For everyone else, scream with me. Raise your streaming eyes to the sky with me and pray as hard as you can for G-d to protect our holy brothers and sisters. Place your well-earned fury where it needs to be- at a people and an ideology that do not care that you are a mother, or that you live in Otniel versus Tel Aviv. They do not care if you are 80 years old, shuffling along with a walker. They do not care if you shirked the draft, or if you have served in the IDF for 20 years. They do not blink at the sight of your crying baby in the backseat or shrink at the possibility of having their "holy work" cut short by many armed civilians nearby. And sure, they are being incited, but this is not new. This is not some new wave of hatred that has suddenly and recently grabbed hold of the Palestinian population. This is what they have been raised to believe in 2016, but also in 1995, 1968 and 1925.
If you are reading this, you understand all this. You, like me, are at a loss for what to do. How do we keep our people safe and cut off the threat? How do we fight this unwinnable social media battle against a world that sees us as the oppressors and our murderers as the underdog? How do we cut through the divisions that live in our own camp, where so many well-meaning Israel- supporters still erroneously blame our struggles on "the West Bank?" How do we explain to them that they need to change their terminology, their mindsets; to realize that Jews have valid, ancestral, real, indigenous rights to all of Israel, including Judea and Samaria?
Seems you can't use the word "indigenous" these days in some circles without mentioning super-Zionist, and indigenous-rights activist, Ryan Bellerose. As a Metis Indian, Ryan speaks out tirelessly to try and teach Jews how our struggle for our homeland is one of an indigenous people returning to their rightful home, not some colonialist enterprise for a safe space after the Holocaust. One of the things I like about him is that he speaks his mind, without editing, and people respond. As right- wing as you think I am, I could be a lot more so, and I definitely temper my words depending on the company around me. Ryan doesn't. I'm pretty jealous. He's here in Israel this month, touring and lecturing and hanging out, and I was lucky enough to meet him in one of his rare breaks in action. Meeting him was weird- I get a lot of friend requests on Facebook from fellow active Zionists, but I generally don't accept if I don't know them. My mom instructed me to accept Ryan, and in the time since, I've found myself nodding my head and "liking" much of his words of "politically incorrect" wisdom.
|I am not this tiny. Ryan is just bear-sized.|
I asked him 3 questions: Why are Jews right in thinking this land is ours? Why are we so scared to say that out loud? And finally, what can we do to argue our case more convincingly? His basic premise, on one leg, is this: The Jewish claim to the land of Israel (and the whole land, by the way!) is irrefutable. It is archaeological, it is linguistic, and cultural. Our claim is everywhere in the country, under the ground and permeating every tree in the forest and rock in the desert. We are scared to assert this right because our mentality is one of the Jew who still desperately wants to be thought of as "the white European" otherwise known as the apex of civilized society. We have, throughout our tenure in the diaspora, strived to ingratiate ourselves into that genteel society, to "pass" in a community that always rejected us. I nodded along as he explained that we are still doing that, and that Jews who apologize for Israel constantly, whether outspokenly (like in JVP or JStreet) or even more passively, are trying their hardest to maintain their seat at the "white European" (or American, or Canadian) table. He suggests to fix this, we as Jews need to "de-colonize." He explained we need to "see yourselves through a Jewish lens and stop identifying ourselves through a white-European lens." Whoa.
I feel comforted by these words. Having never doubted the Jews claims to the Land of Israel and always fought against those who would marginalize us realists who have found "land for peace" a ridiculous notion, Ryan's words resonate. They resonate more so because as a non-Jew, he is able to tap into a population that will take everything I say with a grain of salt. For everyone who dismisses me as some brainwashed, modern Orthodox, Bnei Akiva-type, crazy right-winger, Ryan is none of those things. And if both of us can come to the same exact conclusion, I welcome him and thank him for his contributions to our fight.
As I write this, there has been another attack in "the settlements." A pregnant woman has been stabbed by a terrorist who was shot in the chase as he ran away. Reports are the woman almost lost her baby. Thoughts I had? I'm glad the murderer was killed and not taken to an Israeli hospital for treatment by a Jewish doctor. I don't care if they name 100 streets after him, it just shows the world their depravity. I wish a checkpoint had been there to stop him. I wish we could employ only Jewish labor, at least until we see real changes and can ensure our safety. I wish this attack wasn't just one of so many, destined to get lost in the shuffle. I wish this would stop occurring in "the settlements" which will no doubt cheapen her blood and breed excuses. I hope this is the attack that turns leftists into crazy right wingers like me. I hope we can all finally band together, no matter our ideology, and work toward a better future for the Jews in this country. There will be other times to talk about "coexistence" and "meeting in the middle." More silly conversation about "2- state solutions" and "finding the Muslim moderates." There will be more time for daydreams in the future. But for me, that time is not right now.
Now is the time to stand up for your Jewish brothers and to pray for your soldiers and policemen. Now is the time to stand shoulder to shoulder with the "settlers" because they're not different, and we're all hurting. Now is the time to pray for every victim of terror, just as peace-loving and kind-hearted as anyone else you know. And now is the time to be strong, to not be afraid. To be vigilant, but not become a shut-in. Now is the time to wave your flag, stand on your rooftop (proverbially or literally) and scream "Am Yisrael Chai- The nation of Israel lives!" We are here, we deserve to be here, and we are not going anywhere.