There is no such thing as Neutral

[Note: A few days ago, Donald Trump cheerfully announced that he plans to be "neutral" on the Israeli-Palestinian situation. This column is dedicated to him. - LB]

"How's your new Muslim boyfriend?" I teased my friend Casey. "Oh c'mon," she said. "He's a perfectly normal person. He's not religious. He drinks, he goes to the bar, he hangs out with my Jewish friends--
"And," she added, "I asked him what he thought about the Israeli-Palestinian situation, and he said 'Both sides are so crazy, they just keep on fighting, there will never be peace."

She smiled at me as if to say See? He's not a hater. He's just like everybody else.

And he is. Because "both sides are crazy, both sides just keep on fighting" is just how most well-meaning Americans would describe the conflict.

Those who believe this are decent people. They pride themselves on being able to see past the cheap sloganeering of "Free Palestine!" on one side and "Am Yisrael Chai!" on the other. They understand there are two sides to every story. It's nuanced, they say. It's complicated.

Well, I'm here to tell those well-meaning people that that's total bullshit.

Let me clarify.

The "cycle of violence" is bullshit. Stabbing an old lady on a bus and being shot for stabbing an old lady on a bus are not the same thing. No other country in the civilized world would tolerate Israel-like levels of terrorist attacks.

"There's hate on the Israeli side too" is bullshit. A friend said this to me, before comparing Abbas' "Jews' filthy feet defiling al Aqsa" comment to her teenage son's Israeli friend, who once guiltily confided that he "sometimes felt like he hated Arabs." Sorry, but that's apples and oranges: there's nothing in Israel comparable to the institutionalized anti-semitism and anti-Zionism of the Palestinians (paid for largely by you, American Taxpayer! )

"They're just frustrated because they want their own state like the Jews have Israel" is bullshit. They could have had their own state in 1948, and at least four times since. They said no each time. They don't want a state, they want the State—of Israel.

In other words, "It's complicated" is bullshit.

One side gives up land for peace. The other side takes the land, but instead of peace, gives Qassam rockets and terror tunnels in return. (But guess who gets accused of "not making the tough choices for peace"?)

One side goes over and above what any other military does to avoid harming civilians. The other side uses civilians as human shields. (But guess who gets told it's "not trying hard enough to avoid civilian casualties"?)

One side is a diverse, vibrant country of Arabs, Jews, and Christians of all colors and national origins. The other side has been doing its best to make the West Bank Jew-free for years, and has already announced that the putative state of Palestine will be 100% Judenrein. (But guess who gets accused of "apartheid"?)

Do both sides have rights? Of course. Does each side agree that the other has rights? Sadly, no. And that's why it's all such bullshit—and so tragic.