In the Guardian, an Israeli minister warns that Palestinians may face a "holocaust" because of the rockets falling on Ashkelon and Sderot. Oh my god. Meantime, on Andrew Sullivan's blog, there is this horrifying photo from Gaza of a Palestinian child, 5 months old, the son of a doorman, killed by an Israeli air strike.
And then there's this: the director of the American Jewish Committee David Harris saying that Israel is blameless in the Middle East.
I know of no nation on earth that yearns for peace more than Israel, no nation, victorious in unsought wars, that has been more generous in yielding to its vanquished foes’ terms in pursuit of peace, and no nation that has taken more demonstrated – and tangible – risks for the sake of peace than Israel.
To think othrwise is to assume that Israel would prefer a state of permanent conflict, and that, quite frankly, would be preposterous.
These are absurd statements, and a virtual profession of dual loyalty. Israel's soul is weakened by violence. It has lived with violence for 60 years.
Violence shapes Israeli identity and brutalizes the country's vision of its horizons. Forty years ago the '67 War was preceded by retaliatory air strikes against Syria and Jordan like the ones against Gaza. That was preceded by the Arab war of '48 and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and before that by the Hebron massacre of '29.... The violence never ends. On my one visit to the country a friend said, "They don't want us here. We must accept that. And so there
will be war after war after war."
The true path for a person in David Harris's job is to look at the photograph on Sullivan's site with his eyes not his doctrine and understand that when Palestinian children are murdered, everyone is hurt, including our country, the United States. Israel is a weak state that hates Arabs and diminishes their humanity (and yes, the Palestinians do the same to Israelis). David Harris, American Jews do not have to think like Israelis. We live in a strong, multi-ethnic country that cherishes freedom for minorities, including Jews, and we should ape American attitudes not Israeli attitudes. American Jewish leaders may be able to help lead Israel away from its intransigent brutalized religious positions. To do so, they must take their own power.