Something to think about
Margaret O'Brien Steinfels August 21, 2014 - 1:17pm
A poster, Freddie deBoer, at Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish has come under fire for not being even-handed in the Israel-Palestine debate. He has decided to take some time off, he says, but before he goes he has posted a short reflection on what "balance" might mean and what is required to strike a true balance.
Here is a piece of what he was to say:
I also don’t seek balance because I don’t pretend that there is equality of blame in this issue. Many smart, decent people I know treat this issue with a “plague on both houses” attitude, talking about a “cycle of violence,” or “ancient grudges.” They speak as though this issue is so polarized and so complex that we can’t make meaningful judgments. I find that, frankly, bullshit. I’m not usually a big fan of Max Fisher’s work, but he had this perfectly right: the occupation is wrong, it is the problem, and Israel is to blame. Israel has been illegally and immorally occupying the Palestinian territories for almost 50 years. And Israel has the ability to end it. The Israeli government could unilaterally withdraw from the territories and leave the Palestinians to build their own state, or they could fully incorporate Palestinians into a new unified Israeli-Palestinian state that recognized total and complete political and social equality between all people. If you find those ideas radical, consider that they are merely what basic liberal democracy requires.
Naturally, I have some sympathy for his views. NB: Skip the references to John Chrysostom.
Maybe more than you want to know: A fascinating and revelatory piece by J.J. Goldberg in the Forward on the politics of the Israeli war cabinet.
About the Author
Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.