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Letter to the Editor: The Passionate Attachment

In his Farewell Address, George Washington admonished his fellow citizens to steer clear of a “passionate attachment” to another nation, as such could create “the illusion of common interest…where no common interest exists.” George and Douglas Balls’ The Passionate Attachment (1992) traces the events that brought the US into a relationship unique in its history, with its foreign policy often manipulated by another, much smaller nation.  

Last Friday the US vetoed an immediate ceasefire resolution for Gaza.  In so doing it endorsed the ongoing, barbaric and genocidal assault by Israel on Gaza, where some 17,000 people (mostly civilians) have died.  The veto was part of a long tradition by US Administrations past and present to blindly and unilaterally support Israel, making it the largest recipient of US aid – ever.

I don’t defend Oct. 7. But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict did not begin on Oct. 7.  It begins in 1948. The Israeli historian Benny Morris notes that up to June 1948, most of the 300,000 to 400,000 Palestinians who had left their homes did so when attacked by the Irgun and the Stern Gang, Zionist anti-British and anti-Arab terrorist groups. On April 9, 1948, these groups attacked Deir Yassin, a small Arab village outside Jerusalem, where 245 villagers’ bodies – 145 of those women – were found, most thrown into a village cistern. Annexations and occupations; new settlements on Arab lands; settler provocations; unilateral attacks; etc. have only exacerbated and intensified the situation over time. And the US has stood idly and/or approvingly by.  

As rationale for the veto, Secretary Blinken asserts that a ceasefire “would simply perpetuate the problem.”  No, Mr. Secretary. Your, President Biden’s and the US’ historic unwavering and unquestioning support of Israel and all it says and does, perpetuates the problem.  Destroying Gaza will only intensify feelings, giving rise to new generations on both sides linked only by their implacable hatred of the other.  

An end to the US’ unquestioned acquiescence to anything Israel says and does, and a broadened and even-handed leadership role by the US, is what is (and has been) called for. Not our historic passionate attachment.  

Henk Wolst

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin