No double standards

Bradley Nelson claims that “liberals want to wipe Israel (out) but Ö let Iraq thrive.” I doubt that any liberals hold this view, let alone all of them. Those I know hold the United States, Iraq, Israel and all other nations to the same human rights standards and criticize each case according to its known merits.

But when people like Nelson hear Israeli policy criticized, they often automatically assume that discriminatory standards are in use and equate the challenges with calls for Israel’s destruction.

This absolutist position is absurd, and the cries of discrimination seem to assume that Israel can either do no wrong, or that any wrong it does is justified by its special needs. But this belief is discriminatory and grants Israel special immunities, possibly out of a mistaken belief that this is needed to protect the needs and rights of Israelis, particularly Israeli Jews.

I recommend reading Philip Roth’s “Defender of the Faith.” Roth’s narrator belatedly concludes that he can best support his religion and ethnicity by rigorously holding his fellow Jews to the same rules that apply to everyone else.

No clannish privileges or exemptions are allowed. Members of all ethnic and ideological groups should learn this lesson. Painting these debates as all-or-nothing, black and white issues is dangerous.

If we must choose between justice and Israel’s existence, the former would be obligatory, though tragic. Fortunately this is not the choice faced, but Nelson does his cause no good by suggesting that it is.

Scott Forschler, graduate student, philosophy