I originally wrote this shortly after the news broke several weeks ago of the murder of the Arab teenager in Jerusalem. I think it is no less relevant today:
“After several days’ worth of soul-searching about the killing of Muhammad Abu-Khder, I’ve come to the following conclusion: I am not going to join the orgy of self-flagellation consuming the nation of Israel right now. I’m not going to champ at the bit to advertise my shock at something so obviously shocking, and I’m not going to rush into righteous indignation to prove that I’m on a moral level above those who kidnapped a teenager and burned him alive. I won’t do those things because I don’t need to. I have faith that my country’s justice system will treat a Jewish killer of Arabs just as harshly as it does an Arab killer of Jews, and probably more so (as it has always done in the past), so I believe justice will be more than served against the killers if it turns out that they were Jewish. But the more we insist on displaying our shock and horror, and the more we run to the nations to convince them that the killer does not represent us–the more we give the impression that we have something to prove, and the more we give reason for the nations to suspect that he in fact does.
As we say on Passover, “Dayeinu.” That our justice system punishes our own people far more harshly than it punishes others would be more than enough proof of our moral standards. That every Jew I know is torn by the prospect of the killer being one of our own would be enough proof of our humanity. That we are busy wrestling with our conscience while our enemies celebrate our murder in the streets would be enough of a statement of our ethical integrity, honor and restraint. Silence is the sincerest expression of shame, and if the Jewish people indeed bears a collective guilt for this killing, then may our nation spend some time bearing that burden in the silence that it deserves.”