Thursday, May 5, 2011

Finding the Right Negatives, Part III: Jihad in America

Needless to say (so why are we saying it?) the Wall Street Journal — which seems to be having a bit of trouble living up to its reputation in recent years — did not either publish or acknowledge the letter we sent them earlier this week on an author's confusing revenge with justice. Come to think of it, they also ignored the letter we wrote a while back pointing out that another op-ed piece had egregiously misstated the constitutionality of the income tax and failed to pinpoint the real source of the federal government's ability to incur gigantic deficits: misuse of the Federal Reserve System. (Quick comment: neither the income tax nor the Federal Reserve is unconstitutional. Read prior postings on this blog, or look it up for yourself.)

Believe it or not, a proper response to the death of Bin Laden, justice instead of revenge, the income tax, and the central bank are all related. We can see this in the response to terrorism in general, and that in the Middle East in particular, that CESJ prepared many years ago. We call it "The Abraham Federation," and we will be presenting it over the next couple of weeks on this blog, chopped up into convenient pieces for easy consumption. Of course, if you want the paper in its entirety in one go, simply visit the Abraham Federation paper on the CESJ website.

The Abraham Federation
A New Framework for Peace in the Middle East


Norman G. Kurland

(c) 1978, 1991, 1994, 2001, 2002, 2003 Center for Economic and Social Justice

[Originally published in World Citizen News, Dec. 1978. Updated and republished in American-Arab Affairs (now Middle East Policy), Spring 1991, a publication of the Middle East Policy Council. Updated and republished in Curing World Poverty: The New Role of Property, John H. Miller, ed., published by Social Justice Review in collaboration with the Center for Economic and Social Justice, 1994. Available on the web site of the Center for Economic and Social Justice at www.cesj.org.]

Jihad in America

On September 11, 2001, Jihad came to America. A global terrorist network extended its deadly outreach beyond Israelis in the West Bank and Israel to over 3,000 Americans and people from over 80 other countries trapped in the World Trade Center and Pentagon two icons of America's unparalleled global military and financial power. This violation of America's homeland security cannot be disconnected from America's leading role, along with its World War II allies, in the birth of Israel as a westernized "Jewish state." 1947 marked the UN's "two state" solution to dividing up the former British-mandated territory of Palestine. To America and the West, their influence in creating a homeland for displaced Jewish survivors of the Holocaust was morally justified. To Palestinian settlers and Arab neighboring states in the Middle East, Western military and financial power was being used to jam "Political Zionism" and morally confused Western values down the throats of a predominantly Muslim world.

There have been three major wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973 between Israel and its Arab neighbors, interspersed by periodic Palestinian rebellions against the existence of a "Jewish state." Is it possible that the original formulation for a two-state solution was, in the face of the so-called "clash of civilizations," morally and systemically flawed from the outset?

Western handouts are no longer sufficient to stop the breeding of terrorists. Conventional military power is necessary in this battle but it also is not sufficient. And conventional approaches to economic development have been counter-productive in winning the hearts and minds of people who feel victimized by global capitalism and betrayed by the false promises of socialism. (See "A Quick Comparison of Capitalism, Socialism and CESJ's 'Just Third Way'" at www.cesj.org.)

Pope Paul VI advised us, "If you want Peace, work for Justice." Ultimately it is superior moral force that will uproot terrorism at its source, not merely conventional sources of Western power. More humanizing free enterprise principles of economic and social justice must lead in formulating a more comprehensive vision and launching a more effective strategy for achieving lasting peace in "the Holy Land." (See "Defining Economic and Social Justice" on the home page of the web site of the Center for Economic and Social Justice at www.cesj.org. Also see Ferree, William, The Act of Social Justice, Catholic University of America, 1943. See also his Introduction to Social Justice, Paulist Press, 1948; republished in 1997 by the Center for Economic and Social Justice and available along with other writings on economic and social justice at the CESJ web site.)

Such a strategy, most would agree, must center on resolving the historic land disputes between Palestinians and Israelis that keep both sides locked in a "zero-sum" struggle. The urgency of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was underscored by President Bush's courageous call for a global "War on Terrorism" following September 11th.

The war against terrorism is properly aimed at defeating a well-organized network of fanatics and suicide terrorists indoctrinated with a perverted interpretation of Islamic principles of justice and a distorted conspiratorial view of the root causes of their rage. Fueled by perceived victimization by Western "infidels" and Western support of a Jewish state in the Middle East, terrorism in months following September 11th escalated into increasingly grotesque displays of barbarism.

Many in the Islamic world, including mothers whose children were turned into human bombs, glorify the "culture of death" that continues to take the lives of innocent Israeli men, women and children as well as Palestinians considered "traitors" for opposing terrorism. The moral and spiritual roots of that Jihad continue to baffle Western and Islamic scholars and were only partially addressed by the otherwise excellent "Arab Human Development Report 2002" commissioned by the United Nations. (Crossette, Barbara. "Study Warns of Stagnation in Arab Societies," The New York Times, July 7, 2002.)

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