Many, including myself, have a difficult time defining Israel. The word is wrapped up with nation, bible, Jews, apartheid, history, genocide, holocaust, Palestine, violence, loyalty oaths, destruction, international law, nuclear weapons, settlements, brutality, walls, guilt, suicide bombs, Germany, Holy Land, aggression, defense, God, hatred, media, Zionism, money, Muslims, anti-Semitism, pity, children, peace, middle east, oppression, one state/two state, murder, driven into the sea.
In November of 2007 I attended a lecture at Michigan State University given by Anna Baltzer. Her talk was titled “Life in Occupied Palestine” and included many photos from her visits. It was the first time I was shown what was happening. The visuals were powerful. I was in the infantry in Viet Nam, but this was much more than violence and war. This was systematic hatred.
I bought her book, “Witness in Palestine” and her DVD, “Life in Occupied Palestine”. Both are excellent. The book has five appendices that cover: what you can do, resource guide, brief history, myths and frequently asked questions, quotations from prominent figures. There is also a glossary.
Since 2007 I have attended many lectures, read a number of books, spoken with many people who have been to Palestine, and attended a seminar by the Hillel student organization where I was in a breakout session by the Israeli Defense Force – IDF. I continue to explore.
When defining any country, region, people, or belief system I have come to realize that generalizations are destructive to discussion. Thus I need to look at policies and actions. When it comes to governments, I have come to the conclusion that the people of a nation need to be viewed separately from the actions of their government. People are pretty much the same the world over. They want to live a life without strife and concentrate on their well-being. The history of those in power - rulers/governments - is mainly about keeping their power, despite those they govern.
I have concluded that the government of Israel is immoral and extremists. To stay in power and to get support for their tactics, they have made the Jewish religion synonymous with Israel. This, I believe, is a travesty.