James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

Where are moderate voices?

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I was recently asked where the moderate voices are on the Israeli-Arab conflict in light of the recent violence in Gaza. Here (more or less) was my reply: I would suggest that moderate voices start by acknowledging the suffering of people on the other side. Some on the far left have a hard time recognizing Jewish suffering – and their advocacy thus builds a barrier to peace. I know Palestinians suffer because of the militants who operate among them and the Israeli response that necessarily follows from militant provocations. Most Israelis and Jews do not want an invasion precisely because of the Jewish lives that will be lost AND the Palestinian Arab lives that will necessarily be taken by Jewish (and Druze Arab) soldiers. BOTH are painful. However, in light of the daily rocket attacks on civilian population centers, not responding is also very painful.

The issue for Jews and Israelis is whether it is easier a) to live with the pain of watching Sderot and Ashkelon being shelled daily or b) to live with the pain of watching Jewish soldiers kill, and be killed by, Palestinian Arabs – many of them militants, but some, regrettably, innocent bystanders. By launching Grad/Katyusha rockets into Ashkelon, Hamas shifted that calculus. Before, many Israelis and Jews painfully showed restraint – with very limited responses into Gaza – as Sderot was shelled over and over again. Now, our restraint has been lifted by the pain inflicted upon us both by the actual attacks on Ashkelon, and the increased danger that those attacks represent.

Moderate voices are not necessarily pacifist. They seek peace, but they are honest about the complexities involved.


Written by JamesEJ

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Posted in other

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