This is not an endorsement, and I do not agree with everything he writes, but this column by Bradley Burston in his section in Haaretz called “A Special Place in Hell” has some wonderfully compassionate remarks, including:
“…[T]his month, three generations since 1948, since your Nakba, this is what I ask you to consider:
“Your time is running out.
“If you do not begin to act with all of your wisdom in moving toward statehood, you run the risk of becoming the Kurds of the Mediterranean basin, the Native Americans of the Middle East, permanently stateless, eternally denied.
“If you do not begin to rethink the course which the Palestinian national movement has taken, you must begin to consider the idea of a world without a Palestine. The world is beginning to feel more and more comfortable with that possibility, and it is time for you to think hard about the reasons why.
“We in the post-modern West have spent years educating ourselves to believe that all cultures are equally valid – with the possible exception, of course, of our own. We have taken it on faith that to criticize the culture of an indigenous people is obscenely imperialist, paternalist.
“In short, we gave you a pass. And we encouraged you to give yourselves one. In respecting you for your steadfastness, we refrained from calling you on your passivity. In accepting and amplifying your contentions as to Israel’s acts of wrongdoing, we chose not to hold you accountable for your own, or to explain them away as a function of occupation.
“You learned, over time, to hold Israel responsible for the whole of your plight. You learned, over time, to ignore, explain away, blame entirely on Israel, or otherwise deny the ways in which your actions and, in particular, your passivity, have deepened and fostered your misery. You learned to excuse your leaders their corruption, and their policy of foiling Israeli and foreign attempts to improve your conditions. You learned to excuse your Arab brothers their duplicity and their lip service and their exploitation and their cold shoulder and their contempt and their consummate failure to come to your aid.
“In the process, you may have grown accustomed to a definition of time, and of indigenous peoples, that bears re-examination. There is, first of all, this:
“The Jews are an indigenous people here, no less than you.
“The Jews have every right to have a nation here, no less than you.
“The Jews are stubborn and proud and fundamentally fierce as hell, no less than you.
“You have dismissed the Jews as a foreign influence. You have dismissed their history, waved away their blood and sinew tie to Jerusalem, acted as though they have no business here but evil.
“But in the decades you have spent misleading yourself about the true nature of the culture and the origins of the Jews, generation upon generation of Jews has been born here. They are natives. They are not going anywhere. And even the leftists among them are willing to die in defense of staying on this soil…”
The full Bradley Burston column published today, entitled The Palestinians’ Time is Running Out, can be read here .