I don’t recall exactly when it happened, one of those things
that occurs when you are not looking and can’t remember when it wasn’t this way. What I know is that it happened and at some point talking about Israel became exhausting. It shouldn’t
be…it doesn’t have to be…but most times it is.
It’s exhausting because the conversation isn’t about our
love of a place, our a connection to a people. Israel has turned into an issue
as opposed to an idea. It has become a litmus test of someone’s Jewishness. It
is possible for someone to disagree with settlement expansion and still love
Israel. A person can disagree with the Israeli governments stance on any of a handful of issues and still love Israel, they can even think the deal with Iran
was struck with the best of intentions, they can think Iran is, or could be an
honest broker, and still love Israel. How one feels about any one issue is not the
litmus test of someone’s love and devotion to that place, no more than the
absurdity of trying to determine someone’s Jewishness by looking at their level
of ritual observance. “You eat pork, you go shopping on Shabbat…you must not
care much about being Jewish”….nonsense!
So how do we bring the joy back, to make it interesting
instead of exhausting…by talking about Israel when it’s inconvenient, when it
doesn’t appear that the world is crumbling around us. It is my hope and prayer
that the current threat will soon diminish and then, maybe one day soon, we can
talk about the non-security issues that face Israel, a country still in its
infancy, trying to find itself. Those that down play the issues of social
justice, pluralism and peace do so at their own peril and know that those items
and more top the list of things the under 40 crowd cares about. As a suggestion
to those who think the younger generation doesn’t understand how high the
stakes are in the current debate, I would suggest you not start by telling them
they are wrong and throw facts and figures around as if you are an expert. That tact probably didn’t work to well on you either. Instead, listed to them and embrace their concerns or else
their interest may soon turn to apathy.
The debate on Iran is going to continue and I only ask that
those writing the talking points on both sides turn their arguments around and
start with WHY? Why don’t you want Iran to get the bomb, why are you working so
hard to lobby your elected officials? At the end of the day it is because you
fear that the place you love, the people you love, the food, the language, the
religion…you fear these things could be destroyed.
I can buy that, and even agree with it and it didn’t take any facts