Chaya Lester

Feeling ‘peaced off’…again

Photo by Pawel Kuczynski
Photo by Pawel Kuczynski

I have reserved a phrase for how I feel in war time in Israel. “Peaced off.” Loosely defined as: That confused, somewhat shameful yet justifiably angry feeling that happens when you get punched in the face and in response bystanders ask why you don’t have more compassion for your assailant’s bloody knuckles.

Please understand, I am a peace-maker. I’ve gone faithfully to interfaith gatherings and spoken out for non-violent communication. I pride myself on being a person of compassion. And yet, there is a line. A subtle and all too easily twisted line. Between pursuing peace and getting played by the darkness. And when that line gets twisted, well, I get peaced off.

The photo above says it all – the dove of peace getting co-opted by the vultures of war. The peace doves are all those liberally-minded individuals, University students and influencers abroad. Many of them are friends whose ideals I share, whose work I admire, whose faces are radiant & whose food is organic. Dear liberal friends, I am typing gingerly lest I offend you….because I care about you and your opinions matter to me. And so please forgive me my honesty.

But your calls for compassionate de-escalation scare the hell out of me.

We have weathered a demonic massacre; and yet what burns on par with that horror is the daily pummel of social media posts decrying Israel’s aggression. Even after a staggering 7000 rockets launched from beside Gazan kindergartens, what most peaces me off is the launch of another naïve long-distance call for de-escalation.

Supporting the under-dog is admirable, until the under-dog turns rabid and left free to roam the neighborhood streets. Hamas’ evil feeds off of the world’s well-intentioned moral confusion. It feasts on misplaced compassion, political-correctness, muddled morality.

Lofty ideals of peace & reconciliation are admirable; until they become lethal weapons in the hands of maniacal regimes. Those ideals may be sacrosanct in the streets of America or Europe, but here in Israel, when your enemy is a psychopathic government whose sole mission is to destroy you, you simply can not apply the same peaceful paradigm. It would be disastrous. It has been disastrous.

All is not a wash of oneness and equivalencies. Conflicts with madmen can not be quashed through calm diplomacy. Aggressive medicine can sometimes be the most compassionate treatment for the disease.

The time is long overdue for us to lead the doves away from the vultures’ company.

About the Author
Psychotherapist, inspirational speaker, wordsmith, performance artist & Co-Director of Jerusalem's Shalev Center. Chaya lives in the heart of Jerusalem with her husband R'Hillel & their 4 energetic children. Read more pieces like this in real-life book form:
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