6.02.2007 | Written on the subway wall
In what I can only assume is a PR battle ahead of a scheduled pro-Palestinian rally in Washington, DC, while entering the Metro I found one ad communicating the Palestinian perspective (advertising the rally, of course), as well as two pro-Israel ads seemingly posted in response (pictures below). One, fair enough, says that teaching children to hate will never lead to peace. But the other, more tenuous, says that Palestine, "a society that targets Israel" does so "because Israel shares America's values." This sounds eerily similar to the "they hate our freedom" argument that the Bush acolytes raised in the aftermath of 9/11.
Now I am not delusional; I know that there are Muslim extremists out there that believe it is necessary to kill innocent people to fight for a society where, among other things, women cannot expose any part of their body in public. But to paint the Palestinian people with the same brush seems more than a little suspect. The war there has been going on for so long now, and there are so many grievances, that I don't think either side can claim an absolute footing on moral high ground. Israel needs our support to remain a free state, but I'm not sure how we can keep every last Palestinian from preaching hate as long as they have no hope of achieving the same.
Instead of demonizing the other side, let's look at ways to build bridges of understanding. Instead of looking for the "partner for peace" that may or may not come along, Israel should find ways to engage in diplomatic dialogue with the democratically elected Palestinian government. Impossible, you say? Even the Bush administration has begun dialogue with Iran. Both sides have suffered enough without looking for excuses to continue the cycle of violence that has continued for too long.