A friend of mine grew up in El Salvador during the civil war in the 1980s–it was horrific–but luckily his parents were wealthy enough to get visas to come to the United States and escape before it had overtaken their city. So, yesterday he posted this:
Here are my thoughts on the Israel-Palestine war– take it from someone who freaking grew up in a war-zone and knows what it’s like to fear for your life every time you leave your house (or at home for that matter). And unless that also applies to you then you can keep your mouth shut because you will never fully understand the consequences of war.
I do not support Israel and I do not support Palestine. Both governments are using their civilians as political pawns to be disposed of at the push of a button. They both have cameras rolling to catch the worst of war… The children in a hundred pieces, the girl choking on her own blood, the family grieving their dismembered son, the bullets mowing down the crowd. But instead of using it to call for peace, they use it to justify even more bloodshed and retaliation.
Those of you sharing these images and videos to justify your position should be embarrassed of yourselves. You should feel ashamed that you’ve capitalized on someone’s pain, suffering, and death to try to prove your point. Like a kid sharing a video of a fellow classmate being beaten to a pulp, you are promoting violence and only serve as an amplifier for hate and bloodshed. Instead, you should be calling for peace and condemning both the perpetrators and those filming the death for propaganda.
Think peace can only be achieved through war? Well, you must have taken a history class. Peace is possible through discussion but it requires that all involved parties be willing to negotiate and be willing to make concessions and compromises. If your government can’t do that, if its incapable of civil discourse to solve problems, then you should be voting them out of office for they are not to be trusted with a single human life.
I don’t stand with Israel and I don’t stand with Palestine. I stand with the innocent children who are paying the price for your (insert chosen government here) desire for geopolitical domination.
Peace is the bravest action.
I think his voice is especially important given his history, and I’ll give him credit for calling out those in our respective friend groups who have been calling on Hamas to kill Israelis (yeah, we have some interesting friends), and vice versa. But he’s missing a fundamental point: You have to take sides.
His adherence to the philosophy of not taking a side in the matter inherently means that he is taking the side of the aggressor. If you take the side of the civilians killed in the shelling of Gaza, then you’re taking the Palestinian side. There is no middle ground here. You can admit Palestinian guilt on the part of sending rockets into Israel, while still supporting their ability to protect themselves and seeing them as the ultimate victim in the conflict. And you can admit that Israel should have the right to protect itself, without justifying the murder of 600 Palestinians with 80% of them being civilians. And as a friend pointed out, our tax dollars (if you’re reading this from the United States or much of Europe) is going to the Israeli side of this conflict. You’re picking a side by merely existing in the United States.
Nonetheless, there is no middle ground: You either side with the aggressors by saying nothing, or you side with the oppressed by standing up. There is no middle ground.
In fact, I’m Jewish. Shocker! But seriously, I’m tired of having this conversation.
Me: Israel should be held responsible for the genocide it’s carrying out on the Palestinian people
Dude: You can’t say that; you’re an anti-Semite!
Me: Bitch, I’m Jewish.
Dude: You’re a self-loathing Jew
Me: Do you know how stupid that sounds? They’re literally killing kids every day, pushing families off their land, and keeping the Palestinian people in poverty and bondage. They’re war criminals!
In fact, this week I was actually supposed to be in Israel for my Birthright Trip, crazy huh? Kesher was sending me emails until a couple days ago asking me if I wanted to go on a last-minute trip…amid rumors that Israel was going to launch a ground offensive. And yesterday, Israel finally launched their ground operation.
I cannot stand by a country, the United States or Israel, who actively works to kill children, their families, bombs hospitals, schools, apartment buildings, and blames victims when they wind up dead. Israelis, and I’m not saying all Israelis, are sitting on hills watching the bombing in Gaza and cheering. It’s disgusting.
And then I get things like this in my inbox.
Now let me tell you why this is incredibly disgusting: for those who don’t know, the Midianites were ordered to be exterminated (wiped from the face of the earth) killing all men, women and children, even the cows couldn’t be left to stand. Are they implying that Gaza is the new Midian? Seems like it. Does that mean we should exterminate the Palestinians? Apparently. Who are these “special reservists” anyway? Apparently us.
This isn’t from some extremists in Israel, this is Detroit. I’m incredibly disappointed in a community that I enjoyed, but this is insane. The Holocaust was not a blueprint; end the siege of Gaza. Heightening rhetoric will only cause more bloodshed that is already incredibly one-sided. I don’t even know what to say.
It’s going to start being really hard to defend my faith from people who see Israel and equate Judaism with war crimes. Israel doesn’t speak for me. The continuous slaughter of Palestinians at the hands of ancestors of the oppressed (I lost the majority of the family on my grandfathers side in the Holocaust) is disgusting, but not at all surprising. I do not say this lightly: The Holocaust was not a blueprint. Jews for peace have to stand up to the right wing nationalists of Israel, they do not speak for us. We must stand up for Palestinian children who at 7 years of age, have lived through three Israeli massacres. I’m tired of seeing mangled children on twitter because the news is too chicken shit to report anything Israel is doing for fear of the scary a-word. You’re not anti-Semitic if you’re against Israeli actions. You’re not anti-Semitic if you are against the killing of innocent Palestinians. You are protecting war criminals if you blame Palestinian children for their deaths, when all they wanted was to play on the beach; you are protecting war criminals if you post this bullshit headline: Boys Drawn to Gaza Beach, and into Center of Mideast Strife and completely ignoring that they were murdered by IDF soldiers, with US weapons; and you’re damned sure protecting war criminals if, in a position of great power, you claim that Palestinian children are just Hamas in disguise. I’m tired of dehumanizing children for ideological gains and standing by while my country uses my tax dollars to pay for weapons of mass destruction.
