Iraq and Lebanon: Israel Imitates Us

So many of us, leftleaners, were confused through the first week of the Lebanon fighting. It was obvious that Nasrallah was provoking something, wrongly; it is obvious that Iran is not a good actor; those rockets were targeting civilians in Haifa. Still, I/we sensed that there was something awful about the Israeli reaction, the carnage, the indiscriminateness. Of course such statements divide the Democratic “base.” The Lieberman/Berman/Clinton bloc, which answers to rightwing Jewish sentiment and money, thinks (as Bush does) that anything Israel does is O.K.

But the Lebanese horrors may actually serve to clarify our own political confusions, and help our antiwar movement get its feet out of the potato sack. Especially as Israel is now imitating us, after we imitated them in occupying Iraq. This is helping nobody.

What’s my evidence? It’s just in the air. Nicholas Kristof’s beautiful column yesterday. Bob Herbert’s great column the day before that. Tom Friedman appealing, in spite of himself, for an overture to Damascus today. The Nation’s brave editorial condemning the bombing, and Izaz Haque’s moving letter to the Times today describing two great Arab capitals laid to waste.

And here is an email from an Israeli that I got today via John Coyne, the writer and Returned Peace Corps leader. His friend lives in the north of Israel. He leaves her anonymous, though he says she was a hawk years ago.

Hi John,

We are fine, thanx. We stay at our home and try to lead normal life, as we hate shelters we never stay inside ours. It’s very noisy, day and night, because of our cannons and aircrafts and because of their Katyushas and other rockets, and it’s getting worse every day. A few rockets fell in ___, no casualties. Yet.

Needless to say that I am strongly against this war. Nothing can justify what Israel is doing to the Lebanese people, not to mention the Palestinians getting killed by us at the Gaza strip every day. The situation at the M.E. can’t be solved by force. We should talk with anybody wiling to negotiate, including Chamas and Chizballa. Our government is both stupid and evil and your president isn’t much better.

How is your family ???????

Love,