I mean, they just jumped from Ferguson to Palestine in a single bound. As if it was a new dance move. The Palestinian Reshuffle. You just straddle 2 continents, an ocean & a sea and shimmy right out of the facts and into the magical realm of politically-profitable fallacy.
My mind reels at the inanity of it all. And yet the illogical segue gets swallowed whole into the global conversation. Taken in as truth, tweeted and shared. As the detour to Palestine is once again well-paved by misinformed people’s best intentions.
The Benefit Of The DoubtLet’s for a moment give the propagators of this maddening message the benefit of the doubt. After all, there are 4 important things that the Pro-Palestinian protestors got right.
#1. Drawing Political Parallels Makes Sense (except when it doesn’t):Making political parallels is a savvy way to express the conflict. It makes sense to connect two disparate movements, to draw poetic parallels, to make political similes.
But aren’t there more compelling, more coherent & fact-based parallels to be drawn?
For instance, you say you’re concerned about violence based on ethnicity.
Up in arms about heavily armed police squads against a defenseless public? Why not stage a sit in against Putin’s impudent invasion of the Ukraine? Or how about some creatively expressed distress about the government-sponsored pounding of its citizens in Syria?
By all means, draw political parallels to Ferguson. But first, check in with all thosewell-researched fact-based lists of the World’s Worst of the Worst Countries for Human Rights. The lists are populated with a teeming plethora of oppressive regimes – from North Africa to Asia to the Arab dictatorships of the Middle East. But Israel? When it comes to tallying the world’s most protest-worthy countries Israel is nowhereto be seen.
#2. Yes, There Is A Racism Problem In IsraelRacism is indeed a deep link between Ferguson and Israel. Both places suffer from the ills of minority maltreatment. It’s just that you have confused the characters. Fact is, the actual minority in the Middle East is the Jews. There are 6 million Israeli Jews surrounded by 300 million Arabs & all their explicit hostilities. Worldwide there are 13 million Jews compared to 1.4 billion Muslims. Jews are outnumbered 1 to 100 by Muslims. Talk about a vilified minority population!
And speaking of discrimination. Upwards towards 1 million Jews have been exiled, even violently expelled, from multiple Arab countries. Explicitly because of their religion and ethnicity.
Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and countless other neighboring ‘organizations’ – are all openly dedicated to the eradication of this small Jewish minority enclave. They state it in their charters. They indoctrinate it into their children. They demonstrate it in their terror threats & overt attacks.
So, please, by all means raise high your protest signs and demand a cessation of violence against the true minority in the Middle East.
#3: There is an occupation in IsraelYes, my justice-driven protesting friends, there IS an occupation happening here in Israel. It is a PREOCCUPATION — and it is taking over all of our computer screens.
The world is strangely, magnetically & illogically, preoccupied with Israel.
This land is the archetypal preoccupied territory.
Seasoned journalist Matti Friedman meticulously lays out statistics that reveal what he calls “the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews.”
He exposes the preoccupation in the media. Just read this excerpt of his excellent article, “Insiders Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth”:
When I was a correspondent at the AP (Associated Press), the agency had more than 40 staffers covering Israel…That was significantly more news staff than the AP had in China, Russia, or India, or in all of the 50 countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined…
The volume of press coverage that results…gives this conflict a prominence compared to which its actual human toll is absurdly small. In all of 2013, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claimed 42 lives—that is, roughly the monthly homicide rate in the city of Chicago…In contrast, in three years the Syrian conflict has claimed an estimated 190,000 lives, or about 70,000 more than the number of people who have ever died in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began a century ago.
Actual statistics speak volumes when it comes to exposing the preoccupation happening with Israel.
#4: The Pro-Palestinian protesters are doing their jobNow here’s the most important thing. Let’s consider that maybe this preoccupation is not merely a sad fact. Maybe it is actually a fortunate ordering of reality.
Yes, the world is preoccupied with this little slice of land. But why?
When we look through the slant of purely spiritual eyes, the answer immediately shimmers forth. Our sources states it clearly – the Jewish people are fated to be “a light unto the nations”. How better to fulfill this fate than having a ceaseless news stream fanning out from Jerusalem to the furthest reaches of the wifi’ed world?
Yes, the spotlight is upon us and we sweat under its heat. Yes, the magnifying glass burns. But it burns for a reason.
We have a voice, a vision, that we are required to share. Share & repeat. Share & repeat.
The world’s microphones are turned On and the volume is turned Up. We are being watched. Even stalked. — Let’s just view it as the world staying close in touch.
Just skim the literature about the “End of Days”. It is spelled out explicitly. This current conflict was already written up on the news feeds of antiquity known as prophecies. Written several thousand years ago, we are told that the “Messianic” reality will be such that the entire world will know – in an instant – the events occurring in this here long-contested territory.
The fact that we already have set into place this super-human possibility, this omni-present awareness, known as the internet is nothing short of a miracle. We are already living this miraculously interconnected reality that was described in detail several thousand years ago. A world with immediate access to information.
What happens in Israel NEVER stays in Israel. The events are being revealed before the eyes of all.
According to our sources, this world-wide Israel preoccupation is written deep into humanity’s genes and destiny.
So we might as well make the most of being under this incessant inspection and scrutiny.
Our sign-toting friends in Ferguson and beyond are just doing the job they were sent here to do. Sure, I’d prefer they would all close up shop and go have a quiet evening at home with the kids. But they don’t and they won’t…probably to the End of Days, whatever and whenever that may be.
Are you doing your job?So in the meantime, I would pose this question to my Israel-dwelling & Israel-loving friends. I ask you – Are you doing your job? What are you doing with this metaphorical microphone planted squarely at your teeth? What are you doing with the influence placed into your hard-laboring hands? What banners are you raising and what slogans are you chanting?
Because the world is entranced and listening.
As for me, I’m gonna play up the preoccupation. Milk it for all the good it’s worth.
I’m gonna live here and love it — despite Iran’s souped-up threats and daily terror attacks. I’m gonna feed my Hebrew-talking children on high-fiber Jewish wisdom. Gonna type hymns to Israel’s innovations. Gonna fight her battles, suffer her losses and sing her praises. I will pen her lamentations and offer life and limb to sit here in the lime-light of these epic apocalyptic & long-predicted days.
Because I want to see the nations lit up with Jerusalem’s impeccable irreplaceable SHINE. I know we got it and I wanna share it.
So, brothers and sisters, take up the mic and make the most of this opportunity.
Speak to the world – as we’ve been instructed – words of truth and words of peace.
Sure, we might still need to work on our delivery. But, G-d help us, let’s do our darnedest to raise bright banners, to protest injustice, to give out like candy words of truth and words of peace. To both our friends and to our enemies. Light up the ether with words of truth and words of peace.