SFVFI participant Manny Marczak wrote the following op-ed in the Sunday, December 6, 2015 print edition of the SF New Mexican:
Posted: Saturday, December 5, 2015 7:00 pm
The debate over whether we should take a united stance in our support of Israel or whether we should openly air our differences is the wrong debate, and it is detracting us from the real issue. The real issue is found in the Bible and is the story of biblical history. Joseph represents the Jewish people throughout Jewish history. Joseph recognizes his brothers, but they did not recognize him.
The Bible explores the source of conflict in history. The root of human conflict is sibling rivalry: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers. Joseph’s brothers never recognized him as one of them, as a brother with an identity of his own and a right to be himself. The brothers resent Joseph’s presence; they want to kill him. They devise a plan to get rid of Joseph to feel less guilty. They make up a story to tell their father. They settle down with no Joseph to disturb their lives.
But this is no ordinary conflict. Israel’s opponents — Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran — are not engaged in border disputes. They deny not just political but non-negotiable religious principle, Israel’s right to exist within any boundaries. There are 56 Islamic states. But for Israel’s neighbors, a single Jewish state is one too many. Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.
There is no state among the 192 member nations of the United Nations whose very existence is called into question this way. While we argue among ourselves about what is the right policy to take, as if it is remotely relevant to peace, we fail to focus on the real issue, which is, so long as Joseph’s brothers do not recognize his right to exist, there can be no peace; merely a series of staging points on the way to a war that will not end until there is no Jewish state at all.
Until the sibling rivalry is over, until the Jewish people have the right to exist, until we all realize that the threat to Israel is ultimate and total, until Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah agree that Jews have a right to their land within any boundaries, all other debate is a mere distraction.
If religion is part of the problem, then religion must be part of the solution, which most of the world’s great faiths believe. Jews are threatened by the return of anti-Semitism. Christians are being massacred, or living in fear throughout the Middle East. Moderate Muslims are being slaughtered by the radicals. Hindus and Sikhs feel threatened in India and Europe. Baha’i are being persecuted in Iran, the Yazidis in Iraq and the Druze in Syria. Religious leaders need to establish the parameters of religious education so that we can teach the world’s children not to hate those with whom they must one day learn to live.
Let us stop killing and waging war in the name of the God of peace and compassion.
Manny Marczak is a resident of Santa Fe. Since his retirement nine years ago, he has been pursuing studies in the ethical and moral teachings of the Bible.
As of December 9, there has been one comment on the SFNM website: