Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I can't sleep tonight for some reason. I tried reading the Lemon Tree, but that just made me more riled up. I don't have much time to read here, so I'm still pretty much at the beginning of the book, where its explaining the creation of Israel. Of course, Ben-Gurion and the Hagannah is mentioned, and I was suddenly struck by the fact that a major Israeli university is named after the leader of a militia group. Granted, the Hagannah is generally viewed as the less extremist group (as compared to the Irgun, who blew King David Hotel), but still. What happened to Jewish powers of persuasion? How is it that Abraham could negotiate with the Almighty on such matters as destroying a city of sinners, but Ben-Gurion could not negotiate the British and Arabs on basic matters of security in a land that certainly has enough space (water may be another issue) for all its inhabitants without firing weapons first?
We had a fairly heated PELS (Peace-building and Environmental Leadership) seminar yesterday, in which we were supposed to construct narratives around our feelings of Jerusalem. We were split up in an Arab group, Israeli group, and American group. And I realized that, although I am certainly not the only non-zionist in this extremely left-wing group of American Jews, I did seem to be the least connected to Israel. The other Americans proud to be diasporic and feeling little connection or political support for Israel, said they felt guilty for being able to get in and out of Jerusalem so easily, whereas Arabs whose families come from Jerusalem cannot return. And I thought, "Guilty?" Empathetic, certainly. Responsible, in the sense that we are all responsible for each other and if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem, maybe. But personally guilty? As an American Jew born after the partition? What have we to do with it? And furthermore, at least for me personally, my first trip to Israel is this semester, at a peace-building coexistence program. What can we do to break down the barriers between Arab East Jerusalem and Jewish West Jerusalem if not sit in that room in the desert with our Israeli and Palestinian brethren and talk about the conflict? How could we possibly take any other step toward any political resolution until we've made peace on a personal level? And if we're already here, doing that, than what has any American Jew that has never lobbied for or donated to Zionist organizations to feel guilty for? I mean, it's not like we're at that famous university named for a certain military man...

1 comment:

some one said...

you should read gregory baum who talks about the false consciousness behind human activity. what we convince ourselves of, is usually far from the truth..and our unknowingness of social sin tends to make us culpable when it comes to all conflicts. what we don't know does hurt us..which is why it is important to question why we are so supportive of israel, where our money is coming from and essentially, why our assumptions about the state filter into a subjective consciousness of our identity.

basically, i love you. just something to think about.