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MY RELUCTANCE TO CRITICIZE ISRAEL

Yes, I am aware of the Holocaust.  Yes, I am aware of the pogroms.  Yes, I am aware of anti-Semitism.  Yes, I am aware of the death camps and forced labor.  Yes, I am aware of the discrimination faced against Jews in the U.S. and elsewhere.  Yes, I am aware of the horrible, ongoing rockets launched from Gaza into Israel.  Yes, I am aware of the attempts by Egypt and Syria to invade Israel.  Yes, I am aware of Israel's vulnerability in its area of the world.  Yes, I am aware of Arab terrorism inside Israel through the years.  Yes, I am aware that Israel is a democracy amid a sea of anti-democratic nations.  Yes, I am aware of Hamas and Hezbollah's open challenge to Israel's very existence as a nation.  And yes, I am even aware of the additional empathy and understanding I should have with a typical German name like Schultz.

However the horrific and inhuman acts by Israel in its treatment of Palestinians, some were living in Israel when their homes were taken from them, cannot forever be ignored.  Gaza has become a sealed prison.  Israel controls the fate of many innocent civilians living in squalor and illness in the most crowded area of the world.  Roadblocks and limiting supplies, even medical supplies, into Gaza is inhuman.  Israel's own, self-serving agreements about Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory are being broken continually..  While the Israeli government says it does not condone these encroachment settlements, it is now using its own tax money to build roads and facilities into these illegal areas.  While Israelis and Jews worldwide tell us that we do not understand and realize the ongoing terrorism and threat to Israel, the American media and leading politicans here voice a clear favoritism in the direction of Israel.  The voice of the Palestinians barely scratches the surface by comparison.

I have remained silent in deference to the historical plight of the Jews.  But evidence is accumulating that Isreal is acting like a bully and inhumane punisher of Palestinians.  And much of the criticism of Israel in this regard is coming from Israelis themselves.  Many Israeli citizens are horrified at what their nation has done to the residents of Gaza.  Israeli citizens are growing in their fear of the unchecked terror state that is rising up in their midst in the Jewish homeland.

An alarm was sounded when Israeli troops began to reveal the extent of brutality of its own army in the recent invasion of Gaza.  The Israeli government has said that the 1500 Gazan casualities were legitimate targets and that they tried to prevent civilians casualties.  Many Israeli soldiers now dispute this.  Some have been very specific in expressing their outrage against their own army.  Space does not allow me here to detail all of the sad and sick findings. 

An Israeli soldier described and testified what he saw and experienced.  His name is Ram.  "What I do remember in particular at the beginning is the feeling of an almost religious mission."  He said there was a "huge gap" between background material given out by the army's education corps and the religious material distributed by the army's rabbinate.  Ram continues, "Their message was very clear: 'We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle.  God brought us back to this land, and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land."

Nations that ascribe their existence to God's plan, whether Christian, Jew, Moslem, Hindu, or whatever, are extremely dangerous.  They then can claim almost any action on their part is O.K. because it is "God's will."  With that in mind it is well for all of us to ponder what happened to similar claims by Native Americans and Austrailian aborigines and others whose sacred land was taken over and abused by the onslaught of a more dominant or military culture with little regard for the sensitivies of such people.  Where does your God's plan stand next to another God's plan? 

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