Kaminski: No Friend to Peace

Often when reading an essay we can decide by the end whether we agree with its author or not. If we find the writing to be intelligent and perceptive, we may read more essays by that author, and we may be predisposed to agree with those as well.

However, a clever and talented writer can, by presenting information that is clearly true and opinions with which we are likely to agree, drawing us in to accepting the arguments presented, elevating our general opinion of the writer's intelligence and insight, but then begin to intersperse fiction with fact, present prejudice as perception, and twist the truth into wholly unwarranted conclusions.

The perceptive reader, even while admiring the subversive skill of the writer, will never assume that anyone's opinion is right on all subjects, nor that one who tells some truth will never lie.

However, in a world where people so much want to believe that someone can make sense of it all that many even accept the dull and obvious lies of George W. Bush, a truly cunning and articulate wordsmith can gain widespread attention and a number of convinced followers.

Such a writer is John Kaminski. His many internet essays initially appeal to those of us who oppose the Iraq invasion and occupation and war in general, who are aware of the danger and abuse of religion, and who believe that government should be attending to it duties of protecting people from corporate interests, natural disasters, and real manmade hazards. We want our government to be a good citizen of the world and a positive leader in caring for the environment.

Kaminski seems to support these ideas, and correctly points out many of the shortcomings and deceptions we are faced with. But, leaping from this platform, he lands resoundingly in the mire of hatred, splattering it on all who stand too close.

To postulate a conspiracy theory to explain historical and current war and inhumanity, is understandable enough. We all feel powerless to stop the misbehavior of governments and other powerful interests.

Belief in conspiracies that go beyond a single event or a short time is really much like belief in a religion. Both state that there must be someone or something in control to produce the perceived patterns of events that otherwise seem inexplicable.

In general, such theories are mostly harmless, just as most personally held religious beliefs are not destructive if they are not used to isolate and denigrate others.

Kaminski has chosen to place most of the blame on the Jews. The 'Zionist Conspiracy', he calls it. Perhaps he believes this entirely, or perhaps he is merely trying to justify his opposition to Israel's existence. Whatever the motivation, the potential harm from advancing this theory is considerable.

Kaminski writes:
'the clearly illegal and immoral existence of the criminal state of Israel is supported by all Jews, lapsed or not, except for a tiny splinter group of Orthodox Jews who nevertheless embrace the same racist Jewish supremacy garbage as their holy creed.'

The point here is to include all Jews in what he calls an 'evil conspiracy.' Note that he begins by assuming that the EXISTENCE of Israel is 'illegal and immoral'. That is an absurd statement in itself. The state of Israel has more 'legal' legitimacy than most nations in the world, though of course prior to the League of Nations and the United Nations there was no such concept of a nation being legal or not. And whether a state behaves morally or not is a matter of opinion, but it is silly to say that its existence is immoral.

He then says that Jews believe in 'racist supremecy'. This idea is apparantly from reading scriptures literally in the way that the misguided Christian right-wingers do. He assumes that Jews must read them the same way. That is not the Jewish approach. Jews read the Torah and discuss it, argue about it, think about it, and decide for themselves how it applies to current reality, if it applies at all. The 'chosen people' phrase does not mean they thought themselves superior even then. They believed they were held to higher standards, and that in turn their God would protect them. Certainly experience showed they survived, but they did not defeat the powerful empires that conquered them.

In a way Judaism and its traditions helped the Jews survive in many places and situations. The importance attached to reading, thinking, and discussing has maintained a high level of literacy that has enabled Jews to be useful and successful even living as a minority in other societies. This, of course, is sometimes a 2-edged sword.

The intellectual traditions in Jewish culture has enabled proportionally more Jews to attain influencial positions in government and business at times, but they were still almost always a minority. Kaminski's hit-and-run approach to history proves no Jewish conspiracy of any kind.

Jews are neither inherently better or worse than anyone else, nor should they be expected to be. They have no obligation to the world to be perfect in order to have anyone's permission to survive nor to form and defend the nation of Israel.

To be sure, the nation of Israel deserves a lot of criticism for the policies and actions of its government. Its occupation of the West Bank, allowing Jewish settlements there, and its often brutal mistreatment of the Palestinians, refusing to agree to an independent state for them, its right-wing expansionism, have perpetuated a permanant state of conflict. It consistently ignores UN resolutions that could bring peace.

But to criticize a nation and its government should never justify condemnation of its people as a whole, their culture or religious beliefs. Likewise, political criticism properly expressed must not be construed as based on bigoted prejudice, which some defenders of Israel incorrectly do.

Kaminski seems to assume that because so many societies persecuted Jews, that the persecuters must be right. Would he also say that because many nations, including ours, allowed slavery, that they were right as well? In other areas he appears to advocate improving society and human behavior, but he has a blind spot when it comes to the Jews.

I support free speech for all, including those who spread hate, but I want those who preach such divisive hatred to know I hold them morally responsible for the actions of anyone they manage to convince.

That includes all the hatemongers: Pat Robertson, Osama Bin Laden, and John Kaminski, to name three.