This is not a post about who is right and wrong in Israel-Palestine.
This is a post about how the rest of us talk about who is right and wrong in Israel-Palestine.
Conventional discourse on the subject goes like this:
X is right, good, values life, wants peace, is a victim, and is sane. Y is wrong, bad, doesn’t value life, doesn’t want peace, is a villain, and is insane.
Then, data is selected and presented (and other data ignored or discredited) to prove the proposition. I suppose the goal is to prove that whichever is deemed the right, good, life-valuing, peace-loving, victimized and sane party has the right to continue killing the other.
Which seems ridiculous and tragic, when you think about it.
Another approach to the issue would say:
Both X and Y are a mix of right and wrong, good and bad, valuing some life more than others, acting sometimes as victims and sometimes as villains, and a mixture of sanity and insanity. They aren’t necessarily morally equivalent, but neither is to exempted from moral assessment.
A further possibility would be to say:
X and Y are acting more or less sanely if one understands their respective goals.
That third possibility would raise this question:
In the pursuit of what goals would the actions of both Israel and Palestine make sense?
I’d like to offer a few thoughts on that question in a day or two. But for now, I hope people will at least consider defecting from the prevailing good-guys/bad-guys mode of discourse. It gets us nowhere we want to be.