When Israel Is Wrong

Christians shouldn't be afraid to say so

From 1973 to 1990, the two of us edited Present Tense, a Jewish, liberal, dovish magazine published by the American Jewish Committee. On the surface, little has changed since those years when Americans, including Washington’s foreign-policy elite, lent support to Israel because of the Holocaust and the cold war, while saying to Israelis and Palestinians, "you’re both right, but leave us out of your fight."

Present Tense published pieces on issues that, with minor changes, could almost be republished today: expropriation of Palestinian property, collective punishment, God-intoxicated settlers, torture, and Israeli leaders who, during the first intifada, threatened to "break their bones." Meeting with PLO leaders meant jail for Israeli peace advocates, like Abie Nathan. The magazine also regularly covered the Israeli and American Jewish peace movements, which, despite superficial reports to the contrary, are still very active. Meanwhile, a corrupt, ineffective, and undemocratic Arafat along with Palestinian revanchists fought back with their own lethal mixture of murderous raids against civilians throughout the world.

But similarities aside, things have changed: The situation has become worse. We can debate who was or is right, but the hard fact is that both Israel and the Palestinians, along with the United States under George W. Bush, bear a goodly share of the...

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About the Author

Adam Simms was senior editor of Present Tense magazine, published from 1973-90 by the American Jewish Committee.