Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What Now? Leave The Settlements And Hoist One For Viola Liuzzo

Now that we've actually gone a whole day without rocket attacks, we are back to the question of where to go from here. The choices are either the same old, same old. Or to try a different approach. Israel has to find a way to open the Gaza borders and let people breathe. Israel has got to stop expanding the settlements and start pulling out of the West Bank in a serious way. The tired old excuses as to why this cannot be done just do nothing to make Israel a safer place to live.

Hamas and Israel are not going to speak directly to one another. OK, so use Egypt and Turkey as go betweens and negotiate with the Arab League using the Saudi proposal as a starting point. I suspect that the Obama administration would be supportive of such an effort. I hope the Obama administration will not continue to use my taxpayer dollars to aid expansion of West Bank settlements but instead use my tax dollars to dismantle the project. I think it was Bradley Bursten in Haaretz who pointed out that Israel uses settlements the way Hamas uses Qassams. If Hamas takes over the West Bank and fires a missile or sends through a suicide bomber, Israel always has the option of making Ramallah look like Gaza City. But unless Israel breaks the cycle (I have no expectations of better Palestinian behavior but do have some hope of better behavior from the Jews) we will see what just happened in Gaza repeated, again and again and again.

Which brings me to religion and the inaugural in Washington. Obama now has three Rabbis, lest he offend one of our major sects, to go with his right wing Protestant, gay Protestant and there must be a Catholic in there somewhere. Even Fox News observed that we still lack a Muslim and an Atheist. I have a thought, get religion out of the ceremony. I don't care if my President is religious (and Obama can certainly be accused of that) and maybe would like some prayer said in connection with his taking office. But why do we need to satisfy the PC police? To me religion really is a root cause of what's wrong with Western Civilization. It is the opiate of the masses. You can use the Torah, Bible and Koran to justify just about anything you want to justify. The settlers inflicting pogroms upon Palestinian farmers, the Jihadists in Gaza and Mumbai, Protestants raging war against the LGBT community, and let's not forget that the Catholics still have the Inquisition though they've given it a more PC name. Everyone gets to do whatever they want and all in G-d's name. Yes, I'll help form a minyan and daven mincha but I'd be very happy to not do it on the Capitol steps.

Finally, I assume that you are going to watch or listen to the Inauguration. Liz and I are waiting for David Mallach to come visit and help us put down a bottle of Red Alert wine, a special bottling by Galai, a Negev-based boutique winery. We'll watch Obama get sworn in and then go out to dinner to celebrate Liz' 35th wedding anniversary.

Should you have the chance, please hoist a glass of whatever you will be drinking and take a moment to remember Viola Liuzzo. If Mrs. Liuzzo (she never made it to the world of Ms.) had been born 30 years later she'd be a soccer Mom with a minivan. Instead, in the summer of 1963, she drove her car from her suburban Detroit home to Mississippi. She was car pooling voter registration workers when she was assassinated by the Klan. Today we inaugurate the first African American President of the United States of America. The country, the world, is still far from perfect but, every so often, we do manage to make change for the good.

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