And Back in the Holy Land...
by Fred Glick
As you can imagine, current events in the region are a big topic
of conversation, not just here, but in the US as well. On my recent trip there I was asked,
often, what I thought about what was going on.
Living in the region, much closer to the events,
has forced me to look closer at things in which I never had
much interest. Though
I grew up in a Jewish family, I have never felt the same kind
of affinity for Israel so many of my peers did. Politics have never been my primary,
or even secondary, interest, particularly those of the Middle
But you live here, the
events are there, in your face, it is impossible to ignore
What do I think about whatís going
That the Palestinian people are screwed. Their own leadership is vastly
corrupt, their brother Arabs, while sympathetic, are not moved
to much action of any kind, and the Israelis? The Israelis would, by and large,
appear to consider them a lower form of life, valuable perhaps
as cheap labour.
What do I feel?
Disgust. Disgust based on expectations,
perhaps unreasonable ones, but expectations that were
based upon the values of the Jewish cultural identity
as I understood it. As I sat this last Passover
with family and friends in Denver, reading the story of Passover
and the explanations of the symbols before us, my unease
grew: how could not more people identify
the plight and suffering of the Palestinian people with
that of the Jews?
I had always understood
that the lesson of the persecution of the Jews, be it in ancient Egypt or 20th century Germany, was that the Jews bore a special
were the conscience of mankind and had an obligation to speak
out for the rights of the oppressed. Jews
played an important role in the civil rights movement in the US. Some of apartheid South Africaís most hated opponents were Jews; of the six
whites prosecuted alongside Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia treason trial, five were Jews.
That is, of course, not to say that all Jews
have adopted the role. The
principal prosecutor at the Rivonia trial
was a Jew as well. Jews
are individuals, they act upon their personal beliefs and I
donít think that anyone, other than an anti-Semitic kook, would
So why is it that all Palestinians are viewed
as terrorists? How
is it that so many of the people I spoke to in America, Jews
and gentiles alike, could see nothing wrong with Israelís mass
detentions of Palestinian males? Over
4000 boys and men between the ages of 15 and 50 were rounded
up and detained. Just because
they are Palestinian.
The stories are many. One of them belongs to a Palestinian
journalist, Mohammed Daraghmeh, working for the Associated Press who
was taken into custody by Israeli troops when they conducted
mass detentions in the West Bank city of Nablus. But he was, as an Israeli Government
spokesman said, not singled out for special treatment as a
Dan Seaman, director of Israel's Government Press Office, told
the AP that "there's no immunity for journalists. He (Daraghmeh) is a Palestinian, and he was arrested like
thousands of other Palestinians. He'll
be questioned, and if there's no problem, he'll be released."
Racism by any other
name is still racism. And
no matter who commits it, for what cause, it still smells
After being held handcuffed
and blindfolded for 20 hours he was released from an Israeli
army camp and told to walk the six miles home, despite an Israeli-mandated
curfew, beginning a journey that was to take him into the next
day and include numerous encounters with Israeli soldiers.
The story, like all AP material, is copyrighted. However,
you should be able to find it on their web site (http://wire.ap.org/) by searching for his
by-line or, e-mail me, Iíll be happy to send it along.
Have a comment? Send us a letter!
Ready for more?
More by Fred Glick
10-18-01 My Taxi Ride in Egypt after 9-11
And as we reach my destination, he asks me to tell America that he is sorry,
that Egyptians, they are sorry.
3-20-01 Eating in Cairo (Part 2)
You splash da'a on your koshary like a real Egyptian.
Perhaps you've even learned how to pronounce da'a. You've
had fuul for breakfast and laughed in the face of many an
expensive buffet. But all the feelings of superiority aside, you're
beginning to feel the need for something, well, different.
12-23-00 FLASH FROM CAIRO- RAIN!
The pre-dawn call to prayer, bustling souqs and the constant reminders that
everything, from the continuing supply of water to the arrival of the taxi
at my destination, is at the pleasure of Allah.
10-17-02 Music and Style by Yasmela
/ Shelley Muzzy
ATS seems to be pushing Middle Eastern dance, at least in the U.S., back into
that safe and sexless area, sans the real knowledge of true folk movement
11-29-01 Nomads of the Spirit by Sierra
Know what you are you contributing - either
to their dilution as a people or the strengthening of their true