Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Since they obviously aren't publishing it at this point . . .

... I feel free to share with you the letter I sent to the NY Times on January 25, in response to this article of January 21 about Israel's aid efforts to Haiti:

Ethan Bronner quoted Israeli newspaper commentators who marveled at the irony of Israel's swift, effective aid to Haitians, while Gazans languish next door ("For Israelis, Mixed Feeling on Aid Effort," January 21).

While acknowledging the very real suffering of Gazans and Israel's part in it, I suggest that it is easier for most nations to feel sympathy for people thousands of miles away who are victims of a natural disaster, than to sympathize with neighbors who lob rockets at them constantly and whose disadvantaged state is largely the result of their elected leaders' squandering billions of dollars of international aid.

[Sarah's note: I neither take it personally nor as a sign of anti-Israel sentiment that the Times didn't publish my letter. They publish plenty of letters that express pro-Israel viewpoints. For more about how the Times chooses which letters to print, go here.

(Also, I very much dislike the idea of being either "pro" or "anti" Israel. Can't a person be "totally in love with the State of Israel and thankful every single day to have the privilege of living in it, but also aware that the situation here is complicated and Israel is making a lot of mistakes, but not wanting to create a moral equivalency between bad mistakes and terrorism and widespread corruption, and wanting peace and prosperity for Israel as well as for the Palestinians, and I hope that someday we'll all be in a place where that can happen, even though right now I'm frustrated because the Palestinians are acting like 2-year-olds, and even if they grew up I don't think Israelis are ready to give up the hurt and the hatred, plus there is the whole issue of West Bank settlements about which I feel ambivalent because even though it is historically and spiritually connected deeply to Jews and so cool that we can walk around there and even live there, it still is hypocritical on a political level to build settlements there while simultaneously holding it as the carrot that the Palestinians can get if they grow up, because obviously we are being two-faced, and I don't like to think about it too much because it makes my head hurt and I don't like conflict"? Or is that just too many words?)]

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