*

*
Jelly, jelly so fine

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Tuesday Shpiel

I saw the woman across the street this afternoon. She used to be a regular in my wife's shop, nice person, easy laugh, where the heck had she gone? 

I called her name and she looked through me as if I didn't exist, perhaps she hadn't heard me or recognized me?

I asked Juleen about her and she said, "Oh, she hasn't been in since the woman in the Trump mask punched your wife in the face. She is a Trump loving Christian and now she won't have anything to do with the store. She won't even talk to me."

I mention this because I really haven't felt like talking politics of late. Trump or anything else. Our country has a hair trigger right now and I don't feel like priming the explosive. We have serious warring factions and my sentiments lie somewhere in the middle.

I know Jews that hate Israel right now and gentiles that love them. One of them has been trying to goad me into a response to the current situation but I have not really felt like spilling. Israel has a narrative about winning a war and achieving "victory" and doesn't seem to care if the people they have long held captive in Gaza are vanquished in the attempt. Don't we bear extra responsibility to our prisoners?

I saw an Israeli woman in a video say that she wouldn't give the Gazans a loaf of bread at this point. And I understand that too. 1200 to 1500 unarmed people killed October 7th, babies and the elderly murdered and the world shrugs their collective shoulders as if  "They had it coming." All about the glorious armed resistance I suppose. Israelis are human too and they also can experience the emotion of hate. There doesn't always have to be a good guy and a bad guy, more often than not, both sides are culpable.

A liberal Jewish friend says the massacre was predictable. I agree with that. But that does not mean that it was justified. I worked in Israel in 1990 to bring Palestinians and Israelis together to talk, something that rarely occurs anymore. The authorities were none too happy with me and nothing really came of it. 

The Gazans teach their children to hate Israel in nursery school and the Israelis now see them as nothing more than murderous scum. I don't have the answer. But starving the Gazan population, many of them under twenty, does not seem like the answer to me either.

Whatever constitutes an answer to the middle east conundrum has probably long since passed, with Netanyahu talking out of both sides of his mouth about a two state solution, all the while destroying any geographical hope of a contiguous state by surrendering to the ultra right racist religious settlers. A prime minister who promoted Hamas in order to denude the Palestinian Authority. His plan worked only too well.

I probably owe my life to my grandfather making it to Israel from Poland but he couldn't handle the religious extremists and I can not either. I lost over ten great aunts and uncles in the ovens at Auschwitz, my tribe had literally nowhere to go.

Having said that, I would hate to live in a Jewish state or a Nazi state or Muslim State or a Hindu or Christian state or even a land ruled by adherents of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. All that old testament smiting and killing because Yahweh told us to always rubbed this reform jew the wrong way.

Because religion is too easily co-opted into a form of tribalism and nationalism, be it Buddhists in Burma or Sri Lanka or what is now happening with Modi in India or  the west bank and Gaza and a thousand other examples.

Your God, my god (if I believed in such a thing) anybody's god, is not a real estate agent and no holy book grants people title to eradicate their neighbors, no matter how florid and divine the holy text might read. 

Trump likes to talk about American Jews being disloyal to Israel but I think they should be better characterized as more interested in the whole human race, not just a xenophobic and sexist bunch of orthodox from Brooklyn who favor Amish clothing or West Bank settlers that like to wreak violence on Palestinians.

While those Palestinians may not have inhabited Israel around the time the Romans threw us out, they don't feel any better about being dispossessed than we did. And yet on at least three occasions, rather than accept a partition or two state solution, they instead went about trying to eradicating Israel, from the river to the sea.

They also bear a huge amount of blame, as do the Iranians who have commandeered Lebanon and Syria and Iraq and are seriously committed to Israel's destruction and helped along the way by people like Barack Obama, who failed to see that his rapprochement spelled near certain doom for Israel.

My friend Paul got on me for my empathy for the Palestinians, said I must not have backed bombing Nagasaki or Hiroshima or Dresden. Sorry Paul, that was all before my time. Way above my pay grade. I want peace in the middle east but I am not foolish enough to not know that if Hamas, Iran or Hezbollah had the ability they would destroy Israel.

And neither Jose Andres, UNRWA or the U.N., or any of those enlightened European countries would utter a peep, because let's face it, they never gave a shit about Jewish blood either. They mention October 7th like it is now a forgotten asterisk. It was bad, but...

Netanyahu can not prosecute this thing to the end, there will be nothing left and he will only breed more hatred towards Israel. Time to dial it back, you can't kill all the Palestinians to save them. He has made a bad situation so very much worse and he has lost much of the dwindling global support Israel could still muster. Civilians and aid workers get killed, he shrugs his shoulders and says, "These things happen in war." Despicable.

I am worried about Israel and I am worried about the Palestinians. I am worried about humanity. How about that?

3 comments:

Jon Harwood said...

I think you have stated it about as well as it can be stated. So, "ditto".

Blue Heron said...

Anyone who is not conflicted by the current tragedy of the middle east is probably devoid of a soul.

Liz said...

I am totally freaking out. I have always been labor. Mom did some really good things, as did the people she worked for. I don’t think Netenhau has ever done any good, or the ultra orthodox who really would like it if all the reform and conservative citizens were kicked out