Leonard Nimoy’s Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine

Reprint edn. in honor of the passing of Mr. Nimoy, who inspired a generation.

Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock on Star Trek, speaks out as a Jewish American in favor of a two-state solution and a divided Jerusalem.

Nimoy said,

‘ “I reach out to you as someone who is troubled to see the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians continue apparently without an end in sight.

“In fact, there is 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. Even Israel’s nationalist Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, has come to see this as the shape of the future. The problem is how to reach that end point. It’s something we should be concerned about–not only as world citizens, but as Americans.

“You might recall the 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.

“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. 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.

“The Middle East is only getting more tumultuous. The upheavals throughout the region 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.” ‘

Nimoy’s letter is at Americans for Peace Now.

Relevant is this video of Nimoy speaking on the Jewish values in Star Trek:

The episode “Let that be your Last Battlefield” is here

12 Responses

  1. Was a trekkie for about three years in late 60’s Loved the character Spock. Nimoy always seemed like a decent person. What a great thing he had to say late in the game but he said it. Although from what you posted that he wrote he was not willing to go another mile and state that Israel needs to stop building illegal settlements in West Bank and illegal housing in E Jerusalem. Not willing to call the Israel’s out on their crimes against Palestinians. Great that he said something but part of the better late than never crowd. May he rest in peace and become part of universal star dust.

    I think President Obama is the real life Spock.

  2. Starr Ayn Saffa

    “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. 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.

  3. Prof Cole will your biography be completed? Just read. So impressive. Can’t remember exactly when I started reading although do know it was months before the invasion. Reading what you, former IAEA weapons inspector Scott Ritter, several former middle east CIA analyst and head of the IAEA El Baradei, DR. Zbig etc had to say before the invasion had me convinced that the Office of Special Plans WMD intelligence was to be seriously in question. Had many of us lobbying our Reps, protesting and being arrested trying to stop the invasion from happening. To think that 30 million marched against around the world with no successful outcome at all, Disastrous results…that invasion…extremely destructive and sad. To say the least.

  4. The link to his entire letter didn’t work for me; I haven’t read it and accordingly won’t comment on Mr. Nimoy’s views based on the brief excerpt quoted above. But I was struck by part of that excerpt. The part that says, “. . . the time for recriminations is over. Assigning blame over all other priorities is self-defeating. . . .” It reminded me of statements I’ve often read, statements from supporters of Israel, who say, in effect, “the Arabs [they don’t say ‘Palestinians’] need to get over the past, let it go, assigning blame is self-defeating.” In other words, let the victors enjoy the fruits of their victory in peace, forget about the past, move on, nothing to see here.

    • It also sounds like all of America’s “moderate” racists, saying that the massive inequality in conditions between blacks and whites can’t be accounted for because we must stop blaming past events (that all make whites look bad). So we will now just be a libertarian free market society with the blacks accepting that they will “start” this Monopoly game with no cash and many of their men in jail.

    • > let the victors enjoy the fruits of their victory in peace

      He was clearly for the two state solution though which requires israel to give back control of palestinian land to the palestinians.

  5. I love Leonard Nimoy. Star Trek is my favorite TV series ever. I’m grateful that he had addressed this supremely divisive issue, & all sane people share his desire for peace & justice for all Israelis and Palestinians.

    Having said that, I must say Nimoy’s take on it is the same old ‘each side is equally to blame, & this has gone on for thousands of years’ argument. We know, of course, this is not the case. The (mostly) Brown indigenous Arab & Jewish Palestinians got along together just fine for hundreds of years, until the White Jewish Europeans terrorists began demanding (around the 1920s & 30s) the land for themselves & killing those who resisted (sound familiar, Americans?). Thus, the ‘state’ (if you can call a ‘country’ that which has never defined its borders) of Israel ended up being founded upon acts of terrorism.

    In the end, the indigenous Arab-Palestinians are (mostly) guilty of resisting an illegal & brutal occupation (and theft) of their land, which even the UN has recognized as a universal right of all occupied peoples.

    And so, after all of the evil—Apartheid, torture (including of children), genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism, land theft, & so on—Israel has spread in Palestinian lands (mostly fomented by those European immigrants & their descendants), I suspect the only viable resolution is now a One-State solution, which may well be called ‘Palestine’. This is one of the ways that Israel can make penitence for those aforementioned crimes.

    If Israel & its supporters are unhappy with that eventuality, they’ve no one to blame but themselves. If they’d adopted Nimoy’s attitude back in 1947, the whole situation may have been a ‘completely different movie’ by now. Peace will come, & come soon, but not at the expense of justice for the indigoes Palestinians. I think Nimoy will be pleased when that day arrives.

  6. “a secure, democratic Israel as the Jewish State alongside an independent Palestinian state”

    Maybe I’m over parsing, but why is “secure” appended to the Jewish state, but not the Palestinian state. Hints a little like the Pit Bull/Chiwawa relationship that presently exists e.g. a bomb goes of in an Israeli tanning salon, and the entire Palestinian state is put under lockdown, and Palestinian state’s only recourse is to complain to the UN.

  7. Thanks for that, Juan. Nimoy was much more than his parts.

    Met him at Seatown book signing once, even gave him my book/movie writeup on collapse of Soviet Empire. Cool and distant guy- think Spock soaked into his soul. Did only one known role but became most famous actor in the world!

  8. I have no idea what the long-term solution is, or even if one exists. As Malthus would say, the land and water in Israel/Palestine is severely limited, but the potential for population growth is not. Neither side wants to reduce its population for fear of being outnumbered by the other so the crises gets ever deeper.

    • This is what happened on a planet in another ST episode, where to reduce their population the inhabitants were even willing to infect themselves with a fatal disease. Unfortunately, this is neither a humane nor an effective solution.

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