The only thing new in Ochenski’s anti-Israel rant (see “Israel’s enablers,” June 3, 2010) is that he saved the “some of my best friends are Jewish” line for the end of his column. Most racists, homophobes and anti-Semites who want to express their negativity about an issue or a group usually begin their case with “Some of my best friends are black,” “I have a friend who is gay,” or “My Jewish coworker.” The list goes on ad nauseam.
He rants about U.S. aid for Israel. Who would you rather the U.S. give aid: Iran? Syria? Yemen? North Korea? Why did this so-called humanitarian aid flotilla decide to take this venture the day before Netanyahu was supposed to meet with President Obama? Did you ever stop to consider that this was a setup?
I suggest Mr. Ochenski take a trip to Israel. He might find a very progressive country where gays do not have to deal with a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. He would find a country that allows its Arab minorities to serve in the Knesset. He might also find that there is a country that elected a woman prime minister before we elected a woman president. Oops! I forgot. We have never elected a woman president. But then gays, lesbians and women do not enjoy the same rights in other Middle Eastern countries as they do in Israel. Israel, with all of its internal differences, secular and religious, is a very progressive, open society.
Here’s one more idea: Read The Jerusalem Post. With little effort you will find Israel, a country of six million surrounded by 550 million Arabs, engaging in serious humanitarian discussions. There is a loud group in Israel voicing that the people of Gaza need to be treated better. This is in spite of thousands of missiles that neighboring Gaza launched into Israel. Meanwhile, the IDF does what soldiers do in a democracy, i.e. defend their tiny country so its people can engage in dissent.
In fact, when it comes to dissent the people of Israel may reflect the famous statement better than we Americans: “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.”