The loyal opposition

The loyal opposition

Shumel Rosner’s opinion piece in The New York Times, in which he described liberal Zionist critics of Israel as “fair-weather fans,” was annoying (Editor’s Column, “Why are we losing the liberals?”, Aug. 14). He seems to represent moderate Israelis who don’t want to learn that liberal Jews increasingly are distancing themselves from Israel, which Peter Beinart has compellingly written about and Rosner stubbornly describes as a “shaky theory.” He’s telling us basically to “get lost” if we disagree with the direction Israel is going now.

What should moderate Israelis learn from all this? That until Israel has a government that tries really hard to negotiate a two-state peace agreement with the PA, confronting the militant pro-settler movement and their political parties as it must, liberal Jews are going to be increasingly discomfited by Israel’s actions. Israel had a right to fire back at rockets and to destroy the Hamas attack tunnels, but fewer and fewer of us will make apologies for the suffering of Gazans — even though, as I would argue, it’s Hamas that invited the heavy loss of civilian lives.

So sorry, Mr. Rosner; I don’t intend to wash my hands of Israel, and I think loyalty and concern can be expressed better at times such as now through criticism than through unconditional support.

Phyllis Bernstein

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