They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little
temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
—Benjamin Franklin

Since the savage attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, any criticism of United States government's policy of interventionism in the Middle East is either stifled, branded as anti-Semitic, or implying that Americans got what they deserved. The pundits and the media seem to have a collective mindset to incite Americans into believing that America was attacked for no other reason than its success as a peace loving capitalistic nation.

 There is no way justify the attack on moral grounds, but at the same time, to ignore the U.S. government's roll in attracting attacks on its civilians can only make things worse. Faith in government is just as misplaced as faith in the Church. It leads to the absurd conclusion that whatever is in the best interests of American citizens is in harmony with the best interests of American and Israeli Jewry, Christian evangelicalism and the U.S. government's foreign policy.

The historical records clearly show that wars between Jews, Christians and Muslims over Palestine and Jerusalem have been raging since biblical days with no settlement in sight. Given this long history, those who think that another war will solve this conflict are only fooling themselves. Beyond rooting out the evildoers, it's a good bet that any further escalation by the U.S. government will escalate the conflict and more innocent American lives will be destroyed and lost for a fruitless cause. It's also a good bet that the American government will exert more authority and control over its citizenry at the same time, in the name of protecting freedom.

Contrary to the censors, Americans need to have some background to the Middle East conflict before they consent to supporting this cause. Such ignorance seems calculated to steer American public support towards whatever the born-again G. W. Bush may decide. Blind support for American political power is just as irrational as faith in an invisible superman.

Starting with the Bible and supported by archeological findings, it is clear that Palestine was occupied by non-Jewish Semites long before the Jews claimed the "Promised Land," and long after. There is not even evidence that there were twelve tribes of Israel who occupy the land claimed by modern Israel. The book of Joshua is full of bloody gore on how God delivered on his promise, but there are no sources outside the Bible that verify that the whole of Palestine was conquered and occupied by Jews.

If the Book of Joshua is to believed, then it means that justification for a Jewish homeland is based on land taken by war 3,300 years ago and lost by war 2600 years ago. By that logic, Americans should give the southwest territory back to the Mexicans and the rest to the nation back to the Indians.

From the Bible to the Present

Zionism is described as the belief in the unity of the Jewish people in Palestine. Zion got its name from the hill on which the temple of Jerusalem is located.

The roots of Zionism go back to 587 BCE, when the Jews were carried off to captivity in Babylon and their prophets encouraged them to believe one day that God would allow them to return to Palestine. Known as the Babylonian exile, it is recorded in the last chapter of 2 Kings and verified by Babylonian records.

In 539 BCE the Persians captured the Babylonian Empire and permitted many to return to Jerusalem. After the Jews returned to the Holy Land, they remained Persian subjects until Persia was conquered by Alexander the Great in 330 BCE.

Strife continued when the Greek rulers attempted to enforce Greek religion and culture. The Jews resented the attempt and revolted under the leadership of the Jewish Maccabeans. For a while, from 164 to 63 BCE, the Jews had a brief period of national independence.

However in 63 BCE, the Roman general Pompey captured Jerusalem and the Jews became Roman subjects this time. The friction between the Jews and their Roman overlords continued until 70 CE, when Jerusalem was annihilated and Jews where forced to disperse from the area. What is known in Israel as the "Wailing Wall" is the only remnant of this last time when Jews lived together. A small contingent of Jews made one more attempt to capture back their land of milk and honey in 72 CE, but the attempt proved suicidal. In brief, these are the historical claims upon which Zionists claim Israel rightly belongs to the Jews.

In the long stretch of history preceding the twentieth century, the Roman empire became Christianized under the emperor Constantine (306-337) who establish the new capital of Constantinople in what is now called Istanbul in Turkey.

From 150 to 650 CE, the Roman Empire split into three distinct cultures and religions: the Latin Christian West, the Muslim world in the Middle east, and in the far east was the Byzantium empire where Greek Orthodox Christianity split from papal rule.

