Israel activism 2.0

What happened to the good old days, when you’d stay up until 4:30 a.m. in the Hillel office designing posters and copying fliers for the next morning’s defending-Israel rally?

Well, as times change, it seems things get easier. Or at least more organized. StandWithUs is an organization dedicated to defending and promoting Israel and her affairs on and off campus. I happened across a section of their site which is a collection of fliers and posters as pdfs, ready for the downloading, printing and distributing that must ensue.

They’re really going all out with it, too. They’ve collected fliers in English, Hebrew, French and now Arabic. The collection covers current topics, like Jimmy Carter, and classics including Israel investment and good ‘ole Zionism. Of course, there is a rather large section covering the “Terror Protection Fence,” (is that what they are calling it these days?).

If you have a use for this, or know someone who does, the site is here.

Today is the Tenth of Tevet.

I have nothing profound to say about today, which is the Fast of the Tenth of Tevet (‘Tevet’ being the fourth month of the Jewish calendar, ‘Tenth’ being the tenth day of said-month, and ‘Fast’ being what we Jews do on sad days because we eat too much on happy days).

What I am lacking in profundity, Ari does well in the basics: read about the fast in his Aasarah be-Tevet Primer.


Arabs and guns.

I don’t get it. Call me culturally ignorant.

Why do I always see photographs of Arabs celebrating or protesting or mourning, always with guns present or being shot into the air?

Anti Saddam Iraqis celebrating his death. (NYTimes)
Pro Saddam Iraqis protesting his death. (NYTimes)

If it’s a cultural thing, I don’t get it, and I’d love for someone to explain. I understand the criticisms available, that isn’t what I’d like to hear. I want to know why.

Can't buy me happiness (with your revenge).

I’m not Iraqi, so I’m certainly not an Iraqi victim of Saddam Hussein’s reign of horror. But I can say this: in the following quote I found in Haaretz just now, you can find the major misconception apparent in too many conflicts that people sloppily attempt to patch up.

“Now all the victims’ families will be happy because Saddam got his just sentence,” said Hamza, who lives in Diwaniyah, a Shiite town 130 kilometers south of Baghdad.

Happy? Really?

Retaliation will never bring happiness. It’s a fact of conflict management and resolution courses. It’s a fact of life.

It might bring other things – a (sometimes false) sense of justice, the accomplishment of your revenge, settlement to your bloodthirst, a bit of quiet for the moment – all that, until the next round is played.

The dead are already dead; the maimed are maimed… They will always be that and it’s a reality victims live with everyday for the rest of their lives. It doesn’t matter whether retaliation happens or not. Happiness will not be theirs because of the next attack.

It’s a basic concept in my conflict management degree. What can bring about real feelings of settlement, of relaxation, of calm is born of creation: New existence from nothing. Healing from the memories. Energy towards reconcilation.

It sounds rosy and unrealistic – that’s why it’s so tempting to think that revenge will make you happy. But it won’t. Because your brother is still dead, your sister was still raped and your son will never know his father.

So doesn’t that make you want to try something else… to achieve happiness?

A black hole in the Israeli outlook.

On Eretz Nehederet last week, the cast poked fun at Tzipi Livni and Condi Rice who met to discuss the usual. I’m sure there was a lot of good material there, otherwise why would they give it focus?

But I was totally embarrassed when it showed that the extent they were going to poke fun was to go into base, stupid stereotypes about Black American culture – playing Aretha Franklin in the background, having Condi say “girlfriend” more than once, the head sway, the whole stereotypical shabang. It all had nothing to do with politics or even Tzipi Livni. It was just bringing on a “Black woman” and then going through the stereotypical motions of imitating what is perceived as “Black culture.”

I really had trouble stomaching it. I felt totally embarrassed as an American; if anyone I knew in America – black or white – had seen it, I feel like I would have started apologizing. It reminded me of the way I hear some Israelis talk about East Asians with complete ignorance – despite having been there.

I just really can’t stand the ignorance of a lot of Israelis towards other cultures, peoples, religions, the world-at-large…

What is NOT a cease-fire.

Does anyone hear something wrong with this Jerusalem Post headline from yesterday?

Palestinians: Israeli attacks on Kassams ‘will end cease-fire’

Guys? Do you call continuous launching Kassams over the border to the Negev a cease-fire? What about the two seriously injured teenage boys who couldn’t get to a shelter in time on Tuesday? Is that a cease-fire? I don’t speak Arabic all that well, but I have to say, in any language, lobbing Kassam rockets over your border to the next door country you hate with all your passion is not keeping a cease-fire.

So… Israeli attacks on Kassams is not ending the cease-fire; that’s already ended. It’s called retaliation.