by Craig Martin
I’ve recently seen the following pic making the rounds on Facebook:
One of things I find frustrating here is that it’s not clear that people fight over different “faiths,” “beliefs,” or mere differences in “religious identity.” As I’ve written before,
Upon reflection it’s difficult to see how or why people could ever come to blows over differences in mere belief. If you believe that chocolate ice cream is the best, and I believe that vanilla is far superior, what practical difference does this difference make? Where substantial interests do not diverge, getting along is not that difficult. I assume that this is why liberal interfaith work tends to appeal to people with the same middle- or upper-class bourgeois lifestyle: when Jews, Christians, and Muslims of the same social class are living relatively identical material lives, of course there is unlikely to be any conflict of interests between them.
By contrast, I suspect that the current conflict in Israel and Palestine involves rather substantial competing interests. While the image above and these protesters seem to be well-intentioned, it seems obvious to me that this sort of framing of the issue obscures the dramatic interests at stake in the Israel/Palestine conflict.