Dec 072008
 
Authors: Jesse Hausler

I often enjoy reading the opinion pieces in the Collegian, but was horrified to read Ian Bezek’s Dec. 2 column on U. S. policy in the Middle East. In its discussion of Israel, the article includes nothing but fabrications and Anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Although Mr. Bezek points to the Mumbai attacks as the reason why the U. S. must rethink its policy in the Middle East, it is the belief in this sort of misinformation that caused the Mumbai terrorists to target not just American and Western interests but a Chabad center, where nine Jews were killed including the Rabbi and his pregnant wife.

Had Mr. Bezek done an ounce of research for this article, he would have learned that the creation of Israel was the summation of hard work done by Jews and Zionists to legally purchase, cultivate and blossom the desert and swamp lands in a sparsely populated corner of the Ottoman Empire.

After the Jews accepted, and the Arabs rejected, several attempts by the British, the League of Nations and eventually the United Nations to partition the land based on demographics, boundaries were sadly settled through war, where defeat for the Jews would have meant extermination.

During Israel’s Declaration of Independence, David Ben-Gurion made an appeal to “the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation.” He extended Israel’s “hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness.”

Compare this declaration with the charter of Hamas, which states, “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors,” or Fatah, whose primary goal is the “complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.”

To suggest that Israel has continued throughout the decades to wage “immoral and entirely unnecessary wars on their neighbors” is to admit complete ignorance of the subject.

The State of Israel was attacked by all neighboring states in 1948, 1967 and again in 1973. After these wars ended, Israel worked to exchange land taken through these conflicts in exchange for full and lasting peace agreements. So far Egypt and Jordan have accepted.

Mr. Bezek claims that “Israel believes it is the nation of God,” and uses this belief as a reason to mistreat Palestinians.

Israel is a secular democracy that also has the important responsibility of being the national homeland for the Jewish people. Given this, Israeli citizens of Arab or Palestinian descent are given the same rights and privileges granted to Christian and Jewish Israelis.

The democratically elected Israeli parliament currently seats 12 Arab members, and has had Arab representation since the election of the first parliament in 1949.

Democracies throughout the world struggle with the task of ensuring rights for all of their minority citizens, but like all democracies, Israel has supervisory groups, media scrutiny and ongoing legislative battles working to ensure equality for all of her citizens.

The plight of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is a different and very emotional topic. There are victims and villains on both sides of issue. It is na’ve to believe otherwise.

Although not a preferred solution, the use of walls and checkpoints has prevented a countless numbers of terrorist attacks in major population centers. It is my hope that an equitable solution, agreeable by both parties, is soon found.

In order for this to happen the voices of extremism on both sides of the wall must be silenced by the will of a peace-seeking majority and the power of strong governance.

Mr. Bezek’s column does nothing more than perpetuate falsehoods and incite hate. To print an article so blatantly unsubstantiated for the purpose of provoking discussion is both irresponsible and dangerous.

I call upon the editorial board of this newspaper to retract Mr. Bezek’s article and offer an apology to the community it serves.

Jesse Hausler is a Fort Collins resident. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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