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. .Lebanon is the most obvious victim right now. Their national infrastructure is being destroyed, people are being killed, displaced, injured...
Israelis are also victims, hiding in shelters, facing the reality that their government is responsible for horrible actions, becoming the recipients of new levels of hate and contempt from billions around the world.
Who are the extremist religious fascists?
My evangelical friend warns me to be careful when I discuss born-again evangelicals, and he's right. There are millions of born again evangelicals who are quite rational. But then there are those who have bought the Bush Republican line hook, line and sinker. AND... they also buy the LEFT BEHIND rapture story. They're so excited and happy to see the increase in hostilities in the middle east, they're literally whooping for joy, giddily thrilled that they will be "raptured," taken up by the returning Messiah, along with all the other "believers" while the rest of the humans on the planet either suffer nasty deaths or are "left behind" in a kind of purgatory. Really, these people are struggling with the question of whether they should cancel vacation plans or plans to move, because the mideast crisis is getting hot enough so they will be "raptured" and won't need to travel. These people are HAPPY about the conflict. They Support Bush's hands off approach that allows the kettle to boil. These people make up a major part of Bush's remaining base.
Then there are the Israeli ultra-orthodox Jews. These folks have it pretty sweet. They get to push for a bigger Israel, for settlements in the occupied lands, for upping the conflict, and they are exempt from the draft that affects the rest of the Israelis. The theory is, their little boys are too precious because they are studying the torah, the hebrew version of the bible. I would love to see a few million US jews tell Israel to get rid of the grossly inequal and unfair law. Perhaps if these Israeli chickenhawks had to put their children in the same danger that the rest of the Israelis do, they might take a different tack.
Unfortunately, it's hard to imagine real, lasting peace coming to the middle east while the religious extremists are still making their trouble.
I was talking an old friend who's Jewish. He was saying that there will NEVER be peace in the middle east. I replied that this idea, of a forever war in the middle east is unacceptable. that an Israel forever at war should not be. "But what about Iran," he asked. "What about the ultraorthodox Jews in Israel?" I replied.
Extremist fundamentalist religions are a dangerous threat to the planet. It is possible for fundamentalists to be enlightened, to practice their faiths without forcing their beliefs on others, to respect other faiths. I've met people who practice such faiths. Somehow, we need to come up with ways to enlighten the people of these extremist faiths so they no longer need to support war, killing, conflict and toxic evangelism. I don't have the answer, but this is a challenge I haven't heard discussed very often as a potential solution. We need to start exploring this option instead of bigger and better weapons.