If only we lived in a black and white world where everyone stayed within the lines, life would be easier. Not necessarily good for everyone, but simpler, easier.
It’s easy to place blame and side with the underdogs, sympathizing with the victims. But what if they’re not victims but rather volunteers?
I’m not very political. I don’t watch a lot of news and my favorite section of the newspaper is the Art & Books section. I still am far from knowledgeable and if you asked me to find Turkey on a map, you could take a nap while I searched.
I’ve only been to Israel once. My grandparents rallied for it’s existence, and my mother is an El-Al frequent flier, and I personally have gotten to sob at the Kotel and float in the Dead Sea. on principal, I am against death, killing and violence. So it would be easy to point my finger saying ‘Stop using excessive force. Don’t fight stones with tear gas. Work harder for peace.’ And I’d have a lot of company judging from the world’s reaction to recent violence in Israel. But I would be wrong.
Yes, death is always a tragedy. But please can we zoom out and look at the entire picture?
Bring it closer to home.
Are we really claiming that we would smile and wave to approaching rioters as they approached our borders? Are you kidding? Aside from the barbed wire, we have drug dogs, the Border Patrol, and Minute Men. I can’t board a plane without having my shoes x-rayed, and I’m a citizen. Why do we blame Israel for forcefully protecting itself as we gratefully breathe sighs of relief that it didn’t happen at our borders. Why the double standard? Israel is a country smaller than California, and yet, it still isn’t the underdog we root for. Why? Is it because they stand proudly and refuse to accept pity? Is it because they reject the title of victim and take action rather than posturing and discussing while suicide bombers infiltrate and buses explode in the streets?
Victims garner sympathy. They need protection and support, are allowed to shrug their shoulders and lament “Why me?” They can cloak their mistakes in powerlessness and evade responsibility by naming evil. I wasn’t there but it doesn’t appear that Israel patrols the border itching for bloodshed.
Daniel Gordis writes, “There’s only one country anywhere on the planet about which there’s a conversation about whether it has a right to exist.” http://danielgordis.org/2010/05/31/facebook-meets-the-flotilla/
I think it’s time to change the conversation. Lets debate safety, analyze policy, and brainstorm freedom tactics. Let’s discuss peace. But let’s stop holding Israel to an impossible double standard. Let’s stop pretending we don’t understand the impulse to do whatever is necessary to protect our citizens. Let’s stop pointing fingers in order to maintain our orderly, right and wrong, black and white perspective. Let’s cry for the wounded and mourn lost lives. But let’s allow Israel to exist without having to mount a defense. Let’s remember the fear and violence that Israelis must live with on a regular basis. Let’s keep in mind that terrorists seldom respond to rationality and that it’s tough to find compromise when Jewish extinction is the desired result. Let’s sift through the gray, note the small kindnesses, and work for a better tomorrow.
It’s easier to point fingers and cast blame. But easier doesn’t mean it’s right.