January 19, 2009
.... that this should have been written nearly fifteen years ago (in a book I am currently reading - "Jewish Renewal", by Rabbi Michael Lerner, founder of Tikkun) ...
"Yet the wonder and miracle of Israel has been marred by the suffering its creation caused to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. It was only in the 1990s that the people of Israel were able to acknowledge that Palestine had *not* been, as the Zionist slogan portrayed it, "a land without people for a people without a land". The birth of Israel had resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people - and their subsequent suffering, indeed their very existence as a people, had been denied.
In the 1990s, Israel received a second birth, this time in joy and in peace. ... Israel chose a new direction. In 1993, it signed an accord with the PLO, Mutual recognition and peace were the central goals of that accord. In so doing, Israel had started on the path of post-Zionism, in which ... Jewish compassion could replace Jewish rage. ... There will undoubtedly be many retreats from the full implications of recognising that one's enemy can become one's neighbour, and even friend; that the way things are is not fixed; that evil can be overcome; that pain can be transformed eventually into joy. But in taking the first halting steps in this direction, Israel has begun the process of rebirth, potentially opening itself to a deep Jewish renewal.
The scars in the psyches of Jews caused by our troubled relationship with Palestinians will undoubtedly persist for generations after a peaceful and mutually respectful relationship that has been achieved. But as the peace becomes a reality in the next ten to twenty years, all that is marvellous in the achievement of the Jewish people may surface as a process of healing and repair takes hold."
Whatever your views on the situation in Israel/Gaza, whomever you hold responsible for this, I remember the optimism I felt when I saw Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shaking hands on the White House lawn.
That we should be where we are today, fifteen years hence, is nothing short of a tragedy.