Evan Tucker

It’s Beginning to Get to Me: Day 5

It comes at you in waves. You do your best to steel yourself and then the loneliness melts you like a white flame.

The moment it hit me was the moment I realized: as I should have known, my long distance friends have reached out from all across the country: from North Baltimore county to all across the Eastern seaboard to Chicago to Denver. My Baltimore friends?… Do I have Baltimore friends anymore? I’ve a few but…

I understand I’ve been forbidding on the issue of Israel: now as ever before, and nobody wants to say the wrong thing. Yet so many people elsewhere are heedless about the possibility and it’s helpful to know that they’ll chance a difficult interaction, even with this interpersonal grumpy bear. But this bear wants to write about Israel, he really doesn’t want to talk about it. Sometimes you just want to talk about your new bike.

Maybe I’m person non grata in a hipsterland that issues social fatwas as easily as dispensing Pez. If I’m suddenly on the social fritz with a couple dozen variouses, why am I outcast now after I’ve had the same uncontrollable emotions for 11 years with everybody seemingly OK with it? Why not 10 years ago? Why did a social fatwa against me end six years ago as arbitrarily as it started the year before? How long am I in the penalty box this time? I had many more people in touch after I swore I was never going to socialize again on this page because of the way people went after Israel!

If you’re Jewish, it’s a very lonely period. It’s thankfully made better by friends who reach out, and thankfully a number have, but even friends can’t make it less lonely.

It’s one thing to put doubts about Israel’s future actions ‘beneath the fold,’ but what makes this most lonely is that so many people I know can’t even stop voicing their doubts even now. Why can’t this fucking wait until the casualties pile up? The families have just barely started to sit shiva, and already we have to endure the ‘but’ crowd. It’s one thing to voice your misgivings with serious nuance below a fold so nobody has to read it who doesn’t want to, it’s another to do it with simple slogans, three sentence opinions, and other people’s writing.

This is a time for the mourner’s feelings, NOT YOURS. If nobody cares what I think or feel about Israel, they sure as shit don’t care what you think. All it does is isolate Jews further, and for those who are particularly passionate on the Israeli side, all it does is provoke them to greater resentment.

I have already written serious misgivings about Israel’s operations. In principle I don’t regret it, and yet when I see other people do it I regret it instantly. It eats at my sense that Jews have their own space to occasionally feel like Jews first and every so often, not worry every minute about whether they’ll be seen as having dual loyalties.

I have no idea where my ultimate loyalties lie any more than I know where yours are. I’d like to say that I’m a loyal citizen of this country long before I’m loyal to Israel, but what does that mean in a country where so many citizens currently think the country is not even worth being loyal to? I think my loyalty to this country is far above Americans who excuse the traitors on January 6th in the name of loyalty, or Americans who outright disavow their loyalty to a country they claim founded on genocide.

The world of being a Jew is lonely on the best of days. Life is different for Jews than for everybody else. In no way are we better or worse than other cultures, but we do have different concerns. Other cultures comment that we’ve lifehacked the universe: a portable culture of success, able to establish ourselves as movers and shakers (“machers”) in whatever society we live.

Maybe that’s superficially true, but what’s the point? We lose our success every time we gain it, and a thousand times more quickly than it ever took Jews to become successful. In society after society, it’s a generational process that takes a hundred years, and then it’s all lost overnight: privilege, pride, titles materials, money (money more than anything), it’s all worthless in the end; a mirage, a chimera, a farce from a god who wanders us from place to place, convinces us ‘this is the time it’ll be different,’ only to dash our hopes for the sake of His glory.

So yes, these days I’m very lonely, we’re very lonely, and we’re only going to get lonelier when you pronounce your awful decree to disavow Israel or cease to be your friend. Even if you don’t, we will always fear the moment you do. We deserve to live in this state no more than any other oppressed minority does, and however different or marginal it seems for the moment, oppression it certainly is.

About the Author
Evan Tucker, alias A C Charlap, is a writer and musician residing in Baltimore. He is currently composing music for all 150 Biblical Tehillim. A Jewish Music Apollo Project - because "They have Messiah, we have I Have a Little Dreidel." He is currently on #17. Evan also has a podcast called 'It's Not Even Past - A History of the Distant Present' which is a way of relating current events to history and history to current events. Most importantly, he is also currently working on a podcast called Tales from the Old New Land, fictional stories from the whole of Jewish History. The podcast is currently being retooled, but it will return.
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