"Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors."

-Jonas Salk

Sunday, August 10, 2014

On the situation in Israel / Palestine

I habitually self-identify as Jewish. Though it would never occur to me to practice the religion, looking at me it's hard to miss the genetic, cultural and philosophical influences anyway. Sometimes in driving around the south I feel that I have a blue neon Star of David floating above my head just out of my sight.
But my ethnicity doesn't determine my loyalty. I have had little affection or enthusiasm for Israel for a long time. The Likud victory after Rabin's assassination sealed this for me. I've been quite distressed by the turns in Israeli society since those horrible events in 1995. Like most modern Jews outside Israel with family ties to Israel, I've kept these feelings to myself. But the history of our people, and of my own immediate family, shows that there's an ethical requirement at some point to speak out. Ultimately, tritely but truly, silence is acquiescence. I can no longer even implicitly support what Israel has become.
I am not sure how to make amends for my past silence.
I'm a bit shocked at myself for taking so long to say this publicly, actually. My circumstances are such that I risk little by coming out as explicitly non-suportive of the actions of the contemporary Israeli state or the majority of its voting population.
People like Moti Rieber require far more courage than the likes of me to speak out. I have to say that Rabbi Rieber's writings and tweets have been a comfort as well as an inspiration amid the recent outrages. For example:

Note that my admiration of Reb Moti's writings doesn't imply that he reciprocates - my opinions here are my own. That said I would be thrilled to hear from him.

No comments: