How can this be justified?

Tony Berkman tberkman@rcn.com
Mon, 01 Oct 2001 20:53:58 -0500


At 02:59 PM 10/1/01, you wrote:
>First, one comment about your line below: "I don't know that about my own 
>country."  I'm really puzzled.  The US will stand behind any people in the 
>US.  Period.


I'm not sure it's so cut and dry Stephen.  After all, the US didn't stand 
behind Japanese Americans in the not-so-distant past.  What if some 
situation causes panic and unrest.  How confident are you that the country 
won't again punish a single group.  Suppose, for instance, terrorist 
attacks were to become pervasive (a biological attack here,  a suicide bomb 
there, all over the country.  How comfortable would Arab-Americans be that 
the country would "Stand behind them. Period"  I'm not saying it wouldn't, 
but uncertain times can give rise to questionable tactics.  What if AIDS 
had escalated much more rapidly than it did?  How comfortable would Gay 
Americans be in the countries unconditional support, etc. etc.

I feel badly that I apparently offended many people and brought out some 
real vitriol with my casual use of "anti-Semitism."  It really wasn't 
directed towards anyone on the list.  I had read what was, in my mind, an 
extremely anti-Semitic editorial in the Boulder Daily Camera the previous 
day (I can't find the bits on-line), and it was still troubling me when I 
came upon Jim's post which started the thread.

In any case, what I was getting at about our country was only that 
throughout history the Jews have constantly been targeted and killed (as 
have many other groups...).  And while America is certainly the best friend 
Israel currently has and offers the most freedoms to Jews and other 
religions, ethnicities, etc. to practice what religion we choose and enjoy 
the civil liberties we do, I think for many Jews there is a feeling that in 
some way, we must rely on each other first and foremost, in order to survive.

Having said that, I am not one to give a blanket excuse to Israel to take 
all the actions it does and have been vocal and filled with sadness when I 
see things that strike me as just plain wrong being perpetrated by the 
Israelis.  And I hated Netanyahu.  There is a part of me that agrees with 
everything Russel wrote with regard to Secular states.  But there is 
another part of me that feels like it is very important for Israel to 
remain a haven for the Jewish people, and I don't know if there is another 
way....

Regards,

Tony