Thursday, June 03, 2010

Where I Stand

I am an American Jew. Part of why I ignored that part of me for a very long time is because I hated the occupation of Palestine and I didn’t want to be associated with it at all.

It took me years to realize that running from it was not possible and that I had a responsibility to stand up and say “you don’t do this for me.”

I cannot remember a single military action taken by the Israeli government during my lifetime that i agreed with. All the ones I can remember just make me angry and sick, because the widespread disrespect of basic human rights is something that I cannot reconcile within myself and when there is a claim that it was done to protect me, well…thats even worse.

I understand the passion that so many Jews have for having a “place for us.” I understand the feeling of being attacked and outnumbered. I do. I am only here because my great grandmother saw the writing on the wall and worked her ass off to get as many of her family members out of Poland as she could before getting out became no longer possible. Without her tenacity, I would not exist. When people talk about the Holocaust, show pictures, records…the weight of “I came that close to never happening” is tremendous. I look at pictures on records written in German of people that look just like me and my sisters who were killed before they even hit their 20’s. I still deal with ignorant shit from privileged assholes who think that the word “kike” can be used in my presence without repercussions simply because I am not religious.

That grandmother was also the one who taught her children that no one should suffer as her family that did not escape suffered. She did what she could to reign in and focus the anger of her children at how they were treated by Christians in the US, and what they saw happen to their people in Europe. She taught them (and they taught us) that we have a responsibility, in the name of the dead, to demand justice for all people.

Attacking supply ships is not justice. Creating permanent refugee camps is not justice. Choking off basic supplies necessary for survival is not justice. Taking someone’s home is not justice. Advocating genocide is not justice. Any system of ethics that finds a way to justify these actions and consider them righteous is sick and needs healing or amputation. I cannot support those actions or any government that partakes of them, especially not with the spirit of my grandmother behind me and the knowledge of the debt that I gladly owe her.

I don't hate Israel, and I don't hate my own Jewish identity. I also don't think that "shoot first and ask questions later" is viable public or foreign policy, and I do not appreciate it being done in my name or the name of my family.

If we are God’s chosen people…maybe its time Zie chose someone else.

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