I just wrote the above headline to get your attention. In a long, heartfelt, post, Andrew writes of me:
He is a passionate believer in Israel and has to endure a huge amount of calumny, bile and pressure for writings things that many Israel supporters do not want to hear. In this I have long admired both his passion and his courage in a very, very hard place. I am in that place too. I have been in that place on gay issues on many occasions - especially during the 1990s. God knows my writings on my own Church have led to an incredibly arduous and painful experience for me personally. But I continue to write about them because, believe it or not, I still love my church as deeply as Jeffrey loves Israel. It's not easy, and the attraction of just stepping aside is real and constant.
I could pick nits here, but I'm not going to, because this post is very honest, and it represents the way he sees my predicament. He goes on to write:
On the Israel question, all I can say is that the number of ugly anti-Semitic emails I get are vastly outnumbered by constant, vicious attacks on me as an anti-Semite. Maybe Jeffrey isn't copied on those. And maybe these thuggish emails - like the ones that routinely accuse me of AIDS dementia - sometimes lead to real-time blogging that can be emotional.
I actually do get a fair number of e-mails attacking Andrew, and attacking me for not attacking Andrew ("You douchebag self-hater" is the way one e-mail last week addressed me) and to the more serious, or reasoned, or less vicious ones, I do respond privately, and in those private responses, I do note, for instance, that Andrew is not now nor has he ever been a member of the Islamic Jihad. I don't post these because I don't want to add to the heat of a very hot situation, though the truth is, it doesn't take much endurance to absorb the idiocy of haters.
Then Andrew writes:
But I do want to say - before I tear his argument to shreds - that I understand what Jeffrey endures on a regular basis and admire his courage in tackling difficult subjects nonetheless. Because he loves Israel; and Israel is committing a slow suicide. It is tough to watch.
Let me make two points here: One, if he does indeed try to tear my argument to shreds in the next week or so, and I don't respond, it's because I'm going off-line for a little while for entirely unrelated reasons. Two, I disagree with his formulation about Israel's suicide, though not entirely. If anything, Israel may wind up the victim of murder-suicide. The long and brutal strategy of Arab Muslim extremists is to keep up the pressure on Israel until it makes a fatal mistake (the Gaza invasion, many believe -- and I do, on some days -- was an example of a non-fatal, but pretty damn serious strategic mistake) or until Israelis simply give up. This strategy, of course, means the sacrifice of generations of Palestinians (Saudi Arabia could build every Palestinian in Gaza a villa with a couple of days of oil revenue, if it so chose, but, for obvious reasons, the Palestinians' brother-Arabs find it useful to keep Palestinians in refugee camps.)
But there's a point here. I've been writing since 2004 that Israel will one day be considered an apartheid state if it continues to rule over a population of Arabs that doesn't want to be ruled by Israelis. That is why it is vital for Israel to establish permanent, internationally-recognized borders that more-or-less adhere to the 1967 border. Unlike Andrew, I believe that Israel has tried to free itself from ruling these Palestinians (the pull-out from Gaza is an example, as is Ehud Olmert's recent, unanswered offer to the Palestinians to pull out from virtually 100 percent of the West Bank). But the reality remains: It will be very dangerous for Israel to engineer this pull-back, but it will be, over time, fatal for it to stay in the West Bank. Anyway, more to come, eventually.
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