Disengagement: a euphemism for ethnic cleansing

In removing Jewish residents from their legitimate homes in Gaza, Judea and Samaria (a.k.a. 'West Bank'), the Sharon government of Israel is guilty of egregious human rights violations against its own Jewish citizens who are also innocent targets of Arab terrorism.

The Bush Administration is guilty of complicity in this human rights crime. The effect of this is to weaken both Israel and America ideologically and morally in their efforts to combat Islamo—fascism and the global terrorism that it spawns. As such this undermines the security interests of the American people.

At the core of our strength in the current struggle is a set of moral values which are under enemy assault. We cannot prevail over a philosophy that promotes and rationalizes hatred, bigotry and even mass murder unless we adhere firmly and without compromise to civilized norms. For example our response to revelations of human rights abuses of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison is our attempt to correct an injustice once it became known and to show the world that we reject such conduct and will punish the guilty prison guards.

We Americans have adopted the symbol of justice depicting a blindfolded woman holding a set of scales. That is meant to indicate an objective and consistent approach to justice, to be applied without fear or favor. In the present situation the human rights crime of the Sharon government is ethnic cleansing pure and simple, against innocent people who happen to be Jewish.

In theory American policy is to oppose ethnic cleansing. In practice our actions are inconsistent. In Bosnia and Kosovo there were allegations of ethnic cleansing by Serbs against Albanian Muslims. The American response was to use military force to halt the crimes and to punish the alleged violators. But when the victims are Christians and Jews, our response ranges from passivity to complicity.

Christians are victims of bigotry, violence and ethnic cleansing occurring mostly inside Arab/Muslim countries. In newly liberated Iraq, Christians are being brutalized and driven out by Muslims with no response from the American Army. In Bethlehem the former Christian majority has been largely driven out under PLO/PA rule. In Lebanon, in Egypt, in Sudan and elsewhere in the Arab world Christians suffer persecution and even death while the U.S. administration fails to respond adequately.

Arab countries have robbed and expelled some 900,000 Jews during the decades from the 1930's through the 1950's. The Christian and Jewish presence in the Middle East pre—dates the Arab invasion and conquest of lands outside of Arabia. The spirit of militant Islam is conquest, conversion, expulsion and if the victims resist, then death. Our struggle should be against this evil, to halt it and to reverse it, as part of the announced American effort to spread freedom and democracy to the Arab peoples. But now we see the Sharon government of Israel preparing to expel Jews from their homes in its cowardly response to Arab intolerance and terrorism.

Instead of Israel being a partner in spreading freedom and democracy, we see the Sharon government itself now becoming a proxy for Arab extremism and for ethnic cleansing. Civilized people of mixed ethnic and religious backgrounds should be able to live together peacefully anywhere and everywhere, as they do inside America and inside Israel. That is a basic human right. But we now see the submission to ethnic cleansing in places where Arabs dominate. Ethnic cleansing is a high crime regardless of who is the perpetrator and regardless of any other name or deceptive euphemism that is applied. It is the same crime regardless of the identity of the victims and of the perpetrators.

The heroes in this tragic episode include the brave Jewish residents who refuse to be intimidated by Sharon's threats. Other heroes are the thousands of Israeli soldiers who announced their refusal to carry out orders that are both illegal and immoral. American soldiers at the recent Abu Ghraib trial were told that 'just following orders' is no excuse for clearly immoral conduct and they will be punished. There must be a line where conscience of civilized people trumps blind obedience to following orders.

The Sharon government deserves to be condemned for this crime and also for the high handed and undemocratic means used to pursue this action. The Bush Administration also deserves condemnation for supporting Sharon in his illegal actions. From now on the Islamo—fascists will be able to gleefully mock us as hypocrites when we criticize their actions and thus weaken our moral claim to oppose their hateful ideology.

In removing Jewish residents from their legitimate homes in Gaza, Judea and Samaria (a.k.a. 'West Bank'), the Sharon government of Israel is guilty of egregious human rights violations against its own Jewish citizens who are also innocent targets of Arab terrorism.

The Bush Administration is guilty of complicity in this human rights crime. The effect of this is to weaken both Israel and America ideologically and morally in their efforts to combat Islamo—fascism and the global terrorism that it spawns. As such this undermines the security interests of the American people.

At the core of our strength in the current struggle is a set of moral values which are under enemy assault. We cannot prevail over a philosophy that promotes and rationalizes hatred, bigotry and even mass murder unless we adhere firmly and without compromise to civilized norms. For example our response to revelations of human rights abuses of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison is our attempt to correct an injustice once it became known and to show the world that we reject such conduct and will punish the guilty prison guards.

We Americans have adopted the symbol of justice depicting a blindfolded woman holding a set of scales. That is meant to indicate an objective and consistent approach to justice, to be applied without fear or favor. In the present situation the human rights crime of the Sharon government is ethnic cleansing pure and simple, against innocent people who happen to be Jewish.

In theory American policy is to oppose ethnic cleansing. In practice our actions are inconsistent. In Bosnia and Kosovo there were allegations of ethnic cleansing by Serbs against Albanian Muslims. The American response was to use military force to halt the crimes and to punish the alleged violators. But when the victims are Christians and Jews, our response ranges from passivity to complicity.

Christians are victims of bigotry, violence and ethnic cleansing occurring mostly inside Arab/Muslim countries. In newly liberated Iraq, Christians are being brutalized and driven out by Muslims with no response from the American Army. In Bethlehem the former Christian majority has been largely driven out under PLO/PA rule. In Lebanon, in Egypt, in Sudan and elsewhere in the Arab world Christians suffer persecution and even death while the U.S. administration fails to respond adequately.

Arab countries have robbed and expelled some 900,000 Jews during the decades from the 1930's through the 1950's. The Christian and Jewish presence in the Middle East pre—dates the Arab invasion and conquest of lands outside of Arabia. The spirit of militant Islam is conquest, conversion, expulsion and if the victims resist, then death. Our struggle should be against this evil, to halt it and to reverse it, as part of the announced American effort to spread freedom and democracy to the Arab peoples. But now we see the Sharon government of Israel preparing to expel Jews from their homes in its cowardly response to Arab intolerance and terrorism.

Instead of Israel being a partner in spreading freedom and democracy, we see the Sharon government itself now becoming a proxy for Arab extremism and for ethnic cleansing. Civilized people of mixed ethnic and religious backgrounds should be able to live together peacefully anywhere and everywhere, as they do inside America and inside Israel. That is a basic human right. But we now see the submission to ethnic cleansing in places where Arabs dominate. Ethnic cleansing is a high crime regardless of who is the perpetrator and regardless of any other name or deceptive euphemism that is applied. It is the same crime regardless of the identity of the victims and of the perpetrators.

The heroes in this tragic episode include the brave Jewish residents who refuse to be intimidated by Sharon's threats. Other heroes are the thousands of Israeli soldiers who announced their refusal to carry out orders that are both illegal and immoral. American soldiers at the recent Abu Ghraib trial were told that 'just following orders' is no excuse for clearly immoral conduct and they will be punished. There must be a line where conscience of civilized people trumps blind obedience to following orders.

The Sharon government deserves to be condemned for this crime and also for the high handed and undemocratic means used to pursue this action. The Bush Administration also deserves condemnation for supporting Sharon in his illegal actions. From now on the Islamo—fascists will be able to gleefully mock us as hypocrites when we criticize their actions and thus weaken our moral claim to oppose their hateful ideology.