NEW YORK – As the bombardment of Gaza continues, and the civilian death toll rises above 1,200 – with children comprising one-quarter of the victims – the world has become polarized. Supporters of Israel’s actions invoke its right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks. Opponents argue that nothing justifies the mass killing of civilians and the destruction of essential infrastructure.
Unsurprisingly, Israeli society is polarizing as well. Even as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government has fully mobilized hasbara (“public diplomacy” or “spin,” depending on your point of view) and hardens its position, peace activists are taking to Israel’s streets. Israelis from all walks of life, and increasing numbers of Diaspora Jews, are speaking out, rejecting what they call Israel’s frequent violation of international law and the injustice of what they describe as a two-tier system of citizenship and law.