This is cross posted by Yarden Frankl at the blog,Crossing the Yarden
I was flying back to Israel and found myself sitting next to a Jewish teen excited about his first trip to the Holy Land. I asked what the occasion was and he said that he was part of a group that was coming on a ten day study tour. I expected him to mention that the trip was part of Birthright or maybe some similar group when he surprised me by saying that the whole trip was funded by the “Committee for Peace, Justice, and……” (I stopped listening at this point.)
I mean would it make any difference what other labels this group decided to add to its name? Perhaps it was the Committee for Peace, Justice, Motherhood, Puppies, and Apple Pie in the Middle East (The good, old CPJMPAPME!) All I know is that the nicer the name of the organization, the more I know that they probably take a rather dim view of people like me.
Don’t get me wrong. I love peace. Every Israeli I know — including us crazy settlers — is in favor of peace. Yet since when did peace in the Middle East become solely defined by Jews giving their homes to Arabs? Did the transfer of thousands of Jewish homes in Gaza to the Palestinians create peace? I’m not trying to be difficult — but I just fail to understand why peace means that Jews have to leave their homes. I guess that makes me “anti-peace.” (Which makes us much sense as saying I am anti-cycling because I don’t let others ride my bike.)
But really, I do believe in peace. I mean wouldn’t it be great if I could ride my bike over to Bet Lechem and get some hummus? Wouldn’t it be nice if Palestinians were allowed to work wherever they wanted without fear of reprisal from their own people. Wouldn’t it be absolutely fantastic if our kids didn’t have to risk their lives in the Army defending us from Abbas and his army of “peace advocates?”
Yet sadly, peace is today defined as turning over the keys to your home to someone who has never lived there and apologizing for taking so long to do so.
And let’s not forget about “Justice.” I thought I knew what the term meant. Think about it. For many years Jews lived in places like the Gush, Hevron, and the Old City of Jerusalem (and many others.) They were thrown out of their homes by invading Arab armies. Now they have returned and have rebuilt the areas. One woman I know today lives a block away from her old home in the Old City that she was tossed out of in 1948. If “justice” refers to righting a historical wrong, then we are the most “Just” people around.
But alas, I fear we have lost the battle already since we all know that when anyone talks about “Justice” in the Middle East, I won’t be invited to the party.
I asked the kid on the plane about the program. With a big, excited smile he told me that they were going “all over.” When I asked for specifics, he mentioned Ramallah, Bet Lechem, and Hevron (no, not the Jewish part.) When I asked whom they were meeting with, I heard a jam-packed schedule of Palestinians and Israeli leftists.
He explained that they were trying to hear ALL the views about the conflict, especially the ones the biased media refuse to report on. (Yeah, that’s right. This brain-washed kid actually believes that the media are biased in favor of Israel! Of course, I doubt he ever read any media reports for himself. Here’s a good place for a shamelessHonestReporting plug.)
I asked if he would be hearing the opinion of any Jews who lived in the disputed territories. He seemed a little embarrassed to admit that they would not, in fact, get to hear the opinions of Israeli settlers. That’s when I told him he was wrong. That he would in fact get to hear the opinions of a bona-fide settler. And that he would be hearing said opinions over the course of the next twelve hours right from the comfort of his airplane seat. (Lucky him!)
But alas, unless we stake out all incoming flights to Israel and look for excited teens talking about how they were about to become “Peace” and “Justice” advocates while eating humus and playing guitar, we are going to lose some otherwise well-intentioned kids.
Oddly enough, I am quite proud that so many young people are so ideal. I just wish that they were a bit more skeptical and tried to find out the truth on their own.
Because Israel could really use more people interested in true peace and real justice.
Peace and Justice Advocate