Who Is The True Friend?

I had the great good fortune, just last night, of bringing together two indomitable forces of nature, and golly was it ever fun to watch.

Susanne Hoder gave a moving and insightful presentation about her visit to the Holy Land and ace videographer Sonya Starr got it all on film.

Soon you won’t have to take my word for it; it will be posted on the internet and aired on public access stations across the country and presented to churches, synagogues, mosques and community groups, and you can judge for yourself whether I am talking through my hat.

It’s even remotely possible that one or two reporters from the mainstream media might discover the importance of this message to the future of the human race. Not likely, but possible.

I hesitate to characterize the presentation, because you really have to see the whole thing. Susanne, who grew up in Georgia farm country, forms a real bond with her hosts in Palestine and Israel through their love of the land.

It’s not a diatribe against the Israelis. She shows an understanding of their need for security and compassion for the victims of violence on both sides.

But when she gets to the bulldozing of orchards and vineyards and olive groves, the landfills and the sewage literally dumped on the tiny bits of farmland left to the Palestinians, the Israeli-only highways, the hijacking of the water supply, the students denied permission to further their education abroad, the emergency patients dying at checkpoints…

Gradually it starts to sink in. We’re paying for this, and we can stop it.

I learned last night about the strength of the movement in Israel for Palestinian rights. A lot of very wise and compassionate Israeli citizens, and Jews around the world, are working hard to put an end to this systematic strangulation of economic and social life in the occupied territories, which is just as bad for Israel as a nation as it is for the Palestinians.

And they’re thinking what I’m thinking: a little dose of the D-word. Divestment. It worked quickly and expeditiously in South Africa. We don’t have to wait for the US government to do this. We can get it going right away.

Investors tend to be skittish, and they have lots of safe options to switch their money to. And more and more investment services are shying away from socially objectionable companies doing business in countries that delineate more than one class of citizens.

Because it was so effective against apartheid in South Africa, the D-word gives a lot of powerful people the willies. That’s why Susanne has been targeted by person or persons unknown. Recently someone posted an entry on Wikipedia that accused her of denying the Holocaust.

This is a coldly calculated smear; but don’t ask me. Ask the United Methodist Church, the YMCA, the Boy Scouts of America or the PTA.

In fact a friend of Susanne’s, a Holocaust survivor, is active in promoting divestment from the companies who are profiting from the occupation. I’m going to see if I can bring him to this area to speak. And we’ll get that on video, too.

Jimmy Carter says that Americans don’t want to know and many Israelis don’t want to know what is happening in Palestine.

Americans don’t want to know about radon, either, as many newspaper editors have told me when I submitted stories about it, even though, if you have it in your water and you take a shower, it’s equivalent to smoking three packs of cigarettes a day.

Socrates posed the question: Is the true friend one who praises you all the time, no matter what, or the person who tells you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it?

It’s time for America to be a true friend to the Israeli people.