Headlines read that if peace talks don’t begin, European nations threaten to follow Sweden’s lead and acknowledge a Palestinian state. Um, is that a fair threat? Don’t peace talks require two parties coming to the table? And why is acknowledging a state a threat?
Back in the 1940s, most world powers refused to recognize Israel as a state, and throughout its history, the world’s only Jewish nation has fought an uphill battle for recognition and acceptance. The good thing about Israelis is that they really don’t care what you or I or anyone thinks; they know they need to exist and they know they are the only protector of the world’s Jews.
Still, it’s quite hard to go about your life knowing you never fit in. That others are talking about. That others don’t see you in a truthful light. It’s exhausting to constantly have to correct misinformation and fight to be seen as good and caring.
So when Americans say they are disappointed in our President, that he has let us down, I have to ask the question: are you quite informed? Do you realize all that he has done and all that he has battled to do it?
And by the way, are you planning to take over this incredibly difficult job?
This is not a conversation about political sides or party loyalty. None of that matters.
What matters is looking out for people who need to be looked out for. The poor. Children. Women’s rights. Families trying to earn a living wage. The state of our food in this country. And yes, standing up for right around the world as the leading superpower.
When I was in Jerusalem recently, our tour guide declined to take us to the Mount of Olives to see the Old City from the other side. “I apologize – it’s so tense right now in Jerusalem,” he said.
The streets were quiet. People walked freely. In the Old City, Jews, Muslims, Christians, and gobs of tourists mingled easily, from the most religious to the least. No one was affronted. From our open hotel window, the entire city of Jerusalem looked like a picture of peace, a cool breeze flowing in, no noise to disrupt us, no obvious unrest.
Where was the tension? We couldn’t tell, but we were visitors, and we trusted his sensibility.
This was before the recent violence broke out, and so Yinon told us that the reason he wouldn’t take us over there was because in a Palestinian neighborhood, when an ambulance had been called to come help someone in distress, and the Israeli, Jewish-driven ambulance came as requested, it was neighbors of the person in distress who hurled stones and attacked the ambulance. It couldn’t get through to save the person who called.
We’re talking about people hurting their own people.
What you read in the media isn’t quite the whole story. Or even a part of the story. Details are skewed depending on who’s doing the telling, and let’s face it, media love a story that wrangles up the crowds. Sensationalize it! Pull the tears, and you’ll win awards.
At the root of all the dissent and dysfunction and disharmony is a quiet universal need to be loved. To have a place to call home. To be accepted.
The problem in our politics around the world is that many people want their version of the truth, their vision, their beliefs, to be adopted by all. Well, that’s never going to happen.
The key to peace in our world is accepting the human, individual right to believe what you believe and live according to your own conscience. Not for me to judge anyone else, nor for me to preach to others to follow what I do.
If, in the end of days, we have made the wrong choice, we will reckon with that. It’s not for anyone else to save me in their version of Truth.
The God I believe in is a loving God that created each of us with the power to think for ourselves and partner with the Divine to make the world better. We don’t do so by throwing stones or throwing insults or attacking another human being for doing what he thinks is best.
The President has a hard job. No President, from either party, could ever satisfy everyone in 8 years. He can begin the process for change with a goal of goodness and helping as many people as possible.
And if we’d just stop yelling and throwing barbs and taunts, he might just be able to make a little more progress.
I suggest that we all change the tenor of the conversation to have at its core a focus on the good – what do we all do right, what is optimistic in our days, what is possible. Train our hearts on goodness and we will all win. Stop throwing stones at the ambulance. It’s a blind response that helps no one.