I’m sick of all of this, but dammit that does not make me an anti-Semite; it just makes me not a horrible person.
If you’ve seen the news lately, you’ve heard that Israel and Palestine are having a “shoot out” and “firing rockets” at one another, but really, it’s almost entirely the Israelis sending missiles into Palestinian homes and neighborhoods (yes, they’re actually targeting houses), whereas Palestinian fighters, largely Hamas but including other groups, are sending poorly constructed rockets into where ever they hit—and while the Israelis have sirens, bunkers, and the Iron Dome defense system, Palestinians have nothing in the way of protection. But how did we get to this point? Well, considering I was supposed to go on Birth Right this week, I’d love to tell you.
I’m sure you’ve seen the faces of these three boys, who were tragically kidnapped and murdered by someone, but we do not know
who.The Israeli government knew weeks before that the boys were already dead, but allowed for search and rescue to continue as anger and vengeance was allowed to simmer among the Israeli populace. When the bodies of the boys were found, the Israeli far-right politicians, who control a large swath of Parliament, were outraged and wanted revenge, calling for air-strikes, invasion, war.
Two days later, the body of a murdered Palestinian boy is found. Investigators say he was likely burned alive, and suspects were arrested claiming that the killing was revenge and authorities have called it an isolate, “nationalistic incident.” The next day, the family of the murdered boy was attacked by Israeli police, including a Palestinian-
American boy from Florida who was so badly beaten that his picture has claimed international attention. Though he has been released from custody, he is not permitted to leave the country and may face charges—for being beaten because he was a cousin of a murdered child? Awesome.
While all this is going on, Netanyahu capitalized on the opportunity to end the cease-fire held with Hamas since 2013. While Israel claims that Hamas is the group that murdered the boys, Hamas has denied it, which is interesting since they’ve always been quick to take responsibility for crimes, even when they did not commit them. So, Israel has started air strikes targeting Palestinian neighborhoods, and have killed, at the time of writing this, 78 Palestinians of which 60 were civilians. Now, they are discussing a ground invasion of an already occupied territory.
How did it become an occupied territory? I’m so glad you asked. While Zionists in Britain had been trying to create an Israeli homeland for years, it took the horrors of the Holocaust for the rest of the world to agree to it. Given that Palestine—yes it existed—was a British colony, the UN determined that the land would be broken up into Israel and Palestine, with each sharing their own piece of land. Mind you, this was land already settled, that at that time had Jews, Muslims and Christians living in their own communities. However, the UN wanted to ensure that the Jewish people could flee Europe and other places where being a Jew had become perilous enough that mere survival was in jeopardy. So, they set up the planned area in the second picture. During this time, hordes of people were moving to Israel, at a rate that far outpaced the land that could be allocated to them. However, since this land already belonged to people—in many cases for generations—Palestinians were told to either accept a low bid for their homeland, or be kicked off their land and get nothing. So began the first wave of settlements, and subsequent massacres of whole villages for protecting their sacred homeland. This angered Palestinians, and much of the Middle East, particularly Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, who accepted many of the refugees from this first wave of settlements.
It’s time we start putting the onus on boys, rather than forcing girls to shoulder the blame. I’m glad people are finally realizing the need to combat spiritual sexism. There’s a long way to go, but at least this is a start
Here we go again. It’s summer time, which means at any given time, in any number of churches nationwide, pastors, youth pastors and leaders are giving their kids (read: their female students) the “one-piece” talk.
A few years back at our church, some students actually petitioned our pastor to include Tankinis. It was a big win for preteens everywhere. I imagine they sat by the pool that summer in their tankinis and drank virgin daiquiris to celebrate.
We have all been there for that dreaded talk. It’s painful for everyone involved and it smacks of legalism. As one student recently said to me, “It just feels like another instance of the old people at church telling people to behave because you’re at church.” It’s absurd, I know. In case you are unfamiliar with the one-piece talk, it goes something like this:
Ok, ladies, it’s summertime, and we’re going to have a…
If you’ve paid any attention to the media lately, or evangelical America as a whole, you’ve noticed a tendency towards a “Woe is me,” attitude among Christians who think they are being persecuted because we merely ask that everyone be treated the same. As a Jewish-Christian woman (Yep, I was raised both, so there) I thought this list pretty much covered all the things that Christians enjoy in this country that other faiths do not–including, but not limited to, prayer in public, ability to wear religious symbols without fear, and a government that whole-heartedly supports their identity (given the latest court case, coughHobbyLobbycough). Now, I’m not saying Christians are bad–chill out you–but growing up both (and with an atheist father to boot!) has shown me the privileges that Christians seem to forget every time leaders on the far right decry persecution.