Tuesday, August 01, 2006

On Patriotism, Zionism, and War

A few days ago I was bemoaning the observation that nobody could discuss the current situation in Lebanon without turning it into either a blanket defense of Israel, regardless of what she does, or an outright bashing of "the Zionist menace," without any care for the destruction caused by Hezbollah (see my post of July 27).

Yesterday, I saw a couple of things that made me feel better about the ability of people to talk reasonably and constructively about this topic online. The first was a post on the "Bring it On!" blog: No Side Worth Taking - and the other was an article on TomPaine.com: Pro-Israel And Pro-Lebanon.

Each managed to put Israel's current incursion in Lebanon into some perspective that acknowledges Israel's right to exist, their right to self-defense, and that Hezbollah is essentially a terrorist organization. They also each point out the sad fact that despite all of this, the invasion of Lebanon is an error of immense proportions.

This is a move that will guarantee another decade of suicide bombers - to say the least. That is not to say that I condone the suicide bombers - HELL NO - but it is to say that I understand a bit about history and can see that this will provide no end to willing recruits for Hezbollah and other terrorist, anti-Western, and anti-Semitic organizations.

There are many who are asking, How can you defend Israel at all? These days it's not easy. But, to me, it's like defending the United States. Regardless of what Bush does, or the war crimes committed on our behalf in Iraq, none of that destroys my love of my country. Despite the facts behind how Europeans colonized North America, and the genocides they committed in conquering it, I still find reasons to be proud of the nation they built here.

I am proud of the Declaration of Independence. I am proud of our Constitution. I am proud of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. I have stood with tears in my eyes on the battlefields of Lexington and Concord and at the Smithsonian Institute gazing on the Star Spangled Banner that once flew over Fort McHenry. Whatever evil the current government may be perpetrating, this is my country, I love it and I defend it to the end.

Israel, too, makes me proud. Proud as a Jew, yes, but also proud as a citizen of a democracy and the modern world. They have faced great odds, been attacked from all sides, and made the desert bloom.

Just as Bush is a temporary phase my country must get through, so is the current Israeli administration just a blip on the historical radar. The United States and Israel both will survive. It is up to the citizens of each to make sure that they do, and that they continue to give us reasons to be proud. I'm not ready to give up on either country.

It seems that the resistance to the war in Lebanon is already gaining steam in Israel - As I wrote this posting the news came across that the first Israeli was jailed for refusing to fight in Lebanon. Consider today's blogging dedicated to Amir Paster.

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Zionism is
an international movement originally for the establishment of a Jewish national or religious community in Palestine and later for the support of modern Israel.
So, yes, I'm a patriot, and yes, I'm a Zionist. U.S. out of Iraq - Israel out of Lebanon - Freedom and democracy for us all.

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