This column by Bradley Burston, “The racist Israeli fascist in me,” was almost verbatim, the content of his talk for Ameinu at New York’s Beit Shalom last week. Burston powerfully assailed the moralistic tone of one particular liberal American Jew’s criticism of Israel in the wake of the Gaza invasion; to Burston, it seemed written more as an exercise in self-righteousness than what might have been instead an effort at understanding.
One doesn’t have to endorse the attack on Gaza to empathize with how Israelis have been feeling with its southern towns and cities the target of thousands of rockets and mortars. These explosives have not killed and wounded more innocents for want of trying – a matter of “miracles,” as Burston puts it. Because of these miracles, since more Israeli civilians have not suffered physically, it’s as if Israel – in the eyes of much of the world – had no cause for complaint.
Yet my critique of Burston remains: he needs to look more strategically at the vital need for progress toward a two-state soluiton, rather than to simply inveigh against the world’s blindness. Still, he is right that the world doesn’t appreciate how the violence of Palestinian factions had provoked Israel’s wrath.