Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sen. Joe Biden erases Israel

Senator Joe Biden, Democratic candidate for president, spoke at a synagogue in Des Moines Tuesday and said this:

"The road to peace between Israelites and Palestinians is not through Baghdad, but ironically, the road to be able to negotiate real peace has to first settle the situation in Baghdad."
Did you catch that shift in terminology? Senator Biden referred to the Israelis as "Israelites."


Probably because Senator Biden wants to appear even-handed and impartial in the conflict between Israel, which is a sovereign nation, and the Palestinians, who are a group of people seeking their own sovereign nation on land won by Israel in a war. The war, incidentally, was started by neighboring countries who were trying to destroy Israel.

If Senator Biden were to refer to the conflict between Israel and "Palestine," he might be accused of pre-judging the outcome of a negotiation that is far from concluded.

So he has come up with another way to appear even-handed in the dispute: he has called the Israelis "Israelites," a term that carries the connotation of an ancient historical people who live on the land, just as the Palestinians live on the land, although the Palestinians are not an ancient historical people unless you consider sixty years to be ancient history.

Do the Palestinians have the right to a state? Do the Kurds have a right to a state? How are these questions to be decided, and once decided, are they subject to eternal reargument whenever any group uses violence against the state that was created?

Is a sovereign state presumed to have the right to its own existence, or does every claim against that sovereignty have the presumption of validity when accompanied by violence?

Israel is a sovereign state.

The Palestinians are a group of people who freely elected a government dominated by members of Hamas, a terrorist organization that campaigned on a promise to destroy Israel.

Is it morally right to take a neutral stand in the conflict between them? Is it pragmatic? Or is it an endorsement of terror tactics as a means to a political end?

Senator Biden may have it exactly backwards. Instead of peace in Baghdad leading to peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it may be that terrorism against Israel has served as an instruction manual for terrorism against the U.S. and its allies in Iraq, not to mention New York.

It may be that even-handedness in a conflict between a sovereign government and rocket-firing terrorists is an American form of suicide bombing.

If so, Senator Biden's words might as well be a backpack full of dynamite and ball bearings. He verbally erased the sovereign state of Israel by calling the Israelis by a name that makes them sound like wandering Jews.

Is it possible that Senator Biden merely misspoke?

He's the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

It's likely he knew exactly what he was saying.

And now, so do you.

Copyright 2007

Editor's note: You might be interested in the earlier post, "A vacancy sign behind the eyes."