While assimilating the daily commentary about the Middle East and Israeli-Islamist Conflict, and the incessant drum beat of political analysts who insist, despite the considerable historical evidence to the contrary, that additional Israeli territorial compromise will undoubtedly lead to peace and security, I’m reminded of a quote in Alexandre Solzhenitsyn’s classic, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a story set in a Soviet Gulag in the 1950s, describing a single day of an ordinary prisoner, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov.
“How can you expect a man who’s warm to understand a man who’s cold?”
It’s not that there aren’t many two-state solution proponents who truly have Israel’s best interest in mind, it’s that in the political abstraction that Israel has become – this increasing tendency by Jew and non-Jew alike to see Israel, and Israelis, as the proverbial “other” – they often lack the capacity to feel the empathy (in the generic sense, meaning the capacity to recognize and share the concerns that are being experienced by another) afforded to those whose identity aren’t obscured by such cognitive distance.
While there are, without question, many who are callously indifferent to Israel’s security concerns, and many who are motivated by nothing but malice, it certainly seems reasonable to expect those who aren’t hostile or indifferent to consider the considerable risks associated with drawing new national boundaries which would render our entire country vulnerable to (increasingly sophisticated and accurate) enemy rocket fire – a quite likely scenario in the event that radical elements maintain significant political presence in a nascent Palestinian state.
I used to live in a prosperous country whose neighbors included Canada and Mexico, and fully understand the political assumptions which can be nurtured by such a bubble.
As such, we merely ask those currently living in peace and without fear (free of the the existential threats that my new national family is forced to face daily) to expand their considerable political imagination to include the very real-world concerns of those whose very moral legitimacy and, indeed, mere existence is cruelly and relentlessly challenged – a reasonable, sober and, it seems, quite modest proposal.