This is a tough moment to say this point-and yet it needs to be said to both sides. I start with Israel only because it is the greater military power, but I'll get to a critique of the Palestinians too, so read this whole thing through. Tikkun's progressive middle path for Middle East Peace rejects any attempt to say that one side is the pure bad and the other the pure good.
So, the details of the day. Israel is the military power occupying the West Bank and surrounding Gaza. By all international standards it has no right to do either, but if it does so it has an absolute obligation to treat the civilian population with certain respect and basic human rights. Israel continually fails to do this and has become one (not the worst, but one) of the world's major human rights violators.
No wonder that people are asking their Jewish neighbors, "Do you really think that is morally acceptable to cut off electricity and water for a million and a half Gazans as a retribution for the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the kidnap of a third? Isn't this the kind of 'collective punishment' that ruthless dictators have used against the civilian populations of countries that they controlled to the horror of the rest of the world? Don't you realize that when you face acts of terror against Israeli civilians that it is because the Palestinians have no army, no airplanes, no tanks, so they fight with their improvised weapons as resistance forces have always done, and it makes no sense to call that "terror," particularly when the targets are members of the armed forces on active duty. And don't you think that the U.S. should be allowed to stand up for human rights there rather than be restrained by the fear that anyone criticizing Israel will be described as anti-Israel and their political futures put in danger by the AIPAC-related crowds that have been so effective in shaping the media and the public discourse in this country? And while we are at it, don't you think that it's really not great for the Jews to be identified with AIPAC and neo-cons and their spokespeople in Congress like Senator Lieberman who support the war in Iraq and who have become a major voice for trying to push the US into conflict with Iran?"
That is the way to break the chain of pain. The only way. And that's why eventually the path that Tikkun put forward years ago in our Resolution for Middle East Peace, and then in our support for the Geneva Accord, will be recognized as necessary components of peace. But we are not believers in power politics-in the final analysis what counts is transformations in consciousness and in the heart, and that is why the world so badly needs the New Bottom Line with its call to privileging love over power. Unrealistic, you say? No. What is unrealistic, in fact pure craziness, is for Israel to keep acting the way it has been acting for all these many years, imagining a different result from the same behavior.
So, does that mean that there's one side that is good and the other evil? No, the world rarely works that way.
This is the message that our ancient prophets have been trying to communicate in various languages: that the only path that can work is the path of peace, social justice, love, compassion, kindness and generosity. And the path to peace is a path of peace.
When will they ever learn?