Monday, July 21, 2014

The Not So Holy Land

The Boston Globe's columnist Jeff Jacoby has a piece on the conflict in what some call the Holy Land.  Jacoby cites a recent Pew Research Center poll which shows that support for Israel has dropped significantly among Democrats and other liberals in the past twenty-five years. Although he acknowledges in passing that this may be due in some measure to "facts on the ground," he focuses mostly on what he calls "a skillful war of ideas" and asserts that the genesis of that war was in the Kremlin.
If there is a war of ideas one of the ideas is that people who have lived in that land for generations have some rights. There are Palestinian families who treasure the keys to homes from which they were driven as the modern state of Israel was established and to which they will probably never return. Is it unreasonable to ask that there be some balancing of the rights of Palestinians and the rights of Israelis?

Jacoby trots out, as many other conservatives do, the notion that the goal of a Palestinian state is somehow suspect because Palestinians "had never been considered a nation...." The same could be said for a large number of the countries in the world, including our own. Wanting an independent state after centuries of being ruled by others is not an aspiration to be dismissed cavalierly.

Jacoby's column has the provocative title "Democrats Losing Moral Clarity on Israel." Is it possible that what the polling data points to is that Democrats have a better grasp of the moral complexity of the conflict? That Democrats find the expansion of settlements more troubling than Republicans do? That liberal Christians like me don't see uncritical support of Israel as a tenet of the faith as some evangelical Christians do?

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