- Pathfinder

Reply To: Have you ever been told that supporting Israel prevents you from supporting Palestinians? After taking this course, how would you go about responding to false accusations like this?

Robert Burkett

Yes, my understanding of any practical resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine has always been implicitly shaped by the idea that the conflict was a zero-sum game – support for one side necessarily took away support for the other. Working in the hyper-polarized political environment of Washington, DC created this false dichotomy because every issue is shaped by the perspectives of only two political parties, the Republicans and Democrats, who are often in direct opposition to one another.

An appropriate response is that the problem, and any proposed solutions, are much more complicated than being simply “pro-Israel” or “pro-Palestine.” The intermingling of both groups and the significant divisions in governance between the Israeli-controlled areas, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and Hamas in the Gaza strip mean that any such resolution to the conflict would, in theory, benefit Palestinians and Israelis because any agreement would necessarily impact them all. One can support Israel’s right to self-determination without dehumanizing Palestinians, and vice versa. Cessation of hostilities in the region and an end to violence, for example, would be a guaranteed victory for all parties involved.