The Big Day

I’m getting ready for the big day, and my advice to myself is, “Keep your mouth shut.”

I’ve invited my friend Susanne Hoder to give a presentation here in the Pioneer Valley, at the Jones Library in Amherst, at 7 pm today, Thursday, June 26, about her experience in Palestine. We’re making a video of the presentation.

And the fact is, no one cares what Stephen Hartshorne has to say about the conflict in the Holy Land, not even me. What do I know?

My solution would be to evacuate all the holy sites and destroy them with a tactical nuclear device and buy everybody a condo in Palm Beach. That would save a lot of money and bring about world peace, but it’s never going to happen.

I contend that every American citizen should hear what Susanne Hoder has to say about what’s going on in Palestine.

King Hussein of Jordan, in an interview with the Washington Post earlier this week, talked about the importance of reaching a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before the window closes, which may be soon. And we can!

We just have to reach out to our brothers and sisters in Israel and, with respect and consideration for their safety, remind them of the ideals on which their country was founded, just as Harry Golden, one of the greatest Americans who ever lived, told American southerners in the 40s, 50s and 60s that segregation was morally wrong.

It’s a big issue that America doesn’t want to know about, but we have to.

Jimmy Carter, is he a liar? Is he a fool? I don’t think so. Here’s what he has to say:

“Americans don’t want to know, and many Israelis don’t want to know, what is going on inside Palestine. It’s a terrible human rights persecution that far transcends what any outsider would imagine.

“And there are powerful political forces in America that prevent any objective analysis of the problem in the Holy Land. I think it’s accurate to say that not a single member of Congress with whom I’m familiar would possibly speak out and call for Israel to withdraw to to their legal boundaries or to publicize the plight of the Palestinians or even to call publicly and repeatedly for good faith peace talks. There hasn’t been a day of peace talks now in more than seven years.

“So this is a taboo subject. And I would say that if any member of Congress did speak out, as I’ve just described, they would probably not be back in Congress the next term.”

Do we want to live in a republic where the penalty is political death for telling us what we do not wish to know?

In 1972 in Munich, some demented idiots from Palestine killed eleven Israeli Olympic athletes. This was a terrible, stupid crime. Thirty-six years later, we cannot keep on punishing innocent people in Palestine for a crime they had nothing to do with.

Abraham Lincoln was informed, during the Civil War, that Confederate forces were murdering Union troops who were African Americans. He was asked to authorize the execution of Conferederate officers. He authorized the execution of any Confederate officers who could be proved to have murdered Union troops.

We need to apply the same principle in Palestine. You can’t punish innocent people. Not with our money. Not in our name. Because America is not just standing idly by. We’re paying for the wall with billions of our tax dollars. We have the power to change this, just by learning what we do not want to know.

And, intractable as the conflict may seem, it is really a petty territorial conflict, in global terms, and its resolution could eliminate enormous barriers that now exist between the West and the Islamic world. Don’t ask me. Ask King Abdullah of Jordan, a proven friend of America.

Our goal with this video is just to begin to pull aside the curtain that has shielded us from what we do not want to know. Just to begin to tug at the curtain. Like Toto in The Wizard of Oz.

For those of you who can’t make it to the Jones Library, we’ll be posting the video on YouTube.