by Mark Bilsky, Deputy CEO of Americans for Peace Now
This is not a season that invites calm reflection. Too much is in play. The agenda is crowded with controversy. New possibilities tantalize but have yet to come into focus. We are inundated with talk of “competing narratives” alongside the growing controversies over quarantine, democracy, annexation, land, peace, income disparities and ethnic disparities.
It’s easy to get lost in these issues and they have become so much the focus of not only the daily news but of Israel’s story itself that the disposition to celebrate has come to feel insensitive, requiring an apology. But a celebration that must be shrink-wrapped in an apology is no celebration at all.
What then to do? The moment you cast caution aside and start listing the achievements, you bump into checkpoints. Say that Israel has fulfilled its destiny as a Jewish haven, and you will be told that it has done so only at the expense of the Other. Say that Israel’s economy has developed, and you will be told it’s because of foreign subsidies and at the cost of a tremendous income gap. Say that brainpower has emerged as Israel’s most important resource, and you will be told about the decline in Israel’s education system. Say that Israel has no partner for peace and you will be told to look at yourself in the mirror.
THE MOMENT YOU CAST CAUTION ASIDE AND START LISTING THE ACHIEVEMENTS, YOU BUMP INTO CHECKPOINTS. SAY THAT ISRAEL HAS FULFILLED ITS DESTINY AS A JEWISH HAVEN, AND YOU WILL BE TOLD THAT IT HAS DONE SO ONLY AT THE EXPENSE OF THE OTHER.