Originally published on June 29, 2010 on Open Salon

A lot of people have been commenting to me about Israel, oddly enough in response to a post that isn't primarily about Israel (and not in response to that post's immediate predecessor which is primarily about Israel). I'm going to clarify what I think. Let me know if this makes sense to you.

 I believe that Israel has the right to exist.

 I believe that  Israel has the right to defend itself.

 I believe that Israel has the right to be judged in proportion to its conduct. I believe that this right is violated more than any other and that the extent to which this right is violated is exactly the extent to which antizionism and antisemitism are interchangeable.

I do not believe that Israel has the right to territory on the West Bank outside of Jerusalem. The Palestinian population has been there for a long time, isn't going anywhere, and needs a place to live. Encroachments on this territory without some sort of compensation, preferably in land elsewhere, cannot be anything but an obstacle to peace. I believe that Jerusalem is the exception because the last time an Arab government controlled it, Jews were denied access to their (our) holiest site. Since Israel has controlled that part of Jerusalem, Muslims have worshipped at El Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock continuously.

I do not believe that Israel has the right to treat its non-Jewish citizens as substandard. Citizens are citizens.

I do not believe that the Israeli Orthodox Jewish community has the right to treat Israel's non-Orthodox Jewish citizens as substandard. Jews are Jews.

I do not believe that Israel has the right to treat anyone with contempt unless they have been proven individually to participate in terrorism or to encourage terrorism actively (like Ahmedinejad).  

I do not believe that anyone who thinks that walking into a pizza parlor with a bomb, noticing that half the people in the pizza parlor are kids and detonating the bomb anyway should be condoned under ANY circumstances has any moral authority. I will not treat such a person's views of right and wrong as having any validity until such time as they change their view on this. What anyone else does is beside the point - this action is intrinsically always wrong on its own. Period.

I do not believe that your enemy's moral standards should determine your own.

I do not believe that any Arab nation or organization (such as Hamas or Hezbollah) should get a pass on any conduct because of what Israel does. From Anyone.

I do not believe that any Arab nation that drove its own Jews out has a right to complain about the lack of Israeli compensation for Palestinians unless that nation is willing to talk about compensating its own Jewish refugees. These issues are linked.

I believe that if any Arab nation talks about compensating the Jews it drove out, then Israel must talk about compensating Palestinians. These issues are linked.

I believe that any organization that advocates the destruction of its neighbor is a terrorist organization and should be treated as such.

Maybe I'll come up with more later.


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