NOV 1, 2008
I am a Belizean who converted to Judaism 25 years ago. My in-laws were survivors of the Nazi in the Ukraine, and I am both a proud supporter of Israel and Barack Obama. I have been following the "controversy" over Rashid Khalidi. I know nothing about Khalidi other than an article in the New York Times, a few blogs, news reports, and some biographical information on Wikipedia. I must say, based on what I read, he seems to have a very reasonable and thoughtful approach on the "situation" in Israel and Palestine.
There are obviously lots of emotions on both the Israeli/Jewish and Palestinian side, but it is the extremists on both sides of the fence that are keeping the pots simmering at all times. When I think about the issue from the Palestinian perspective (and wish some of my fellow supporters of Israel would do so from time to time) I am hard pressed to come up with a more reasonable take on the situation than the one presented by Rashid Khalidi.
I love and support Israel, and I view her as the ultimate protection for Jews from another Holocaust, but that does not require me to disregard the suffering of the Palestinian people, most of whom committed no sin other than to be born in a land claimed by another people. It's painful sometimes that the experience of the Jewish people is used to justify keeping another people down.
I also love the Palestinian people and have called some of them my friends. Sympathizing with the Palestinian situation does not mean excusing them for their willingness to miss an opportunity in bringing about the changes necessary to end this terrible situation.
There is enough blame to go around and the world would (at least in the Middle East) be a much better place if everyone could view the situation from both sides of the fence.