Mr. Thomas Farrell's August 3rd piece on Mitt Romney, Barak
Obama, Israel and Western culture brings up important issues that we have heard
and will hear more of.
author seriously misconstrues the issues as belonging to the murkiness of
cultural history rather than the easily documented history of colonialism and
In their ivory
towers, Farrell and Ong might well be content with the relaxed pleasures of abstract
analysis and intellectualization.
that millions of Palestinians and other oppressed peoples had such luxury.
The ultimate question, which neither of these
writers addresses, is "political and economic freedom" for whom? Mr. Farrell rightly asks about what kind of
political debate we are likely to get on the issue of Israel and the
Palestinians. The answer is none at all
because both candidates are too busy pandering to the Israel lobby in their
quest for (re)election.
As in the case
of the extermination of Native Americans, it's simply too unsettling to take an
honest look at colonialism when one is so directly involved. The "Western cultural conditioning"
that Mr. Farrell fondly refers to is nothing more than the rationalizing or
covering up of a sordid history of abuse of military and economic power at the
expense of the weak.
Israel has been an
apartheid state from its inception with the full support--political, military
and economic--of the United States regardless of which person or party is in
A good book for "an
academic" to read is The Ethnic
Cleansing of Palestine by Ph.D. Israeli born historian Ilan Pappe.
Academics can perhaps afford to be sanguine
and patiently wait for "Western cultural conditioning" to make
"strong inroads" around the world and work its magic.
I suspect, however, that the vast majority
of the world's overwhelmingly non-Western population would have other views. I also suggest that readers consult the
website of Minnesota Break the Bonds at mn.breakthebonds.org/ for information
on our organization's program for divestment of Minnesota's Israel bonds along
the lines of the successful 1980s South Africa divestment movement to end
apartheid there. I'm not sure if
anything "irenic" or "agonistic" can be found on the
website, but there is plenty of straight talk on the problems and concrete
efforts to solve them.
Bob Kosuth, Ph.D.
Retired from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Former director of international programs office and Superior English as a Second Language Institute. Ph.D., University of Minnesota. M.A. degrees in linguistics and East Asian Studies from the (more...