Letter to Allen West (Re: "Slapping Israel in the Face")
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Letter sent to Rep. Allen West of Florida's 22nd District. Awaiting response.
Greetings. My name is Brandon K. Thorp, and I covered the last month of your campaign for New Times. As you know, I think that you are a disingenuous and bloodthirsty man and that you have more in common with your alleged mortal enemies, the radical Islamists, than with your own constituency. If we may put that aside for a moment,
I hope you will take the time to answer a few questions.
You recently stated that allowing the PLO delegation to fly its flag in Washington, D.C., constitutes a "slap in the face" of "our greatest ally, Israel." This is no surprise. You are on the record opposing the establishment of a Palestinian state and have even suggested that Palestinian Arabs relocate to Jordan. You justify this position by quoting from the Bible's Old Testament. Since you are a Christian, your desire for a wholly Jewish Jerusalem presumably has something to do with an imminent apocalypse.
Those who suggest a more moderate approach to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict you frequently deride as enemies of the state. This state, I mean; not the state of Israel. I do not know if you are aware that there are those of us who ardently support Israel and who need no recourse to ancient "holy" books to justify ourselves. We value Israel because of her secular and democratic character, not because her inhabitants happen to espouse a preferred brand of monotheism. If there should one day be a Hindu majority in the United States or a Buddhist majority or an atheist majority or even a Muslim majority, I should hope that our support for Israel would remain steadfast. Individuals have loved and fought for what small freedoms they possessed long before the religions of Abraham were even the seedlings of ideas. With luck and pluck, we shall continue to do so long after Jehovah has joined Zeus and Astarte in divine retirement.
As a fellow supporter of Israel -- one who has no particular problem with the flying of the PLO flag in Washington and who, like you, wishes we could extend the same courtesy to Taiwan -- I ask the following questions in a spirit of sincerity and comity. I doubt you will answer, and if you do answer, I don't doubt that I will be horrified by what you say. Still, in matters of ideology and philosophy, it is best if our politicians lay their cards on the table.
1. Do you believe in the Apocalypse?
2. If you believe in the Apocalypse, do you hope it will arrive soon?
3. To what extent is your hope for a purely Jewish Jerusalem derived from that belief?
4. Since your belief in the legitimacy of Israel is based upon divine revelation rather than Israel's innately democratic and secular character, do you believe that non-Jews have a place in Israel? (More than 20 percent of all Israelis are non-Jews; most of those are Arab Muslims.)
5. Do you believe that Arab Israelis -- or other Israelis -- who espouse a two-state solution in Palestine are enemies of Israel?
Col. West, what follows is the most important question I have to ask of you, and if you ignore all others in this letter, I would be much obliged if you would answer this one.
6. Can you imagine any mechanism by which the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank could be forcibly relocated to Jordan without the violent deaths of tens of thousands of Arab civilians and not a few Israelis?
As you know, humans enjoy their homes and tend to defend them. They will do this even if your preferred "holy" book says certain humans have no right to those homes. What I and other concerned Americans have found objectionable in your political career thus far has much less to do with your service record, your understanding of economics, or your grasp of military tactics than with your apparent ignorance of, or indifference to, such immutable elements of human nature. The PLO has been trodden upon in its own territory, its authority terribly compromised by militants whose appetites for savagery have been whetted by the blood of two decades in which the compromising, peace-seeking spirit of Rabin, the latter-day Arafat, and the Oslo Accords availed them nothing. To deny the PLO the right to fly its own flag is to reject even the memory of the faltering steps toward peace accomplished by the more moderate leaders of the 1990s, to embrace endless war at best, and at worst to foster a kind of Final Solution to the Palestinian problem.
Is that what you advocate? It would appear so. I hope I am wrong.
Brandon K. Thorp
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