Monday, April 28, 2008

Where Are the Arab Peace Organizations?

The following letter was submitted to The Gazette (in Colorado Springs) by Rabbi Mel Glazer, in response to a rationalizing Arab terrorism.

Golda Meir talked about peace coming when the Arabs start loving their children more than they hate Israelis.

Another signal will be when there are Arab groups interested in peace. (They don't have to be anywhere nearly as dovish as the Israeli groups mentioned; if they just approached the moderation of the fringe Israeli groups that get rightly ostracized for being racist it would be a giant step towards peace.)

Glazer's letter is followed by the letter to which it responds. Other responses have been published by The Gazette.

In her recent letter "Israel not beacon of light in tumultuous region" (April 22, 2008), Eugenia Durland cites a number of Israeli-Palestinian peace organizations to prove her assumption that Israel has been a provocateur in its war of survival with Arab terrorists, and that Israel has received a "free pass" from America to take the actions she feels are necessary. She cites twelve of these peace groups. It is fascinating to me that eleven of the twelve are indigenous Israeli groups, whose organizers and leaders are Israelis who are concerned for peace. Only one of them is a Palestinian peace group.

What lessons can we learn from these numbers? Who cares more about bringing peace to the region? Where are the rest of the Palestinian peace-makers? Which Palestinians is Israel supposed to negotiate with, the few who call for peace, or the overwhelming majority who punctuate their continued refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state with missiles they lob over the border, which kill and wound innocent Israeli families?

We Jews have always been lovers and seekers after peace, and we will never ever change. But if I were the Israeli Prime Minister, I would simply wait until the Palestinians remember that being created in God's Image means that they have an obligation to live in peace with the rest of God's children, and to repair the world in which we live. Not to destroy it.  

As our Festival of Passover comes to an end, I pray for the day when we can leave our collective slaveries and join together to create a world of peace based on justice.

Rabbi Mel Glazer

The letter to which it responds:

Mideast Unrest
Israel not beacon of light in tumultuous region

The Gazette's April 18 Our View, "Jimmy Carter's love of bullies," was appalling. The statements about Hamas, the wrongness of engaging in talks with Hamas leadership, and the free pass given Israel to behave in any way it wishes vis a vis Palestinians, are fraught with error and prejudice. I could refute them one by one, based on years of work in the area, but space is too limited.

Instead, I appeal directly to readers, most of whom I expect may have open minds or, if necessary, be willing to educate themselves on the fairness issue. To accomplish that purpose, I suggest readers access the Web sites of the following organizations, read and learn what the Israeli and Palestinian peace movements and much of the Israeli and Palestinian public believe:

Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) and Americans for Peace Now (the American support organization for Shalom Achshav), Rabbis for Human Rights, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions,, Bat Shalom, Jewish Voice for Peace, Jewish Peace Lobby, Jewish Voices Against the Occupation, Not In My Name, Palestine Monitor, Ta'ayush (network of Israeli Jewish and Arab activists), Yesh Gvul ("There's a Limit" - support group for Israeli soldiers who refuse to participate in acts of oppression and occupation.) This is by no means a complete list but provides a start for learning.

Members of these groups in Israel work and talk with members of Hamas, so why not an elder statesman from America? Hamas is a political party, as is Fatah. It's extremist faction is a minority. I do not condone violence of any kind. But knowing first-hand how brutal the 41-year-old Israeli military occupation of Palestinian ancestral land is, I understand from whence comes their rage. The final insult is that each such retaliatory act by a Palestinian is repaid 10 times over in Palestinians lives taken by Israeli military revenge.

Eugenia Durland
Colorado Springs

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