To the editor:
I'm impressed by the Cazenovia Forum and its willingness to bring speakers to heighten awareness on world issues and generate conversation. Rick Francona, media analyst on the Middle East, spoke on May 2 and began his presentation with a run-down of historical events beginning with the creation of Syria and surrounding states by non-Middle East partners after WWI, a reminder of how world powers intercede and often create havoc in foreign lands even if their intentions had been honorable. He commented that US concern for the fighting in Syria was on humanitarian grounds but later stated that “It’s all about Israel.”
On the importance of establishing peace in both Syria and Egypt, he commented that it was crucial to the peace process between Israel and Palestine. When I questioned him about what a resolution might look like, he stated the importance of the creation of a Palestinian state and then repeated the famous (infamous) quote by Golda Meir who decried that, “Peace will not come until the Palestinians love their children more than they hate the Jews.” Having lived in Israel, my personal experience has convinced me that the Palestinians love their children with no less fervor than we love our children — the same way parents all over the world love their children. At the conclusion of the Q & A, he invited me to speak with him afterward to discuss my views.
Commenting that I’d attended the First Summit to Assess the Special Relationship Between the U.S. and Israel on March 7 in Washington DC (televised by CSPAN), I asked why our elected officials rarely criticize Israel, and Francona answered that it was because of AIPAC (the very powerful Israel lobby). He asked me to keep in touch and let him know what he’s doing wrong, probably a polite way to extricate himself from our conversation, but I appreciated it nonetheless.