“Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone, young girls picked them ev’ry one.
Oh, when will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?”
Pete Seeger, 1955.
Interestingly enough, there is a Hebrew version of “Where have all the flowers gone?” called “איפה הפרחים כולם” or Eifo Haprachim Kulam.
Of late, not much seems to get folks worked up more than the situation with Israel. Nominally, they are our primary ally in the middle East, but like a wayward child, she has a way of testing our patience.
The recent tragedy on the Rachel Corrie, enroute to Gaza, highlights the divide between Washington an Tel Aviv. Perhaps Israel had a right to stop the ship from Turkey and inspect the cargo. Perhaps they had a right to board the ship for that purpose.
But most definitely, nine people did not need to die.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a drop more than a quarter ethnic Jew. My first (known) European ancestor left England about 1620 because he was married to a Jewish woman. My paternal grandfather was an ethnic German Jew that had converted to Christianity and changed his name to hide his Jewishness.
The history of Israel is long and complicated and much of it depends on who is telling the story. In very simple terms, the U.N., led by the British, partitioned Palestine in July 1947 and in May, 1948, the State of Israel was formally born.
And then the fight that began in 1020 BCE resumed and a 3,000 year old battle between Arabs and Jews was rejoined once more, a battle that continues to this day.
Arabs and Jews are ethnic cousins, both being Semites, although the term “anti-Semite” is used to reflect an anti-Jewish bigotry. Some would make the conflict in Palestine to be religious Jew v Muslim, but Islam wasn’t born until 610 CE and the conflict arose more 1,500 years earlier.
In my view, there will always be conflict in the middle East, but it can be mitigated by the establishment of a Palestinian homeland. Until there are two equal states in the Holy Land, this three thousand year old conflict will continue.
William Stephenson Clark