The Corner

‘Were They Pro-Palestinian?’

I crammed a lot into Impromptus today, maybe more than usual. But here’s something extra I wish to say in this most glorious of group blogs: I was talking yesterday to a friend of mine about the Israel Philharmonic’s experience at the BBC Proms. Demonstrators refused to let the orchestra proceed with its concert. My friend said, “Were they pro-Palestinian?” I said to her, “Well, I would call them anti-Israeli.”

I am pro-Palestinian, and so is Natan Sharansky — and so is Bibi Netanyahu. We want Palestinians, and everyone else, to live in peace and freedom. We are so pro-Palestinian that we actually think they should be free of dictatorship, tyranny, want, squalor, and lies. Something like 1.5 million Arabs — “Palestinians,” if you like — live in Israel. (It used to be that the only “Palestinians” were Jews. The Israel Phil. began life as the PSO, the Palestine Symphony Orchestra.) When Palestinian homosexuals and other “undesirables” flee for their lives from the West Bank or Gaza, where do they flee? You bet.

“Pro-Israeli” and “pro-Palestinian” — very unhelpful terms. Decent people are pro-everybody. But these terms are unavoidable, I suppose, like those other unhelpful terms “pro-war” and “anti-war.” We’re all anti-war (except for psychopaths): Some of us think that this or that war is necessary and justified, some of us don’t.

Okay, I’m done preachin’, till the next time.

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