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Cartooning in Conflict
Chicago Nov. 4-6

Opinions
25/02/2007

A call for moderation

Aaron Barnea

I am about to do something which we never did before in this website and in this section Opinions. I am taking the floor to comment and criticize the writing of a good friend, moreover an admired friend, Nurit Peled-Elhanan, who published her thoughts and feelings in this section under the title "Let our children live" I know that we all in the PCFF have different views on many issues. But we are all united in our profound belief that peace and reconciliation are possible between our peoples, that we should engage all our energies to reach these goals, that only moderation and tolerance will show us the way to possible solutions

Let me first of all state as clearly as possible that I don't dare even to reach the heights of Nurit's writing, her pathos, the quality and depth of her call, both in Hebrew and in English. Secondly, it should be totally clear that me too I am totally revolted, sad, humiliated and ashamed for the death of this incredible young child, Abir Aramin daughter of a brave and inspiring father, Bassam, who had both the courage to mobilize himself against the Israeli occupation and to let the weapons aside and say I seek a just solution for the legitimate claims of my people not by the right of the force, but by the force of the right, by the power of conviction and the readiness to live in peace with my Israeli neighbors.

I believe that there is no substantial difference between Nurit and me on these assessments.

As an Israeli, whose son fell in Southern Lebanon wearing the uniform of the IDF, carrying on it a call for peace I plainly reject the stereotyped approach of Nurit towards the Israeli soldiers, who become "murderers" the moment the were their uniform. I reject Nurit's assessment that my country Israel and its armed forces will necessarily act as if the death of Abir never happened, that the perpetrators of her death will not be investigated, that the hospital (the prestigious Hadassa hospital) "will not disclose the cause of her death to her parents or her friends". I would suggest my friend Nurit, if she really thinks that this is what will necessarily happen, to engage herself in an action to avoid it, to demand with all the strength of her words, with all her personal prestige and background the right actions of the state in order to erase (is it at all possible?) the shame for the death of Abir. I still believe that we are living in a democratic state in which its citizens have a say, they can criticize, they can have an impact and change the reality if they really wish to

I know the depth of the sorrow, the desperation and pain that my beloved friends Nurit and Rami feel towards the assassination of their young and beautiful daughter Smadar. To call her murderer a "decent" person because he decided to kill himself while he performed his "sacred" mission to kill as many Jews as possible is to my taste a desecration, certainly bad taste even if compared with the supposed attitude of Abir's killer (Nurit imagines what Abir's killer is doing whereas she knows what happened with Smadar's killer).

And last but not least our main task in our organization is to convince both our Palestinian and, I believe, also our Israeli peoples that reconciliation is possible, that moderation and tolerance are the tools and the qualities that are needed in our dialog. We know that our main task is to convince the mainstream of both our peoples. Nurit's prose does not serve these purposes. In this sense she does not contribute to shorten the time and the pains of the conflict. On the contrary, she draws us all into the fringe of extremism.

Aaron Barnea
February 2007

 

Let Our Children Live- by Nurit Peled Elhanan.





Replies

Date:  20/07/2008
Name:  Anor A.
E-mail:  
To Nina
I can see from what you wrote that you don''t work in a conflict, because Aaron is right. Moderation and tolerance are the tools and the qualities that are needed in our dialog. I found your words: "insidious and shallow" very violent and aggressive.You can say what you think without being rude and violent. About Mahatma Gandhi, he wasn''t a saint and not everything he said and did should be copied. For example, he had some anti-Semitic remarks.


Date:  17/07/2008
Name:  Nina K.
E-mail:  fericitulghitza@yahoo.com
To Aaron Barnea''s reply
I''m speaking from a neutral place, as I''m neither Israeli neither Palestinian, but Romanian. I''m not looking for extremism, as I do not agree with violence. But the kind of moderation you are speaking about is maybe the weak point of most of the Peace Organizations. They are so much looking for moderation till they end up in forgetting what was their main target and forgetting that they enrolled in their organization in order to OBTAIN something. For more inspiration I should give you the example of Mahatma Gandhi, who, beside the fact he was a peacemaker, he was a peace fighter... It''s true, fighting with non-violence, but FIGHTING and never giving up. I honestly found your reply insidious and shallow.


 
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