This is a piece from The Huffington Post (link below) I wish I had written myself, for it articulates almost everything I have been feeling this week, except one thing – but that one thing does not take away from Rabbi Creditor’s larger message, though that one thing is huge in my mind and I know must be so in his mind as well and in the minds of Israelis and Jews everywhere.
At times of crisis, Jews come together and find common cause. It is part of our necessary tribal instinct, and we are like every other people and nation in the world in our concern for our own people first and foremost.
The Pesach seder reminds us every year that the evil child is the one that separates him/herself from the community and does not see his/her destiny as part of the destiny of the Jewish people. Tradition reminds us – “Al tifros min ha-tzibur – You shall not separate yourself from your community,” especially during times of crisis such as these.
The one thing I would have added to Rabbi Creditor’s superbly written, true, honest, candid, justifiably enraged, and passionate defense of the Jewish state and the Jewish people is this – mistakes have been made by the IDF. The bombing of those four Palestinian children on the beach had to have been a terrible and tragic mistake. I do not know what those firing the missiles thought they saw. I refuse to believe they realized those four children were kids. They had to have seen something else, and perhaps there was something else there – but it escapes me what it possibly could have been.
I give every benefit of the doubt to our Israeli soldiers who are risking their lives in defense of the Jewish people and state and whose bravery and sacrifice should inspire the gratitude of Jews everywhere. I am not criticizing them. I am saying only that in war, mistakes are always made. That fact is yet another tragedy of war. That mistakes will be made is never a reason not to go to war when your people are being bombed indiscriminately. It is just a tragedy pure and simple, and we Jews must always acknowledge it out loud and publicly not only for the sake of truth, but for our own sake as moral human beings.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has said as much, and for that I am grateful to him – that far too many innocent people are getting killed and injured. Rabbi Creditor says he is finished apologizing. In the larger sense I agree with him, and though I do not know him personally, I believe he must be as tortured by the loss of innocent life as I am, as Israelis are, as Jews are everywhere.
So first, I thank Rabbi Creditor for speaking so eloquently from the heart reflecting what is in the hearts of so many of us.
Hamas must be defeated and de-fanged. It is an evil lot who cares not a whit for what they say they care about, the lives of Palestinians.
I want to make one political comment for the sake of a future settlement of this crisis in an eventual two-states for two peoples agreement: I hope and pray that President Machmud Abbas gets the credit for arranging a ceasefire so as to further delegitimize Hamas amongst Palestinians as a whole.
Hamas had a mere 10-15 percent approval rating in Gaza and the West Bank before this crisis began. How they could have any approval now, except for their die-hard fanatic and inhumane fighters, is beyond me. They must be silenced, and savvy politics requires that the ceasefire that will come be worked out by the Palestinian Authority, supported by the Arab League, the US, Quartet, Israel, and everyone else with Abu Mazen being regarded as the one who cares most about his own people, and not Hamas.
If there is any good that will come from this horrible war, then it must be that Israel and the PA return to negotiations, that the US present its position on a reasonable settlement, and that both sides compromise. Peace will require p'sharah (compromise). Those who want all of their truth respected will just get more war. It should be clear that the Palestinian people want peace most of all in a state of their own as do the majority of Israelis. The time to make peace in an end-of-conflict resolution is when the fighting ends, hopefully very soon.