Amjad Atallah suggests that the United States needs to engage in a high-profile effort to assist civilians in Gaza; King Abdullah promises $1 billion for his own effort (although Saudi promises, like US promises, have a way of not materializing).
Now: where is the Jewish and Israeli effort?
Israel insists that it tried not to harm civilians and regretted all the loss of civilian life. These sentiments will have more credibility if the nation uses some of its wealth to provide humanitarian relief. Maybe all the money used to build West Bank settlements would be a good source.
The worldwide Jewish community also needs to step up to the plate in a big way. Whenever Israel is threatened, millions of e-mails are sent and tens of millions of dollars are raised. There’s no excuse not to make a similar effort here.
Those who believe that Israel was at fault should have little compunction in donating to such an effort; those who believe that Israel was in the right should have none, either: even if the destruction in Gaza was a necessary evil, it was still an evil, and all should be done to ameliorate it.
The challenge, of course, is a delivery system: even if Jewish charities are allowed into Gaza and not shot at, it would surprise exactly no one if victims refuse to take the money. So there would have to be an MOU with other reputable organizations to use the money. But that could be done.
“By your tensions shall you live,” the Talmud says. In modern Judaism, perhaps the central one is that between parochialism and universalism. We’ve had nearly a month (at least) of parochialism: it’s universalism’s turn.