A visit to a Barnes & Noble bookstore in Los Angeles this morning put me in a suitable frame of mind for Tisha B'Av.
After looking through the books on the Holocaust, I moved to the section of books on Israel. There were two books on display that appeared to be prestigious and popular, written by university professors and featuring glowing press reviews. Yet they both depicted Israel as the guilty party in its dispute with the Arabs.
I didn't have time to read them extensively, but in order to gauge their approach, I took a look at how one of them - a book in which the author declared himself to be free of bias and only interested in the facts - addressed the Gaza conflict. This is a recent and relatively small event, and one in which there is broad consensus in Israel, from right to left, about the legitimacy and necessity of its actions. So I was curious to see how this book would address it.
It was unbelievable. The discussion was all about how Israel committed terrible atrocities. The author absurdly declared that the vastly greater numbers of Palestinian casualties demonstrated that Israel was in the wrong. There was no discussion whatsoever of the indiscriminate rocket attacks launched by Hamas, nor of how Israel is supposed to protect its citizens against such things. And it triumphantly declared how Richard Goldstone is a Jew and a Zionist, and condemned Israel for its actions, without any mention of the serious shortcomings in that report, later conceded by none other than Goldstone himself.
The saddest thing about all this? Both authors were Jewish.
It's bad enough that the Arab world denies the existence of the Beis HaMikdash and our historical roots in Israel. It's even worse when the Western world starts to give "even-handed" credence to their claims as being a legitimate alternate narrative. But how can we expect other nations to be honest about the past, when there are members of our own nation who can't even be honest about the present?