My good friend Bridget (who is a Friend, that is, a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)) sent me this (unprovoked) in Meta Messenger today:
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Okay. lots of quotes from Amnesty International, which has in the past few years come under attack itself for being, well, wrong about so many things. I countered with this:
Bridge: “Given the criticism, who criticized it, and on what basis, I stand with Amnesty International”
Her point though, or I should say her theory, is that I used to be a “born again Xtian” (circa Autumn 1970 until about late 1981, but that is for another post). Xtians in the United States are very supportive of Israel for all the wrong reasons (like, they think Jesus is coming back very soon). What she did not know (well, did I ever tell her? Did the subject ever come up) was this:
MOI: You do know that my mother was Jewish don’t you? I know that’s not something that was talked about when we first became acquainted. Did you not wonder why I always (and still do) wore a Mogan David? If you were ever to glance at the pictures of my wedding to Lynne, you would see a service at a Catholic Church, but one where the groom and his best man wore kippahs, and where the traditional crushing of the wedding wine glass was performed. When I was growing up, we attended Mass on Sunday and Temple on Saturday. During the winter holidays, we lit the Menorah, but we also had (what my maternal grandparents were told) was a Hanukkah Bush, bedecked in blue and white. We spun dreidals and ate gold wrapped chocolate coins. Gelt.
But then I met Lynne, and frankly, and at the time began to embrace messianic Judaism. But happily, my Saturn return occurred (1981 or so), and for a short time I became an atheist, then an agnostic . Then I left Lynne. Since then my spirituality has evolved quite a bit. Ceridwen and I are the founders of the Reformed Druids of Gaia.
Into that mix a little Hinduism and Buddhism and even aspects of Quakerism have been added. OTOH, I am very much a cultural Jew, as are a good 10% of our members.
Lately, I have been thinking about Aliyah.
BRIDGE: I didn’t know that, Ellis. I think, though, that one’s ethnicity or origins should not make one defensive of the ills or sins (in the humanitarian sense) committed by said ethnicity/origin. I am 3/8 Irish and 5/8 English, and would never defend the atrocities visited upon the Irish (or any of the multiplicity of other peoples) by the English. And I abhor the genocide and slavery brought upon native and black peoples by our own nation.
I SHOULD THEN HAVE SAID: Except that there is neither genocide, nor slavery being perpetrated against the Arab population in Israel. Arabs who accept Israeli citizenship are afforded the same rights and privileges that any Jewish citizen of Israel enjoys. Arab citizens can practice medicine, be teachers and many serve int the Israeli Parliament – the Knesset. Yes, there are those who have chosen to be citizens of Palestine and not Israel. They don’t enjoy the same privileges. Should they? They have chosen to be exiles but live within the borders of Israel. Their leaders encourage them to make terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens, and even hospitals and schools. Because of that Israel has built the security fence in Judea/Samaria
In Gaza, which has enjoyed sovereignty since the Oslo Accords (1993 and 1995), when Israel totally withdrew from the region, thousands of Jews were displaced, but Israel was hoping for some semblance of Peace. The people of Gaza chose Hamas, a terrorist group, to govern them, and the result is years of continued poverty and regular rocket attacks from Gaza to nearby Israeli cities. When the attacks get especially brutal the IDF intervenes so what we have is a continual state of war. In the meantime, the government of Gaza perpetrates human rights violations against their own citizens (Islamic misogyny being the rule. We also see LGBTQ Gazans, when discovered, being beheaded and/or thrown from the tops of buildings.
Well, I can’t very well make Aliyah if there is no Israel to make Aliyah to.
BRIDGE: Do read about Netanyahu’s recent remarks about the Middle East. I have no computer, only my phone, and have difficulty finding it. But the current right wing in Israeli abides by no loving and hopeful relationships with those it deems others.
MOI: Netanyahu. Netanyahu is a schmuck. 1st class, grade A number 1 putz. This is something that all of my Jewish friends agree on. He makes Trump look like a Bodhisattva. Don’t get me started.
MOI: If you believe the mythology, Arabs and Jews are both descended from Abraham. In truth they live together in many places in Israel. They share businesses and serve in the Govt together. In some cases they even inter-marry. So the acusation of Apartheid is a false one. But, there are bad apples on both sides. The Palestinian Authority maintains a “pay for slay” policy – a bounty on Jews. So teenagers hang out on street corners to wait for an elderly Jew to come along so they can stab them. The security wall in Judah/Samaria, and the security measures instituted there became a thing because terrorism is a thing. Those kinds of things have diminished significantly since the security wall was built. But people point at that and call it Apartheid. <sigh>
MOI: The cause of the trouble is, I believe, fundamentalism. Islamic, Jewish , Xtian, it’s all the same wrong headed, mean-spirited, BS. That’s my two cents on the matter. Where ever fundamentalists gather you’re going to see a nest of hate and soon, violence.
MOI: You’ve obviously thought a lot about this whole meshuganah mess. What would you propose be done about it?
My last remark, of course, went unanswered. This is what always happens when critics of Israel are confronted with this question. It’s because they don’t really have an answer or because their answer would involve the destruction of Israel, which, although probably thinking it, they can never say it.
I consider myself a Progressive. A Progressive Zionist. Many Progressives say that that is an oxymoron. Well, I say that they are just plain morons. They cannot, or will not think for themselves. If a well known Progressive makes an accusation, then they all jump on the bandwagon like lemmings over the cliff.
On thing though: Quakers have the reputation for standing for the truth, and historically they have, against all others. Why do they insist of believing in these egregious lies about Israel?