Rabbi Michael Lerner offers wise advice on Israel and Palestine

If you haven’t heard, Palestine is planning to apply to the UN for membership as an independent nation. Tragically, the US could find itself in the position of vetoing the application. (Please, President Obama, don’t let that happen!) I think Rabbi Michael Lerner strikes the right general balance in this editorial:

Israel was the first affirmative action state, recognized by the United Nations primarily out of a global recognition that the Jewish people had faced extraordinary persecution through much of the past two thousand years, culminating in the Holocaust. Its policy of giving a special right of return and special rights to immigrant housing is a legitimate response to the vulnerability the Jewish people continue to face in light of continuing hatred of Jews based on prejudicial views of who Jews are and what we stand for.
… Similarly, the Palestinian state that is now emerging should be recognized as an affirmation action state, recognized by the United Nations before it has control over any territory of its own as a way to alleviate the special suffering of the Palestinian people. It should have a special right of return and special rights to immigrant housing for Palestinians living anywhere in the world in light of the suffering that Palestinian refugees have faced under occupation by Israel and in Arab countries which have often treated Palestinians in harsh and discriminatory ways.

I think there are several ways that the tragedy there could be ameliorated long-term – a one-secular-state solution or a two-state solution with mutual respect or a regional alliance of several states, for example. But I hope the US won’t once again squash Palestinian hopes by vetoing their attempts at a peaceful solution to a tragic situation … a complex situation in which all sides have legitimate hopes, all sides have made mistakes, all sides have legitimate grievances, and all sides need peace with justice. We need solutions that are pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace, and pro-justice. God help us.