Monday, April 23, 2007

1991 - Can Anyone Freeze the Flow of Squatters? - Part 2

Today is Day 14,254 of the Maintenance of the Immoral (and Illegal) West Bank Settlements and almost the 40th anniversary of the start of the immoral (and illegal) occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Micah.6:8 “He has told you, O man, Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God

In early 1992 as President Bush continued to withhold any commitment to loan guarantees for Israel unless Prime Minister Shamir agreed to a freeze on settlement construction, our local Jewish Federation sponsored a program. The goal was to encourage members of the local Jewish community to send post cards to the President asking him to support Israel by unconditionally granting the loan guarantees.

Imagine how I felt inviting myself to speak during the program IN SUPPORT OF a policy of President Bush (certainly not something that happened again with any of the Presidents Bush).

In my remarks in support of the freeze on construction, I gave as reasons: the need to treat the Palestinians with dignity rather than increasing their despair, frustration, powerless, humiliation and anger; the destructive effect on Israe'sl character and moral integrity as it abandons timeless Jewish ideals such as “Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue” in favor of fear of the other, tribal loyalty and group self-interest; and the negative effect on Diaspora Judaism noting a California poll where only 63% thought Israel support was a significant aspect of Judaism.

I added: every nail that is struck in construction in a West Bank settlement destroys a Palestinian, destroys an Israeli and destroys Judaism; the settlements are illegal and immoral; they are an affront to democracy, human rights, humanitarianism, social justice and Judaism.

I concluded by requesting that they send a post card in support of the proposal of President Bush to withhold the loan guarantees until the Israeli government agreed to a freeze on settlement construction.

I am somewhat embarassed to say that even though I went to law school and had practiced law for nearly 30 years when I made this presentation, not only did I not receive a standing ovation or even the applause of one person but rather I was met with stony stares quite unlike the silent response to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

Deutoronomy 16:20 – “Justice, justice shall you pursue that you may live and inherit the land which God gave you” and the footnote in the 1980 Hertz Edition “(T)here is international justice, which demands respect for the personality of every national group, and proclaims that no people can of right be robbed of its national life or territory, its language or spiritual heritage.

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