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March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
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It’s My Opinion: Time to Talk Turkey…Again

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Due to current circumstances in the Middle East, I am featuring my usual Thanksgiving column. Once again Israel is engaged in a futile round of “peace talks” with an enemy that seeks its demise. The cast may change, but the premise of the misguided script remains the same. When will we ever learn?

 

It’s that time again. Turkey, cranberry sauce and a harsh lesson in the reality of “land for peace” deals.

America will celebrate Thanksgiving on November 28. 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 believed a nation has to negotiate “with its enemies, not with its friends.” They wanted to “give peace a chance.”

The Native Americans gave away their land for worthless peace treaties. They did not want to be viewed as “intransigent.” They acquiesced. They thought two peoples could share one land.

There were some who took the white man’s desire for their land as a declaration of war. These tribes fought fiercely to protect their domain. Perhaps they were viewed as misguided right-wing zealots.

The “peace now” contingent believed it could give the interlopers their own state within America’s borders and they would be satisfied. They thought wrong.

Their “peace partners” wanted it all. Their road map was called “Manifest Destiny.” The once-proud Indian nation was crushed. Native Americans are now an insignificant minority in what once was their exclusive homeland.

The misguided attempt to be compliant ultimately led to the decline of the entire nation. For the most part, they live in ghetto-like areas called reservations. The acquisition by Indian reservations of casinos is a poor exchange for the pride of a viable nation.

Israel could learn a lesson from the Native Americans, who gave “land for peace” and lived to regret their naivety.

The giveaway of Gaza is a prime example. Israel again acted in the mistaken belief that surrender of land would lead to peace. Instead, a terrorist state now looms along its border.

Israel needs to stop the cycle of unilateral concessions and ceding of its land. Doing the same thing in the same way and expecting different results is insanity. It’s time to talk turkey.

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


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