Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Al-Jazeera Article by Mark LeVine

Gary Fouse

I am linking a pro-Palestinian article written by Professor Mark LeVine of UC-Irvine (where I also teach) on Al-Jazeera. LeVine, who made "headlines" lately by calling David Horowitz a "liar" on "international television" (actually, it was on Sean Hannity's show), is solidly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel, which is his right. Aside from his condemnation of Israel, however, there were a few lines that really caught my eye.


I have a couple of comments. First of all, I am not interested in debating who the good guys are and who the bad guys are in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. LeVine supports the Palestinians and I support Israel's right to exist in peace and to defend herself. As far as America's alliance with Israel over the years, the reasons may have been complicated from one period to the next, but to me, it has been the moral thing to do. I guess the main reason I have been sympathetic to Israel all of my adult life (which began in the 1960s) is that I remember so many Palestinian/Arab terror attacks over the decades, from the skyjackings, to the airport attacks (i.e. Rome and Vienna), the 1972 Munich Olympics, Entebbe, the kidnappings, the hostages, the Achille Lauro etc. In many of these incidents, Americans and other nationalities died. I remember the 1967 and 1973 wars, in which Israel was fighting for her very survival. Then more recently came the suicide bombings and the rockets lobbed into Israel.

I have never tried to argue that the Palestinians did not have legitimate grievances or that Israel was perfect. I simply believe, as stated above, that Israel has a right to exist and defend herself. So on that we can agree to disagree.

I would, however, like to take issue with one point that LeVine makes.

"The martyrs of the ships are heroes, they are warriors every bit as deserving of our tears and support as the soldiers of American wars past and present.

They are, in fact, the soldiers of the future - the only ones who can help us get out of the disastrous slide to moral turpitude that we, as much as Israel, have descended as a country.

Let us hope that the deaths of the Gaza flotilla activists will not be as in vain as those of the 5,000 American soldiers who have died in our own illegal and useless wars in the last decade."
Sorry, professor, but you are out of line here.

I do not consider the 9 Turks that were killed on the Mavi Marmara to be heroes or martyrs. More importantly, to compare those thugs with American soldiers who have given their lives in wars past and present (some of which you call illegal)is insulting. I don't know if you have ever served in the military (I have), but I suspect if you had, you might have more reverence for our fallen than to compare them to the 9 "martyrs".

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