(Guilt, Morality, and Justice) Israel-Palestine 2012 (A Curse)

My FB friends have wisely moved on, but I still want to try to get a wrap on the events of last week, so that I too might move on to things that matter more than Israel and Hamas. I’m not sure if what follows represents a judgement or a curse, so let’s just say that it’s time, at the end of this bitterness, for someone, for all of us, to either hold “guilty” or to curse both the illegal occupation of lands and the resistance to occupation, both Greater Israel and Historical Palestine, those parties on either side who destroy political horizons, those who shoot and those who shoot back and those who take sides unequivocally, both Judaism and Islam, if these are what they come down to, namely those who refuse the right of the other when asserting one’s own, who refuse the right of the other to be seen and to be heard, and who refuse to recognize a human face, those who won’t or will never negotiate either not at all or not in good faith the rights of two people to two states, and those who resort to imbecilic slogans like terrorism, state-terrorism, the right to self-defense and the right to resist oppression, the ones who complain about assertions of moral equivalence and those who complain about disproportionate suffering. The one is as much to blame as the other, and the other as much as the one. Worst of all are the ones on both sides who claim simply to be victims all the time, who won’t say “enough, the whole thing makes me sick.” It’s not that I won’t take sides. I will, and I expect you will also. But I’m not going to pretend that this taking sides has anything to do with morality and justice, and can only pray that you won’t do the same.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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1 Response to (Guilt, Morality, and Justice) Israel-Palestine 2012 (A Curse)

  1. efmooney says:

    I returned instinctively, Zak, to lines at the end of a book written in Jerusalem just a few years back at a time of bus bombings. The words are as searingly simple as I remembered them, the dedication of words first delivered by an American Jew as a lecture in Jerusalem:
    to the memory of Yochanan Budick, a friend to me, to Cathleen, to Benjamin, and to David, each differently. His life in Jerusalem and his death there are bound up for me with the all but unbearable significance of the place. The first paragraph of a story carried by the Jerusalem papers on the day of Yochanan’s funeral reads, “The lives of two Jerusalemites and a woman from Ramallah were saved yesterday thanks to organ donations by a fifteen-year-old boy who died the day before at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital after a serious head injury.” — On a real ordinary day in Jerusalem, whatever else was happening, the end of the days of a young man of that city, a Jew, provided continuation of the days of, among others, an Arab woman from Ramallah. It rebukes hopelessness.

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