In 638 Muslim armies invaded Palestine and captured Jerusalem where they remained for 1400 years. Palestine and Jerusalem became holy to the Muslims because its founder Muhammad was believed to ascend to heaven from the area of Solomon's temple. From the time of his death in 632, Islam emerged as a major military power.

Beginning in 1095 and ending late in the 13th century, the Christian Crusaders invaded Palestine seven times to take Jerusalem because it was where Jesus Christ was crucified. By 1099 the crusaders had control over the Middle east and Jerusalem. However, Christian territories acquired during the First Crusade were gradually lost over the next 200 years. Jerusalem was recaptured by Muslim forces in 1187, and the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land fell in 1291.

In 1453, Constantinople was sieged by Ottoman sultans and became what is known as the Ottoman Empire. Islam was still the dominant religion.

In the twentieth century, World War I, ended control by the Ottomans, and Palestine came under British rule. To secure help from the Zionists, the British issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which endorsed Palestine as a national home for Jewish people all over the world. During the period of British mandate (1922-1948), the Jewish population grew from 50,000 to 600,000 people-the Palestinians numbered 1,300,000.

In 1939 the British terminated their support for Zionism, but it was the Holocaust that secured western sympathy for a Jewish state. By the time British abandoned Palestine in May 14th, 1948, American Jews convinced President Harry Truman to support the Jewish declaration of independence for the new state of Israel.

Israel's Arab neighbors took up the Palestinian cause and invaded Israel immediately after independence was declared, in a war known as the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 to 1949. The war produced 780,000 Palestinian refugees who were forced out to make way for Jewish immigrants. Israel has been involved in four major wars since then—a clash with Egypt during the Suez Crisis in 1956, the Six-Day War in 1967, the Arab-Israeli War of 1973, and Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Christian evangelicals support occupation by the Jews because they believe it is a necessary step for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Whatever anti-Semitism died down in western cultures, it had to increase many fold in the Middle East. After losing four wars, it's a good guess that the idea of terrorism took hold after Muslims saw the success of guerilla warfare by the North Vietnamese against the U.S.. If we follow the path of terrorist attacks, they started against Israel, migrated to U.S. embassies and military installations, and finally to the American shores. When American politicians screw up, as they usually do, it's American citizens who pay the price.


It would be stupid to blame U.S. foreign policy as a cause of the terrorist attack as if the U.S. was an accomplice, but certainly it has endangered American safety and freedom. To put it bluntly, the American government's self appointed role as the world policeman is pissing a lot of people off. The United States has become the world's bully. 

We have a situation similar to what we have seen in the former Rhodesia, South Africa and Yugoslavia, where there is one ethnic minority ruling over a hostile majority of another ethnicity. In South Africa it was called apartheid, which I think is aptly applies Israeli policies against Palestinians. For as long as the Israeli government imposes discriminatory restrictions on Palestinian residents, the tensions are bound to continue.

Americans who frown upon racial discrimination at home have every reason to protest American political support for its continuance in Israel. If the Israelis were to treat Palestinians equally and the Palestinians were to regain political power, so be it. That's what democracy is for. Second, any form of military domination will only heighten Muslim aggression towards the West. Beyond hunting down the evildoers, the U.S. should get the hell out of the Middle East. But don't hold your breath.

Related links

Joshua the ConquererAccording to biblical clams, Palestine was occupied long before Jews took it by war.
The Bible Unearthed According to archeological evidence, the Jews never had control of Palestine.
The Israeli-Palestinian Struggle An excellent contemporary historical account from the Seattle Times.

Related books

Two leading scholars argue that the archeological evidence does not support the biblical history of Israel. The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts.

The writer, James Bovard, is one of the best at bringing government transgressions to your attention.
Terrorism and Tyranny: Trampling Freedom, Justice and Peace to Rid the World of Evil
Freedom in Chains: The Rise of the State and the Demise of the Citizen
Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty