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August 24, 2016 / 20 Av, 5776
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It’s My Opinion: Land For Peace And Other Thanksgiving Myths


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            Israel could learn a lesson from the Native Americans, who gave “land for peace” and lived to regret their naivety. It is with great sadness that I am re-running the following Thanksgiving column because, unfortunately, nothing has changed. Israel continues making unilateral concessions and moratoriums, as did the Indians.  

 

America will be celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 25.  Tremendous effort has always been focused on portraying this time in a lovely, romanticized light in which pilgrims and Native Americans worked together in harmony. The reality, however, is quite grim. 

 

The Indians were the original “land for peace” advocates. They felt they needed to “give peace a chance.” They realized one has to negotiate “with their enemies, not with their friends.” They thought two nations could share one country successfully. 

 

The Native Americans gave away their land for worthless peace treaties. They did not want to be viewed as “intransigent.” Their “peace partners” wanted it all. Their “road map” was called “Manifest Destiny.”

 

The misguided attempt to be compliant ultimately led to the decline of the entire nation. The Native Americans are now a pitiful remnant. They are a tiny minority in their own land. Theirs is a downtrodden culture with a high incidence of alcoholism and other social maladies. For the most part they live in ghetto-like areas called reservations.

 

We are taught, “Who is wise? He who learns from everyone.” The Jews in Israel would be well served to take a lesson from what was once the mighty American Indian Nation.

Shelley Benveniste

About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.


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