Gerald (Jerry) Zezas

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Of Jews and Palestinians…And Religion


The conflict in the middle east may seem complex to some. It, at times, appears to be the fault of no one, and everyone. Hamas, a terrorist group, rains down upon Israel missiles that kill civilians. Israel, in retaliation, sends missiles in return, to kill at least as many civilians, including children. I’m sure that most reasonable people ask why a resolution to this problem seems so difficult to achieve.

Palestinians, represented by Hamas, argue that they are being enslaved and treated like animals by the Israelis. There is some evidence of this, but is it justification for attacking Israel?

Israel, having been handed Palestinian territory by the British after WWII, argue that this is their homeland, established by world agreement, and that the Palestinians should honor this agreement and allow Israelis a safe place to live after centuries of oppression.

Based on the above logic, you would imagine that reasonable people, with reasonable goals, and reasonable desires for the continued safety of their families and property, would find a compromise. Alas, dear readers, the above logic and its aspiration that reasonable people would come together is, in fact, the flaw in the argument. There is no logic. There is no reason. There is only one thing perpetuating this conflict. Religion.

For those of you who continue to hijack morality in all its forms as solely within the domain of religion; for those of you who attribute all that is good in the world to your worship of God, however named; for those of you for whom spirituality is synonymous with tribalism, I offer passages from your very own original self-help book. To wit:

“I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you. Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods.” – Exodus 23:31-32

Aha, you say. The bible tells us that Israel is entitled to the land it occupies by Biblical edict! This, according to Christians and Jews, has been decreed by God in the Old Testament, so how dare those Muslim bastards demand that we defy God and move from what is rightly the land of the Israelites!

Well, this is how:

“O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you–then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.” – Quran, 5:51

The above describes the isolation felt by Muslims in a predominantly Judeo/Christian world. Many of them elect to express their frustration at this isolation by no longer requesting that the homeland of their fathers be returned to them. They, instead, go to war.

One book tells its followers that God has established their borders. The other book tells its followers not to trust Christians and Jews.

Maybe if we just stop reading these goddamned two thousand-year-old books, the Jews and Palestinians might find a way to live together.

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