We must all take a stand against what Israel is doing

There is one significant issue that Tim Wessel did not address in his recent letter (where he wrote that "if you are on the streets demanding that Israel lay down arms and you are not asking the same of Hamas, you are siding with terrorists, and I question your moral compass"). This issue is also not generally addressed in other discussions about Palestine and Israel, so I'd like to do so here:

I don't like fighting, and I wish people wouldn't do it - but they do. That, unfortunately, is human nature. I do not go out and protest every time people fight, not even if they fight viciously and cruelly. As much as I dislike it, it is silly to protest human nature itself.

But there is a huge difference between people who fight each other while living freely and one person or group keeping another in captivity and then torturing and destroying them.

Fighting may be a sad fact of human nature, but keeping people in captivity and torturing and destroying them is not. It is a perversion of anything and everything natural. While most of us dislike fighting, even more of us feel outright moral revulsion at cruel, torturous, and murderous behavior.

When anyone crosses the line from fighting to keeping people captive, we can expect those in captivity to lash out with extreme, violent rage the moment they see an opportunity to do so. This, too, is human nature. We would all act similarly if forced to stay in harsh enough conditions of captivity.

Israel has crossed this line in Gaza. This is why so many people protest Israel and not Palestine. It is not because we think that Israel is innately bad or because we hate Jews - I myself am a Jew.

It is also not because we think that all Palestinians are innocent, peace-loving people. We know that many of them willingly support, participate in, and provoke an ongoing fight with Israel. Even when they have not been held captive in Gaza, they (like many Israelis) have often fought viciously and cruelly.

The protests against Israel are not about "good" people versus "bad" people; they are about Israel crossing that line and arousing moral revulsion.

But shouldn't Israel be allowed to defend itself? Yes, it should - but it is morally obligated to do so without committing further war crimes.

Of course, it seems expedient to gather all our adversaries, place them in captivity, and eliminate them. But as moral beings, we must never succumb to this expediency. It may be tempting, we might feel justified in doing it, and it may make us feel safe - but still, we must not do it.

If we are attacked, we might have to fight, unfortunately, but keeping people captive and then exterminating them is horrific, and we must never cross that line.

We cannot protest every fight going on in this world, but we must all take a stand against what Israel is engaged in now - just as many stood up against this same horrifically immoral behavior when it was inflicted on Jews during the Holocaust.

This form of captivity is always wrong, no matter who does it, no matter why they do it, and no matter who they do it to.

Greg Sellei


This letter to the editor was submitted to The Commons.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates