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The Middle East again: Jews versus pro-Palestinians at SFSU

Paul Simon has forwarded a very long account he received from. Stephen Feinstein, Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota. His url is:, and the text may be read there. Written and distributed by Laurie Zoloth, Director of the Jewish Studies Program, it was sent to San Francisco State University faculty and administration. The rioting was reported in the San Francisco press giving both sides of the story, whereas this account gives simply the Jewish version. It may well be true. Since I was not there, I know only what I read in the press. My only comment is that this all goes back to the creation of Israel, which, as was foreseen by some, would create animosities which would damage the deep sympathy for the Jews which prevailed after World War II. Universities should not be used for angry demonstrations on such controversial subjects. Universities which have Jewish studies programs should also have Arab studies programs, and the two should be encouraged to engage in civilized debate.

Looking at the Near East situation in a historical perspective, here is one scenario which may be deduced from the statements of John Bolton, the State Department's chief officer on proliferation, who is now known for adding names to the list of evil countries. Israel is the result of the belief that the land of Israel was given to to the Jews by God. For the exact limits, consult the relevant biblical passages. The conquest of the American West was justified by the idea of Manifest Destiny,which is a variant of the idea of a god-given mission and right. At the time of American independence, the world did not suspect that the US would become the dominant power in the Americas. The argument was whether Mexico or Colombia would dominate the Caribbean. At the time, the US was a small country which the Spanish world viewed much as we view Cuba today. How mistaken it was!

With US backing Israel will pursue its historic mission and become an extension of American power in the Middle East. The Arab states will then be in a subordinate position, as most of Latin America is today. Any such comparison is necessarily vague. This may not be an ideal solution, but, in a chaotic world, it is one solution. John Bolton and his ilk would be surprised at this scenario. But the founders of the American empire had only a vague idea as to the way things would evolve. Do not be surprised at the politically incorrect use of the world empire. A recent and excellent FPRI report stressed how the Founding Fathers spoke of the American empire. New York calls itself the Empire State. Should the US call itself the Empire State? Many Americans view the UN with suspicion or scorn. Is the solution a world empire, led by the US? Empires have long played an important role in bringing peace and progress to an anarchic world. This is only one possible scenario.

Ronald Hilton - 5/16/02