“We act in Gaza according to our interests.”
“There is no ‘them; there is only ‘us.’”
Two quotes I heard on public radio this morning while driving to my Honolulu Write Team workshop. It’s hard for me to imagine two more contradictory quotes, uttered about two minutes apart and sending my eardrums (and heart) into spasm.
Yes, I will elaborate. That’s why I’m here. I need to elaborate. I HAVE to elaborate—make some ??? of this. (I was going to write the word “sense” there, but I already know—there won’t be any sense to this.)
It was the on-the-hour news break. Remember? Yesterday, the new Israeli prime minister met with Joe Biden at the White House. The sound bites are about “establishing a personal relationship” and “affirming our common interests.” This morning Israel fired rockets into Gaza. That killed how many innocent, nameless (Who cares?) Palestinians?
And today as prime minister Bennett was preparing to board his plane, he spoke, “We act in Gaza according to our interests.”
Before leaving home to attend my Sunday writers’ workshop, I had determined to write a short memoir about Palestinians. I am weeks away from publishing my second book, An American in Palestine. So the topic is in my face—seething inside my heart.
Here were the kernels of thought I had determined to share:
Question to American Jews: So are you comfortable knowing that the millions/billions of dollars contributed by your fellow people are used to commit a new genocide against Israel’s “them?”
Question to American Christiians: So are you even aware that in today’s world, saving the Holy Lands means wiping out and eradicating the “them” of Palestinian blood?
Question to American Democrats: So are we comfortable knowing that our beloved (thank God for Joe!) president is cozying up to Israel’s new mass murderer?
Question to Americans All: So are we sitting cozy with the knowledge that our nation’s #1 recipient of foreign aid is Israel? That Israel is using OUR money and OUR power and OUR influence to disenfranchise, impoverish, and exterminate an entire people? A people that they (and by association, WE) label the bad “them?”
A minute after the news played Bennett’s murderous quote on air, “On Being” began a morning interview with Mexican writer, Luis Alberto Urrea. The program opened with a quote by the author, “There is no ‘them;’ there is only ‘us.’”
…which means that this morning in Israel/ Gaza, WE lobbed bombs into Gaza, killing OURSELVES. If there’s only “us,” then we committed murder and were murdered today in Gaza. Happy Sunday worship, America. Happy Sunday cruise/ picnic/ baseball/ mall shopping/ couch potatoing, America.
My dark side, yes. I’m pissed. At the same time, I embrace Urrea’s impassioned wish that “it really could be.” I’m gonna play John Lennon’s “Imagine” now. Be well, my friends.