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some comments for Mariana

Reader comment on item: My Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations
in response to reader comment: To: Fred Schlomka: on "armchairs and nonsense."

Submitted by Fred Schlomka (Israel), Apr 2, 2007 at 04:32

Mariana asked: What does it mean to you "being Middle Eastern?"
The Middle East and the 'West' are at different stages of development, hence the current 'Clash of Civilizations'. It wasn't so long ago when women in the USA were virtual property under the law and the ownership of human beings was perfectly legal. Many of the political 'heros' of US history owned and degraded slaves. Not so long ago you guys even slaughtered each other in a civil war over the right to own slaves. I know it's fashionable to point to Muslim treatment of women as an indicator of their 'barbaric culture' despite the fact that a minority of Muslims conduct themselves in the shocking manner you outlined. However if one also takes a closer look at many cultures, at Ultra Orthodox Jewish mores, for instance, you'll find a pattern of chattel relationships and chronic abuse of women. However G-d forbid that a non-Jew should expose such horror for fear of being labeled an anti-semite. Being anti-Muslim is OK hence your gross generalizations.

If a European told you they liked being European would you ask why? Would you point to the horrors of the Nazi past and ask why? Would you question the statement. Most likely not.

So why do I enjoy being Middle Eastern besides the fact that this is home, Israel is a Middle Eastern country, and my folks have lived here for 6+ generations. Quite simply I believe the cycle of history is coming around and it will be our turn again soon. During the heyday of Middle Eastern civilization our part if the world was the catalyst for what came to be called 'The West'. However Europe also went through its horrors as it struggled through its transformation from a medieval world to an more liberal one. But in the process millions died in the senseless slaughters of the Christian churches and pursuit of empire. We still remember the crusaders plowing throw this part of the world slaughtering, Christian, Jew and Muslim alike because they all were Arabs.

I remain in the Middle East to help prepare for the development of the region. I find this one of the most stimulating places on the planet, and a likely location for an emerging new civilization that will eventually supplant the West. History tells us that empires wax and wane. The European/US block seems to be on a cusp that foretells a decline. Asian countries are already flexing their muscles, and the Middle East is poised for reform and development. Ultimately the new Middle East will rise out of the reformation of Islam, an enlightened Zionism, a consolidation of values and culture, and a regional self interest that is independent of the USA or Europe. This won't happen tomorrow, but our grandchildren may see it. People like me, Hebrews, Arabs and others, are helping lay a few of the foundation stones for the future. Your country's recent preparations for nuclear war on my doorstep is not helping.

Mariana wrote "Since the stakes are so high and Israel is so small - and since 220 million Muslims can now believe that they are "almost there," just what will we do if you're wrong? Who will do it? And at what cost? "

Do you really think that all the Muslims in the Middle East think about only one thing. That the destruction of Israel is their primary goal in life? I go to Amman regularly and most of the people there couldn't even point to Tel Aviv on a map. They are against the idea of Israel (in their mind a land grubbing Zionist settler state), but the reality of Israel is what they want. The shopping malls, the higher standard of living, education etc. Many Jordanians and Egyptians today quietly send their kids to Universities in Israel because it's 'local' and cheaper than Europe or the USA. I recently helped an Egyptian programmer get a job in Israel. They are happy to come, even as their media rail against the 'Zionist Enemy'. There are complexities at work here that go far beyond a simple black and white, good and evil.

Mariana wrote: There was a great deal of crime, violence, burning and riots [certainly nothing to compare with bombs and 'suiciders'].

Actually you are wrong. I lived for some years in a couple of US east coast cities and the levels of violence were way above Israel. One of the reasons that I like raising my kids here (yes i have a girl) is that they have more freedom than your kids in the US because our rates of civil violence are so low. Your cities have one of the highest murder rates in the world whereas israel is very low despite our occasional political violence. The streets are very safe. In the US I had a permit to carry a pistol, which was necessary because of the neighborhoods i worked in as a contractor. However in Israel it is completely unnecessary. Also the murder rates in the US is not a racial issue as you implied. Some of the highest murder rates are among whites in the rural south.

This is getting off topic. I'd be happy to continue via email. Just Google me.

Submitting....

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