Get Those Old Keys Out
Reports are that that Palestinian “refugees” are planning to gather on the Israeli green line (the 1949 truce lines) on Israeli Independence Day with keys and deeds in hand and demand to visit their former homes. Never mind that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is the only instance in history where the U.N. or any other body has defined children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and apparently everyone on down the line in perpetuity as refugees.
Nonetheless, I think this is a great opportunity. I suggest that Israel let them in and that Israelis welcome them. Show them around. Show them what a free, vibrant, tolerant society in the Middle East looks like. Take them to schools, parks, shopping centers, churches, and mosques so that they can see Jewish, Arab, Christian, and Moslem citizens going about their business.
Take them over to the Supreme Court so that they can see an Arab justice dispensing justice in an independent and impartial manner. Walk on over to the Knesset so they can see what a free legislative body looks like and so they can hear Arab members criticize their government in a way no Arab legislator in any other country would dare do.
Take them up to the international center of the Bahai faith in Haifa, and out to the Druze villages on the Carmel. Make sure they go over to the Prime Minister’s house so that they can see people demonstrating and criticizing the government without fear. Show them the type of society they could build in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan if they stopped hating, threw off the chains, and got about the business of building a country.
The Palestinians who cooked up this visiting home idea are quite clever. So clever that others should emulate them. I suggest that the 800,000 Jews that left Arab lands between 1948-52, plus, of course, their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, all line up on the borders of Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria--you get the point. Bring your keys and your deeds and “come on over.”
The tens of millions of Indians and Pakistanis who were forcibly transferred when those two countries became independent on August 15, 1947, and all their progeny, should do the same. What a traffic jam! And, of course, Native Americans should all be heading to the East Coast and, more specifically, to Manhattan, where the whole travesty of selling land at ridiculously low prices started.
I know what I am doing: I’m gathering up the kids and I'm going to go knockin’ on doors in a few old shtetles in Poland and Russia. I expect one hell of a welcome when the nice peasants that took over grandpa's wooden shack hear that I plan to stay a night or two, or perhaps dozens or hundreds of nights. Welcome back!
Sunday, April 17, 2011
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