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I had wanted to write about Israel for a few weeks and with the news of their attack on a convoy of aid ships, I figure now is the time.

I am not Jewish, but I like Jewish people. I bought and read the Torah and I really liked it. I have collected many quotes by great rabbi’s and sages of the Jewish religion. I used to read regularly on, it has some really great stuff. For a while I really wanted to go to synagogue, but I was nervous about just showing up. I still want to go sometime.

I believed that Jews were among the wisest people ever. There is so much wisdom to be gleaned from the Torah, the Talmud, and Jewish history. Part of the reason I think there is such a rich tradition of wisdom with the Jewish people, is because of their suffering.

In my own life I have seen that suffering teaches, it creates compassion, and understanding, and forgiveness. Getting what you want doesn’t teach you a damn thing, besides to be careful what you wish for, maybe.

Yet, I wonder if this wisdom and especially the compassion that was manifest in the Jewish tradition through all the history of oppression and exile, pogroms and inquisitions has been lost. Have the Israeli’s forgotten all their history and become like the people who tried to exterminate them?

The Israeli’s barricade off the Palestinians into cramped, hopeless shantytowns, like a thousand Warsaw Ghetto’s. They demand papers, deny aid, cut power and water. They attack and kill and maim, without reason or provocation. This is the history of Nazi’s against the Jews.

I am well aware that the Palestinians are also guilty of cruelty and indiscriminate killing. I know the history of the slaughter of Jews by the Palestinians before Israel was a state. The attacks on Israel by the Arab nations. In the end, where does it end, and with whom? A man with a bomb strapped to him, blowing up a bus full of people just trying to go home is wrong. So is a helicopter blindly firing rockets into a neighborhood. Just because one group is recognized as a nation by the U.N. doesn’t mean that it is not a terrorist act, they both are. It has to end. Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.”

It can start by letting the Palestinians have a real economy. Real jobs, making real money, gives people real hope. A man with hope and a little money in his pocket wants to deck his car out with a stereo and a ton of speakers, not a detonator and a ton of tnt.

I understand that Israel is in a tough spot. Israel cannot afford to trust anybody. Every once in a while somebody here in the U.S. will be caught spying for Israel, and nobody here can understand why they would do that. I understand why, think about this: toward the end of WW2, the Allies ruled the skies over Germany. Thousands of planes flew over Germany day and night, attacking anything that moved. We had liberated some of the camps and knew the Germans were shipping Jews to the camps by rail, but despite literally having thousands of planes to blow up the rails leading to the camps, we never did.

Even the creation of Israel was really Anti-Semitic. The Vichy French, and many of the other countries conquered by the Nazi’s had gleefully helped round up Jews to be shipped to slaughter. They didn’t want the Jews back after the war, and the U.S. didn’t want to bring them back here. We kept them in the death camps while we figured out what to do. Finally, we decided to send them “home”, except there were already people living there. It would be like the U.N. deciding to give California back to Mexico. The Mexican’s might be happy, but I don’t think too many Californians would be pleased.

I have long suspected that the real reason we support Israel is because it foments so much dissent in the Middle East. It keeps all the bees buzzing and angry and leaves the honey to us.

I sometimes wonder, with all the history of the Jews trying to go home to the Promised Land, if the death of 6 million Jews was the price, and if that price was worth it? Now, I wonder if the price was not only the cruel death of all those people, but the abandonment of Jewish wisdom and compassion and understanding.

Does the Holy Land render God’s Holy People unholy?

If it makes them the agents of the same hatred and violence that the very nation of Israel was recreated to allow them to escape, than what is the worth?

Maybe I was wrong that the lesson is that wisdom comes by enduring and overcoming suffering, maybe the lesson is that you just grit your teeth and bear it until it is your turn to crack the whip.

It is a lot to ask any people to find mercy, and kindness, and justice in a place of so much anger and pain and hatred, but if the Chosen People of God cannot do it, who can?


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