30 August 2013

Secular Party of Australia: Opinion on Middle East


From an opinion piece from President of the Secular Party of Australia, John Perkins:

...A Middle East solution

It is uncomfortable to refer to religions as delusions, but this is an uncomfortable reality. Beliefs persist in spite of contradiction with facts. Delusions can be harmful. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the Middle East. Archaeological evidence shows that there was no Prophet Abraham and no Exodus. There is no Promised Land and there are no Chosen People.
It seems that in the Middle East, not only is the conflict founded in delusion, but that the solutions commonly proposed are also delusory. This applies  to the proposed two-state solution. The so-called road map to peace is in reality a road map to nowhere. This is not just because the conception of a Palestinian state that the current Israeli position would allow amounts to such a limited grant of sovereignty that no responsible Palestinian authority could be reasonably expected to accept. It is because even if a viable independent Palestinian state could have been established, which unfortunate Israeli “facts on the ground” have now prevented, there is simply no way that this would have permanently resolved the underlying grievances.
The Holocaust against Jews was the greatest crime against humanity ever committed in history. Resulting feelings of injustice and guilt led to the formation of the state of Israel. Prior impetus to realisation of the Zionist dream was given by the Balfour declaration and a similar U.S. Congressional resolution which stated in part “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which should prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christians and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. This part of the bargain has never been honoured.
The concept of a nation that seeks to define itself in terms of its ethnic or religious identity, as Israel does, is an anachronism and is at variance with universal secular values.
The only possible long-term solution to the Middle East problem, consistent with principles of honesty, compassion, freedom and justice, is a unitary secular state in which all people have equal rights. This will perhaps require a degree of compromise that all sides will find painful to accept.
A Jewish homeland does not necessarily require a Jewish state, nor is a Jewish state the best long-term guarantee of Jewish security. In the proposed unitary secular state, no religion should be presumed of superior authenticity and no rights or privileges should be granted on the basis of claimed ethnicity or religious belief.
The primary obstacles in achieving this solution are firstly the Judaic beliefs that presume exclusive territorial entitlement, and secondly the irreconcilable Islamic beliefs that also necessitate superior claims to territory. The key to dissipating this irreconcilability is simply to put forward the proposition, which is impeccably based in reason, that some of the beliefs on which the conflict is based are false, unnecessary, undesirable, harmful, and based on little more than ancient mythology...

Only the wilfully blind could fail to implicate the divisive force of religion in most, if not all, of the violent enmities of the world today. Without a doubt it is the prime aggravator of the Middle East.
Those of us who for years have politely concealed our contempt for the dangerous collective delusion of religion need to stand up and speak out...