Following up on Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s lecture last week in Zurich, I find myself with one thought: how unclear and unfocused discussion on the Arab-Israeli conflict has become.
Don’t get me wrong. At times Riskin is straightforward, such as emphatically stating that the issue of settlements, contrary to Barack Obama’s opinion, is not central to the conflcit. But overall, after attending several such lectures over the past few months, I realize that for those who don’t have a black and white mindset, discussion quickly digresses into a higgeldy-piggelty of justifications, recriminations, and grievances.
On the one hand, anyone with a soul cannot address the topic of occupation without some empathy. Whether one believes “occupation” is a false term or that the Arab world has created the Palestinian refugee problem for its own purposes, the knowledge that so many suffer on daily basis is important to acknowledge.
On the other hand, legitimate complaints on the part of Israel do exist. As Riskin says, Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza followed up by wanton destruction on the part of the Palestinians living on the Strip. Or, going back in time, the Arab world’s rejection of Britain’s post-war partition plan.
So where does it all conclude? Sadly, nowhere. Only cluttered discussion with no real solution.