Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lebanon War: Where are the Christians?

Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan blames Christians for not speaking out about the Israeli destruction of Lebanon by Israel:
Let it be said: Israel has a right to defend herself, a right to counter-attack against Hezbollah and Hamas, a right to clean out bases from which Katyusha or Qassam rockets are being fired and a right to occupy land from which attacks are mounted on her people.

But what Israel is doing is imposing deliberate suffering on civilians, collective punishment on innocent people, to force them to do something they are powerless to do: disarm the gunmen among them. Such a policy violates international law and comports neither with our values nor our interests. It is un-American and un-Christian.

But where are the Christians? Why is Pope Benedict virtually alone among Christian leaders to have spoken out against what is being done to Lebanese Christians and Muslims?
As usual, American public opinion is against him and firmly with Israel and the killing of civilians in the name of self defence. Of course, "terrorist" groups are notoriously difficult to destroy (Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Kashmiri seperatists) and seem to thrive under the most dire conditions.

There are a myriad reasons why Americans are with Israel:
  • Trauma of September 11 attacks
  • Shared Judeo-Christian tradition
  • Zionism
  • Islamophobia
  • Racism against Arabs
  • History of state terrorism against civilians (Hiroshima) and of conquest (Native Indians, African slavery)
Israel is the friend and ally of America, regardless of its actions. This much is clear. US weapons are used to attack Lebanese civilians just as Iranian weapons are used to attack Israelis. It remains to be seen over the long haul, whether the priviledged partnership that America shares with Israel is conducive or corrosive to its longterm strategic interests and security.

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