This is an issue that spans generations.
Slavery was such an issue. The Cold War was such an issue.
Israel is such an issue.
Israel is now 58 years old. Think about how long that is a moment. The Lincoln-Douglas debates came in 1858, and 58 years from 1800 Thomas Jefferson had not been born. It’s nearly a lifetime.
Since 1948 Israel has dominated America as no other nation has in our history. Its establishment was a source of romantic pride. Many of its citizens came from America. Israel was our key ally in the Cold War.
But if Israel ever faced a choice between its own national interest and that of America, it would choose Israel. It should. America, faced with such choice, has not always chosen America. Maybe it should, too.
Just as the issue of slavery lay coiled beneath the nation like a snake for generations, with politicians refusing to deal with it, even to consider it, so it is today with Israel. That is, Israel is an issue Americans across the political spectrum refuse to deal with.
Some American leaders have tried. Jimmy Carter tried to deal with it. Bill Clinton tried to deal with it. But an integral element in the Nixon-Reagan-Bush Political Thesis is not to deal with Israel, to instead use it and be used by it. Israel is an integral part of our military industrial complex. It is our testing ground in the War on Terror.
But Israel’s failure to end terrorism, or to obtain a lasting peace, is now becoming our failure. Their tactics are our tactics. Our fates are completely bound together.
Why? And why can’t we untie them?
It’s because even by my asking the question, many of you will now call me an anti-semite. You will dismiss me, dehumanize me, consider me an enemy.
I’m not. But the question of Israel must be answered, for our sake, for the world’s sake, for Israel’s sake.
For if America is to deal with its real problems, if we are to deal with our present crisis, we must act in our own interests, and in the interests of world peace. We desperately need a worldwide consensus to deal with global warming, with our worldwide energy crisis, and with the problems of world poverty.
We can’t begin to reach that consensus with our eyes wide shut. We need to settle the past before we can move into the future.