- The Washington Times - Friday, June 14, 2002

As we celebrate Flag Day, I want to share a few very private thoughts with my fellow, freedom-loving Americans. When the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City came tumbling down on its ground-floor daycare center in April 1995, I joined many of you by flicking on cable news and logging on to the Internet in search of facts. What I found was hate and blame directed toward Muslims. When the facts were in, we learned that militant-loving white men, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, wanted to send a message to the U.S. government.
When the suicide bombers came crashing down in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania, I repeated those same steps I took in 1995. What I found was hate and blame directed toward Muslims. When the facts were in, we learned that Middle Easterners, Osama bin Laden & Co., wanted to send a message to the U.S. government.
Hello, America, did we listen and react accordingly in either attack?
Did we start hunting down all white men because of what McVeigh and Nichols did?
Did we hear what Puerto Ricans said in 1954, when they shot up the halls of Congress?
Did we hunt down all Puerto Ricans because of that attack?
Did we hear what black Americans said in 1968, when they rioted following the assassination of Martin Luther King?
Did we hear bin Laden?
Are we mad at all Muslims?
Unfortunately, this is where the yes comes.
We say the war on terror is not a war against Islam, yet the finger-pointing, whether it's done by Christian hands or Jewish hands, is only directed at Muslims and Arabs. That is precisely what we do when we tighten airline security but say an elderly white woman in a wheelchair shouldn't be subjected to tight security. That is precisely what we do when we say beware people who look Middle Eastern except Jews and Israelis.
The Israelis and the Palestinians say they want peace, yet violence not war has become a daily occurrence. While America targeted a legitimate, yet militant and stifling, rule of law in Afghanistan, that is not what is happening against the Palestinians. Palestine is no more, and Israel does exist. Its borders are clearly defined and secure, and it has every right to defend itself within those borders when terror in any form is manifested.
But to roll out the military and persecute Palestinian Muslims and Christians whenever it chooses?
We really and truly don't know whether the Palestinians who have been killed and captured are terrorists or civilians.
Why is that? Just listen to the newscasts and read the news pages. The media have been very consistent in maintaining running death and injury counts on the Israeli side of the ledger.
Why is that? Why not the same for Palestinians?
My late sister in-law, Su, a Jew born and raised in America's heartland, used to talk to family and her D.C. school students about the double-edge sword known as right and wrong. Truth, she would say, is too ambiguous. Facts simply are.
I wish Su were here now, because I certainly would like to hear her opinion on Israel's so-called war against Palestinian terror a regional concern that seems to be overwhelming what America stands for and, surely, has eclipsed the intentions of America's original colonists.
Indeed, the truth is that this is not a war against Islam or Arabs. But facts speak louder than words. The facts seem to say that the war against terror has become a holy war, one that essentially pits us (Christians and Jews) against them (Arabs and Muslims).
That is what I would say to Su, if she were here, and I would also tell her that I am not trying to offend or be hurtful, as I think others are, but merely defend my American ancestors.
Are you listening?
Is this Israeli-Palestinian thing a holy war in disguise? Or is it obscured because the lines of peaceful demarcation (or is that war declaration?) were redrawn in the windblown sands of the Middle East during World War II, after U.S. forces saved Europe from itself?
I ask that question in particular because we seem to have forgotten the messages sent by McVeigh and bin Laden messages that stabbed our heart and soul because of the young lives lost in Oklahoma, Virginia and New York.
We seem to have forgotten that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is hardly the proper interlocutor for dialogues on peace in that region.
To be sure, we have forgotten that Mr. Arafat and Ariel Sharon are arch enemies, since Mr. Sharon declared him persona non grata decades ago.
More importantly, we seem to have forgotten the facts about why there is indeed an Israel, and why no other nation on this earth stands for and represents freedom and the right to exist as America does. There are many obvious imitators on either side of the Atlantic, but that is all they are imitators.
So, let us remember on this Flag Day just why, centuries ago, Christian Europeans fled to America's shores in the first place and it had everything to do with religious persecution.


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