I was reading an article in the "Atheist Revolution" blog and I came across this snippet:

When I encounter a parent telling her children about Santa Claus, I may find it unfortunate that someone would lie to one's own child merely for entertainment purposes. The potential for harm here seems trivially small. I cannot say the same for the Muslim parent instructing his son in the virtues of martyrdom or the Christian who tells her daughter that her Jewish friends will go to hell because they have not been "saved."

Could we not add something like the following to the last sentence:

...or the jew who tells his kids that he's "chosen" and has a covenant with god that entitles him and his "people" to the land of Israel, and then uses that as justification for a bloody occupation of Palestine.

The one-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead is approaching (Dec. 27th) and I think we should take a look at where we've come since then. The Goldstone Report: buried. Settlements: expanding. Palestinian house demolitions: continuing.

As atheists, we should be appalled whenever religion is used to justify actions that result in suffering or death. We do not seem to hesitate to speak out when a child dies because a Christian Scientist eschewed Western medicine in favor of prayer. We do not seem to hesitate to speak out when a Muslim nutjob finds motivation in his religion to grab some firearms and gun down some people. Why are we silent when an ethnic group uses a story about chosen people and covenants in The Big Book of Jewish Fairy Tales (aka, the Old Testament) to justify what is looking more and more like a slow, methodical ethnic cleansing campaign? Why do the Jews need to have Jerusalem all to themselves? Why is it so important to them to have a Jewish majority that they'll turn Gaza into a prison camp and The West Bank into Swiss cheese where the Palestinians are forced to live on smaller and smaller plots of land and endure more and more restrictions on their movement? If this were being done to a Jewish population they'd be screaming about a second holocaust.

The bottom line is that all three major religions are guilty of many modern-day atrocities and have a great deal of blood on their metaphorical hands. Why do we only bewail the actions of two of those three major religions?

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I don't give Jews or any other religion a pass.

I am now and have always been anti-Zionist.I reject the notion of innate rights of any kind.That includes the right to any nation to exist. All nations exist through right of conquest and force of arms,for as long as they can keep their neighbours at bay. A cynical view? Compare world political maps,every 100 years,beginning in say 1800..

Having said that, I don't have the chutzpah to try to take the moral high ground in criticising Israel, and despise the humbuggery of the nations which do.

As with any nation,if I was in Israel's position, I would use any excuse I could to legitimise my actions,no matter how dishonest or fatuous. (just as the US did with say the Iraq invasion)


Realpolitik works on one and only one principle "the ends justify the means",with one corollary,the eleventh commandment.Viz "don't get caught".
Don't forget the other corollary: "We're not actually all that clear on what ends we have in mind, whether the means are justified or not."
Actually, I totally agree. The only thing I have found at all refreshing in even the most orthodoxed of Jews I know is that they don't evangelize. But the sports mentality theme of my team rocks - yours sucks - is alive and kicking there.

I was talking to a colleague of mine -educated and proportedly liberal - who is a 'moderate Jew' but a big supporter of Isreal. Other than that, I saw no deep seated racism in the man.

Then one day, I began to tell him about my good friend Mahmoud.

I should say, at this point, that Mahmoud grew up in a nomadic tribe in Iran who was persecuted by the Shah, the Ayatollah, the locals in Maine where he went to college and the police who came after he had been beaten up. Nevertheless, Mahmoud would take a bullet for me - and I'm not exaggerating. He is one of the most honorable people I know with the deepest sense of friendship I have ever encountered.

In any case, as soon as I said the name Mahmoud - my 'colleague' asked if he (I paraphrase) regularly had sex with sheep. Wow. Was THAT an eye opener. He said it like I was supposed to think it was funny. What a jackass.
so long as the Arab countries refuse to allow Jews to live there having already expelled their Jewish population

"The Arab countries" sounds like a hasty generalization here. At the moment, Israel sees Iran, a non-Arab country, as the greatest threat to its own security. Turns out that Iran also hosts the largest Jewish community in the Middle East (minus Israel, obviously). On the other hand, there are Arab countries who have recognized and have established diplomatic relations with Israel. If you don't want people to conflate Jews with Israel, you could do Arabs and Muslims the same favor, and avoid putting all Arab countries in the same basket.
Then what have you to say about the Goldstone report, or about the bulldozing, the diversion of water supplies, the carving up of the West Bank, and the continuation of settlements there? At this point I'm not impressed by arguments over what happened in 1948 and who was to blame as forever determining who's justified in doing what now.

And finally, there's a political economy behind this--what corporations have an investment in perpetuating this situation, not limited to but definitely fueled by the arms industry. Who profits from all this, as opposed to investment in peace and prosperity for all parties concerned?
Israel agreed today to put a halt on the West Bank settlement expansion. I thought they would. The Palestinians say that isn't enough.....I know Israel didn't say they will cease settlement expansion in Jerusalem, but it seems not to matter, whatever Israel does is not good enough. Leaving Gaza wasn't good enough. What have the Palestinians done for peace?
Leaving Gaza wasn't good enough.

I've not checked this, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I've heard or read that new settlements in the West Bank outweigh what was abandoned in the Gaza strip, so that's still a net loss for the Palestinians.

What have the Palestinians done for peace?

And what do you think they can do - I mean, realistically? As long as they will feel short-changed, you can't ask their authority to keep an eye on everyone and stop rogue bombings. What else have they to offer? Nothing, as far as I know. That's the tragedy.
I think you should check it. I don't think extra land was picked up when the Jews left Gaza. They certainly expanded on the settlements, but land was not taken away from anyone to my knowledge. In fact in Sderot, Jews were evacuated much to their dislike, and that is in the West Bank.

Lots of people feel short changed due to conflict. What did the Japanese do after WW2? They got over it.

In the history of every new state, not everyone was a happy camper, and within a decade, cooler heads usually prevailed. But not with the Palestinians. They voted in a Party that is determined to make Israel extinct.

I ask again, what have they done for peace?
I don't think extra land was picked up when the Jews left Gaza.

I don't think so either. Only that the expansion of settlements since they left Gaza more than made up for what they lost there. I will check that, anyway.

Lots of people feel short changed due to conflict. What did the Japanese do after WW2? They got over it.

Japan was an aggressor state. The Palestinians had to give land, against their will, to make room for a new state. Where is their "original guilt"? How are these situations comparable?

I ask again, what have they done for peace?

Again, what can they do? Nothing. At least, nothing I can think of.
The Palestinians did not have to give land. I suggest you read up the Partition http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Partition_Plan_for_Pale...

The Jews were to get to govern where a Jewish majority existed in 1947.
The Arabs were the aggressors by declaring a war in 1948, and things got messed up from there.
Had there been no war, it is impossible to say if the Israeli Right would have been aggressors from there, or if the Arabs eventually would have started a war.
But as it is, it was mainly the surrounding Arab nations that caused the mess.

As for the Palestinians, they can accept losing 5 wars and accept a state next to Israel without violence. So far the Palestinians have yet to drop their arms, though admittedly of late, they've been pretty calm.
Here is the British Mandate, it included Transjordan:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BritishMandatePalestine1920.jpg
The Palestinians did not have to give land.

Of course they had. When I wrote "original sin", I was thinking of an earlier era than the 1948 partition. How many Jews were in Palestine before they started immigrating en masse early in the 20th century? That's the root of the problem. It got downhill from here.

I don't blame the Jews for this migration, but you can't blame the Palestinians for resisting it either - or the neighboring Arabs who had to cope with displaced Palestinians. Who would accept such a massive influx of foreigners today?

And how is it comparable to Japan unprovoked expansionism?

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