Saturday, July 24, 2010

On The Honesty of Liking Terrorism

I stopped by to spend time with some friends I ran into today. Somehow, I and a fellow Jew got onto biblical topics, and then somehow onto The Divide. The divide of Israelis and Palestinians.

I don't know a lot about the debate. I don't know a lot about this history. I pick up only bits and pieces on the way. I look up to my rolemodels as having valid opinions about it; one in particular is Starhawk, an activist who's travelled to the middle east in Gazan solidarity several times. She is an eco-feminist witch activist, and a born Jew.

I also go on my internal knowledge of "How People Are". And it tells me Israel's actions and policies towards Palestinians stink.

So there he is, Mr. Orthodox Kosher, shouting at me, getting more worked up with each passing minute, rambling forward on tirades about how terrible the Palestinian governments are, how corrupt, how the Palestinians are [like drug] addicts, how they don't want to take responsiblity and get a job....and finally the sexualized insults come out.

There he was for about 20 minutes screaming like an idiot. And I was being mostly calm. Talking calmly, interjecting now and then, refusing to explain my experiences of racism towards Palestinians I'd experienced in Israel.

But I knew that even getting involved in that conversation was to sin, or to 'miss the mark'. I knew that my smug attitude of calm moral superiority was also to sin. Because even when we want what's best for us all - peace, ecological safety, education, etc...we still need to feel superior and rub it in. At least I do.

I think that Israelis are in a much more powerful position than Palestinians in regards to acting in ways that promote peace, and that will ultimately will give us what they all want, which is to feel safe. To know their children have a chance at growing up proud and free. To enjoy the beauty and pleasure of the land. Education, proper nutrition.

But it seems they, like the rest of humanity, get snagged on something every time. What is more important, safety for our children, or revenge? Life for our children, or feeling right and being able to rub it in? Feeling truly safer in the long run because we risk acting in accordance with our deepest spiritual source which demands we are fair, just, life-preserving and honest? Or feeling maybe a bit safer for the next moment even though it costs us our humanity in what we are willing to do to get one more taste of feeling in control right now? Even if it costs us true safety in the long run? For one more taste?

Today, in that conversation, I chose One More. I chose to take my feelings of moral superiority (after all, I wanted REAL peace of Palestinians and Israelis, I was one of those ENLIGHTENED Jews who could see past the barbaric tribalist and fear-filled violence of the masses to something superior) and rub them in. My opponent (who is actually a friend but turned INTO my opponent for this argument) fought with his life because he has, I think, the same terror as everyone else. He fought like his life was at stake, because he felt emotionally as though it were. No time for reason, no time for ration, no time to let the monster of questioning Israel's policies and the ugly murky things catch up.

I could have reminded him (and myself) that I was not his enemy. That we were both on the same side. That while we may have different ideas of how to achieve it, we both wanted what was best for people, we both wanted safety and beauty and God's majesty to flourish. I've found that saying things like that usually calm people down because it takes us out of the boxing ring and into the peace circle.

But I guess we were on the same side after all. The same side as all humanity. One More. Blood. I got you good and I don't have to let the chasing things catch up today. Excitement. Boom, boom, BOOM!!!!

Upon reflecting on this conclusion, I have to say that even if it's dim, I do still have a belief in and hope for a better tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment