Magazine article Tikkun

Readers Respond

Magazine article Tikkun

Readers Respond

Article excerpt


We welcome your responses to our articles. Send letters to the editor to Please remember, however, not to attribute to Tikkun views other than those expressed in our editorials. We email, post, and print many articles with which we have strong disagreements because that is what makes Tikkun a location for a true diversity of ideas. Tikkun reserves the right to edit your letters to fit available space in the magazine.


The Palestinian Authority reached out to Hamas to form a unity government. This apparently so upset Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel that he canceled the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. There will be no peace between Israel and Palestine and no hope for an independent Palestinian state under Benjamin Netanyahu. There will only be hope if Netanyahu is defeated in a future election by Tzipi Livni. -Robert May, Portland, OR

michael lerner responds:

Nor will there be peace under Tzipi Livni or any other probable candidate for prime minister until there is a change of heart in both peoples such that they understand the narrative of the other and have compassion for those whom they've come to see as unrelenting enemies. Though Israel was outrageous and arrogant in refusing to fulfill the terms that created the rounds of talks that ended in May (freeing Palestinian prisoners), the Palestinians made a crucial error by refusing to embrace an idea thrown out by Kerry and momentarily embraced by Netanyahu-the suggestion that settlers could stay in the West Bank but as citizens of a Palestinian state (presumably living under Palestinian laws and giving up their Israeli citizenship). This proposal could only work if Israel also apologized for its part in the 1948 Nakba and agreed to bring back 20,000 Palestinians per year for the next thirty years and provide them with decent housing and jobs. I've written on this idea at more length in Embracing Israel/Palestine, where I analyzed the psycho-spiritual post-traumatic stress disorder that afflicts both sides, and in my editorial in Tikkun's Winter 2014 issue, where I defined the only terms that would produce a sustainable agreement that could satisfy the basic needs of both sides.

It's a waste of time to revive those talks. What would work better is for Obama himself to take on the task of laying out the proposal I outlined above in detail to the Israeli people and Palestinian people over the heads of their leadership. After the midterm elections, it is conceivable he could do this because he will never have to run for office again. Obama could simultaneously seek to build a constituency for this proposal among the American people, undeterred by AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, and all other unresponsive bodies. He'd meet with much resistance from the diehards on both sides, but if he had the backbone to try to sell this plan to the American, Israeli, and Palestinian publics, he'd do more for peace than would any agreement that he could impose on the leaders of those countries. (Imposed agreements always risk being defeated in practice, as the Oslo Accord was after having been signed with great hoopla at the White House in 1993.) That path might make it easier for a future president to push Israel toward a reasonable peace position and give strength to the openhearted people on all sides of this struggle who realize that only a generous and just peace can possibly be sustainable. …

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