Saturday, August 2, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Answers to Oz's questions

A New Yorker piece begins with two questions from Israeli author Amos Oz.

  1. What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap, and starts shooting machine-gun fire into your nursery?

  2. What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?

The answers

He doesn't answer the questions, but the questions do have answers.

  1. Build a shield that prevents his bullets from reaching you and your children.

  2. Find the tunnels and close them. (And by the way we don't know the reasons the tunnels were built, so you should leave that part out of a hypothetical.)

There are other points of view

Ask the question from the Palestinian point of view too.

Suppose a larger more powerful country, one that had an army (yours doesn't), had you surrounded, controlled your borders, was starving you, and regularly shot into your city randomly and killed huge numbers of your people, including civilians.

Would you fight back?

What about Syria and Iraq?

Israel's supporters often ask why aren't we so upset about what Syria is doing to its people. It's the kind of question, if a child asked it, you would explain that the two situations have nothing to do with each other. If one child behaves badly, that doesn't excuse another child's bad behavior.

Further, Israel is my country's ally, and even further, I am Jewish. My opinion about Israel, therefore, matters a lot more than my opinion about Syria.

My country has called for Assad to leave, but so far we have not called for Netanyahu to. So our response to Syria has been stronger and more negative. And our culpability is greater with Israel because we arm you, give you financial aid, and guarantee your survival. So if you do something awful and immoral, and unwise, we are to blame alongside you. So the two situations, while they may appear on the surface to be similar are actually like night and day.

I've also been asked to explain Iraq. If it's okay for the US to invade Iraq, and kill or cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, who are we to complain when Israel does that to Palestinians. There is an answer to this question too. When my country went to war in Iraq, you bet we objected. And voted accordingly, and eventually elected a government that turned it around, and got us out of that morass. Israel's situation is different, which is another reason it's not a great question. You have to live with the Palestinians. And so far you're not doing that very well. It's time to try a different way of thinking, and to start that you have to listen to other points of view.

Re comments

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Last built: Sun, Nov 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM

By Dave Winer, Saturday, August 2, 2014 at 2:10 PM. Still diggin!