I recently read an interesting column in Haaretz by Bradley Burston who argued if one really is a Jew then it is necessary to speak honestly about what is happening in Israel. Burston was not born in Israel but became an immigrant in the land. “I fell in love with this place…I wrote recently about living here as someone who loves this country, but dislikes much of what this country is doing.” His article provoked many letters filled with anger and hate at someone who had the audacity to make critical remarks about Israel. “If you hate Israel so much, then f— leave. I wish you would die of cancer.”‘ Ironically, most letters came from people who did not live in Israel.
As Burston notes, those sending letters from abroad do not face the reality of life in Israel. “No mandatory conscription, no kids living in danger and under arms, no occupation of neighbors…” He expressed horror at Jews in Jerusalem who seize homes of Palestinians while singing “paeans to Jewish terrorists.” Burston raises an important issue for Jews. Can we stand by and be silent when the land we love behaves in brutal ways toward its neighbors? Can we ignore a new phenomenon– Jewish terrorists?
A Jew who loves Israel is compelled to fight for human dignity for all people in the Middle East, especially for our brothers and sisters who are Palestinians. Only when Israel behaves in a democratic fashion to all people are they acting like Jews!