Cornell West has a brave op-ed piece on the moral disaster that is the Middle East:
As we witness another sad chapter in the Middle East -- the loss of precious human beings, the presence of deep hatred and revenge, and the absence of Socratic questioning and empathy for all -- the spirit of Spinoza haunts us.
Where are the courageous thinkers who ask the hard questions that shatter our simplistic and sentimental frameworks of pure Israeli heroes and impure Arab villains (or vice versa) in the conflict? Is it possible for Jews to reject the ugly Israeli subjugation of Palestinians, the plight of their prisoners in Israeli jails (especially the women and children), or the anti-Arab bigotry in Israeli society without being demonized a self-hating Jew?
Is it possible for Arabs to reject the pernicious rhetoric of pushing Israel into the sea, the barbaric practice of suicide bombers and the anti-Jewish bigotry in Arab communities without being demeaned a traitorous Arab? Have the wars of the blood-soaked region so coarsened consciences, hardened hearts, and closed minds such that the spirit of Spinoza is dead and buried?
This spirit of Spinoza is not hard to define at the present moment. It requires security for Israelis, justice for Palestinians, and dignity for Lebanese. The colossal failure of Arab politicians to speak boldly and act courageously for these three aims is pathetic. Oil interests and fear of democratic reform at home cripple Arab political leadership -- and now threaten their legitimacy and stability.
Here in the United States, oil dependency and moral hypocrisy drive our policy. We rightly support the security of Israelis -- the world must never ever permit another Holocaust against Jews. Yet we wrongly talk and act as if the life of an Arab -- especially Palestinian or Lebanese -- has less value than that of an Israeli -- especially Jewish. Hence the low priority on the lives of those under the vicious Israeli occupation or on innocent Lebanese victims of Israeli bombs.
Read it and weep and then take action.