The older I get, the less tolerant I feel of the rampant hypocrisy now so firmly embedded in the American holiday season. There is the gross materialism and consumerism dumped onto the Jesus narrative of spirituality amid poverty. Hanukkah observance has imitated this trend, turning a relatively minor Jewish holiday into a hybrid Jewish version of Christmas.

Much worse, however, is the morbid background of an American policy of permanent warfare (since 2001) which poisons and negates Jesus’ teaching of non-violence.

A perfect example of this is Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which was clearly intended, received, and understood as a gift to Israel, and an insult and a provocation to both the Palestinian people and the United Nations, Trump’s and Nikki Haley’s denials notwithstanding.

If the conflict between Israel and the Arabs/Palestinians is the malignant, cancerous heart of many conflicts in that region, and beyond, the conflict over Jerusalem itself is at its core. Sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, it was a divided city from 1949-1967 (between Israel and Jordan), re-unified under Israeli military occupation from 1967-2002, and now is divided once again by a “security barrier” constructed by Israel. Its future is one of several “final status” issues still awaiting resolution, at least under International Law, since the Palestinians also claim the city as their capital.

“Throwing gasoline on the fire” is the apt phrase that comes to mind. Though many observers expressed relief at the relatively low levels of protest and violence that followed Trump’s announcement, the long-term implications are already obvious: erosion (or complete loss) of trust in America’s role as a fair and neutral participant in future peace negotiations.

While Trump’s initial appointment of his neophyte son-in-law Jared to re-start the peace process was both laughable and ludicrous, his move on Jerusalem is the proverbial nail in the coffin for the U.S. role as peacemaker.

The sad and obvious truth is that decades of U.S. policy that was supposed to promote peace and stability in the Mideast have brought neither. We do see profits and job security for U.S. weapons manufacturers and military contractors, and for those who champion their sales and use in the military-industrial-congressional complex, like our own Congressman Mike Conaway.

We should all remember, and read again, the words of Major Smedley D. Butler, U.S.M.C., who wrote the book on this subject back in 1935. The book is titled: War is a Racket. “A few profit, and the many pay.”

It seems inconceivable to me that an arrogant bully like Trump will not have his own war before long, (location, duration, intensity, to be determined), with or without the support or approval of Congress or the American public. Unless, of course, he is removed from office first.

 

Daniel Graham

Brownwood