Letter 2 America for November 14, 2023

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Dear America,

As the world fecklessly involves itself in political allegiances over the Hamas-Israel war, I find myself daunted by the worst scenario prospects possible.  I remember hearing the outset of World War I described as the nations of Europe "backing into" it.  Treaties carelessly entered into dragged nation after nation into the fray until what started with the Sarajevo assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand became a universal conflict necessitated by alliances that crossed one another in intent and letter.  The same seems to be happening relative to the Palestinians and the Jews.  It seems that the western world has learned nothing in the hundred years since we did the same thing that I fear may result again: a ubiquitous conflagration into which we all volunteered to lurch.

Every night on the news we hear about conflict of one sort or another between supporters of the Palestinians and supporters of Israel perpetrated by mostly young people who don't seem to have really put any comprehensive thought into their allegiances or even the issues that purportedly made those allegiances necessary, much less whether any of that is even their business.  Mind you, I am not inured to the suffering of innocent children being inflicted by the war in Gaza.  And I see the images of women and men tramping through the desert communities of the Gaza strip looking for little more than shelter from the storm and strife.  Likewise, I am aware that the Israeli victims of Hamas's impromptu raid into Israel had relatives and loved ones who are bereaved and grieving.  And of course there are the hostages, the dead and the wounded themselves with whom we all must sympathize.  But in the final analysis, what is being inflicted upon the peoples of the region by the bestiality and callousness of Hamas and the Israeli reactionaries of Israel's Likud Party is beyond our efforts to interdict them and our attempted ministrations to the aggrieved as a civilized society.  But at the helm of each side is a constellation of arch villains including Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud and Ismael Haniyeh in Qatar and Yayha Sinwar in Gaza, both leaders within Hamas.  The sheer, villainous callousness with which they all hide behind the innocents within their camps is an abomination, as is the willingness of their constituents to follow them.  The pain and suffering in the Middle East is a self-inflicted wound.  If there is a God, he is surely watching and saying to himself, those people can go to hell; that's what they deserved.  As to those of us who are looking in from outside, we are powerless to prevent bigots, tyrants and chauvinists from their internecine conflict, which is millennia old and clung to proudly by them, and all this over a patch of desert.  

Decades ago, Israel had a prime minister with a history characterized by many as terrorism named Manachem Begin.  In 1973 he co-founded Likud, which has ascended in power since then, and has come to stand for the proposition that Israel, after seizing it during the 1967 war, should never give back what we now know as the "West Bank" of the Jordan River.  The area was known in biblical times as Samaria and Judea, and those territories were referenced in the Bible as the home of the Jews beginning in about 700 B.C.E.  That biblical reference was Begin's basis for the proposition that Israel had valid suzerainty over the land.
But since those early biblical references, the area has fallen under the suzerainty of several other political entities: the Roman empire, the Assyrian empire, the Byzantine empire, the Babylonian empire and various and sundry other relatively ephemeral powers.  The point is that if Begin's hypothesis of Israeli entitlement were valid, we would all have to board ships back to countries of ancestral origin because the Algonquin, Iroquois, Cherokee, Sioux, Navajo, and countless other tribes were here first.  Begin's profoundly specious claim is the only ground of purported legitimacy on which the Israeli claim to the West Bank reposes.  And as such, it is the only justification for the Israeli settlements and the consequent bloodshed and tyranny of Israel over the previously autochthonous Palestinians that exists...and it is nothing but a self-serving irrational rationalization.  As to the Palestinians, they are just the most recent in a long line of occupiers of that portion of the land that used to be known as "The Levant."  As I have said before, there is no moral high ground in the Holy Land.

So the next time you or one of yours wants to wax pious over the conflict that rages today, remember that these conflagrations have been raging for over 2,000 years, and the occupants of the region still haven't learned their lesson.  My opinion, for what it's worth, is stay out of it.  Nothing you can do or say is going to change anything...for the better, that is.

Your friend,


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This page contains a single entry by Michael Wolf published on November 14, 2023 3:00 PM.

Letter 2 America for October 30, 2023 was the previous entry in this blog.

Letter 2 America for January 4, 2024 is the next entry in this blog.

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