France, Germany aren’t angels either [Archives:2003/629/Letters to the Editor]

March 31 2003

James Willaman
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What has to be remembered is that it was the French who supplied Israel with most of its weapons all the way up until the end of the Algerian War in 1969. Up until that time, the main IDF fighter jet was the French Mystery and not an F-4. After France ended its war, it decided to try and garner Arab support by stopping arms sales to Israel. Only then did the US step in and begin supplying the IDF with US equipment. And, it was not until after the Yom Kippur War that Israel started to receive the most up to date weapons -F 15's.
I say all of this only to draw into question the all out condemnation of the US as the sole supporter of Israel. Remember too that during the Suez Canal Crisis France and the UK used the IDF to go to war with Nasser and that it was the US that pressured all parties into a UN brokered ceasefire.
The true culprit of our current circumstances is really Nazi Germany. Without the Holocaust, there would have been no exodus to Palestine. Without the Holocaust, the West would not be so plagued by regret and guilt that it would enjoy a greater amount of diplomatic latitude in the Near East but I never hear it blamed.
There is no Zionist Conspiracy at the level you are speaking of. To so demonize it, only makes the current situation almost impossible. The truth is that there has been a very good PR campaign in the US that has won over its public to the Israeli side and this is why most Americans see Arafat as a terrorist not as a revolutionary. To call the Israelis 'devils' and to deny them a right to exist, only makes you seem more extreme and, in turn, plays right into the hands of anyone wishing to portray Arabs as extremists who cannot be dealt with diplomatically.
Likewise, to Demonize the US may feed a certain need to vent for the domestic audience but it also plays to this same image that many Americas are increasingly adopting of the “crazy, bloodthirsty” Arab.
On a final and personal note, I can not imagine what it must be like to see a brother country invaded by an outside force perceived as an alien enemy. There has been no such event in the West since the Ottomans came so close to Vienna and that was long, long ago. Consequently, I can not say I understand and the sad thing is that this is the very time when understanding is key to all of our survivals in this increasingly dangerous world.
Let's just try and keep our discussion based on facts and history and reason. This situation has been in the works for 60+ years and it is amazingly complex, so we also must keep from seeing today's scene as separate from that complexity and history.
In short, we all have blood on our hands. Now what do we do? Finger point, feed the rage, or find a solution?