Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The Israeli War of Independence Is Not Over
Give peace a chance? -Rabbi Daniel Gordis
[The] key to America’s greatness, to its optimism, to its sense that every problem has a solution. It has come of age fighting most of its wars in lands far away, buffered by large oceans that make the world the object of interest – but not the source of personal distress.
Israel could not be more different. No one goes to Israel, temporarily or permanently, to forget who they are. No one goes to Israel to get a good night’s sleep in the midst of the nightmare called history.
To go to Israel is to have who you are be the focus of your very existence.
To go to Israel is to sometimes live the nightmare even when you’re awake.
No oceans here to serve as buffers. No luxury of fighting our wars far away, in lands we will never see. During the Second Lebanon War and more recent Gaza conflicts, our friends packed up food for their sons who were on the front – sometimes for Shabbat, and sometimes just because – loaded up the trunk of their car, and drove to deliver the food to the boys.
No Iraq or Afghanistan – out of sight and often out of mind – here.
The DNA of the world’s two largest Jewish communities could not be more different.
We need each other and have much to learn from each other, but we could not be more dissimilar. One is a place where you can imagine that if you play your cards right, you’ll have no enemies; the other is a place where such a delusion can get you killed. One is a place where young people have “Holocaust fatigue” and wish to hear no more about it – after all, it was a long time ago, and it’s time to move on; the other is a place where Yad Vashem is a national institution, where Holocaust imagery and memory are to be found everywhere...
That is why the “give peace a chance” mantra of many thoughtful, Israel- committed and well-intentioned Diaspora Jewish leaders strikes many middle-of-the-political-road Israelis as ludicrous.
“If US Secretary of State John Kerry fails, it will be because the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships could not summon the courage to take the painful steps required for peace, security and dignity,” said one recently. Ah, the luxury of balance, of optimism, of the belief that every conflict has a solution.
It’s the gift of the buffer of the oceans.
Where are the Palestinian or Arab committed Muslims who choose to stay in Lebanon, or Syria, or Jordan, or in the West Bank –who write critically of their own culture.
Have you read or even heard of a single book by any citizen of those countries who says that the 1947-1949 Arab attack on Israel was a mistake?
Have you read or even heard of a single book by one of those people that says that the attempt to destroy the justborn Jewish state was morally wrong?
Have you read a single book by a committed Palestinian who says that just as the Palestinians have a right to a state, so too do the Jews, and it’s time for Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state?
Neither have I.
When the talks fail...the real reason will be because the War of Independence isn’t over. The real reason will be that to this day, no Palestinian leader will look at their people and say “The Jews, too, are indigenous here. They, too, have a right to a homeland here, so let’s share.”
Have you heard any of them say that, in Arabic, to their street? Do you think it’s likely to happen soon? Do you think you’re likely to live long enough to hear that?
Neither do I.