[I]n dealing with what is an extraordinarily complex situation where so many people are in pain and passions are understandably running high, all of us need to do our best to put our best values, rather than our worst fears, on display.
That means actively opposing anti-semitism in all its forms, everywhere. It means rejecting efforts to minimize the terrible tragedy that the Israeli people have just endured, as well as the morally-bankrupt suggestion that any cause can somehow justify the deliberate slaughter of innocent people.
It means rejecting anti-Muslim, anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian sentiment. It means refusing to lump all Palestinians with Hamas or other terrorist groups. It means guarding against dehumanizing language towards the people of Gaza, or downplaying Palestinian suffering — whether in Gaza or the West Bank — as irrelevant or illegitimate.
It means recognizing that Israel has every right to exist; that the Jewish people have claim to a secure homeland where they have ancient historical roots; and that there have been instances in which previous Israeli governments made meaningful efforts to resolve the dispute and provide a path for a two-state solution — efforts that were ultimately rebuffed by the other side.
It means acknowledging that Palestinians have also lived in disputed territories for generations; that many of them were not only displaced when Israel was formed but continue to be forcibly displaced by a settler movement that too often has received tacit or explicit support from the Israeli government; that Palestinian leaders who’ve been willing to make concessions for a two-state solution have too often had little to show for their efforts; and that it is possible for people of good will to champion Palestinian rights and oppose certain Israeli government policies in the West Bank and Gaza without being anti-semitic.
Perhaps most of all, it means we should choose not to always assume the worst in those with whom we disagree. In an age of constant rancor, trolling and misinformation on social media, at a time when so many politicians and attention seekers see an advantage in shedding heat rather than light, it may be unrealistic to expect respectful dialogue on any issue — much less on an issue with such high stakes and after so much blood has been spilled. But if we care about keeping open the possibility of peace, security and dignity for future generations of Israeli and Palestinian children — as well as for our own children — then it falls upon all of us to at least make the effort to model, in our own words and actions, the kind of world we want them to inherit.