OUT OF STEP?

By Wayne Spencer - April 12, 2002
Until Ariel Sharon became the Prime Minister I was usually on the side of Israel. Since Sharon has been on the scene he has done everything possible to derail the peace process begun with the Oslo Accords, the Wye River Agreement and the peace process continued by George Mitchell.

Instead of pulling out of the West Bank, Sharon's government has built thirty-four new Jewish settlements there. Each settlement is connected with an Israeli controlled road, crisscrossing the West Bank like a spider's web. It has been widely reported for some time the harassment that the Palestinians have faced when traveling within their own land.

While no one condones suicide bombers used against Israel, the reaction by Sharon with his invasion of the West Bank, the killing of civilians and the total destruction of the infrastructure is unconscionable. Rather than destroying the roots of terrorism, Sharon is strengthing the roots of terrorism.

This is not a war when one side has a military and the other side does not. This is a massacre.

In retrospect, Dubya's "hands off" foreign policy advocated during his election has been a total failure. What I fail to understand is why he has also undermined the prestige of the United States by backing down to Sharon even though the United States has stood by Israel through thick and thin for decades and three billion dollars in annual aid. Secretary Colin Powell's meandering around the world before finally landing in Israel made us look ridiculous. It was so obvious that Powell was stalling for time so that Sharon could continue with his war against Palestinian civilians.

Meanwhile, in an article by Tovah Lazaroff, European academics have called for a cultural boycott of Israel. JERUSALEM POST(April 12) - "As of yesterday, more than 300 European academics had signed a petition launched on April 3 calling on European institutions to boycott research and cultural links with Israel until it abides by UN resolutions and opens peace negotiations with the Palestinians in accordance with the Saudi peace plan. Nine Israeli academics also signed the petition."

"Such a boycott would be very harmful, said Robert Cohen who is Chairman of the Center for Medical Education at Hebrew University. It will involve cutting funding and research collaboration with Europe, Cohen said."

"A large number of research projects are funded by the EU, Cohen said. This initiative hurts the very people it is supposed to help because a number of projects involve joint collaboration between Israelis and Palestinians."

"But Steven Rose, a Jewish science professor from the Open University in Milton Keynes outside London, said such a boycott helps Palestinians harmed by Israeli policies and presence in the territories. It could help pressure the government to withdraw and begin negotiations to give up Judea and Samaria."

The United States Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, has shown little courage in criticizing Israel.

It seems that many of the long time supporters of Israel are now opposing Shron's actions, while American conservatives who have in the past tended to be antisemitic are Sharon's most avid supporters. It looks to my like this is another case of the conservative Republicans trying to take political advantage of the current situation without regard to moral right or wrong.

Many Jews here in America who are critical of Sharon's policy are being called traitors and non-Jews who oppose Sharon's policy are being called antisemitic. I oppose Sharon's policy and I don't know what they would call me since my grandmother was Jewish. I understand Hitler would have called me a Jew. Shalom.

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Copyright © 2002 by Wayne Spencer - This article may be freely distributed with this copyright notice attached.