Jewish-American actor Leonard Nimony, noted for his portrayal of Mr. Spock in the TV classic Star Trek, has urged Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peace agreement based on the two-state solution, warning Americans against the continued and direct effect recent Mideast turmoil could have on their daily lives.
In an open letter published by U.S. left-leaning NGO Americans for Peace Now, Nimoy reaches out to prospective APN donors, assuring them that while some may see "the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians continue apparently without an end in sight," there was, in fact, "an end in sight."
"It's known as the two-state solution--a secure, democratic Israel as the Jewish State alongside an independent Palestinian state," the noted American actor said, adding that even Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whom he calls "nationalistic," has come "to see this as the shape of the future."
In his support of the two-state solution, Nimoy also addresses Israel's refusal to negotiate with a Palestinian unity cabinet that would include Hamas, saying: "We cannot know yet what this unification of Hamas with Fatah means and we have to wait and see what emerges."
"Regardless, the principle of establishing two independent states, one Jewish and the other Palestinian, is still critical in this region for both Israel and the Palestinian people. That is the goal, to support the rational and moderate course," he added.
Referring to a peace push by a group of several leading former Israeli security establishment officials, Nimoy describes the plan as including "a Palestinian state alongside Israel with agreed-upon land swaps."
"The Palestinian-populated areas of Jerusalem would become the capital of Palestine; the Jewish-populated areas the capital of Israel," the Jewish-American actor added.
Nimoy also warned of the effects growing Mideast unrest could have on ordinary Americans, saying that the region's upheavals "show that what happens in the Middle East can't help but affect us in the United States."
"This year, we've seen oil prices rise sharply and America become involved militarily in Libya. The cost to American lives and our economy continues to rise at a time when unemployment and deficits are sapping our country's strength," he added.
To stem what he saw as escalating violence both in the Middle East at large and between Israel and the Palestinians in particular, Nimony urged a "strong American leadership" to "pivot from the zero-sum mentality of violence to an attitude that focuses on the parties shared interests: security and prosperity."
The former Star Trek icon even went as far as linking the TV classic with the need to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, citing an "episode in the original Star Trek series called, 'Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.'"
"Two men, half black, half white, are the last survivors of their peoples who have been at war with each other for thousands of years, yet the Enterprise crew could find no differences separating these two raging men," Nimoy added, saying: "But the antagonists were keenly aware of their differences--one man was white on the right side, the other was black on the right side. And they were prepared to battle to the death to defend the memory of their people who died from the atrocities committed by the other."
"The story was a myth, of course, and by invoking it I don't mean to belittle the very real issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians. What I do mean to suggest is that the time for recriminations is over," the former TV star said, concluding that "assigning blame over all other priorities is self-defeating. Myth can be a snare. The two sides need our help to evade the snare and search for a way to compromise. "
It is because of this predicament, Nimoy said, that he supported the message put out by Americans for Peace Now, saying: "I'm a strong supporter of APN and the work it does. It is a leading voice for Americans who support Israel and know that a negotiated peace will ensure Israel's security, prosperity and continued viability as a Jewish and democratic state."
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