What about Palestinian terrorism?
A disturbing theme runs through the “Van Hollen’s gambit” (Editorials, July 16), “Beinart v. Gordis” (Editorials, July 16) and Zev Rose’s one-sided view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (“Time for Jewish political leaders to act against annexation,” Voices, July 16). Everyone is a critic of Israel and no one sees anything wrong with Palestinian terrorism.
The critics want to micromanage and judge Israel, while living in America and relying on a value system that sees Israel as the victimizer and the Palestinians as innocent victims.
It’s not what’s wrong with Israel, it’s what’s wrong with the critics who don’t see Palestinians wanting to destroy Israel, who don’t see terror, who want to play out their fantasies of right and wrong with the lives of Israelis.
John Lewis’ respect for Jews
I write to pay tribute to Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) who died on July 17 and had served in Congress since 1987. He participated in Freedom Rides in 1961, spoke at the 1963 March on Washington and was a leader of the 1965 voting rights campaign in Selma, Ala. The congressman personified the Jewish ideal of advocating for justice through the power of personal witness.
Lewis showed genuine friendship for the Jewish people. Examples include meeting Soviet Jewish refuseniks in Moscow in 1988 and speaking to Supreme Soviet members about human rights, discussed in “Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement.” He also described a longtime connection with Jews, emphasizing Jewish participation in the civil rights movement. The congressman discussed the priority he placed, as a candidate, on outreach to Jewish voters. We should remember the life work of John Lewis, an important aspect of which was genuine respect for the Jewish people.
What about Zero?
I agree with much of what A.R. Vishny said in her essay “We simply do not need another ‘Fiddler on the Roof’” (July 16), particularly her shout-out for the masterpieces “Parade” and the provocative “Indecent,” which are deserving of movie adaptations. There were, however, a couple of jarring notes in the column. In particular, she condemns Disney’s “Aladdin” and Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story” as too structurally racist to even fix. Do we really need a warning or a framing discussion to view these classic entertainments?
It also seemed odd that in mentioning the likelihood that readers have seen a staged production of “Fiddler,” she omitted from the long list of possible productions the original Broadway run with Zero Mostel, which a number of older readers are likely to have seen. Perhaps the author should have been more awake to the possibility of ageism.
What about some details, progressives?
Zev Rose (“Time for Jewish political leaders to act against annexation”) illustrates that loving Israel does not preclude one from simplistically presenting a one-sided view of the challenges in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The role of Palestinian rejection of previous generous Israeli peace proposals and resort to the violence of the Second Intifada in ending the peace process is ignored. Addressing it, and the failure of the Palestinian Authority to advance its own proposals, is inconsistent with the blame-Israel-first stance of some progressive critics of Israel.
I oppose the current unilateral extension of Israeli sovereignty over any part of the West Bank, even though it is understood that some of it will be a future part of Israel. I do not want Israelis ruling over a people that do not want to be governed by them. I favor a negotiated resolution resulting in Israel’s withdrawal from most of the West Bank, so long as Israeli security is provided for.
But where are the progressive lovers of Israel in pressing the Palestinian Authority to offer its own peace proposal? And if one loves Israel, it is not enough to oppose the Israeli presence on the West Bank without proposing how its withdrawal will be undertaken in a manner that provides appropriately for Israeli security.
And what demands do Israel’s progressive critics put on Hamas as a condition for participation in a Palestinian government? Must it disarm? Must it renounce its call for the destruction of the Jewish state?
The next time Rose is “directly resisting Israel’s occupation,” he might contemplate an inconvenient truth: As terrible as the status quo is, in light of what transpired in south Lebanon and Gaza, it is preferable to some alternatives.
Until progressive critics of Israel seriously address that sad reality, their views will not advance peace or security in the Middle East.