Some time ago I received a phone call from a young Jewish progressive thinker inviting me to give a short reflection at a gathering commemorating the eighth anniversary of the massacres at the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in West Beirut, Lebanon. These massacres took place in September 1982, after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. and claimed at least 800 lives: the actual death toll may have been considerably higher.

After our phone conversation, I took a walk and within minutes I was shaken by the prospect of addressing the enormity of Sabra and Shatila. If Palestinians were present, I wondered how they would feel about a Jew addressing their dead, about this atrocity which in reality and symbolically helps define their experience of the Jewish people.



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