Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blind Bigotry

One of the on-going sources of pain in my faith life is the manner in which Israel seems unable to see or feel the pain they cause the rest of the world by their blind, unthinking, unfeeling, arrogant hatred of the Palestinian community - nor can they seem to see how they perpetuate the things done to the Jews by the way they treat these people they displaced much as the Germans displaced people when they were in their wars of conquest. Nations like the US try to reach out and find a peaceful way to allow Israel and the Palestinians to live, each in their own lands, and Israel plays a teasing game of "Of course we'll enter peace talks," and "Hurry, build another invasive settlement in direct violation of previous agreements!"

And tonight I saw another story that just confirms this. The Vice-President tries to restart the peace talks that Israel said they wanted to restart, and they announce the start of construction on another settlement. To quote a show my son used to loved to watch on TV, "Doh!"

I recall an incident from some years ago, when a colleague of the Episcopal persuasion went to Israel, returned to the states and spoke of his experiences, describing the treatment of Palestinians that at the time were still allowed into Israel for work and shopping - and comparing some of the tactics he saw as similar to the Gestapo treatment of Jews under Hitler - dragging people off buses because they were Palestinian, stopping them on the streets for no other reason than that, brutality, insensitivity to persons acting normally. A Jewish colleague came to me later and demanded to know if that other had called the Jews Nazis. I spent a good bit of time calming my Jewish colleague and finally was able to get the concept of "treatment similar to" across.

Many of the Jews I've known in this country are as perplexed by Israel's policies and action as are non-Jews. And I find myself simply unable to comprehend that inability to see how badly they are damaging their image in the eyes of the world - and another analogy of current affairs lifts its ugly head, that of the Republican party that cannot seem to see how out of touch their views are with the majority of this nation's citizens, while they continue to plow the same furrow over and over again, offending more and more people by lies, hate, bigotry and so on.

God gave us brains to think with, hearts to feel with, and hands to help our brothers and sisters in this life. When we won't think, can't feel, and hurt instead of helping - what message to we send to our God? What message do we send about our so-called faith?


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