Earlier this year, Free Inquiry invited readers to share their opinions on Israel, Palestine, and the enduring Middle East deadlock. (Tom Flynn, “Middle East Deadlock: Where Do You Stand?,” FI, April/May 2030.) Readers responded in great number with wide-ranging and, usually, cogently argued viewpoints. In most cases, the statements were edited aggressively for length; as a group, FI readers are, shall we say, far more verbally productive than the edited statements would suggest.
Of seventeen submissions selected for publication, three took strong pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian stances; three others were strongly anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. Eleven took more evenhanded positions, ranging from “Hope for the best” to “A pox on both their houses.” (Then there was one respondent who expects the Middle East to remain in deadlock for the next half-century, after which we’ll be too preoccupied by “civilizational collapse” to care what’s happening there.) This ratio is not an artifact of the editorial selection process; to the contrary, a preponderance of the statements received declined to take one side or the other. If any consensus emerges from these statements, it may be that among Free Inquiry readers, there are both blame—and hope—enough to go around for every party to this deadly controversy.