Before moving on to the outrages of the day, I need to respond to Howard B.’s thoughtful and passionate comment. I come from a Jewish background, but I have never had any connection, even as a child, with Judaism. Indeed, although I am an atheist, I resonate more deeply to the mythology and imagery of Christianity, as readers of this blog no doubt have discerned. Let me be very clear. My comments about the recent events in Israel were political, not religious or ethnic. I oppose the policies of the state of Israel, just as I oppose the policies of the United States, even though I am through and through an American. I am indeed aware of the presence in Israel of men and women who, often at great risk, have spoken and acted strongly against Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians. Not for one moment would I countenance the suggestion that the state of Israel has no right to exist. I am also aware, thanks in part to the writings of William Polk, to the internal divisions and conflicts in the Palestinian population that have stood in the way of their ability to form a united and effect self-government. Leaving aside problems of language, I suspect I would find Israel a more pleasant and familiar place to live than Palestine. But none of that has anything to do with my political judgment that Israel – against the opposition of many of its own citizens – has played the role of conquering and occupying army for decades.