For now, I can’t really separate my Jewish stuff from Israel and Palestine. My feelings about my faith are tied up in activism and justice. Only with justice can there be real peace, as Martin Luther King Jr. put it, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
So it is hard for me to pray with people who think Palestinians have it coming to them. The collective brush of racism is very broad, and it makes me uncomfortable to pray or exchange pleasantries with supporters of Israel.
And yet, I struggle with Zionism and anti-Zionism. I don’t want to give up on my people. I don’t want to write other Jews off as unrelenting racists, not just indifferent to the suffering of Palestinians but who find it somehow justified.
I see the collective punishment, the denial of basic rights and ability to make a life for oneself and one’s family, and I wonder what the people are thinking, to do this to another person. The checkpoints, the brutal, young soldiers.
And the hypocrisy. What I am finding looking through Allan Solomono’s stores of documents that go back in many cases to the early 1970s and in some cases to the 1960s and before. I see so much horrific racism on the part of the Jewish community that I think it justifies a resistance movement. After all, early on, Ben Gurion and even Jabotinsky and others acknowledged that if they were Palestinians, they would have taken up armed struggle against the likes of European Jewry descending on them, acting like they didn’t exist, dealing with the British government instead of Palestinians.
I know that the few Zionists who did try to work with Palestinians weren’t all that successful, but ultimately, the way forward that won out, colluding with the dieing empire of the British and then with a devastated Europe against the people already there, it just isn’t politically defensible.
I understand that we as Jews have been oppressed repeatedly and all over the place. Terrible, murderous lies have been created just to justify our murders, our second-class citizenship. But then to do that, in as bad a way as possibly conceived, with as modern a weaponry available, creating new ways of keeping a people penned in, not free, subject to the mercy of the oppressor, I honestly don’t understand the logic or the feelings that allow people in their minds to think that makes sense.
I got mine, now you’ll get yours. We do what we learn. But Euro-Jews have colluded with our oppressors. Who more than European Christians have had it in for us? Not that I want us to go after them, but if we don’t hate and kill them, why would we choose another enemy. Isn’t it better to try not to have enemies? Isn’t it better not to have allies with which we rely on vast quantities of guns and bombs and helicopter gunships and developing new weapons like DIME weapons, lethalizing the use of teargas, destroying people’s water access in the desert to make their lives miserable.
Every form of racism that has been done to the Jews is being done by Jews now with the exception of the gas chambers. That is a very low bar indeed and is not just!
So I don’t like praying with Jews unless the community I’m in is pretty much with me on this. I have enough time staying in prayer and not being distracted by my own mind.I have my own inventory to take; I don’t want to be questioning others when I’m in a setting that is more properly between me and my God.