) nationalities. Most notably: Germany, Japan, China, Ireland, and spain (who has actively encouraged immigration from Argentina after the economic collapse).

The following Link discussed this in detail.

Peace,

FromIsrael


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_of_return

عشتار said...

Thanks Philipe and im glad for getting the chance to open this dialogue

Anonymous
First thanks for your comment , but iv got few notes
1)"Your observation of Judaism's Uniqueness as both a faith and a nationality is correct"

Its your total right to define your belonging and your identity the way you beleive ,i do respect that , however you have to admit that in regards to the 1948 arabs , the way israel is trying to keep its jewish nature , vacates their citizinship from any meaningful content and this will always contradict democracy.
In general you cant be 100%democracy as long as you keep being an occupying force , as long as you keep opressing the palestinian population , as long as you go on with the settelments expansion and with the WALL.
2) "would also like to point out that Israeli Arabs are have full equal right under..."
This is wild exageration , there are many gaps in the laws that allow to discriminate arabs based on their nationality , and whereas the law is fair , the practice is different.
the distribution of the resources and budgets on the jewish and the arab populations inside israel is not equal , you are continuing to confiscate the arab lands , watch whats happining with the bedouins in the south and the last racist law which prevent palestinian families from reunion...
However i do agree that the arabs in israel are in much better situation than many other populations in the middle east.

In regards regards to suicide bombers , palestinians were not BORN as suicide bombers , there is a long history behind that...but this is a long story...

FromIsrael said...

عشتار,

I'll try to answer your points as best I can.

1. Israel was defined according to its declaration of independence as "a Jewish homeland". This does not excuse it from the Democratic requirement to allow citizens of an ethnic or a religous minority to have full, equal rights under the law. This duty is specified also in the Declaration of Independence - which specifically invites Israeli Arabs to take part as FULL citizens (I've place a link at the bottom of this post).


Both Jews and Arabs live under such "minority rights" in third countries such as The US and variousuropean states.

I don't think that having a selective immigration policy vacates a democracy from its content. In fact, I know of no democratic country in the world which does NOT exercise "discrimination" in its immigration policy on the basis of ethnic (see link in previous post),personal wealth, age, profession or education.

By way of comparison, in many arab countries, including Jordan and Palestine, simply being Jewish disqualifies you from citizenship


2. I DO contend that Israeli Arabs have equal rights under the Law. What you're talking about is Social discrimination - similar to that suffered by African-Americans (and other minorities - including Jews and Moslems) in the U.S today. This is true. however, I submit that Over Israel's 60 year history the situation has gradually and consistently improved. The Legal system and the courts continually uphold Arab rights. Also, In israel Arab have LEGAL options to fight this kind of discrimination (for instance: by protest, through the Press, by submission of Laws in the knesset, or through the courts). Mr. Bishara, mentioned in this Blog is a good example.

Regarding the occupation: Israel has not annexed the Occupied territories, for Many reasons - Mostly the objections of the palestinian Inhabitants and general world opinion. Israeli Citizenship has been extended to residents of the Golan Heights which HAVE been annexed. I presume that IF, as part of a final settlement, some of the occupied areas will remain in Israel (a land exchange), then its palestinian residents will be offered citizenship.

3. I Truly believe that Palestinians are not born as suicide bombers. I just wish they were not educated to become suicide bombers.

Israelis are required to study Arabic in school. Are Palestinians required to study Hebrew?


The following is a Link to the english translation of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. I STRONGLY Urge ALL OF YOU to read this document, which expresses beautifully the things Israel stands for, and which still resonates nearly 60 years after it was written

http://www.knesset.gov.il/docs/eng/megilat_eng.htm

Philip I said...

fromisrael

Good comment and thank you for the link to the English version of the Israeli declaration of Independence. I assume none of us on this blog were adults or even born at that time, so I wonder if it is worth putting that declaration in some historical context. See for example this article and the section entitled: "Kibbutzim in Israeli statebuilding" and the comments on a previous post "A Country for Rent" where there is a link to a British archive document also describing the political, social and economic environment around the time the Declaration was made.

I have always blamed, and continue to blame, Arab leaders for their shortsightedness since before 1948 and missing opportunities to make peace and build a better future. But, to be fair, political leaders sometimes cannot always run faster than their populations would allow them(e.g Sadat and Rabin). So it is more effective in the long run to try to change things from the bottom up, at the level of the individual, and not wait for strong leaders to emerge who can inspire people to make peace and build, rather than destroy, human relations across political, culural and religious divides.

The majority of jews are naturally inclined towards social justice. In appartheid South Africa they were the most vocal and fought hard against injustice and discrimination towards blacks. Levant Arabs experienced stability under the Ottomans but not social justice and minorities living among the Arabs (Jews, Christians Kurds and others)have historically been tolerated but not embraced. So, culturally, Arabs have to learn to be less self-centred and fight harder for social justice within their own communities and political systems. Also, there is undoubtedly a great deal of ill feeling and suspicion burried underneath the rubble of past wars and skirmishes between and Arabs and Israelis. We can only appeal to reason and hope that individuals will overcome all the historical and psyclological negativities and continue to talk to each other and look for phased, rather than instant, solutions to problems.

A better future is not a distant dream but starts with the present and within each of us.

Fares said...

Philip,

I need your help in writing a common message to be published on all blogs demanding the freedom and release of our political prisoners. Thanks

Syrians need to do something

Nobody said...

FromIsrael said...
Thanks for the welcome, Philip

I Have read your article on Mr. Bishara. A truly Unique Character - but one who requires a democratic environment to emerge (do you see someone like this rising in Syria under the present regime?)

------

May this be the reason why these democrats are drawn to Syria like flies to fire?

Mind you i think Bashara visited Syria several times, as for example to pay his last tribute to the great dictator when Havez Asad died. Dont tell me that our unique character does nt know that this is one of the most opressive regimes in the whole middle east if not in the whole world.

But you are wasting your time with Bashara. I dont know if he still considers himself a communist, but i remember one of his interviews when he was talking about his university years in the communist state of eastern Germany. He is a democrat in the same sense that Fidel Castro or Noam Chomsky are democrats.

Maybe i should nt say this and this is not my right to teach the arabs what they should do but its not that sort of marxist 'democrats' that they should be cheering on. They need liberal pro western oriented technocrats with the ideas of how free market economy functions, and not this sort of people like Bashara educated in the universities of the former soviet block.

That interview impressed me by the enormous amount of a sheer soviet style marxist garbage this man was still carrying on a whole decade after East Germany disappeared inside the united german state.

Philip I said...

nobody

I was really taken aback by Bishara's visit to Damascus but I don't know what his motives are and exactly what he said. I don't know if has gone down in my estimation but I'll reserve judgment until I have found out more solid information about his visit. But thanks for the additional background information.

Nobody said...

I noticed how one of the posters here claimed that for israelis judaism is the source of their nationality and noticed that one israeli even agreed to this. Its totally wrong. I am thinking about writing something to explain to outsiders how israelis decide who is israeli and who is not

Fares said...

Philip and visitors,

Appreciate your input on this and please feel free to repost it, very important. Thanks
Syrians Refuse to be Silenced