Friday, January 9, 2009

Contemplating donating my status

Many people who use facebook see status messages such as the following:

NAME is 763 Palestinians murdered by Israel in Gaza (more than 230 children & 100 women) & 3100 injured. Donate your status :
11 hours ago - via STOP Israel's War Crimes in Gaza


NAME QassamCount: Hamas fired 30 rockets into Israel Thursday and 17 so far today. Total since 2000: 8690. Donate your status:

I, myself, donated my status. My motivation? A simple, emotional, "I don't feel that this side of the story is being heard!" - and I imagine that at the base of all people who have chosen to donate their status have a similar base feeling- the desire for their perspective, their side, to be heard.

But as a friend asked (sorry M, I don't remember your exact wording) How does live counting contribute to the goal of peace?

And I think the answer is- it doesn't. It just makes people on which ever side feel slightly more 'heard' and their perspective slightly more 'justified'.

After my conversation, I crawled into bed and go ready to offer my prayers- In Judaism, there are many ready-made prayers to choose from- but I decided to bypass them all and let my heart speak. And this is what my heart came up with- something simple.

Ein od milvado.
Justice for the Palestinians and Everlasting peace for B'nei Israel v'Eretz Israel.
There is nothing but God.
Justice for the Palestinians and Everlasting peace for the Children of Israel and the Land of Israel.

A break down of the three parts of my prayer:
1) Ein od milvado is my standard meditation/ prayer. Two summers ago when I volunteered with Livnot in Tzfat (or Sefed if you prefer) I bought a piece of Kabbalah artwork with this prayer.

2) Justice for the Palestinians
One may wonder why I put Palestinians before b'nei Israel. In Judaism, we are taught to pray for others before we pray for ourselves. Obvious in this prayer is my belief that Palestinians do not have justice now- and I do feel that they are victimized- I feel that they have long been used as political pawns by Arab States wanting to demonize Israel. These same Arab Nations that attacked the infant State of Israel, encouraged the Palestinians to flee and promised them a quick victory and return to their home land. They are victims of groups like Hezbollah and Hamas- hate groups buoyed up with military training and arms from Iran. They are victims of their own hatred- as so evident in the Palestinian Civil War that divided Hamas-controlled Gaza and Fatah-controlled West Bank. And yes, as much as I love Israel, I cannot say that it has always treated Palestinians in a just manner. So my prayer, is a prayer for justice- and recognizes that many entities hold responsibility for Justice- Arab Nations, Iran, Israel and the Palestinians themselves.

3) Everlasting peace for B'nei Israel v'Eretz Israel
I do pray that B'nei Israel- Jews all over the world- find respite from discrimination and peace. The establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz Israel has provided a safe haven for prosecuted Jews from places ranging from Europe, Russia, Ethiopia, and many, many Arab Nations. I think Peace will only be possible once all nations recognize Israel's right to exist. I also know, that as long as the State of Israel has enemies bent on her annihilation, that everlasting peace will not come to the region.

I've read many articles talking about Gaza and the State of Israel's current military actions. I've sought out contrasting viewpoints. Out of all of the articles I've read, my favorite is from the Israeli author Etgar Keret. In his article, he recognizes that the spiraling blame game being played out on both sides only leads to more violence, more hatred, more death, and more justification for violent revenge. I don't want to be on the 'Palestinian side' or the 'Israeli side'- I want to be on the side of stability, peace, humanity and justice.

I'm sad though- because so many people who don't believe in my cause- stability, peace, humanity and justice- are armed with words of hatred, blame and vengeance, and have access to weapons to kill. People on 'both sides' may feel that their side is 'right'- but unfortunately, I think they are 'dead right'.

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