עוֹשֶֹה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו הוּא יַעֲשֶֹה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינו וְעַל כָּל יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵןּ

Over on Universal Hub, there are links to bloggers who are organizing or attending pro-Gaza and anti-Gaza rallies. I feel a bit uncomfortable with either viewpoint, and particularly the one from Miss Kelly, who states, "Please go and show your support for Israel tomorrow. Don't let the Hamas-supporting, Muslim Brotherhood-backed Boston Muslim American Society get all the press coverage."

Ugh. I definitely wouldn't want to support Israel with a group that has such misguided racist reasons for supporting Israel. Likewise, I wouldn't want to support Gaza (or, more to the point, oppose the military actions) with the group who is going around urging Israel supporters to withdraw their support.

Is it that hard to disagree with actions of the Israeli government while supporting Israel?

Why is this so hard for some people to wrap their minds around? It's much like how I love the United States, am proud to live here and be a citizen, and spend quite a bit of my time promoting peace and a good quality of life for the inhabitants of the country. I'm also frequently infuriated and embarrassed by actions of our government. Expressing support and love for America does not in any way mean that I agree with our country going around and blowing up brown people (not to mention oppressing our own brown people). Similarly, I love Israel and hope for peace and safety and well-being of the Israeli people, but I really hate that the Israeli government thinks they need to blow brown people up.

What's really frustrating is that so many otherwise intelligent people have this need to make politics so black-and-white. You're either for Israel, or against Israel. I don't feel comfortable going to either type of rally, because I support the state of Israel, but I don't support said state blowing up people. Much like how I support America, but I wouldn't display an American flag (by itself, without other flags or a peace sign or something) on my car or my bag, because it's become equivalent to a pro-war/anti-Arab symbol to so many people. I've heard from a lot of fellow GLBTQ folks who say that when they notice that a business has American flags on its website or displayed on the premises, they become suspicious that the business supports anti-queer causes, and will look further into this before patronizing the business. Upon further inspection, they're often right. The flag has become a warning symbol for many of us.

(Also, I think it's obvious to most people that Miss Kelly is a racist nutjob, but the world isn't as concrete as she makes it out to be. Yes, I support the Ay-rabs who are getting blown up by Israel. I also support the Ay-rabs who are getting blown up by the U.S. It isn't right to blow up anyone. If it makes me a terrorist to not want to see anyone -- Jewish, Arab, Muslim, American -- be a victim of violence, then fine, I'm a terrorist.)

Our synagogue is quite liberal and very much social justice minded. Yet, every week, when we say the mourner's kaddish, we also add "the individuals who have died in the service of this country, and the individuals who have died in defense of the state of Israel." (The wording used by the clergy is always really similar to that; not sure if I've gotten it exactly right.) Sometimes, if there's been a major tragedy somewhere in the world during the week, they will also add those individuals. (I also find it interesting that the traditional kaddish text of course refers to only the Jewish people [ve'al kol Yisrael], but is still used in inclusive congregations where kaddish is said for anyone.) I always personally say the kaddish for the individuals who have died as a result of both conflicts. I wish that we as a congregation would officially include these individuals. I haven't actually spoken with the clergy about doing so (maybe this will encourage me to do so), but I have a feeling that they've surely considered it. I'm purely speculating here, but I have a hunch that including the Iraqis and Palestinians would upset some of the older and more rigid members of the congregation. I can see how the kaddish is something sacred and probably not somewhere to invite controversy, but right now, it's expressing a political view and is condoning oppression, whether people realize this or not.

עוֹשֶֹה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו הוּא יַעֲשֶֹה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינו וְעַל כָּל יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵןּ
Oseh shalom bimromav hu ya-aseh shalom aleinu ve'al kol yisrael ve'imru amen

May the one who makes peace above make peace descend on all. Everywhere.


6 comments:

TyrantII said...

Ms Kelly is a bigoted racist with nothing but fear in her heart.

She cloaks it in a false shroud of religion, which enables her to get by day to day.

Just take a look at the backlog of topics on her blog and you'll see a warped christianist viewpoint and staunch Rush Limbaugh regurgitator.

It's nice to know that there's fewer and fewer people of her opinion as America matures.

Mels said...

Saw your comment on Universal Hub and came over to read your post.

Is it that hard to disagree with actions of the Israeli government while supporting Israel?

That COMPLETELY sums up how I feel. I was saying to a friend yesterday that I can't support any group/government that feels that killing civilians is an appropriate course of action (with the reminder that a lot of people on other continents feel that way about the US of A.)

Great post.

eeka said...

Thanks Mel and TyrantII!

Tyrant, I find such comments as Ms. Kelly's even *more* offensive when people try to cloak their hatred in "religion," and especially when people who ought to know better let them get away with it.

"We don't make racist/sexist/homophobic comments in our workplace."

"Oh, but my religion requires me to make them."

"Oh, OK, carry on then."

This kind of behavior has given religion a bad name in many people's eyes, just as you said. I'm personally very religious (and hopefully use my religious views to bring people up, not knock them down), so I really enjoy identifying as "religious" in order to reclaim the idea somewhat. If someone excuses someone's behavior (usually homophobia) by saying that "s/he's religious," I'll tell them that I'm religious, and that sort of view isn't actually a condition of being "religious." Kind of similar to the idea of identfying as feminist, and taking the idea back to mean "one who believes that people are equal regardless of sex and/or gender," and giving less power to the "feminists" who use the identity to mean "men suck and are violent rapists and I won't set foot in a skyscraper because it looks like a penis."

I'd love to see the American flag taken back in a similar way, but I think we're pretty far from that. I eagerly await a day when the American flag stands for pride and love and inclusion and welcoming of everyone in the country, rather than for the pro-war and anti-immigrant and anti-queer values that have hijacked it.

Suldog said...

Eeka:

I was going to say something pithy, in response to your post, but your further commentary has, in many ways, said it all.

In other words, I agree :-)

Anonymous said...

I love Israel and hope for peace and safety and well-being of the Israeli people, but I really hate that the Israeli government thinks they need to blow brown people up.

The way I see it, the thing to hate is that the inhabitants of Gaza think they need to fire rockets over the border to blow up Jews, which is what finally results in the Israeli government needing to blow up the terrorists who are doing that.

I do understand what you are saying about certain symbols or positions taking on broader meaning with which one doesn't wish to align.

Anonymous said...

I can't support any group/government that feels that killing civilians is an appropriate course of action

So you must be saying you can't support the Palestinian terrorists, then, yes? Because it is Hamas & Company in Gaza that has been discriminantly targeting civilians, Jewish civilians, lobbing rockets at schools, homes, synagogues, public gathering places, and the like in Israel.

Now that Israel is finally responding, it is the terrorists in Gaza, not civilians there, that are being targeted. Unfortunately, in addition to everything else they do, the Hamas terrorists set themselves up in civilian areas on purpose, to, one, dissuade Israel from responding because they know Israel does not want to hurt civilians, and, two, be able to set Israel up for killing civilians once Israel is forced to respond.

Israel is not happy about killing civilians. The Israeli Forces truly, honestly, do try to minimize such casualties, even as the Palestinians target Israeli civilians and put their own civilians in the way of danger.

Would those who condemn Israel's response be happier if Israel followed the lead of the Palestinians and simply lobbed rockets back in the same fashion, purposely targeting civilians?

All the Palestinians have to do is stop attacking Israel and Israelis.