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The Split: Differences over Israel tear apart a Jewish marriage

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And seeing how most of the world doesn't give a damn if Israel lives or dies, that changed me. I stopped being a left-winger when I saw how they fawn over the Palestinians. They make excuses for al-Qaeda. They defend Iran. And they oppose the only progressive, democratic country in the Mideast. Left-wingers have lost whatever meaning they ever had, so I'm not one of them anymore. Their policies will destroy our freedoms.

Hannah: Our freedoms are being destroyed now under capitalism. They don't apply to everyone anymore, only to those who don't rock the boat. You remember what happened to that client of mine?

Stan: Right. The Arab again.

William: What happened?

Hannah: He was an agricultural science student from Morocco and spoke at an anti-war demonstration here on campus, everything legal and peaceful. The police photographed him and got the university to let them examine their file photos of foreign students. The cops identified him and searched his dormitory room, where they found a Koran, prayer rug, some ammonium fertilizer, and several Arabic language magazines, one of which had a picture of Osama bin Laden. They confiscated his computer and found he had the al-Jazeera website bookmarked and had written e-mails to people in Morocco with insulting comments about the American president. They searched his car and found a timer from a clothes dryer. And with that they arrested him for violating the Patriot Act. Front page story in the paper: "Terror Suspect Arrested, Bomb Materials Found."

It turned out the fertilizer was for a research project he was doing, measuring plant growth rates with different types of ammonium. He had just a small amount, not enough to make a real bomb even if he'd wanted to. He took me to the greenhouse and showed me the project -- twenty little pots of plants and charts for how much they're growing.

He was working in a coin laundry near the campus, doing everything from cleaning up to simple repairs. The timer on one of the dryers was broken, so he'd taken it out. He couldn't fix it, so he called the main office, and they told him to bring it in and they'd give him a new one. He put it in his car, where the cops found it.

They had no case at all, and it wasn't hard to convince the district attorney of that. The university confirmed his research project, an explosives expert confirmed that the amount of fertilizer was too small, and the laundry company confirmed they'd told him to bring in the broken timer.

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The DA told the cops he was going to drop the charges, but they said they had an additional lead and needed another search warrant. They got it, and when they searched his room this time, they "found" cocaine.

This student was a devout Muslim, not the cocaine type at all, very traditional and old fashioned, like yeshiva school boys used to be. I'm one hundred percent certain the cops planted the drugs. They were determined to get him on something. He was an Arab speaking out against the war and saying unflattering things about the president. That meant he was an enemy and had to be got rid of.

The DA didn't want to believe the city's finest would set someone up, but he did offer that if the student turned in his visa and left the country in two weeks, he'd drop the charges.

I hated to go along with this deal, but I knew the kid didn't have a chance of getting a fair trial. He agreed and told me terrible stories about how other students had treated him. He left the USA bitter at having his education snatched away from him because of ignorant prejudice.

Stan: Like I said at the time, I'm glad you helped the guy. You saved him from jail. And all pro bono.

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I think it's terrible when innocent people get swept up in all this. But what about all the innocent Israelis who are dying and the three thousand innocent Americans in 9-11? You don't seem to care about them.

Hannah: This idea that Israelis and Americans are innocent victims of terrorists is a myth. It's created to justify our aggression. Just like the belief that Islamic fundamentalists are the main terrorists in the world. It's Orwell's Big Lie. The USA and Israel started this battle. We've been abusing the Arabs in all sorts of ways for decades. We're the main terrorists. For every American killed in 9-11, we've already killed a hundred Muslims, and more every day. It's the same in Israel.

The targets of 9-11 were soldiers in the Pentagon and financial managers in the World Trade Center. Both those groups are terrorists, just a subtler kind of terror. We don't see it that way here, we just reap the benefits. We're conditioned to think of that as normal. But what the global poor suffer under our corporations and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank is economic terror. And what they suffer under military dictatorships supported by the Pentagon is physical terror.

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William T. Hathaway's new book, Lila, the Revolutionary, is a fable for adults about an eight-year-old Indian girl who sparks a world revolution for social justice. Chapters are posted at A selection of his writing (more...)

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The Split: Differences over Israel tear apart a Jewish marriage


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There's nothing writ in stone that absolute compat... by landtorpedo on Sunday, Nov 20, 2011 at 5:59:47 PM
If only the Israelis had 'behaved'. Good behavior ... by syed mahdi on Monday, Nov 21, 2011 at 3:56:35 AM
Stan's part of the discussion read like a bad scri... by Paul Hershfield on Monday, Nov 21, 2011 at 6:25:55 AM
Not that it does not have any good meaning but.. ... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Nov 21, 2011 at 8:53:04 AM
I am a Hannahite. But if we don't learn to respect... by Peter Duveen on Monday, Nov 21, 2011 at 9:18:01 PM