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Sunday, December 21, 2003

"Beyond the Myths, peace is possible:
Israel and Palestine could show us the way"

Guest opinion in today's Daily Camera by Ira Chernus
Excerpt

At holiday season, we struggle with old myths. If you are Christian, you may be wondering what to tell the children about Santa Claus, or what to tell yourself about a virgin giving birth. In the Jewish community this Hanukkah, when we celebrate a struggle for freedom, we are struggling to free ourselves from an old myth. It's the one that says Israel really wants peace, but there is no one to make peace with, no one to talk to on the other side, because all Palestinians support terrorists bent on destroying the Jewish state.


HAMAS terrorists in Rafah today - photo not included in original

That myth is hard to hold on to, since some top Palestinian political figures joined with some peace-minded Israeli leaders to sign the Geneva Accord. It's a compromise plan for peace between the two nations, supported by sizable public opinion on both sides. Yet it faces fierce opposition from some Jews, led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his government. So Jews who want to try new ways are pitted against Jews who cling to the old myth, just as in the days of the Maccabeean war that Hanukkah commemorates. Of course, there is significant opposition from some Palestinians, too.

Why the opposition to an approach that strikes so many as reasonable and hopeful? Why cling so desperately to the idea that "the other side" does not really want to make peace? That idea is merely one fiber in a complex set of interwoven beliefs that make up the fabric of modern nationalism. People who sew their personal identity out of the fabric of nationalism treasure each fiber. To give up any one, they fear, might unravel the whole myth on which they have built their lives.

Continue reading Chernus . . .

For further information, see THE PEACE ENCYCLOPEDIA on Galut Mentality, Dhimmi Mentality.

Write to the Camera at openforum@dailycamera.com.