My Mother used to say, “If you do not have anything nice to say, then shut up.” Moms are sometimes blunt. I am a Jew by choice. My religion gives me a place in the world and for me, a personal understanding of a Higher Power. Yesterday, it brought me pain, because of ugly things I saw done in the name of Judaism.
I support Israel’s right to exist. For me, Israel is not some Jewish Vatican, and the Prime Minister of Israel is not a Pope on a throne of infallibility. Israel is not above criticism. Rising from the ashes of the Holocaust is a noble thing. It does not give Israel a right to do what it wants when it wants, to whomever they want to do it without regard for human rights.
As a modern nation, they are subject to the same scrutiny as all nations on earth.
I must ignore my Mother’s admonition about silence. I cannot be silent about the events that unfolded when the U.S. Embassy opened in Jerusalem. When blood is flowing, we must speak out. Silence does equal consent and the deaths of earlier this week do not have my sanction. I cannot give my approval to the storming of a border either.
The spilled blood covers the hands of Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Hamas. None of the above named have any regard for human life. They are as guilty of the death as if they pulled the triggers themselves.
Hamas is bent on destroying Israel. They want to wipe the country off the map and will kill every Jew in Israel. They are not a collection of Madisons, Franklins, or Jeffersons seeking the air of freedom and harmony. They are terrorists and cold-blooded killers who think nothing of hitting schools with rockets and blowing up buses in Israel to achieve their political goals.
They have one, and only one political goal: dead Israelis.
Israel has a right to exist. The Palestinians have a right to live in a state of their own just as Israel. Both share a right to self-determination. The problem is neither side wants the other to have a state. In short, nobody in Israel wants peace.
It appears to me that the most irreligious thing a person can do is to be religious. The profoundly religious forget everything is written about kindness, goodness, reaching out to others, and mercy that are cornerstones of the great religions. They have the sections about hate and war down, however. Proof of that statement is the events in the Middle East.
As a Jew, Jerusalem is our eternal capital. It holds a special place in our religious beliefs. At the end of our Passover Seder, and at the end of Yom Kippur, we speak or sing the phrase, “L'Shana Haba'ah B'Yerushalayim,” which means “Next Year in Jerusalem.” It reflects a 2000 year desire to return to the City of David and end our exile.
Muslims feel just as strongly Jerusalem. In their faith, Jerusalem is the third most holy city in Islam. They have forgotten every word in the Koran about the “People of the Book,” and Mohammed’s words about Jews. The only thing they see when they look at one another is an enemy that must be wiped out.
The Palestinians and Americans who do not like Israel cite the UN Charter that land taken by conquest is illegal. The Arab argument is that Palestinian land was seized by conquest to establish Israel, and that is therefore illegal from the start.
First, the UN Charter is for member states. There has never been a nation known as “Palestine,” and there is no nation by that name that is a member state. The “Palestine” of today is an observer to the UN and not a full member state. The argument by those who hate Israel on charter grounds is not an argument.
Likewise, the 1967 war, which was a defensive war by Israel is when Israel came to control Jerusalem. Again, there was no state of Palestine, and the land in 1967 was not under the control of any member state of the UN. The Arab argument is pretty thin on this point.
What is not thin is that recognition of Jerusalem was a plum held out to Israel to help bring about peace negotiations. Donald Trump is not much of a dealmaker if he takes a prime desire off the negotiating table.
However, peace in the Middle East, and helping Jews to achieve a two-thousand-year-old ambition are not the motivation for Trump in moving the Embassy to Jerusalem. The President is making a move to shore up support with Evangelicals who blindly support Israel.
Benjamin Netanyahu and the Prime Ministers before him exploit the religious zeal of the Evangelicals for means of their own.
Hamas are no choirboys by any means and not victims of blind Israeli aggression. They are terrorists. They know that storming a border will result in innocent deaths. They are perfectly willing to sacrifice women, children, and the elderly for the press headlines. They put out death tolls that are highly suspect.
I have a real problem with the media reporting deaths reported by Hamas. Hamas reminds me much of Donald Trump. They are incapable of telling the truth. What we need is the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent managing the situation at the border. We need the UN to bring in Peacekeeping forces since there is no law in Gaza other than terrorist Hamas.
The occupation is destroying Israel’s world standing. Netanyahu and his party are turning Israel into a pariah state. As a Jew who supports Israel, I cannot be silent about that.
At this time, I see no solution in sight. Netanyahu and his thugs keep getting reelected because they promise to protect Israel from Arab invasion. Where are the other Israeli parties? One can defend Israel, and it does not have to include violating fundamental human rights.
I looked forward to the day Jerusalem became the capital of Israel once again, but in the context of an overall peace being forged. Instead, Jerusalem is the capital once again, but there is great sadness.
It seems that nobody wants peace.
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