Questions for the Critics

by Erika Dreifus

Would you be satisfied, then,
if more Israelis died?

If children and their parents didn’t heed the sirens?
If they didn’t burrow beneath the ground?

If the rockets were “better” in design and aim?
If they landed on Ben Yehuda and Dizengoff?

In your calculus, would the Israelis be “justified,” then?
Would it all be more “proportionate” (oh, that word!)

if only those hundreds of rockets flying toward them
left fewer able to run, to hide—and to fight back?

Erika Dreifus is the author of Quiet Americans: Stories, an American Library Association Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding Jewish literature. She blogs about Jewish literary and cultural matters at My Machberet. Currently based in New York, she was raised in and remains a proud member of Temple B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, N.J.