The poster above is in a friend’s window in New York. It has been since the last Israeli onslaught on Gaza, three years ago. Here’s the street view:
Two days ago it got an anonymous response, taped to a door in the apartment house, accusing my friend of showing support for people who would have “me and my family and my friends mutilated to a cheering crowd”:
This incident brings home a few points to me. The letter isn’t canned. People who support Israel are highly articulate and engaged. They are individuals; they might be part of the Israel lobby, but no lobby is orchestrating them. They know what they think.
They feel a need these days to reflect criticism of Israel: “the discriminatory policies of Israel’s rightwing government.”
Many are deluded or suffer from paranoia, or what some have called a national psychosis: This individual in America thinks that Palestinians want to mutilate him or her– and “my family and my friends”– even as Israel is doing a lot of killing of Palestinians. And they are, by and large, Jewish and self-involved. The writer is engaged totally with the Jewish experience of history (the Holocaust) and blind to the living Palestinian experience (ethnic cleansing, apartheid).