A young Zionist’s anger and fear

A friend of a friend posted the following message on Facebook. I skimmed through it quickly at first and shook my head saying “She’s wrong, she’s wrong, she’s wrong!” And then I was going to discard it.

Something took me back for a second look, a slower read.

Instead of trying to “educate” this young Zionist Jew, and respond to her inaccuracies, I wanted to feel her pain and anger. She has a lot of both.

Please read her words, not with judgment or criticism, but with care and concern. She obviously can’t hear the pain or anger of the Palestinians in Gaza today, or the frustration of the activists who are supporting the Palestinians, but perhaps we can hear her.

I am sick and tired of having to defend my right to be alive. The world stood by silently as 1/3 of the Jewish world population was systemically exterminated during the Holocaust. Not because they didn’t know what was happening. It was because they did not care. Israel was created because Jews realized that if ever a people would try and finish the job, the world would again be silent. It’s happening now. Jews worldwide are under attack. Do me a favor friends, IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE THAT EVERYTHING ISRAEL IS DOING RIGHT NOW TO DEFEND ITSELF AND THE JEWISH (AND ARAB) POPULATION THAT LIVES THERE, PLEASE REMOVE ME FROM YOUR LIST OF FRIENDS BECAUSE I DO NOT WANT TO SEE OR HEAR ANY OF YOUR MISGUIDED, MISINFORMED, ANTISEMITIC BULLSHIT ANYMORE. ANYONE WHO THINKS ISRAEL IS A WAR CRIMINAL IS AN ANTISEMITE AND THERE IS NO REASON FOR US TO BE FRIENDS. BE IT ON FACEBOOK OR REAL LIFE.
There are 15 million Jews in the world. That is 0.2% of the world population. Yes, less than 1 fucking percent of the whole world is Jewish. If you don’t think that such a small number of people need a place to call their own, especially given our history, and especially since there are people everywhere, right now, again calling for our extermination, and that we need to do everything and anything to protect it, then you hate Jews and you hate Israel and by extension, you hate me. Please, let’s not be friends.”

Dear Friend:

Your words very clearly express your pain and anger. I think I hear your fear too.

I’m not going to respond to the facts you shared about the Holocaust, the world’s criticism directed at the State of Israel today or Israel’s right to defend herself. But I hear you!

I’m not going to explain who the Palestinians are, or their history, or their right to resist the occupation. I don’t think you would hear me.

I’m just going to tell you a story about a young man who attended a Passover Seder in my community (Albuquerque, NM) about 10 years ago. As we were reciting the haggadah, someone asked “why are Jews God’s ‘Chosen People’?”

This young man was probably 17 or 18 years old at the time, but very wise for his young age. He immediately chimed in and said “Jews are the ‘Chosen People’ because God chose them to teach the rest of the world how to live with our neighbors.”

That’s a powerful message!

If it’s true, if Jews are the ‘Chosen People’ to teach us how to get along and live as neighbors, then how should the State of Israel (and Jews everywhere) share that lesson with the world?

  • By “unfriending” anyone on Facebook who disagrees with our point of view?
  • By only hanging out with people who think the way we do? Pray the way we pray?
  • By demonizing and killing hundreds of people we have never met (such as the Palestinians in Gaza)?
  • By building a wall between us and our neighbors so we can’t see each other, talk with each other, visit with each other?

You’re still living with the horror of the Holocaust but the Palestinians weren’t responsible for that nightmare.

I suspect you’ve never met a Palestinian or talked with a Palestinian.

If that young man at the Passover Seder was right, and God’s Chosen People are here to teach us all how to live with our neighbors, how can Jews help us live together? That young man at the Passover Seder is a Palestinian from Gaza, but I’m not sure whether he’s still alive.

I’m told that the Golden Rule is in the Torah, just as it’s in the Bible and Quran. Can the Golden Rule help heal your pain and fear?

