“True peace is not the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 31, 2019
Thankful for the wide, intergenerational coalition of communities coming together - Israeli & Palestinian, Jewish & Muslim, American & around the world - seeking to advance that peace and justice. https://t.co/xs9hPp0Jv3
I've noted the false use of the word "justice" before. When anti-Israel activists use the word, they don't mean real justice. They mean that Palestinians get to be the judge and jury, and only they can decide when justice is served - meaning that things won't be solved until Israel is replaced with another Arab state.
In any dispute, there are two sides, each of which has its own ideas of what justice would mean. When the Left uses the word against Israel, they aren't interested in what Israelis feel is just. They don't want to allow Jews to freely live in and visit their holy cities of Hebron and Bethlehem and Shechem (Nablus) and Jericho. They don't want Jewish claims against Arab countries that ethnically cleansed them to be part of the conversation. They don't want Jews to have their own state equal to other states of the world. Although all of those things are just, they do not fall under the false definition of "justice" used by anti-Israel activists.
By misusing the word, they are brainwashing casual observers. Who doesn't support justice? Who could be against it? No one - unless the "justice" being mentioned is inherently unjust.
Judaism has long noted the tension between peace and justice. Justice is unforgiving. One side wins, the other side loses. If God ruled the world with justice untempered with mercy, there would be no world.
Real peace means that both sides compromise. Both sides recognize the humanity of their opponents and are willing to give things up in the greater interests of peace.
Compromise is not compatible with justice in the strict sense of the word. Neither side believes that true justice has been served. Israel has always held that peace is more important than strict justice, which is why it has given up so much for peace.
But peace is not more important than "justice" to the anti-Israel crowd and to most Palestinians.
The anti-Israel activists no longer even pretend they want a two state solution any more- to them, Israel is inherently unjust and therefore illegitimate. That's what many of them mean when they say "justice." (J-Street has a different definition of justice, but, again, who is the judge? The UN? The ICJ? Or the Palestinians who greet every concession as a reason to demand more?)
The Palestinian leaders have bragged on many occasions about how they have not changed their positions since 1988 - no budging throughout Oslo, through Camp David, through Taba, through the peace plans of the 2000s and early 2010s. Their intransigence is all based on their warped idea of "justice", which fits in nicely with the anti-Israel crowd's misuse of the word.
Israel has proven time and time again that it yearns for peace, but not a peace that compromises Israel's security. The anti-Israel crowd is not willing to compromise to keep Israelis secure and at peace. The separation barrier, checkpoints, Iron Dome - literally everything Israel does to keep its citizens safe are denounced by the people who claim to want "peace."
But if you ask them how Israel can get justice for the thousands killed in terror attacks, they will change the subject. Their "justice" is not justice at all, but a dogwhistle.
At least they haven't hijacked the word "peace" yet. But they are trying.
While we are on the subject of justice, many of the Jewish anti-Israel activists love to quote the Torah, Deuteronomy 16:20, where it says, "Justice, justice you shall pursue."
Actually, the word "tzedek" is probably more properly translated as "righteousness." The proper Hebrew words for strict justice would be "mishpat" and "din." Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says:
Tzedek/tzedakah is almost impossible to translate, because of its many shadings of meaning: justice, charity, righteousness, integrity, equity, fairness and innocence. It certainly means more than strictly legal justice, for which the Bible uses words like mishpat and din.
The anti-Israel crowd ignores the real meaning of "tzedek," and they ignore that it is used in this verse in the context of appointing judges of high moral character.
But they especially ignore the rest of the verse: "so that you may thrive and occupy the land that the Lord your God has given you."
This verse is as Zionist as any in the Torah, and the anti-Israel crowd hijacking that verse is ironic but expected. To them, the Torah itself must be weaponized against Israel just as the word "justice" must be.