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On the Fast Track to the Apocalypse...

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For years, I've tried to stay out of any dialogue about the Middle East mostly because, from what I can see, there has been no dialogue--only an extended monologue.

For years, since my college days, I have endorsed a free, and autonomous, Palestine, and have despised the second-class treatment of Muslims within Israel. I have openly, and publicly, deplored Israel's attack on Beirut, and the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza.

But, let me be clear. To condemn the actions of a nation is not the same as condemning that nation. I am outraged by the invasion, occupation, and plundering of Iraq, and would be equally outraged by the suggestion that my antipathy for the occupation makes me "unpatriotic." Just as it doesn't make me un-American, or unpatriotic, to speak out against the actions of my country, it doesn't make those who speak out against Israeli military exploits anti-Israeli, or anti-Semitic.

Having said that, there comes a time to cry foul. There comes a time to speak out against an obdurate, and deliberate, confusion between Israelis and Jews, Zionists and Israeli citizens.

This morning, I read a comment to an article about the presidential race that appears on a Web site whose primary audience is American expatriates. While the article primarily lamented the loss of candidates Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, the person posting the comment, Anna, took advantage of an opportunity to blast Israel, and the U.S., for what she calls the AIPAC Congress, and giving any support to Israel since its inception sixty years ago. Anna suggests that if any nation should have been helping Israel, after World War II, it should have been Great Britain.

What she neglects to mention is that the U.S. gained more, after the war, from trade with Nazi war criminals than they ever gave to the Jewish state. What she also neglects to do is connect the dots, and tell how a race for the presidency relates to the Jewish lobby, specifically, not inferentially. Indeed, the devil is not so much in the details as in the implications.

Moreover, apart from the egregiousness of trading with our declared enemies, which is hardly news after Iran-Contra, and given who's been arming the Taliban in Pakistan, what is most horrifying is how, increasingly, many are using any chance they get to lash out at Israel, and the so-called Jewish lobby. It's as if there were some vast Jewish conspiracy to control the capital, big business, and Congress which all sounds eerily familiar.

Nowadays, anyone who remembers the words of Rev. Martin Luther King, 40 years ago, that "anti-Zionist is inherently anti-Semitic, and ever will be so" risks being labelled an "Israel apologist." Clearly, a lot has changed over nearly half a century, given that Israel is only slightly more than half a century old. Dr. King could not have foreseen the "my country right or wrong" mentality that has taken hold of the Jewish state or, for that matter, of the United States, and that it would one day be possible to be anti-Zionist and not anti-Semitic.
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Still, those who are anti-Zionist, in this country, often seem to have difficulty distinguishing between nationality and religion, and think that to be Jewish and to be a Zionist are one and the same. So, it turns out, that not much has changed over the past 40 years, in this regard, after all, and that Rev. King was right to smell the rotten hands of racists at work.

Arguably, to be anti-Semitic means to despise not only Jews, but Muslims, too, as Jews and Muslims are both of the Semitic race.

So, to the Annas out there, I say only: what a shame, what a crime, that the U.S. wasted one tax dollar on Israel, and allowed ourselves to be blinded by the AIPAC Congress which, as you know, has been ruled by AIPAC since this country was founded back in the 1700's, or so you'd have us think. To hear you tell it, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were members of AIPAC, too, as well as those daughters of the American Revolution who committed genocide against native Americans.

Yes, and who knows, maybe even the first president---George Washington---maybe his real name was George Goldstein -- it was changed, so he wouldn't get carded by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But, we wouldn't want to tell that to Sen. McCain; we wouldn't want him to think this is anything other than what he calls a "Christian nation."

To anyone who thinks AIPAC, which boasts of being 100,000 strong, has taken control of the planet---it's not too late to repair the damage. With your help, we may yet be able to build a detention center, in Miami, adjacent to the one for undocumented immigrants, where we can fit AIPAC, as well as throw in some of their Israel sympathizers---maybe even a few pesky members of Congress. Whaddya think? Well, it worked for the Japanese, and now Hispanics; why not the Israel lobby, too?
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Look, that Joe Lieberman, once a Democrat, is now a McCain lackey and a member of the "Bomb Iran" choir, is a disgrace, but do we want to blame that on the AIPAC? Does racial profiling extend to Jews, too? Do we really want to lump Bush, McCain, and Lieberman together as Zionists, even if they claim to be fighting Islamofascism?

Just as it's wrong to attack those who express philosophical differences with Israeli foreign policy (being polite here) as being "anti-Semites," it's wrong to equate those who defend the right of the Jewish state to exist as being "Zionists."

To all the Annas out there, wake up, and do the math---Jews comprise only 2.5% of the world's population. Anyone who thinks Jews are that powerful needs to go back and take Basic Arithmetic 101. What's more, anyone who thinks that an organization that hosts a grassroots membership that consists of a fraction of one percent of the U.S. population controls America probably sleeps with both eyes open.

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http://ladyjaynestahl.blogspot.com
Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.

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