Once there was a gentile who came before Shammai, and said to him: “Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot. Shammai pushed him aside with the measuring stick he was holding. The same fellow came before Hillel, and Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it.”  – Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a

Your Facebook message ends with a fear that I hate you.

“If you don’t think that such a small number of people need a place to call their own, especially given our history, and especially since there are people everywhere, right now, again calling for our extermination, and that we need to do everything and anything to protect it, then you hate Jews and you hate Israel and by extension, you hate me. Please, let’s not be friends.”

I don’t hate Jews, I don’t hate Israel, and I don’t hate you.  I want to learn how to live together as neighbors respecting the Golden Rule.

ABC News - Sulome Anderson

ABC News – Sulome Anderson

4 Comments

Filed under Israel, Spiritual - Religion

Witness a War Crime

20/7/14: International and Palestinian volunteers accompanied Civil Defense and other rescue crews, as well as family members, into Shujaya, in an attempt to locate survivors of overnight and ongoing shelling by the Israeli army. A young Palestinian man, in a green t-shirt, who hoped to reach his family’s home, was shot by an Israeli soldier while crossing an alley between buildings. Two additional rounds struck him as he lay injured on the ground.

This is a war crime. Israel will be held accountable – so help me God!

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaza, Israel Defense Forces, Uncategorized, Video

Your Diet

If you feed your child a diet of sweets, coca cola, potato chips, and ice cream, he’s going to grow up to be a miserable, overweight, unhealthy adult.

If you feed your child a diet of vegetables, whole grains and milk, she’s going to grow up healthy.

I’ve met some intelligent Americans in the past few days who spew nonsense about the Palestinians — making them out to be monsters, evil doers, hate-mongering subhumans.

My message to those Americans: watch your diet. Garbage in, garbage out.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaza, Israel, Uncategorized

We Can Help Gaza!

I’ve had friends in the USA ask me in the past few days about how to help. Please read this message from a friend in Malaysia who I will vouch for …. if she says this is the way to help, then THIS is the way to help. Open your pocketbooks as much as you can. #GazaUnderAttack
“We have sent USD 50 000 to Cairo for medical supplies urgently needed in Gaza. Part of it has arrived in Gaza and was delivered to the Ministry of Health Gaza yesterday alhamdulillah.”
“Viva Palestina Malaysia also sponsored 2 of the 5 WHO Emergency Health Kits ( enough for 50,000 people) airlifted by IMA North America (IMANA) due to arrive Cairo on Sunday,20 July 2014 inshaa Allah.”
Delivering medical supplies to the Ministry of Health in Gaza

Delivering medical supplies to the Ministry of Health in Gaza


21 Ramadhan 1435 / 19 July 2014
FIMA Gaza Relief Updates No 12

Dr. Ayman al-Sahbani, head of emergency in al-Shifa hospital described the gruesome situation at Gaza’s main hospital. “People admitted to the hospital come with shrapnel wounds or injuries resulting from the collapse of walls on people when their houses are bombed. Most of those who arrive dead, come dismembered. Some arrive with missing parts. Others are torn to pieces.”

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) International, Doctors Without Borders, Nobel Peace Prize Winners in 1999, warned that the response to emergency needs at hospitals in Gaza could worsen quickly “due to already existing chronic shortages of drugs and disposables.”

10463070_10203099948712055_3116924584978080048_n
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that medical services in Gaza city are on the brink of collapse as the Israeli military onslaught against the Strip continued.
The ground invasion yesterday has further compounded the frequency and severity of deaths and injuries. 267 Palestinians have died (53 child,32women, 16 old men). And more than 2020 wounded seriously.The Ministry of Health (MOH) Gaza has sent an SOS for 50 essential & 20 disposables drug items.

