This is a very special community. It has been a part of my life for several years now. Even though there are so many of you that I have never met, and realistically will probably never meet, I wouldn't hesitate to bring any of you into my home.
The last couple of days on Kos have been tough. The fighting about the Israel/Palestine conflict has led to name calling, mean assertions and the realization that this conflict needs to end.
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
I am sick of this. I am sick of this horrible conflict that has consumed way too much of our energy and has taken far too many lives, on both sides.
Before you read the rest of this diary, know this:
- I am not Anti-Semitic
- My Mother's family was of European Jewish descent. Something I didn't know until right before her death.
- My Father's family may have been part Sephardic Jew. We aren't sure but suspect they were.
- I don't support Hamas.
- I loathe war. I absolutely loathe it. I know what war looks like, smells like and sounds like.
- I am blessed to have Arab friends.
- I am blessed to have Jewish friends.
- I even have a self described JewRab friend.
- I think embargos are ineffective and only hurt the poorest and most oppressed of those we have foreign policy disagreements with.
I am also an American. I pay taxes. I have the same Constitutional rights that every other American has. What does this mean? It means that I have the absolute right to question my country's foreign policy as well as have the duty to know where my tax dollars are being spent.
I am tired of financing this conflict. I am tired of being part of this destructive breakdown of communication that isn't getting any better but only getting worse. I am tired of the leaders of both Israel and the Palestinians pointing their fingers at each other, both with blood stained hands. I am tired of rockets, tanks, bombs, broken glass, land being stolen and houses bulldozed.
I am especially tired of children dying. With each child that I see bloodied, missing a limb or their lifeless body being carried by a mourning Mother or Father I loathe this conflict more.
Israelis and Arabs "feel that only force can assure justice," I. F. Stone noted soon after the Six-Day War in 1967. And he wrote, "A certain moral imbecility marks all ethnocentric movements. The Others are always either less than human, and thus their interests may be ignored, or more than human and therefore so dangerous that it is right to destroy them."
This is such a difficult conflict for Americans to deal with. But we have to. There is no more time left. We have the power to make both sides of this conflict come to our table and resolve this age old fight. Even if it means both sides have to be dragged by the ears, kicking and screaming, and forced to sit down. But will we? Are we too afraid of being called Anti-Semitic or Anti-Arab if we make them talk to each other?
It makes some of the world ill with rage. And it turns much of the United States numb with silence. Routinely, the politicians and pundits of Washington can't summon minimal decency in themselves or each other on the subject of Israel and Palestinians.
While officialdom inside the Beltway seems frozen in fear of risking "anti-Semitism" charges by actually standing up for the human rights of Palestinian people, some progress at the grassroots level has been noticeable. It includes the growth of groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace, Tikkun and The Shalom Center, where activists have worked to refute the false claims that American Jews are united behind Israeli policies.
It is heartening to know these groups are willing to start at the grassroots levels to resolve this conflict. But we all know they can't do it by themselves. We have to get involved. We have to force our U.S. leaders to stop this conflict.
And that means listening to both sides of the conflict.
Here is my New Years gift to all of my friends, known and unknown, on Kos. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Israelis are human. So are Palestinians. There are two sides to each story.
I wish you peace, love, hope and happiness in 2009.