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Recognizing Israel, questioning legislator

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2008

House Joint Resolution 38 recognizes Israel on its 60th birthday.

If certain legislators feel the need to express Alaska's recognition of the birth of Israel, so be it. It is certainly a great country, with a beautiful culture.

Over the course of this resolution's movement through the Legislature, however, it has been accompanied by misleading assertions and ill-informed statements by Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, that smack of a decidedly asymmetrical agenda.

Perhaps the most disturbing of these is his consistent statement, "Israel is a nation of warriors."

The painfully arbitrary nature of such a statement is made no less so by the knowledge that Israel is the recipient of a full one-fifth of all U.S. foreign aid. Make no mistake about it; this is a great deal of aid, both economic and military.

In fact, the entire population of Israel could stop working tomorrow and suffer no significant decrease in standard of living thanks entirely to the unprecedented foreign aid we provide.

Israel is a nation of warriors, insofar as it is a nation under siege. If indeed the Israeli military and Air Force are the envy of nations throughout the world, then we can take pride in the fact that we have provided the vast majority of that arsenal, while simultaneously tempering our pride with the cognizance of the potential for the misuse of said arsenal.

Lynn is also fond of saying Israel is a "bastion of democracy" in the region.

The U.S. Department of State openly recognizes that relations between the Israeli government and non-Jewish organizations within Israel, including Christian, Muslim, Baha'i and other religious organizations, are severely strained.

If indeed it is a "bastion of democracy," I find it odd that it has no constitution, but rather relies solely on religious doctrine to fill the void. When last I checked, that was called a theocracy (read Iran). Hypocrisy is a self-damning infraction for a bastion of democracy to commit, wherever it may be found.

Israel is a valuable and steadfast ally. Perhaps a more fitting manner to celebrate the inception of this wonderfully unique nation would be to recognize the progress made in the Middle East toward the goal of political plurality as well as religious and ethnic tolerance. Those sentiments are likely to resonate more powerfully with the people of Israel.

Reuben Yerkes

Juneau



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