In reference to Amir Shacham’s opinion piece “My Israel: Triumph, tragedy, optimism” (April 24), I read Ari Shavit’s book My Promised Land several months ago and found it to be both fascinating and heart-wrenching and recommended it widely.
Upon mentioning it to some of my Israeli friends, their response was virulently negative, calling Shavit an anti-Zionist and no friend of Israel. I re-read some of the book, especially the terrible chapter on the human catastrophe that ensued during the takeover of the city of Lydda in 1948.
As Shacham points out in his article, we Americans love our country despite its years of cruelty to Native Americans, the enslavement of African-Americans, and all of its warts. So, too, does Israel have stains on its history which must be faced if we are to be honest about that nation’s development to become one of the world’s greatest miracles. Only it wasn’t a miracle: It was created through political decisions, life or death decisions for the sake of survival.
Let’s face it — Israel has had to fight for its life since its UN establishment and sometimes has been forced even to engage in brutality against the very heart and soul of Judaism.