10/6/14

Israel vs. Palestine . . .

One of the quirkiest aspects of converting to Judaism while living in a predominantly Christian nation and a very, very Christian state and community is that I don't know a ton of other Jews here in Wichita (sure, my congregation, but I don't often see them outside of temple and the context of our congregation - I don't work with any Jews, none are in my bowling league, none in my quilters circle, etc.). By extension very few people that I know now any Jews other than me.

How is this quirky? Well . . . when people, years ago, asked me what I thought about tensions in the Middle East (specifically Israeli-specific stuff (to be specifically specific)) I was answering as Sean. The guy who loves politics, knows very little about the world beyond our safe, neat borders (or inside), and who didn't really let G-d factor in to my opinions. I miss those days of blissful ignorance that was shared as qualified opinion. 

When people ask me NOW about Israel . . . they are asking me as a Jew. Like when your kid sits on Santa's lap at the mall as though he is THE Santa (or the official Ambassador of the North Pole). Only worse. Because if your kid asks for a Red Rider BB gun (you'll shoot your eye out, kid) and they don't get one you can say "Well, Santa might not have gotten the message." 

If I misspeak or misstate something for the homeland (yes, all Jews identify with Israel in three forms - its people, its essence, its physical boundaries (it is, after all, the center of our faith) and we, in the Diaspora, focus on the people/essence (generally)) that is bad for all of us. ALL of us.

So . . . here are my thoughts on the recent (let's be clear - forever have been, forever are, forever will be ongoing) issues in Israel. When all three of the world's major religions claim the same sliver of land as their spiritual home . . . stuff is going to be weird. Think about when you leave your seat at the family barbecue and come back to find Aunt Mildred (with her low cut blouse and tattoob (that is a boob tattoo, for the uninformed)) is in your spot - you get angry with your cousins who didn't preserve your spot vs. Aunt Mildred . . . or even your hunger for more seven layer dip. I digress.

Israel. Yes. Israel. Recent issues . . . how do I say this. You know how you can call your sister fat or ugly but none of your buddies better DARE even hint that she is fat or ugly? That is how I feel about Israel. I'm disappointed, to be clear, in the actions and decisions that have lead to the death of innocent women and children (I'm going to sneak men in there, too - those have died, including teenage boys on both sides of the fight - even though it is taboo to imply men can be innocent in times of war). 

I wish this would all stop. I wish the bombs and guns would be laid down and that borders and land arguments could be settled the way my neighbor and I harped over a fence years ago - in small claims/civil court and with dirty looks across the driveway. But that is not reality. There is too little land, too much tension, too many egos, and too many people who think they have a mandate from G-d to fight. You can't talk people out of that, as dismissive as you try to be.

So that is a total non-answer, on behalf of all the Jews. NO. Seriously. NOT all Jews. Just me. Just this one Jew. Just this one, schlubby, new to the tribe so what do I know anyway Jew. Sean. It is just the opinion of Sean.