10500268_10203099949072064_3398777541633018482_n

Eight anaesthesiology machines, 10 ventilators, five electrosurgical units, 20 vital sign monitors, ECG machines, five defibrillator machines are urgently needed. Specialists in neurosurgery, anaesthesiology, plastic surgery, general trauma surgery, advanced orthopaedics and burns specialists are needed at Gaza hospitals.

The 7 trucks with USD 200K worth of supplies which entered Gaza four days ago, from the joint team of medical organisations from Egypt, USA, South Africa, Malaysia, Turkey, Pakistan coordinated by FIMA has partially met some of these pressing needs. A second consignment of USD500K is being prepared in Cairo for urgent delivery to Gaza. And this convoy will also transport 5 WHO Emergency Health Kits airlifted by IMA North America (IMANA) due to arrive Cairo on Sunday,20 July 2014. The kits are designed for the health needs of 50K people for the ensuing 3 months.
10388184_10203099948232043_5958102676581695722_n

The FIMA team of doctors who have been stationed at Rafah the past 4 days have only verbal promise of entry within the next 1-2 days. Failing which we are exploring the option of entering Gaza via the Erez terminal (Beit Hanoon Crossing Border). 7 European doctors who were denied entry via Rafah have successfully entered Gaza via Erez. Please make doa that our teams would be allowed access into Gaza to assist the much overworked and fatigued Gazan doctors.

This collaboration of doctors from several countries is important to SYNERGISE our relief efforts and NOT duplicate what is already on the ground. Every team member who goes into Gaza brings added value to the MOH and there is simply no room for “disaster tourism”. We are in Gaza to help provide emergency, basic and essential supplies for health care and help restore basic health services to the hospitals and clinics of the MOH.
Please continue passionately your fund raising efforts to help rehabilitate the struggling medical facilities in Gaza.
10518657_10203099949352071_5887602681916635669_n

All forms of generous contributions are acceptable including Zakat & Sadaqah. Kindly find both our banking details, for your banking convenience as attached below. Kindly email your IMA or corporate logo to relief@amueg.org for our display banners on the trucks.

May Allah reward you all abundantly for your prayers and contributions during this blessed month of Ramadhan.
Dr Ashraf Jedaar (+27836754103)
Director,FIMA ReliefA/C Name: FIMA
Bank: Standard Bank of South Africa
Constantia branch: 025309
A/C No: 071848770
SWIFT code: SBZAZAJJ

Dato’ Dr Musa Mohd Nordin (+6012-3200564)
Chairman, FIMA Advisory Council / Viva Palestina Malaysia
A/C Name: PERTUBUHAN VIVA PALESTINA MALAYSIA
Bank: Malayan Banking Berhad
Block C, Damansara Offices Complex, Jalan Dungun, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Account no : 5-64324-601324
Swift Code : MBBEMYKL

5 Comments

Filed under Gaza, People, Uncategorized

“I know that death comes in less than a second”

Lora Lucero:

I think the words from the Palestinians in Gaza are the strongest and need to be heard by all of us. #GazaUnderAttack

Originally posted on Chat2Gaza:

140717-gaza-teens-funeral

Hossam Rajab, 22, describes the days in Gaza since Israel began its latest killing spree on 8th July.

With the scarcity of resources and job opportunities in the Gaza Strip and with the suffocating siege and the multiple crises in the Strip, we Palestinians exercise our daily lives.

In the morning I go to my work as usual in the Ministry of Communications, then go to my second job in the evening in an internet services and telecommunications company.

On 8th July, before I went to my work at 4 pm, I heard the sound of rockets aimed at several places in the Gaza Strip, and the beginning of a new war and another session of suffering. I go to my job, and I hold my soul in my hands…and I know that death comes in less than one second .

I found only two of my friends in the…

View original 371 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

On the slaughter of innocents

Lora Lucero:

Human rights, if they mean anything, are not the rights of humans to be killed efficiently. Human rights are their rights to live.

