Let’s set the major confusion straight for Mr. Hamell. Obviously Mr. Hamell, who claims to be part of the LGBT community, is distorted.
Israel’s only objective is plain, clear and simple: It wants to live in peace and survive as a people. Which is clearly how all minorities in Israel, at the present time, work and live together. From the very beginning of Israel’s existence, there was the very real threat of erasing Israel’s existence. No matter what authority Israel had to deal with, including Hamas, it continues the political agenda of destroying Israel. The brutalization of the Palestinians has nothing to do with Israel. It is a direct impact of Hamas using the people of Gaza as human shields as they continue to shower missile upon missile into Israel.
When Israel has no other choice but to retaliate, very clear warning was given to evacuate from the locations where these missiles are being fired from Gaza into Israel. Once again for propaganda and political reasons, Hamas uses innocent people for human shields. The military oppressor is Hamas and its followers. The billions of dollars that have poured into Gaza to build their infrastructure for the prosperity and well being of the Palestinians have instead been used to build tunnels into Israel, buy warfare and pay for propaganda, all with the objective to destroy Israel. Love and hate is a two-way street. Very simply put, to my lover or my neighbor, if you do not try to kill me, if I do not have to live in fear of abuse or of a life-threatening environment, my love for you would ultimately grow stronger. Otherwise, if my life and very existence is being threatened daily and it is clear that my lover or neighbor wants to annihilate me, I don’t think myself or anyone else would sit passively by and say, Have your way with me. That would be insane.
Rationality spins many webs. As long as money is put into the hands of the irrational like Hamas and its kind, there will never be material support and peace of mind for the people of Gaza or anywhere else in the world where dominance and hatred breed. Deep down, psychological support will only happen when the negative influence of the leaders in Gaza stops their agenda of killing every Jewish child and adult. We can also include their Christian agenda and their goal to erase the only democratic, free-thinking people in the Middle East.
Israel has once again done everything in its power not to have a war or have to retaliate — by protecting themselves from destruction, which any rational, normal person would do if they were being persecuted and attacked. To my LGBT brothers and sisters, we know in our hearts how it feels to be hated and discriminated against by a faction of the population who would like to see us destroyed. Do we stand up for ourselves and do what we need to do to protect ourselves, and those that we love, our homes and our lives? Or do we willingly let those who want to destroy us have their way? Peace and love.
— Robert Shuman
Eric Hamell concludes his response to Mark Segal’s column “LGBT history, LGBT hypocrisy” by mentioning the issue of racism in Israel. Racism should not be considered an issue here. Although Israel was founded by Jews from Europe, the majority of the Jews who live in Israel today are not of European ancestry. And most of these non-European Jews are refugees from other Arab-occupied countries in the Middle East. Their ancestors lived in the Middle East long before the Arabs came out of their original homes in Arabia and invaded, occupied and colonized the region. So there is no racial difference between the majority of Jews living in Israel and other people in that area of the world.
Due to earlier Middle-Eastern ancestry, even many of the Jews whose ancestors did live in Europe are no different racially from other Middle Easterners. I am ethnically Jewish and was born in the U.S. Most of my ancestors lived in Europe. Yet when I visited Turkey, most Turks believed that I was only posing as American but that I actually was Iranian. And when I traveled around the U.S. in 1980, the time of the Iran hostage crisis, I was chased through the streets in several cities amid shouts that I was Iranian.
In making a number of other points against Israel, Eric Hamell fails to see the larger context in which Israel exists. Centuries ago, before the Arabs invaded the rest of the Middle East, the populations of those countries consisted of Christians and Jews and smaller religious groups. Since the Arab invasion and occupation, most of the members of these religious groups have disappeared from the area.
The drive to eliminate religious minorities began in Arabia itself where, at one time, there were substantial Christian and Jewish populations. Today, scarcely a Christian or Jewish citizen can be found in all of Saudi Arabia and religious services other than Islamic ones are outlawed.
The drive to eliminate religious minorities in other Arab-occupied Middle-Eastern countries has varied in intensity from country to country and from one era to another. However, the long-term consequences are clear. Few members of other religious groups remain in the Middle East today. And the pace of their disappearance has increased in recent years, especially in Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt.
Currently, there are news reports of the latest crisis for minorities in the Arab-occupied Middle East. The Muslim fundamentalists in Iraq have tortured, killed, raped, expelled and tried to forcefully convert Christians and Yazidis, a small religious minority. The only Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament was quoted in the Guardian, a British newspaper, as saying, “An entire religion is being exterminated from the face of the earth.”
What the Yazidis and other persecuted religious minorities need in the Arab-occupied Middle East are some sort of reservations similar to the ones that were eventually established for the earlier inhabitants of other colonized countries including the U.S., Canada, Australia and Brazil. Unlike the European colonizers of these countries, the Arab colonizers have not established reservations for the earlier inhabitants of the areas they colonized. The Jews of the Middle East have been fortunate in that a place like Israel existed which could serve as a reservation for them in the Middle East. In fact, another persecuted religious minority in the Middle East, the Baha’i, moved their headquarters to the most tolerant country in the area, Israel.
Since it diverts attention from their own misdeeds, dictators and discriminatory governments around the world delight in the attention lavished on the plight of the Palestinians and their laserlike focus on Israel as the source of evil. Isn’t it interesting that Eric Hamell isn’t devoting his attention to the plights of the Rohingya people in Burma or the Uighurs and Tibetans in China, whose numbers are much greater than the Palestinians? Why not promote a boycott of China? Is it because the majority of Chinese are not Jews?
Jews who support Eric Hamell’s position fail to see the bigger picture in the Arab-occupied Middle East, or so much want to be part of the energy of his movement that they are blind to its inherent anti-Semitism.
— Hal Tarr