Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Conceit of Courage

Daniel Bolomey, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Swiss Section, yesterday published a large and expensive ad in Haaretz, in English, praising a group of Israeli and Jewish groups for speaking out against the war. His letter includes the following:
Over the last few days and weeks, you have all spoken out against the humanitarian tragedy in Gaza and the logic of military violence. We know just how difficult this has been - and still is - and are deeply impressed by your courageous commitment.
It must have been terrifying to live in Gaza during the operation. It was certainly frightening to be among the 1,000,000 Israeli civilians made to race to their shelters, even if they knew that by so racing they probably really were taking themselves out of physical danger. I can tell from experience how unpleasant it was to have a family member in the thick of the fighting.

For the life of me I can't tell what courage might be required for people in democratic Israel to speak their mind. Pretending it was tells us something fundamental about how these people understand reality.

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