What I loathe, and why I enter conversations on the Israel/Palestine conflict with such trepidation, such fear & loathing, is how the conversation so perfectly mirrors the conflict itself. You have your very loud voices on the fringes, the one claiming that Israel was part and parcel stolen from Arabs and should be given back en masse, and you have the other claiming that Palestinians should suffer because they elected Hamas, or that they should somehow just accept their position as second-class citizens without question, or just choose to live in peace with Israel, and that all criticisms of Israel are bigoted or are examples of moral relativity etc. etc. etc.
Then you have all these quiet voices in the "center" though I'm not so sure that's the right word anymore. All these quite, reasonable voices trying to piece things together, trying to dig up the truth, constantly thwarted by those in the wings, shouting them down--equating them with the other fringe.
There are apologists for terror, for war, for whatever that are part of this debate but they are fewer and louder than the rest of us.
Can't I be pro-Israel and still decry this invasion into Gaza? Can't I see a picture of an 80 year old Gazan woman, with no home, no family, sitting forlornly and alone on a pile of rubble and believe that this is just wrong. No matter what, this is wrong--it's not helping anything! Nobody has shown, proved, demonstrated how this military action is anything beyond political posturing, or how it will achieve anything at all, or how the blockade of Gaza is actually pro-Israel somehow. Just because it's anti-Palestinian does not make it pro-Israel. And the opposite is true, isn't it? Just because it's anti-Israel doesn't mean it's helpful to the Palestinians. If Syria and Iran were to make peace with Israel and stop funding terror, they'd likely to a great deal more to help the plight of the Palestinians than their current "aid" does.
How to combat these extremists, on both sides, is an open question. I'm not a "moderate" in that lukewarm sense of the word. I'm extremely upset by all of this, and I think some very strong measures need to be taken--but not to benefit the fringes, but to benefit the maintstream, in all its diverse, normal, unremarkable ways...
Fear has not paralyzed Pakistan - I recently visited Pakistan after 25 years. Given the long absence, it essentially felt like my first time there. Only faint, isolated images remained fr...
56 minutes ago