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Friday, January 12, 2024

I Thought I was Safe -- I'm Not!

 I have led a very privileged life. My awareness of this is made real by my parallel awareness of the living conditions of most of the people on planet Earth. Resource distribution is uneven, and I won the resource lottery.

Growing up, I was not a practicing Jew. Nonetheless, unlike other religions, Jews are Jews whether they choose to be or not. For the most part, I didn't experience much antisemitism growing up. I received a few derogatory comments from other kids but not much more. I was aware that wasn't the case for everyone.

As I got older, I saw more evidence of antisemitism in society, but I was removed from it. I heard a Midwestern farmer complaining about the "Jew bankers" on TV and other minor evidence. Since the start of the war in Gaza, I've become very uncomfortable. Antisemitism has become mainstream.

The notion that Israel is committing genocide is the scariest of all. The IDF has the capabilities to flatten Gaza from the air leaving no civilians behind without putting a single Israeli soldier in harm's way. That would be genocide. In fact, that's what genocide looks like.

What is actually happening is that the IDF is sending many soldiers into harm's way and using air power in as limited a fashion as possible to conduct the war and minimize civilian casualties under horrific conditions. You see, Hamas has strategically positioned themselves to maximize civilian casualties. They have diverted massive funds that could have gone to help their citizen to build extensive military infrastructure under and around the civilian population.

Twenty thousand civilian casualties is a tragedy, to be certain, but given that this number represents less than 1% of the civilian population, under the circumstances, it shows tremendous restraint. Certainly, if the Israeli military wanted to commit genocide, they could do much better than this.

I would expect Hamas operatives to paint the IDF as barbarians intent on destroying the Palestinians, but now it seems that the world is piling onto this messaging with no actual facts in tow. Maybe I shouldn't whine about it. People all over the world are subjected to terrible injustices every day due to their difference from those chosen to be the "right" people.

We've come to expect the mainstream media to stick up for what is right, but "what is right" seems to have become increasingly ambiguous. Fox News' definition will be very different from MSNBC's. Nonetheless, we should be able to count on facts being allowed to speak for themselves.

The fact is that Israel is a Jewish homeland. It is the only place where a Jew can live and feel safe from antisemitism. Or so they thought. Many people call them colonialists. Yet, they don't call white Europeans living in the United States colonialists. They don't call people of Spanish descent living in Mexico colonialists. They call them Americans and Mexicans. Wars are fought, deals are made, and we accept the consequences.

For some reason, Israel is a special exception to this. Why? The answer seems plain and simple -- antisemitism. Nowhere is antisemitism stronger than in the Middle East. In a vast sea of Muslims lives a small country full of Jews, and millions hate that fact every day. The Jews have as much historical right to be in that land as anyone else, but nobody offered up another place, so they took what they were given.

I like to say that we're one alien invasion away from putting away our differences. Unfortunately, contrary to the plots of such movies, a species capable of interstellar travel would have no trouble dispatching our entire species. So, I continue to wonder if there's a way to end our tribal roots and live together as one species -- humans. 

Until then, hate me for being a Jew if you have to, but please don't hurt me. Can't we evolve at least that far?