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Message to Israel: Being Tough May Be Necessary, But A Good Jew Must Be More

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See this page for links to articles on OpEdNEws that articulate both sides on the issues in the middle east. It is the goal of OpEdNews to air opinions from both sides to stretch the envelope of discussion and communication. Hate statements are not accepted. Discussions of issues and new ideas for solutions are encouraged. .
Preamble: Late last week, I saw something, regarding Israel and its relationship with its neighbors, that I felt might have a constructive impact if I could articulate it well and get it out into the world well.

Below, you will find my articulation of that idea.

There are a variety of lines of discussion that I can imagine this essay eliciting. Among these, there is one kind of discussion I am not seeking to invite.

The discussion I would like to forestall is the usual heated discussion about the Middle East that has to do with the rights and the wrongs of the Israelis on the one side and of the Arabs on the other.

I know that many people have a lot they want to say in support or condemnation of one party or another to the current lamentable situation. But it would be a misunderstanding of this piece to relate to it as an occasion to make such statements.

This is an argument that has been going on for generations, and it is one on which a lot of people have very strong ideas. Indeed, many of us have been processing information for so long on these matters -I myself have been following this situation closely since the Suez invasion of 1956-and, as people are generally wont to do, storing that information in accordance with our existing beliefs, that fruitful exchange between people of different views on these issues has become even more difficult than on most political issues.

As one wise person said to me lately, when people dispute at that level of each side's rights and wrongs, the energy of the Middle East conflict -the dug-in-ness, and the toxic animosity-seems to enter the discussion.

But that's not the main reason why I am hoping that the comments here do not go to that level, do not just present the usual well-worked out pro-this-side or anti-that-side position papers.

The more important reason is that, as you will note if you read this essay carefully, the matter of who are the good guys and who are the bad guys is not what this piece is about.

The piece does deal with some interpretations of these matters, and it does proceed as if these interpretations are or could be true. It proceeds in this way in order to make its own point, which is on a different level altogether.

What this article is really about is the human challenge of creating wholeness out of disharmony-in this case both the disharmony that exists between peoples locked in a pattern of conflict, and the disharmony that arises within cultures and individuals particularly as part of the wounding inflicted by historical trauma.

It is at that level that I welcome your comments.



It pains me, Israel, to see you in the predicament you're in. What a terrible burden to be forced continually to struggle for your survival in such a hostile neighborhood.

But it also pains me to see you responding to these dreadful challenges in a way that's less than what I'd like to see from a Jewish state.

No, I'm not coming forward to condemn you for doing what you're doing. I realize that your situation is so complex and difficult that I'm in no position to be certain about what's justifiable and what's "proportionate" for you to do in response to the threats you face -e.g. most recently in response to the recent provocations from Hamas and Hezbollah.

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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