Not since the 1960s has the United States been as racially charged as it is today. The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has forced Americans to confront centuries of systemic abuse of Black Americans. It has also brought to light the common causes of racism and oppression against Latinos, Native Americans, Muslims, and especially in recent days, Palestinians.
Youth and progressives, who now are exposed to the voices and experiences of Palestinians through social media, are no longer uncritically accepting politicians’ unconditional support of Israel. Progressives see the parallels between their own critique of America’s settler-colonial past and Israel’s abuse of Palestinians.
At the same time, Hamas has failed its own people by insisting on Israel’s destruction. And the Palestinian Authority, led by the 85-year-old Mahmoud Abbas, is considered corrupt and dysfunctional. The Palestinian people are faced with the challenging task of reimagining their future and charting their trajectory toward justice and freedom.
In the end, change can only happen through diplomacy, which brings those on opposite ends of the political/ideological spectrum into a relational framework. When bitter enemies can acknowledge the pain of the “other,” peace becomes possible.
Israel was founded by people who believed that their new country should embody not just nationalism but also justice and morality. There does not appear to be much hope in the wake of recent violence, but there is still much we can do to support and amplify the voices of those working for peace through diplomacy. Through their efforts and ours, Israel can still be, in the words of Isaiah, “a light unto the nations.”
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