a jump into Israel/Palestine
Israel. Palestine. These names of places evoke deep emotions in many people and for many different reasons. Anger. Hate. Sorrow. Despair. For me, I feel passion. This little part of the world and its peoples have captured my heart and my mind and I cannot separate myself from them. My future is deeply entangled with this place and these people and I have to share this passion with the world.
I’ve been wanting/needing/hesitating to write this blog for a long time. Those that know me know that I am very passionate about this subject and am vocal about it in person. But I have been avoiding going into the depths of my ideas about Israel/Palestine online for a number of reasons. I think firstly, I’ve just been too darn scared about what others are going to think/say/do about my thoughts. Other times that I’ve processed these ideas online I’ve been called anti-Semitic, unChristian, and a whole bunch of other not nice things. Baring my soul and thoughts in a public forum where personal, face-to-face conversation isn’t possible is something troubling to me. That could be a whole other post in itself about the anonymity of the internet and how it allows people to do/say things that they would never say in person. The second reason I haven’t written about this subject yet is because I have felt undereducated about it. After 2 trips to the region and 3 years in school studying the history of the conflict, I know that there is so much more for me to learn still, but I feel that I have come to a place where I can speak authoritatively and honestly about what I do know. Another reason I haven’t approached this is because I’m lazy.
But alas, here we are and I’ve committed to writing this post. This will probably be a short introduction to the subject of the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict from my viewpoint, followed by more posts addressing the questions that come up and clarifying missing points, etc. I really want this to be an interactive process of education and mutual learning for everyone who comes across this blog. I would like to ask that if you were directed here from my facebook page and would like to engage in this conversation, please do so here on the blog instead of on facebook, so that we can contain the conversation in one space.
To get us started, here’s a very good, quick video on the history of the conflict produced by Jewish Voice for Peace:
I understand that the information provided in this video might be shocking, new, or provocative for some. That’s what it was for me when I first encountered this situation a number of years ago. A good friend of mine works with Palestinians and was influential in my interest in the conflict. Up till that point, I wasn’t really quite sure who the Palestinians were, but I knew that Israel was God’s chosen people and that my support for them was closely tied to my love for God. In the past few years as I have been pursuing the truth about this conflict, I have been struck by the reality of God’s love for both peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, and the multiple religious groups that reside in the region: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, atheists, and even the fundamentalists on all sides!! This love of God was, I believe, perfectly represented in the person of Jesus, who called me to a life of love, forgiveness, grace, and acceptance. These characteristics form the lens of how I view this conflict. Where there is hate, I must sow love. Where there is bitterness, I am to sow forgiveness. Where there is exclusion, I am to sow acceptance. How are these things are fleshed out in this highly contested conflict? I’m sure we’ll get into all of that at some later point. But for now, know that this is my heart, and these are the values that have shaped my perspective on this conflict.
What are some questions you have about this conflict? What kinds of issues (theological/political/etc) would you like to see me address in later blogs?