Thursday, January 8, 2009

Resisting Cynicism

Once you see evil in your enemy -- not just in the actions of your enemy -- it becomes difficult to see anything but evil in your enemy. Israel is not my personal enemy, but it behaves as the enemy of a lot of my friends and is an insult to Jewish conscience (no, I'm not Jewish but I inherited a high opinion of Jewish ethos and its contribution to civilization).

Today, Israel allowed 3 hours of truce to allow humanitarian trucks (a mere 80) to come into Gaza.
Also today Bradley Burston published 'A Jew's Prayer for the Children of Gaza' in Haaretz.

Just the day before, the IDF (Israeli army) stood against the humanitarian truce.
In the preceding days, Burston stood firmly in support of Israel's war against the population of Gaza.
So, cynicism is whispering to me that the humanitarian 3-hour truce and the nice prayer were PR moves to counter-balance blowing up a school and killing 40 people. [And indeed, the first battle of Israel is a PR battle--consisting as selling as "defensive" an offensive and conquering occupation.]

But cynicism achieves nothing.
I'll say 'Amen' to your prayer Bradley Burston while I remember it is not those who say "Yes Lord, yes Lord" but those who act rightly who will win the day.
I will recognize in Israel the intent and hope for morality, even if not always put into action. (More on these intentions squelched by misplace priorities here.)
I will recognize your actions when they are simply in the right direction, believe you can be a power which engages in righteous actions, and encourage you to continue.

Now, remember -- had Israel and the United States followed that principle when Hamas won an election fairly and peacefully after nearly one year of restraint from attacks on Israel, we all would be in a better place today.

If we stopped judging our neighbor or our enemies by the intentions we project on them or we suspect, but judged them by their actions, encouraged right actions, we might all move along a real road map to somewhere.

So, quick reminder:
- Israel says - sometimes - it wants to live in peace with a free Palestinian State. At a time when this is blatantly unbelievable, we will believe that you can have a conscience to abide by your words, while we will oppose your current crime with all of our might. We have little might but that of conscience today.
- Hamas has offered a hundred-year truce and shown it would make agreements, curtain and stop violence. It has shown also wrong-headedness in its resistance strategies by relying on terrorism, and the rhetoric of some of its members is sometimes hopeless. While we will always oppose terrorism, we will believe that you can abide by the road to peace, even as each day takes us further away from it while children are being killed.

We will continue to believe humans--who can be monsters--can find the path to peace.
And we will reject the cynicism which ensures hopelessness.

I must say that these days, it is hard.
I personally need a Higher Power to make that choice.

Would you rather call onto God to help you hate your enemies more fervently or to allow the roots of hope to take hold against all odds?

PS: I know I owe a follow up on the last 2 entries - I'm getting there.

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