Tuesday, November 20, 2012

On Israel, Palestine, and Blame

by Ben Howard

I started writing out four different posts before I started writing this one. I tried to be funny and thoughtful and I tried to distract myself from writing this post because I didn’t want to get political and I didn’t want to wade into the fray because it’s confusing and frustrating and it feels impossible to solve.

I didn’t want to write about Israel and Palestine, but I can’t avoid it.

I want to be a moderate. I want to be calm and cool and a voice of reason. I want to say, “It’s complicated,” and explain away the actions of both sides because that’s what I want to do. That’s how I want the world to work. I want the world to make sense if you just take the time and squint a little, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t make sense.

I want to blame Hamas for firing missiles into Israel because it made Israel’s actions justifiable in the eyes of many. I want to blame Hamas for thinking violence would solve anything, as if they didn’t have 70 years of evidence to the contrary.

I want to blame Israel for antagonizing the Palestinians. I want to blame them for treating the Palestinians with such carelessness that firing rockets into population centers made a twisted kind of sense. I want to blame Israel for reacting to the deaths of 3 Israelis with the lives of 113 Palestinians, including 54 civilians and almost a thousand wounded including hundreds of children.

I want to blame the governments of Middle Eastern nations who have antagonized Israel to such an extent that they lash out viciously at every incident of violence. Have they not learned that abused children often become abusive parents?

I want to blame the United States for condoning Israel’s acts of violence and supporting their right to self defense. I want to blame the governments of history past for so mistreating the Jewish people that we have to defend and justify their right to self-defense. I want to blame the Western powers who didn’t want to intervene to stop the Holocaust, but felt guilty enough afterwards to carve out a Jewish homeland and relegate those already living there to second class citizenship.
I want to blame the nations of Israel and Judah who refused to listen to the prophets and were exiled from the Promised Land for their infidelity. I want to blame people like me who don’t listen to both sides or who don’t even know what’s going on. I want to blame no one (which is kind of cowardly) and I want to blame everyone (which is kind of meaningless).

I’m frustrated and confused and angry. I’m mad at the Palestinians and the Israelis and everybody who defends either of them. I’m mad at people who ignore the situation and I’m mad at myself because I do that too. I’m mad when I care too much because I can’t do anything.

What should I do? What should you do? What should I feel? Should I feel guilty for living my comfortable life? Do I pray? What do I pray for?

I don’t know, it’s all just so…so…*sighs*


You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenHoward87 or email him at benjamin.howard87 [at] gmail.com.

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1 comment:

  1. This is my favorite post of yours, not because it offers a profound solution, but because it's profoundly true.