Saturday, January 10, 2009

Conversations from a dinner party

Last night Irit and I were invited to the 70th birthday party of a friend from Haifa. The party took place in a large and luxurious house in one of the expensive suburbs north of Tel Aviv. I don't know whether anyone had dilemmas about having the party during a war but I suspect not. We were about 90 minutes drive from Gaza where dozens of Palestinians are getting killed every day and where Israeli soldiers are risking their lives day and night.

I had two conversations at the party about the war with friends, white Caucasian upper middle class Jewish Israeli males about 70 years old, one a physicist, the other a dentist, both gentle, pleasant, thinking people. I suspect that if I hadn't brought up the question of the war , it wouldn't have arisen.

Me: What do you think about the war?
He: I suppose you want it to end. Most people (i.e. Jewish Israelis) want it to continue
Me: Do you think about the war?
He: Only when I watch the news on television

Me: What do you think about the war?
He: I'm very disappointed
Me: Disappointed?
He: It can't work. The world won't accept that there are 700 Palestinians killed and only 6 Israelis killed. The only way we could beat them is by killing a huge number but that's not practical
Me: Not practical ?!!
He: I mean the world won't let us do it.

After a bit more prodding, he did say that this option is not moral, but practicality was evidently the prime consideration and morality the secondary one.

Irit would argue that such comments do not reflect what Jewish Israelis really think but but just that everyone is frustrated and doesn't know what to do and that Jewish Israelis would make far-reaching concessions for a guaranteed and durable peace. I wonder.

1 comment:

Livio Sirovich said...

I agree with Irit