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The Israelis Are Not A “Chosen” People

By James Donahue

It has been refreshing to watch the Obama Administration deal with Israel on a level playing field instead of treating that nation as some kind of extension of God’s great plan for the world.

We believe that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was justified in her complaint that Israeli leadership insulted Vice-President Joe Biden by announcing planned construction of 1,600 new homes in a controversial East Jerusalem settlement while Biden was in Jerusalem to promote new peace talks. The announcement angered the Palestinians who saw the expansion as further encroachment on their lands.

Later, when Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited the White House he was “snubbed” by President Obama who walked out of his meeting with Netanyahu after failing to get a written promise of concessions on Jewish settlements. Not only did he walk out, but the president did not follow normal protocol for visiting heads of state to share a private dinner and pose for pictures.

Presidential advisor David Axelrod later said there was “no snub intended” when he appeared on CNN’s State of the Union. He said Israel is a close and valued friend of the United States but that sometimes blunt talk is part of friendship.

While Israel has always remained a “friend” of the United States, our continued close ties to Israel have been largely the reason that relations with surrounding Arab nations have remained strained. They may also be a reason why the U.S. has been targeted for terrorist attacks. Showing the world that Israel can be treated with a harsh hand when its leaders misstep might well serve to strengthen ties with other Middle Eastern countries.

The myth that the Jewish people were always “God’s chosen people” was a story generated by ancient Hebrew historians, apparently as a way of giving them claim to the so-called “Holy Land” that has been stolen from the Palestinians.

Because the myth lies buried in Old Testament writings, and because many Christian church groups believe every word in the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, the Christians harbor a belief that God will smite any nation that turns against Israel.

While the Jews deserve a lot of credit for their tenacity, their amazing ability to remain intact as a people while separated throughout the world for thousands of years, and their amazing ability to join together on Palestinian lands and rebuilt a nation out of nothing, they are not better in the eyes of the Creator than the billions of other people and the many other nationalities that exist on this planet.

United States leadership has been wrong in past years in giving Israel preferential treatment over the Palestinians, who have literally had their lands and their right to a sovereign co-existence stolen from them since the Jewish people moved on the land and declared themselves a nation after World War II. There has been good reason for the terrorist attacks and outright wars that have occurred in the Middle East since Israel came into existence.

That the United States has allowed Israel to possess an atomic arsenal but is standing strongly opposed to letting other Middle Eastern nations like Iran develop nuclear technology also is wrong. The agreements between Russia and the United States to begin dismantling these deadly weapons might also be extended to Israel, Pakistan, England and any other nation that now has nuclear capability.

We applaud Mr. Obama’s efforts to open diplomatic channels with all world nations. Treating all nations as equals is an excellent step toward bringing about world peace during these trying times. No one nationality should ever be seen as ”chosen” over any other.