"Jonny Steinberg’s verbal brilliance obscures the intellectual and ethical poverty of his piece in Business Day, 17 July (Small flames of empathy in a wind of subjugation). Does he imagine that only his small band of self-styled progressives and activists are capable of feeling empathy or that the ordinary Israeli kid, compelled to police the
Steinberg assures us that he was “moderately well informed” before leaving on his deliberately selective tour of the West Bank/Israel but where is that is revealed in his writing. Where, for instance, does he ask why it was necessary for the Israelis to go to the extraordinary expense and trouble of creating a “vein-like network of roads” for the exclusive use of the settlers, whereas Israeli Arabs are free to travel where they like within
If he had enquired, he would have discovered that it was because the young Palestinian boys with “bullet belts slung over their shoulders” had murdered over a 1000 Israelis in the early years of the Intifada, and that Jewish settlers in the
Ah, says Steinberg (and his clones) at this point: “if the Israelis simply vacated the
Would that were true. The Israelis tried to leave in 1999/2000 when the West Bank had been prospering economically, growing by leaps and bounds demographically and with its health and mortality figures showing the benefits of cooperation and relative peace. The answer was the Intifada and its consequences.
They cannot leave because Hamas,
Steinberg’s perspective is revealed in his last paragraph where Israelis are implicitly enjoined to nurture the “little bridges being built”, not simply out of a common humanity, but because when American dominance happily ends they may need the supposed goodwill of their enemies.
Jews have suffered the tenderness of strangers for more than 2000 years of statelessness, which is precisely the reason why