I haven’t been able to read the comments on this week’s Tablet magazine column. I know they’re…heated. I’m going to dive in after the kids go to bed, with a big glass of wine in hand.

Basically, I had a very strong reaction to Peter Beinert’s essay in the New York Review of Books. And I wrote about my anxiety and ambivalence about Israel, and about my feeling that I’ve fallen down on the job of teaching my kids about Israel because of that anxiety and ambivalence. Anyway…the piece is here. I’d love to know what you think.


  1. Fawn May 24, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    I haven’t read the comments, but I suspect the people who dive in screaming that anything less than unquestioning support of Israel is evil and wrong are the same people who believe there’s only One True Way to be Jewish (and of course, it’s THEIR way).

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think you’ve fallen down on the job. I think you’re teaching your kids the only truth: that damn few things in the world are black and white and that it’s important to be comfortable with uncertainty. Things change. That’s the only thing we can be sure of.

  2. Eleanor May 25, 2010 at 12:46 am

    I have been feeling the same anxiety and ambivalence. I think that passionate commentboxes (on either side of the argument) will probably only heighten the anxiety and muddy the waters; I could barely stand to read even a couple of them over at Tablet before quickly clicking away. I recently watched the documentary about Amos Oz (“The Nature of Dreams”) and I found it enlightening, he says that the taste of disappointment is in the nature of dreams. I can work with that.

    Eleanor x

  3. laura k May 25, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I thought your piece was thought-provoking and honest. And reading through the comments, I was saddened, as I often am when reading comments on any website, that people feel the need to attack rather than engage. Instead of listening to your perspective and trying to understand it, they accuse and defend. To me, that isn’t a sign of a strong position on their part.

    I hope you continue to write what you think and feel, even when people attack you for it. (But hey, you’ve been doing this for a long time, so I feel fairly confident that you’ll keep on keeping going. Yay!)

  4. Andy May 25, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    The bus analogy (as posited) strikes me as faulty. A better one might be this. I was on a bus, a long time ago. I got thrown off. For years I spoke of and tried to get back on the bus. I managed to get on the bus over a century ago (the population of Jerusalem has been majority Jewish since the late 1800s) but wasn’t allowed to sit, even though there were open seats. (There was lots of room for both peoples.) I tried to reason with everyone to get permission to sit down but was rebuffed. Finally I declared that I would sit down and would share my seat. (The Jews accepted partition in 1948! The Arabs did not!) The people on the bus said no way, and fought me, and tried to throw me off the bus again. I managed to hold on to my seat, but those whom I’d displaced to other seats (their neighbors didn’t give them much or welcome them) periodically attacked me again and tried to throw me off. I consistently said that they were welcome to share if they’d agree to co-exist, but they refused and kept poking and attacking me. And every time I push back, or decline to let them sit next to me until they say that they’ll stop hitting me, everyone calls me a bully!

  5. TLOS May 26, 2010 at 2:03 am

    The problem with weak-minded liberals is that they want to be loved by everybody. In the real world, this is not an option, especially if you are a Jew.

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