Friday, December 17, 2010


As some of you already know, my short story, Dolphinarium, has been selected as the 2010 SCWC-LA Hummingbird Review writing contest winner. The Hummingbird Review will publish the story in February. I'm really excited about this, although not quite as excited as my mom, who I believe may have scheduled a press conference.

Dolphinarium was inspired by a particularly horrendous terrorist attack in Israel in 2001. Although it involves an incident that may be unfamiliar to many Americans,  I hope the story will resonate with a general readership;  I hope that our collective experience of terror on September 11th has sensitized us to the suffering of the victims of other such crimes.

Dolphinarium Memorial, Tel Aviv
Unfortunately, some in this country remain immune to empathy. Time recently ran a piece on the psychological effects of Israel's separation barrier on young Palestinians. The article could have—even should have—become an important part of the discussion in Israel concerning its relationship to its neighbors. Unfortunately, though, there are so many false, misleading, or simply outrageous assertions to be found in the article that one is forced, in the end, to dismiss it.

In one example, the author visits a Palestinian classroom in which only a small minority of students favor a peaceful settlement with Israel. According to the article:
The rest of the 10th-grade computer-science class insists upon getting all of Palestine back—every acre, from the Jordan River to the sea, the way it was before 1948.
Excuse me? Perhaps Time is referring to 1948 BCE. In the more recent 1948, there were over half a million Jews between the river and the Mediterranean, with major Jewish population centers in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, and throughout the country. In fact, Jews comprised a significant majority in the land identified by the UN partition plan as the future state of Israel.

No surprises so far—just the media presenting Palestinian propaganda as unchallenged truth. Business as usual.

The most galling declaration, however, is found closer to the beginning of the article:
But the Wall has done more than keep out suicide bombers. No less important, it has created a separation of the mind.
GOP to 9/11 First Responders:
"Drop Dead"
Don't misunderstand me: the reduction in routine daily contact between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews is indeed a negative consequence of the barrier, one that should concern us. But to cast that consideration as "no less important" than the elimination of murderous attacks on civilians—men, women, and, as was overwhelmingly the case in the Dolphinarium atrocity, children—is as reprehensible as it is irresponsible.

It is simply stunning, only 9 years after September 11th, that Time can create, and expect its readers to accept, such a callous equivalence. Perhaps I'm giving too much credit to our fellow citizens, the same folks whose elected representatives can't be bothered to allocate funds for health care for September 11th first responders. If so, shame on us for our short memories, for our lack of empathy, for our abandonment of those who were sacrificed and those who sacrificed to save them.

And shame on Time for its careless historical revisionism and its casual devaluation of Jewish lives.

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