The recent hostilities between Israel and Palestine were horrifying. People being killed, property destroyed, and divisions that already exist, exacerbated. While the world watched, we heard comments from politicians, justifying their positions and condemning the other side. It appeared, from reporting, that we should choose a side — about who to blame.
There have been demonstrations and marches around the world, supporting both sides. What seems incongruous is that when individuals complain about the state of Israel, they have often been labeled as anti-Semitic. Conversely, criticizing the Palestinians is anti-Muslim. Complaining about a government’s policies and actions, does not mean you are anti citizens of that state. If that were true, then when someone complains about America, that would mean they are anti-American.
The ability to be critical of governance is inherent in the American experience; it is part of our DNA. As President Teddy Roosevelt said, “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president [or our government] is morally treasonable to the American public.”
While a cease fire currently exists, the reasons for hostilities are still present. Both sides can be criticized about their polices and actions, until the root problems are addressed. To be clear, hate speech — from any side — is not acceptable.
If we ever stopped questioning our government’s policies, I would be concerned.