Sunday, October 18, 2015

Four Principles of Conflict

1 – Violence against civilians is wrong. It doesn't matter who does it: Israelis or Palestinians, ISIS beheadings or American drones – it's always wrong. And rationalizations - “we weren't targeting civilians” or “our oppression made us do it” - are only lame excuses.

2 – No one is completely wrong, and no one is completely right. We can't divorce actions from the conditions that give rise to them. Saying “don't write the second paragraph” is an attempt to cut off understanding the conditioning of your adversary at a point at which you can feel virtuous about your actions – but no one is blameless, and no one deserves to feel virtuous. If we don't make an effort to understand the other side's conditioning we'll never achieve peace.

3 – If you say you want peace but you won't work for justice, all you want is quiet, and you won't get peace or justice.

4 – As Rabbi Gandhi said: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”