This week, letters about Flo Razowski, Gay Marriage, and Kuwait... read on...
RE: Busted in Palestine
“If we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make
violent revolution inevitable.”
— John F. Kennedy
In regard to “Flo busted in Palestine” (3/24/04),
it is a far stretch applying this Kennedy truism to the Israeli/Palestinian
situation and to activist Flo Razowsky’s arrest in particular. Flo signed
on to a revolution that already was violent to the extreme, going to Israel
as a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian organization that
advocates violence against others (i.e. “terrorism”) as a legitimate
means of revolution. ISM’s own tactics are confrontational
and their protests have not been without violence and destructive acts.
Flo is NOT “being persecuted because she is “a peace activist ... standing with the Palestinians.” Flo
is in an Israeli jail because she went to another country with the sole intent
of participating in and organizing activities against the government of that
country. Flo went there to stir it up. She stands rightly accused of “incitement.”
From her jail cell Flo blames Israel’s Sharon for
the current war, yet it is the Palestinians who walked away from the peace
negotiations declaring war on Israel and the Jews. Palestinian supporters
previously had blamed Sharon’s visit to the Kottel (the Temple
Mount) for igniting the current war 40 some months ago, but even the Palestinians
themselves claim that was an opportunistic ruse for already planned terrorism.
Indeed there are problems with the Israeli government, but
there are far greater problems with terrorist organizations like Hamas and the
reluctance of ISM, Flo or her pro-Palestinian cheerleaders here at home to condemn
terrorism without qualification. Instead Flo pleads Hamas’ case stating
that they have “said at least three times they are willing to have a cease-fire.”
Yes, Israel has refused “cease-fire” requests because Hamas only
uses that time to reload, dig more weapons smuggling tunnels and
perfect longer range Kazzam rockets to fire into Jewish communities. Israel
has said “No” to a temporary “cease-fire” but also a
resounding “Yes” to negotiating a lasting peace, a permanent “cease-fire”—which
Hamas has refused.
Rather than continuing to make more than a nuisance of themselves
playing protest games in a combat zone, Flo and ISM should be urging their cohorts,
such as Hamas, to return to the negotiating table. Palestinians themselves
have said that the majority of their people do not support terrorism, which
is a weapon of minority movements. Despite the lack of support of their own
people, terrorism persists because of outside international support from
groups like ISM . If everyone said “No to terrorism” and “Yes
to negotiation,” peace could be possible.
Finally, Flo promotes the over-idealized notion the Jews lived
together in peaceful harmony with Christians and Muslims until their European
cousins arrived with their strange “notion of property and statehood that
was quite different from what was practiced in the Middle East.” This
is a dangerous and misleading false assumption.
While there were periods of peaceful coexistence, the
Holy Land had also been ravaged by countless wars over the past two millennia
and centuries of neglect under foreign rule. Mark Twain described it as a desolate
backwater in 1867—before the Jews began returning—although some
Jews have always remained living continuously in Israel. By the end of
World War II, only about one million Jews remained alive in Europe, not all
of whom emigrated to Israel; and today, almost half of Israel’s Jewish
citizens are actually Middle Eastern (Arab) Jews, and their descendants, who
became refugees when they were expelled from the surrounding Arab
Modern “Zionism” was necessitated by a world gone
mad. And the Arab world which allied with Hitler during World War II would like
the rest of us to forget the Holocaust and the role Arabs themselves have played
in bringing about the need for a Jewish homeland.
According to the Arab version of Zionism to which Flo
subscribes, the Jewish return to Israel is another misguided foreign colonization
venture which sounds plausible if one totally disregards the spasms of hate
in Europe and the Arab nations that culminated in the Holocaust. And while
Jews themselves may have used the “colonial” paradigm because that
was the language the British understood, Jews are not “foreigners”
to the Middle East but a people seeking to return to their ancestral homeland,
just as they have at earlier periods in history when conquests or
circumstance dispersed their nation; Passover, celebrated in April, commemorates
the first such RETURN out of slavery in Egypt.
Today, it is the Arabs again calling for “Death
to the Jews”—and this is the side Flo and local “anti-war”
activist groups have signed on to? The side that sends children to become
human shrapnel? Now that is a “notion” worth questioning.
Once the expected chaos settles following the assassination
of Yassin, “godfather of terrorism,” cooler heads could hopefully
prevail; even Arafat, for the moment at least, is calling for a halt
to Hamas terror. What if everyone, including Flo from her jail cell, were
to all yell, “Stop the terror”?
It could work.
What is there to lose by trying it? There’s a lot to
lose by not.
Israel repeatedly has stated to stop the terror first.
Then everyone could urge their respective leaders to negotiate.
RE: Gay Marriage
It was a pleasure to read Tim Campbell’s account of some
of the local history and debate about gay rights and gay marriage in the April
7 issue of PULSE, since some of the present debate seems to ignore even recent
history. What was less pleasant was the mean-spiritedness of some of Campbell’s
commentary. As one who was in those years sometimes associated with the “crazies”
and sometimes not, some of my saddest memories are of the invective and personal
infighting that often characterized our organizations and movements. Everyone—Jack
Baker, Steve Endean and Tim Campbell included, as well as less visible people—seemed
to be vulnerable to personalized attacks from those who were more moderate or
less moderate. Differences about tactics, immediate goals, priorities, styles—all
of those served to create villains and enemies within the gay movement(s) and,
in the process, to stir up emotions and deflect energy from more important battles.
My friends were often at each others’ throats.
We don’t need such infighting now, about either the past
or the present. It’s time to forget, for example, how much Steve Endean
weighed, how tall he was, and how much time he spent at the baths. It’s
also time to recognize that all of us, moderate or immoderate, “crazy”
or not, still helped bring about important changes in public attitudes and law.
Some of us were “straight appearing” and some of us were drag queens
(some of us were also lesbians, feminists of many stripes, and folks less easily
pigeon-holed by gender, sexual preference or politics). And, sure, there were
people who were braver, more foresighted than others, or more steadfast, and
internalized homophobia infected most of us at least some of the time. But many
good people did many brave things that often put their jobs, friends, family
relationships and welfare at risk; many good people are carrying on the same
fight now. Thanks to them all!
RE: Against All Enemies
I just read Ed Felien’s article “Against All Enemies,
except himself” about Richard A. Clarke’s book, and would like to
point out that the country of Kuwait was NOT “carved off as a province
for France.” That is a completely erroneous statement.
I would direct Mr. Felien to do a Google search on “Kuwait” and
to click on the first two links. One is to the CIA’s listing of the details
of the country, the next is the country of Kuwait’s own web page. Both
indicate that it was Britain, not France, that was important in the country’s
history. France was never involved, as a country, in any aspect of Kuwait’s
development—only French companies may have been involved.