Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Emperor's New Clothes

In 1837, Hans Christian Anderson crafted a short story. Two shifty weavers promised the emperor of a certain kingdom, a new suit of clothes. The thing was, the suit could only be recognized by the truly wise. It would be invisible for those out of touch with reality.

When the emperor paraded before his subjects in his new clothes, no one dared to say they couldn’t see the suit, for fear they would be seen as out of touch with reality. This charade continued for some time.

This isn’t in the story, but I can just imagine the two thieving weavers, laughing all the way to the bank, pocketing the exorbitant cost of the wonderful new wardrobe – until a little child cries out to any who would hear: “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” And the truth finally dawns.

The view of our President and the US on the Israeli/Palestinian situation is finally clear and unambiguous. We are exposed. There has been no genuine support for the Palestinians. Only for the Israelis.

There is no longer even a fig leaf to cover our supposed support for the Palestinians. It has dried up, shriveled and been blown away by the fiery, unpredictable wind out of Washington. There may have been principled statespersons over the years who may have actually believed the two disputants could, should and would negotiate the status of the land and the capital. But those people are gone.

In one stroke of his pen, the President of the US overturned decades of hypocrisy: the mask of an even-handedness and the farce of impartiality. The President has trashed the US position regarding the disputing parties, expecting them to sit down and negotiate contrasting claims. By his action, our President has thrown his (and our US) support completely for the Israeli position.

You claim Jerusalem as your eternal, undivided capital? You got it!

Palestinian claims for the land and Jerusalem as their capital? Sorry. They don’t matter.

US impartiality? Sorry. We’re for Israel.

Honest broker between the two sides? Nope. We made that claim, but it was never true. Prohibiting funds to Israel if they support human rights violations is only just now before our House of Representatives.

Negotiate the future of the land or the capital? What’s to negotiate? It’s Israel’s.

The way Israel has treated the indigenous people through the years? Nothing wrong there. That was simply the cost of nation-building.

Orchards destroyed, homes demolished, land confiscated, Arabs eliminated from East Jerusalem, and the residents disenfranchised in the “West Bank and Gaza”? Legitimate. Every bit of it.

For Palestinians to resist? That makes them “terrorists” doesn’t it? And the US doesn’t support “terrorists”.

But what do Jews, Muslims and Christians in Israel and the US think about this unequivocal bonding? Not so much, as more and more people are learning the “truth” about what has been going on over there. And the world is supposed to bow down to the will of the Israelis and the Americans? How likely is that going to be? With grassroots opposition growing, our President’s position will continue to erode in the years to come.

With the US abdicating the “honest broker” role, there will be other power brokers who will step into that role. We and the Israelis are one, eternal and undivided. We have lost our way.

So now we see the first step in our President’s plan for “Peace” over there: The Israelis have our full support. No need for the Palestinians to expect our help. This is what “Peace” looks like. Get used to it. The Palestinians have no “cover.” At least not from the United States. That fiction has now finally been exposed, naked in the light of the new day.

For many Americans, there is shame and embarrassment in the kingdom. The emperor has no clothes. And the Palestinians have no “cover” either.

Someone in this short story is exposed as out of touch with reality.

And it isn’t the little child who cried out, so everyone could hear: “But he isn’t wearing anything
at all!”

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Donald Trump/Netanyahu Dance

From the Kairos W. Michigan Director’s Desk

Op-ed: The president told the world he personally doesn’t mind if there’s a one-state or a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But a single entity between river and sea means the end of Jewish, democratic Israel. How dare Israel’s PM not point that out? BY DAVID HOROVITZ February 15, 2017, (The Times of Israel, a notable Israeli newspaper)

Did Donald Trump know what he was doing? Did he really cavalierly discard the center-piece of US, European, the Quartette, and Arab League orthodoxy about the Two-State “solution”?

The Jewish settler class is ecstatic. Mainstream Israelis, like David Horovitz, still want to tout the Two-State as a ruse for continuing to establish “facts on the ground”, to the detriment of Arab Palestinians. That sentiment is strongly echoed by many mainstream Jewish groups in the US (think AIPAC).

We in the Kairos movement have long known that the so-called Two-State solution has been dead for decades. At least from the aftermath of the 1967 war when Israel decided to occupy and settle ALL of Palestine.

Well, many Palestinian leaders got all bent out of shape as well, including the highly respected Hanan Ashrawi. Are you abandoning the Two-State? What kind of a One-State entity do you envision?

Indeed! President Trump seems open to “One State” that both the Israelis and Palestinians “can live with”. The US leader perhaps is cleverly asking Israel what that would look like. Will it be a truly pluralistic, democratic State with liberty and justice for all (to include the people of the West Bank and Gaza?) Or do you Israelis think you can maintain an ethno-centric Jewish State at the expense of the downtrodden, dispossessed Palestinian neighbor?

As happened in South Africa, it won’t work in the long run. Palestinians won’t just lie down and take it. They think (rightly) that their lives matter just as much as Jewish lives.

The Kairos movement stands with them, eager to build bridges instead of fences that demean and divide (in the name of “security”). The recent assassination of a Hamas militant signals that the Israeli elite desire warfare to justify their fear-mongering against all those Palestinian "terrorists". The demand by Bibi at this week's AIPAC meeting ("accept the existence of the JEWISH state") is a code phrase for the demand that Arab Palestinians summit to Israel's claim to settle the whole of Palestine, swallowing up land that no longer belongs to the Palestinians. What Palestinian authority (no matter how corrupt) can accept that demand?

Israel cannot have both a Jewish State and a “Democracy”. That’s an oxymoron. Israel may have a “Jewish democracy” but not a “true democracy”. Israel will either continue insisting it is a “Jewish State” (that excludes Palestinians from full rights, and continues to lose international legitimacy); or she will move towards a truly “democratic, pluralistic State with liberty and justice for all”. Will Israel face the consequences of her choices?

Israel has chosen its course. There is no turning back to the “Two State”. It is now one state, eventually diluting its all-Jewish majority for a truly pluralistic society (like most other modern states).

Is this a pipe-dream or what? Jews want to be Jews, at least on one speck of land on the Planet! And Palestinians want their existence and “rights” respected as well. Let’s all pray for a way forward that will take both narratives into account!

Friend, be in prayer for our all-day strategic planning session for our KWM Board and other interested “stakeholders” this Friday, March 31. As many as 15 of us will be focused on how to flesh out our mission statement (“a movement that educates and mobilizes Christians and others in W. MI to promote a ‘just peace’ in Isr/Pal”). Thank you for tracking with us in the past; and now, even more importantly, into our future!

Faithfully yours, John R. Kleinheksel