Gedalia Gillis

“It’s complicated” is not so complicated

I’ve had discussions with friends who claim to oppose the harsh legislation, which officially wages war on the unique Israeli checks and balances. However, they argue it’s “complicated,” resulting in a lack of active resistance against the alt-right, religious extremist led legislation.

The passive approach struck me as harmful. If all those who ideologically opposed the legislation, but were hesitant to take a stand, joined the struggle, success would have likely been within our grasp.

Most evils in the world thrive due to silence.

This discussion made me reflect on times I have used the “it’s complicated” myself. During my military service, there were moments where I questioned the legitimacy of my actions, and others where I was confident they were justified. I then realized I had excused the questionable ones because “it’s complicated.”

The phrase “it’s complicated” eased my conscience. But when do we step out from the shadow of “it’s complicated” and distinguish right from wrong?

I genuinely don’t know. Everything is always complicated. My identity as a liberal Israeli Jew is complicated.

But one thing is clear to me: just as the greatest evils of the past prospered, so do they today because of the argument that “it’s complicated.” Evil ideas and harmful people exist everywhere. But the reason evils thrive at certain moments in history is due to the “it’s complicated” demographic – the silent moderate majority who prefer to curl up in the comfortable arms of “it’s complicated.”

“I understand both sides,” my friends claim. But, what side are they truly on?

When I entered a Palestinian house in the middle of the night for no reason other than training, I knew it was wrong, but it was also complicated to refuse orders in the moment. Was I wrong not to refuse? Are my friends wrong for not demonstrating?

What I do know is that claiming “it’s complicated” meant I was an active part of what was happening; I was enabling evil just as some of my friends are today.

Proclaiming “it’s complicated” and abstaining from resistance is not neutrality, it’s active enablement of the legislation the Israeli government has passed and plans to pass. I should not have fooled myself back then, and I wish my friends would not deceive themselves now.

Refusing to take action because “it’s complicated” doesn’t make you a moderate; it makes you an enabler. And that is perfectly fine, but let’s call it what it truly is.

About the Author
Gedalia is currently completing his MBA at the Wharton School in Philadelphia. He served for 7 years in the IDF, his last role as a company commander and received his bachelor's degree in PPE (a program combining philosophy, political science, economics, and law) from Tel Aviv University.
Related Topics
Related Posts