And thus my regular column at The Daily Beast/Zion Square begins! I’ll be running a post every other Friday, starting today (in addition to the occasional one-off piece, such as the one that ran on launch day).
You’ll find the top of today’s entry below — I suspect it will win me few friends, but there it is. One doesn’t get into the poorly-paying having-opinions-about-Israel/Palestine biz in order to win friends.
To read the whole thing, I encourage you to click here — and just like I did last week, I really mean it: Please click! (And of course: FB, Tweet, Stumble, Pin, Digg, etc, and so on. Tell your friends! Is what I’m saying). I would surely take it as a kindness.
You Don’t Make Peace With Your Friends
I was at the grocery store on Arlozorov Street one bright spring morning in 1997. Tel Aviv was gearing up for Purim, so I likely had hamentaschen in the cart, certainly challah and probably milk. I was, no doubt, staring into the middle distance when I began to notice a certain agitation animating the store’s elderly security guard. He crossed the store and began to speak in urgent tones with his manager, radio in hand.
In Israel, these are signs that “mashehu kara,” something’s happened – and by “something” folks mean: an attack, rockets, Israeli death at Arab hands.
The security guard, it transpired, had heard news of another suicide bombing – but this one was literally around the corner from my apartment. On that spring day, three young mothers, out for coffee, were killed at the now-infamous Apropos Restaurant.
I was then a correspondents’ assistant with the Los Angeles Times, so I rushed home, got my reporter’s notebook, and ran the space of three apartment buildings to the scene. Later that night, having walked past the blood and talked to witnesses and called family to say that yes, it was very near our house but no, we were fine, I sank to the floor in my hallway, suddenly weeping.
Of all the acts of terrorism that ripped through Israel in the 14 years I lived there, this one retains a particular power over me, its proximity to my home a reminder that Hamas was gunning for me and mine, as well. If the three mothers had been three mothers + a young married couple? So much the better. Three people, or twenty; young, or old – as long as they were dead.
I take Hamas very seriously, and I take their hatred of me very personally. I do not like them, I do not support them, I do not apologize for them.
And of course, while you’re at Zion Square, take a look around! There’s a lot of good stuff being produced, and it’s just about the only place you’ll find that range and depth of opinion. That Peter Beinart, man. He’s a saint to have taken this on, and to be standing tall under all the garbage being dumped on him (seriously, read Andrew Sullivan’s “The Assault on Peter Beinart.” It’ll make your hair stand on end). Show the blog some love. He/it deserves it.