See this page for links to articles on OpEdNEws that articulate both sides on the issues in the middle east. It is the goal of OpEdNews to air opinions from both sides to stretch the envelope of discussion and communication. Hate statements are not accepted. Discussions of issues and new ideas for solutions are encouraged. .Think about Hanoi Jane-Jane Fonda and her trip to North Vietnam. I'm sure she was well intentioned. But in the long run, her trip has been used by right wingers so devastatingly. Let's hope the left's advocacy for the Lebanese (a generic "Beirut Bill")does not become used in a similar way, hanging an albatross around the necks of November 2006 Democratic candidates.
The Mideast conflict could re-adjust the balance of forces at the voting booth this November. The statements, positions and calls for action and legislation by some on the far left or even the near left, who passionately support the Palestinians and Lebanese, may cost the Democrats their opportunity to take back the congress.
Let's be clear. People who have long advocated for the Palestinians could literally cost the Democrats the taking back of congress from the current Republican majority.
For Years, when you'd go to a peace march, there would be a strong anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian presence, even when the protests were about Iraq. Then there were those carrying signs advocating freeing of Mumia.
Peace protests have a way of drawing what one might at best be considered symbiotes, at worst, parasites. It's worked out that lately, some of these interest groups have even become entrenched in the leadership of the organizing of many major peace protests.
This has not been a good thing. These activist parasites move the focus away from the central issue that is drawing the vast majority of people to the peace demonstration. The people carrying signs for those peripheral issues were leeches, diverting energy, focus and attention away from the central issue that the masses of protestors were coming out for.
Now, we have a situation where people who call themselves progressives or liberals or leftists or antiwar activists are taking positions on the Middle East conflict-positions that put not just THEM out on a limb, but anyone they support or have worked with.
This is very dangerous to the opportunity we have to take back the congress from the Republicans this fall. VERY, VERY DANGEROUS.
It is one thing to feel compassion for the Lebanese who are dying and being uprooted and forced from their homes. But it is a HUGE mistake to react by making statements, taking positions that don't consider the big picture. It is a big picture that requires consideration of a number of factors, including:
-The consideration that the Republicans are playing three dimensional chess while the Democrats, strategically, are playing checkers..
-maintenance of this conflict rewards and provides positive benefits to MANY parties.
-How what looks like support for or sympathy for Hezbollah will look if the conflict escalates to include Syria, Iran and the US. These activists and through them, it is possible, even likely that Democratic candidtates and the Democratic party will be framed as collaborators with the enemy, traitors and worse. Think Jane Fonda visiting North Vietnam.
-The Mideast conflict is distracting the media from the issues that were driving down Republican poll figures and making a recovering of the congress by the Democrats look more possible.
It's hard to argue with goals such as
-an end to the fighting.
- seeing Israel leave the Palestinians alone, and letting them build their nation.
- seeing the Palestinians able to find gainful work in Israel as they have before.
-seeing Israel leaving Lebanon alone.
-seeing the total cessation of attacks on Israel-- from Lebanon, from Palestine.
-seeing the major powers stop using Israel, the Palestinians, Lebanon and Hezbollah as pawns in their power games.
-seeing peace throughout the region.
That said, the best way to do that is to elect progressive Democrats to congress, democrats who are not signed on to the DLC's anything goes for Israel philosophy, but who are loyal to and supportive of Israel, while also wanting to see peace and independent functioning of the Palestinians. Taking too strident a position against Israel is not the solution, regardless of how angered and outraged you are about what is happening to the Lebanese. Ttoo much of a reaction against Israel, on the behalf of the Lebanese, without very clear, nuanced statements about the problems with Hezbollah clearly defined as an additional part of the problem is very likely to be turned into ammunition by Republicans this fall, in just weeks. The Democratic leadership is failing to focus the problems in the Middle East upon the root cause-- the Bush and Republican/GOP failure to provide leadership and direction there, the intentional leading of Israeli leaders towards war.
The best way for people who are outraged by what Israel is doing in Lebanon is to stay on message and stay on track for dumping republicans from congress. We must repeatedly bring the conversation back to the incompetent diplomacy by Condeleeza Rice, the failed leadership by Bush and the Republican congress-- over and over and over again. Self-righteously attacking Israel is not going to help Lebanon and it could very likely hurt the chances for excising the Republicans from Congress. It may feel good momentarily to attack Israel, but it is an indulgence that American progressives cannot afford.