This is long but worth a read...
By Richard Forer
[A letter I wrote to a college student who had written the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel asking the group to remove a billboard that said "Tell Congress. Stop Killing Children. No More Military Aid to Israel." The billboard was erected in Albuquerque in the Spring of 2009 after the Gaza catastrophe. I was the spokesperson.]
Thank you for your letter. First, I assume you are Jewish. Is that correct? Before I get into the specifics of your letter I want to talk about a few things you might find interesting. I do so because everyone involved in the Israel-Palestine issue has the potential to change the world from an arena of Us against Them into one of peace and respect. But that requires undeviating self-honesty, which leads to compassion, clarity and understanding. Most people do not take up the challenge of looking deeply within for fear of what they might find. They revert to the safety of their presumed identity and the beliefs and images that make up and reinforce their identity. Attachment to a limited or exclusive identity always carries with it the consciousness of Us against Them. The consciousness of Us against Them requires that there be unending conflict.
Perhaps you have it within yourself to look beyond what you currently see as all sides of the issue. I hope so because the lives of those who suffer on either side of the conflict depend upon people like you. Peace is only possible when we care for people on both sides equally. We do not have to like the other but we have to recognize that he is just as entitled to self-determination as us, that he has the same human needs for respect and dignity as do we. We also have to begin to understand and ask why the other acts as he does. Does his motivation arise in a vacuum or does it arise in relationship to our own behavior. Have we played roles in inciting his behavior? Until we take responsibility for the parts we play in the drama of human suffering and as it relates to the Israel-Palestine conflict, peace has no chance; and the people we claim to care about will continue to suffer and die, now and into the bloody future, in Israel, in Palestine and throughout the world. They will die and suffer because our true goal is not their well being; our true goal is to maintain our presumed identity; it is to confirm the beliefs and images that we incorrectly associate with our personal and collective identity.