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  KD MAGAZINE! 
Posted: June 6, 2006 -
יום שלישי, י' בסיון, תשס"ו
 
 

People Who Live in Glass Houses
Rabbi Shea Hecht
About the Author

 
Recently, native Hawaiians began struggling with the United States for autonomy. In another part of our country, a barrier is being built along the Mexican  border to keep illegal immigrants out. These two current event issues don’t really have much to do with each other. However, they do mimic events in the Middle East. Since these events are so similar to events in the Middle East one would think that American reaction to the issues at home would be similar to their reaction of events in the Middle East.
 
Americans backed the overthrow of the Hawaiian government in 1893, annexed the country to ours in 1898 and Hawaii gained statehood in 1959. All of this was done because in that imperialist era many countries were vying for colonies and Americans were not the only ones who had plantations and farms in Hawaii. Being that its ruler, Queen Liliuokalani, was weak it was only a matter of time before some other country took Hawaii if the USA didn’t. Once the USA acquired Hawaii they assured themselves that the produce and taxes of the country remained in their hands and that no other country can take Hawaii over and push the American sugar planters out.
 
Now, less than 100 years later, some Hawaiians claim that what transpired back then was illegal, and they want self government. Though one solution that’s been offered is separate land and government for the Natives, many native Hawaiians aren’t satisfied and want complete secession from the USA.
 
The Middle East has a similar problem and based on American feeling there I feel Americans should give the Hawaiians their complete freedom. Israel is being urged to give away land to pre-war borders. Because of this American attitude I would think that Americans are aware that just because you lived in the land and have papers stating that it’s yours - or you won it through a revolution or war - doesn’t mean the land is yours. So perhaps the USA should go back to pre-war borders, too, and give the Hawaiians their complete freedom.
 
Furthermore, I didn’t hear any major protest by Americans when the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education, or NATFHE, the largest teacher’s union in Great Britain passed a vote to boycott Israeli academia because of Israeli “apartheid” policy - policy that is not meant to separate but to protect. To me the lack of loud protest means what the British did is just fine. The solution that is on the table with Hawaii right now, to give the Hawaiians their own land and government within Hawaii, is similar to the two-state solution in the Middle East which is being dubbed apartheid. If Israel shouldn’t go there, I don’t think the USA should be either.
 
As for the issue of building fences to protect a country as the USA is doing at the Mexican border: when the House of Representatives voted in late May to tighten sanctions on Palestinians it drew the displeasure of the Bush administration because the legislation “went too far.” Can a law that protects the victim from the aggressor go “too far?” The USA certainly doesn’t feel that way about the illegal immigrants coming in from Mexico. The news articles over the past few weeks reflect anger by Americans who feel their quality of life is being ruined by outsiders. When Israelis’ feel their very lives are in danger should they not have the support of nations that feel this same way? Mexicans are hurting the USA monetarily; they aren’t threatening American lives. Building a fence to take such a strong stand against people who are looking for a better life, seems like things are going “too far.” When President Bush spoke at the graduation at the Military Academy at West Point, he told the cadets that ignoring the lack of freedom in the Middle East has not made America safer. I’m sure he can understand that it hasn’t made Israel safer either and they must protect themselves - just as the USA should. 
 
Additionally, when Mexican President Vincente Fox said that the USA and Mexico must work together to manage immigration or Mexico will sue the US over immigration he became a  laughing stock. You are hurting us and suing us? Yet, terrorists enter Israel under many different guises, hurt the citizens, kill people cause mayhem and they sue for damages and freedoms! Why is it different?
 
“People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” is an old and overused adage. Nonetheless, it fits snugly into current events. If the USA isn’t vigorously protesting the British Academia boycott they shouldn’t be setting up a separate state for the indigenous native Hawaiians, because that would be the same apartheid set up in their own land. If the USA supports a wall between the USA and Mexico to protect the American population from the “invading” Mexicans who are hurting the “flavor” of our country and our finances, they certainly should not be complaining about any similar steps taken to protect Israeli citizens. Perhaps the USA should look into their own backyard before they throw stones.

 

 
     
 
 
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