Monday, April 21, 2008


The arch-conservative and Bush supporter Bill Kristol has a column in today's The New York Times on statements by Obama, Clinton and McCain commemorating this year's Passover. Apparently only McCain passes Kristol's muster because neither Obama nor Clinton apply the Passover of old to today's Israel fighting against Palestinian insurgents.

Writes Kristol:

"McCain’s statement is also the only one to mention current assaults on Jews. He asks us to reflect on three young Israelis — Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser — who were kidnapped in the summer of 2006 by Hamas and Hezbollah, and “who will celebrate this occasion, once again, in captivity.” McCain recalls his meetings with the families of two of these men in December 2006, reiterates his commitment to seek their swift release, and urges others to do the same.

"So if Clinton’s Passover message is liberal, and Obama’s is multicultural, one might call McCain’s Zionist. There’s a clear choice of worldviews here — and not just for Jews, but for all Americans."

The reader is left to pick the right choice, meaning the one favored by Kristol. But wait! We know that the families of the three Israeli soldiers kidnapped are going through agony, and everyone wants them to be released.

But how about the Palestinians? Specifically, how about the families of those two dead boys harmlessly riding their bicycle last week when they were cruelly killed by steel darts from an exploding tank shell fired by Israeli soldiers? How about that Palestinian photographer killed in the same attack. Why does Kristol omit the atrocities suffered on the other side?

Palestinians have done horrible things to Israelis, such as firing missiles indiscriminately into neighboring Israeli towns. But the Israelis have responded in kind. Shelling Palestinian homes, killing Palestinian children, shooting innocent civilians.

If Kristol is going to apply the lessons of Exodus, he should take into account that in today's world, Israel is not without Palestinian blood on its hands. It is not fair to quote Exodus and apply it to today's Israeli government in a way that makes today's conflict a story about Israel's righteousness versus Palestinians' darkness.

But this is what Kristol seems to do:

"Sacrifices for the sake of freedom, the triumph of good over evil — if John McCain was at a Seder this past weekend, he surely would have liked this passage: “In all ages they rise up against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, rescues us from their hands.”"

The Palestinians could, if they wished, take the same passage and use it to justify their own insurgency.

No comments:

Post a Comment