Originally posted on a paper bird:

“Civilian casualties” in Gaza and Israel, and before, and beyond

Palestinians collect their belongings from damaged houses in Gaza City. (Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP / Getty Images).  ABC News in the US later misidentified this picture as showing Israeli victims.

Palestinians collect their belongings from damaged houses in Gaza City, 2014. (Photo: Mahmud Hams /AFP /Getty Images). ABC News in the US later misidentified this picture as showing Israeli victims.

The injunction against killing civilians in war is now basic to international human rights and humanitarian law, along with the prohibitions against genocide and torture: so much so, it’s easy to forget it’s not even 70 years old. Like the latter standards, it’s been at least as much honored in the breach as affirmed in the observance. Even more than them, it carries a host of slippery justifications to support the breaches. Nobody argues that committing genocide is all right because it’s so hard not to, or because the victims obstreperously refuse to leave or keep getting in the way; whereas whenever civilians turn up dead in a place…

View original 4,167 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

الله يصبركم

69018_4731945382474_452398462_n

نمر عوض Nemr Awad

Today Mohammed Awad (pictured here with his grandfather in 2012) buried his grandfather in a cemetery in Gaza beneath a sky full of terror and bomb blasts.

Nemr Awad was 87 years old, born before the Catastrophe or Nakba in 1948 when his family was forcibly expelled from Burayr برير  and made their way to Gaza.

I didn’t know him well, met him on only one occasion at his home in the Jabalia Refugee Camp in northern Gaza where he lived with his family. He didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Arabic. But when I asked to take his photo, I sensed he was a very proud man with great strength of character.

Nemr نمر means Tiger in Arabic. He must have lived up to his name.

Today his family mourns his passing. He’s been ill for 8 years and so his death doesn’t come as a surprise, but their loss is deep nevertheless.

I suspect Nemr نمر kept hope alive that the family might be able to return to their homeland one day, that the brutal occupation would end, that their status as refugees just miles from Burayr برير would be acknowledged, an apology and reparations would be made by Israel.

Instead, he suffered and died under Israel’s occupation.

Nemr نمر  had five children (3 sons and 2 daughters). His wife and two children preceded him in death. One son now lives in Belgium where he emigrated after being wounded in Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009). One daughter and son remain in Jabalia.

Jabalia Refugee Camp  (September 2012)

Jabalia Refugee Camp
(September 2012)

Speaking as a grandmother, I think Nemr’s hope for the future probably came from watching his grandchildren. I don’t know how many he had, but I know  Mohammed well and Nemr نمر must have been very proud of him.

417244_4731910461601_1045389573_n (1)

Mohammed has a degree in English Literature from the Islamic University of Gaza. He teaches and tutors students of all ages, and I’ve witnessed his love for teaching. And his love for learning.

I wonder if Mohammed got that love for learning from his grandfather.

902827_10201035493755421_1958868451_o904545_10201035186827748_454818561_o894529_10201035193627918_276890941_o (1)

Even growing up in very difficult circumstances, never setting foot out of the Gaza Strip, witnessing death and destruction up close and personal, Mohammed doesn’t hate. He doesn’t speak of revenge.

Mohammed has a curiosity about philosophy and religion and people and what makes the world tick. We sat and talked for many hours (at first Skyping online and then in person when I arrived in Gaza). Mohammed introduced me to new ideas and ways of looking at the world which makes me think he is probably a very old soul.

476367_10201086277904993_962829383_o

Occupation + Climate Change = Double Trouble in Gaza

892552_10201086275784940_384305258_o

Mohammed is the neighbor any loving family would want to have next door.

39288_4868836724672_799385016_n550670_4731941542378_1994168423_n69173_4795657055226_1684231130_n

Nemr نمر —— you raised your family well, with honor and dignity, with courage and intelligence. May you rest in peace knowing that you succeeded as a father and grandfather. Your children and grandchildren will carry on your memory.    عظم الله أجركم الله يرحمه

2 Comments

Filed under Gaza, Israel, Occupation, People