Friday, January 14, 2011

Refusing to Hate

Two years ago, I wrote a post about Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor who worked in Israeli hospitals, and whose children were killed in front of his eyes when an Israeli shell landed on his house during Cast Lead. Dr. Abuelaish, who had spent his life working to save lives and bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians, became one of the most visible victims of the conflict because the only person he could think to call to help his family was an Israeli journalist friend, who took the call live on air.

Despite his immense loss, Dr. Abuelaish never wavered in his belief that the only way forward was peace between Israel and Palestine. He has become a symbol for those who have suffered the most and yet have not given in to despair, have not fallen into the abyss. And those of us who have no suffered as has he disrespect his name and legacy when we permit ourselves to harbor the fires of hatred and extremism which he has so tellingly rejected.

The Telegraph has an excerpt of Dr. Abuelaish's new book, I Shall Not Hate. It is well worth your time. And while I continue to hope that Dr. Abuelaish's children are the last price, I also know that it is men like he who will finally bring peace, justice, and coexistence to all persons in Israel and in Palestine.


N. Friedman said...

What a stark difference between Dr. Abuelaish and most of his compatriots, who reject any settlement other than an interim one and who, in overwhelming numbers, reject the presence of Jews in the land.

David Schraub said...

So I take it you'll be buying Dr. Abuelaish's book, then -- focusing on the positive?

N. Friedman said...

I have no problem with that or with him - and I am familiar with him.

I do, however, have problems with people who overlook that he is, in fact, not just the exception but the rarest of rare exceptions regarding opinion among Palestinian Arabs.

joe said...

The man deserves some credit, not only for his commitment to peace, but his steadfast embrace of peace in a circumstance where I, frankly, doubt it would be on the minds of very many Americans (and certainly not the good folks of the Tea Party).

But then again, we've always expected model minorities to go above and beyond.

N. Friedman said...


Arabs are not the minority in the region and, where Dr. Abuelaish comes from, he is certainly not a minority. Were the Arabs a minority, it is far likelier that the dispute would long ago have been resolved. Be that as it many, he is a man of peace, a rarity on his side of the dispute, where "armed struggle" is and has always been fashionable.

joe said...

I'm not interested in playing semantics, and this post is the only bit of back-and-forth I plan on having with you today. I think it was obvious I was talking about American attitudes. To Americans, Arabs are most certainly considered a minority group. And since we so often hear how the U.S. would behave in the Israelis' shoes it is only fair to ponder how we would behave in the Palestinians' shoes. Those are the only points I was making.