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John McGreevy November 29, 2010 - 10:18am
Amy Davidson of the New Yorker is good on the latest Wikileaks disclosures. My own nominee for startling fact: Saudi leaders urging an American military attack on Iran.
If it is true that in response to concerns about the possibility of misleading or fraudulent leaks, WikiLeaks has dismissed those concerns by stating that misleading leaks are already well-placed in the mainstream media, then I hope that there will be more wikileaks regarding Wikileaks lack of concern about misleading or fraudulent leaks that could lead to chaos through confusion.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikileaks
And the next time Israel is denounced for defending its borders with checkpoints, don't forget this fact:"Iran 'smuggled arms' to Hezbollah on ambulances"
Yes, I've been wondering how the news will affect the anti-Israel bloggers for Catholic periodicals. Will they rein in their rhetoric? Temper their hostility?
PFlanagan: if you're referring to posts here at dotCommonweal it's not the checkpoints at Israel's own borders that are criticized, but the checkpoints within the West Bank. There is a good deal more to criticize in the way of illegal settlement of Palestinian land, etc. AND the efforts of our government to bribe the Israelis into a short-term fix for a long-term problem. Gerelyn: Anti-Israel no; anti-Israeli policies in Gaza and the West Bank, yes. And anti-U.S. efforts to bribe the Netanyahu government into doing what they need to do if they really want peace and security. Let me point out once again, everything that is said on this blog by me about Israeli policy is said by Israelis all the time and it is regularly said and discussed in Ha'aretz and other Israeli forums. The obtuseness of some Catholics Americans on the subject of Israel never ceases to amaze me, especially those who sound like they know what they're talking about.
Many of Israel's critics are fairly consistent in their politics and ideology. I, for one, would like to know why a significant portion of the population of Israel don't seem to be citizens, or have voting rights, or are represented in the democratic structures of the nation in which they live.Others of us note the at-times unquestioning support we give that nation, despite the headaches we receive in turn, like the so-called War on Terror.Personally, it strikes me as a lot like having an alcoholic brother or aunt. There is deeply dysfunctional behavior on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide. If that were to occur within my family (again) I wouldn't hesitate to be part of an intervention, to urge someone into rehab, or take whatever tough-love steps were necessary to keep my family healthy and keep an unrepentant drunk at a distance.As for these leaks, these strike me as the difficult episodes when someone asks a drunk cousin why she stripped off her clothing at a sister's wedding reception, or why he squandered tens of thousands of dollars on cocaine, or why she drove to an out-of-town casino at 3AM. This stuff is not healthy for a family. Nor is it healthy to the US or our interests. It is irrational behavior. Too many players in the Middle East are addicted to violence. If wikileaks is the truth-teller in this mess, they sure don't look a lot different from other members of alcoholic families who got fed up and started asking questions.What will interest me is how various commentators will respond to these leaks, and how their being compromised by the addiction will be on display for all to see in their bluster, their rage, and their dysfunction. All directed, of course, at the leakers, not the sinners. Or even the sinful behavior.You know, with all the beauty of that part of the world, and the religious heritage of billions of believers, it seems to me that if the Muslims, Jews, and Christians of the Middle East would have gotten their act together, they would be making money and friends hand over fist by extending hospitality to the world. One day the oil will run out--make no mistake. But a spirit of welcome and shalom/salaam would far outlast the hydrocarbon concerns of the present day. The whole tribe of them--Saudis, Israelis, Iranians--look like a gang of homeless, strung-out street addicts to me. If someone wants to tell the truth about them, I'd give a cheer for that.
"a significant portion of the population of Israel dont seem to be...represented in the democratic structures of the nation in which they live."There are Arabs sitting in the Knesset! How many Jews are in the Palestinian government? Oh, I forgot: according to Palestinians the Jews are monkeys.As for the ambulances, if they are being used - even in the West Bank (not Gaza, recall that Israel unilaterally left Gaza only to be bombarded by missiles from Gaza ever since) - to transport weapons to be used to murder Israeli citizens, that is a WAR CRIME. The Israel/Palestinian problem is an insoluble conundrum. But anyone who erodes Israel's right to self-defense by condemning them for inspecting ambulances is remotely participating in grave evil.
Mr Flanagan, your comment is illustrative of what I've heard as a family member of alcoholics. It is true that some non-Jews have found a place in the politics and government of Israel, but for many reasons, most choose not to cooperate. I imagine there are stronger and weaker reasons for this. The Israeli judicial system has notably supported the rights of Palestinians and many of their political organizations. It is also true that one side of this "problem" has contributed very heinous crimes to the picture. But a rational approach would not include the notion that if we look for and find war crimes on one side, the other party is 100% victim.It is very possible, indeed likely, that the "insoluble conundrum" has entrapped good and evil people on both sides. Just like alcohol, pornography, heroin, bulimia, and other abuses have. The question is really what to do about it now. Do we watch American tax dollars and diplomatic initiatives continue to circle a drain? Or do we insist that the people involved sit down at a table and manage their own "insoluble conundrum?" Your attack on sin and defense of victims is admirable, Mr Flanagan. Too bad it's not catholic.
John T. McGreevy is the I.A. O'Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters and Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.
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