I was raised to think the country was ours by divine right. But this horror has challenged even my deepest beliefs
So hey. I wrote this.
This article speaks to me on a deeper level I’ve been waiting for, for a while, and says a lot of what I’ve been wanting to say. I was never raised Jewish, though I got pretty good at pretending for immigration services, when I was nine, so that our refugee status would be assured and my family could leave Ukraine and come to the US. My dad has been raised Orthodox, and has been an atheist for as long as I remember. My mom was raised atheist, from what I can tell. It’s the old Russian Jew joke. What’s the Russian Jew’s religion? Atheism. I’m an agnostic, myself. I don’t know what’s out there, and I’d rather form the core of my morality around real live humans, than an abstract higher power. This makes me the most religious member of my family
I have family in Israel. When my mom speaks of the war, both the one going on right now, and the cold war that had been hanging over Israel and Palestine for years, she speaks of busses exploding and the danger to my aunt and her family. She speaks of the persecution faced by Jews around the globe, and it’s not like that’s not the case, it is.
But she never speaks of what’s happening to Palestinian civilians right now. I’m not sure she knows. I’m not sure she wants to know.
It’s like a whole nation of people has been swept under the rug, because their suffering is inconvenient. And it’s being done by people who should fucking know better. People whose ancestors have been beaten and killed, and yes, whose suffering has been ignored.
Like Lipkin, I’ve never been to Israel. By the time I was in my teens, it was too dangerous, according to my mom. But even someone like me got accustomed to thinking of it as mine.
There’s something comforting about the idea. But the cost is too high, and the hypocrisy of it too stunning.
There are people I’ve learned to call my people, slaughtering civilians, right now. Children. Innocent bystanders. And my first instinct is to say, fuck, these Israeli soldiers have nothing to do with me, I’m a Bostonian, I’ve never even had a bat mitzvah. I’ve been inside a synagogue all of four times in my life, not counting those times the one in my hometown let high school clubs use its space.
But that doesn’t solve the problem. That’s just another way of closing my eyes.
Like Lipkin, I keep thinking, maybe I’m naiive. Because I want to have kept believing that a people who’ve faced genocide would know better than to turn it around on someone else. It’s not that I believe humanity, as a whole, is good. But I want to believe it can learn better. Learn something.
Or at least I want to believe that the parts of it committing atrocities have nothing to do with me.
I don’t know what I can do, aside from knowing what’s happening right now, and talking, and arguing with my family.
If I was trying to give this post a nice, pat ending I’d say something like “and maybe knowing is a good start,” reference G.I. Joe and feel good about myself.
I don’t know how to end this post. I don’t know what to do with this knowledge. I don’t even mean that on a practical level. Of course there are ways to get involved, to contact the government, to push against the pull. But on an emotional level, I’m left staring at my laptop screen, unprepared.