Comments about George Anastaplo’s Suggestion about Israeli Medical Facilities

Two comments have recently been made by quite competent senior professors about George Anastaplo’s suggestion about Israeli border medical facilities to be offered to poor inhabitants of neighboring Muslim countries. (The suggestion was posted on anastaplo.wordpress.com here and here in August 2012.)

One of the comments is set forth here in its entirety:

I’m afraid Professor Anastaplo is astonishingly naive in his Letter to the Editor which you circulated about Arab/Muslim attitudes toward Israel and the Jews.

May I offer the following portion of an article to counter his suggestion of establishing Israeli clinics on the borders to offer free medical aid to neighboring Arabs, as the way to change Arab/Muslim hearts and minds.

–(name withheld)

Aaron Goldstein’s full column is “What do the Jews have to do?”: http://spectator.org/archives/20l2/08/ l4/what-do-the-jews-have-to-do

The key portion which addresses Anastaplo’s suggestion is as follows:

Of course, not every one rejects help from Israel. It was recently revealed that the brother-in-law of Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh received life saving heart surgery at an Israeli hospital a few months ago. Has Haniyeh shown any gratitude? Not on your life. Haniyeh and Hamas continue to call for Israel’s destruction and blame it for the murder of 16 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai earlier this month even though all evidence suggests it is Hamas that is responsible.

Yet one need not be the brother-in-law of the Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza to be treated in an Israeli hospital. In a spectator.org article last week, P. David Hornik noted that over 100,000 Palestinians from both Gaza and the West Bank were treated in Israeli hospitals in 2010. One woman from Gaza who was treated for burn injuries at an Israeli hospital planned to show her appreciation by setting off a suicide bomb in the hospital in the hope of killing as many Jews as possible. Hornik commented, “Though admittedly an extreme case, it would be nice to think this large number of Palestinians’ benefiting from Israeli medicine would have a conciliatory effect.” Alas, even the high quality of Israeli medicine isn’t strong enough to heal Arab/Muslim hatred of Jews.

The other comment about the Anastaplo suggestion is extracted from a letter that deals with other matters as well:

Professor Anastaplo’s letter to the editors about Syria and so forth is brilliant. In my opinion he’s also right. Too bad his intelligent, humane advice won’t be followed. That letter is a good example to illustrate Chris Colmo’s generalization about Anastaplo’s having illuminating insights where others see nothing ….

If I may tell a brief story about Professor Anastaplo . . .

After reading his Artist as Thinker the first time or two, I discussed with the author a dozen or so objections. He was, as usual, remarkably patient with me. After advancing my picayune criticisms, none of which I even remember any more, I added (more or less),”But on one big issue regarding the interpretation of great literature, you got it exactly right. The best way to evaluate the characters in a novel or a play really is to ask in every case what, from the author’s point of view, each person should have done. This is indeed the key question.” With an ironic smile Prof. A. answered (word for word, if I’m not mistaken), “Well, Mr. ——- , maybe that’s enough.” Especially since he had just made a major hermeneutical contribution with that book and was right on target with his central thesis, I have always liked that rejoinder and have found it wise and worth remembering. . . .

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