Open Letter to the Jewish Members of LGF
Things have gotten decidedly ugly in a couple of threads recently with regard to Israel, Jews, and Muslims. It has been implied that I’m ducking issues, perhaps hiding my true feelings, whatever those may be imagined to be. The purpose of this page to make as clear a statement as possible about my positions on the matter so as not to allow things to fester.
I came here over a year ago with the intention of learning more about a wide range of things, well aware of the pro-Israel nature of this blog. I didn’t have a problem with that as I figured I could learn more about Judaism and non-Muslim views on Israeli-Palestinian issue.
I have indeed learned a lot, both good & bad, which doesn’t surprise me. I still have a lot more to learn. I’ve been consistently courteous & respectful to the Jews here—as well as to people of other religions & no religion—and have spent a lot of time discussing things in a civil manner. I’ve also done a good bit of research via the web, spent time watching Israeli movies & documentaries on Israel’s history, and purchased books related to the subject.
In other words, I have spent my own personal time & money trying to learn, trying to understand the situation as much as possible given my distance from realities on the ground. I am the one who took the initiative and reached out to the Jews here, not vice versa.
I’m not asking for a pat on the back for that because I’m not doing it so that Jews will like me (some probably never will), nor am I doing it so I can become an apologist for Palestinian transgressions or a champion for their cause. I’m doing it for myself because I am by nature curious, fascinated by diversity, and feel that knowledge is the only path to real justice & freedom for any single person or group of people.
That being said, let me lay out some of my current thoughts on the matter, lest anyone else attempt to falsely ascribe opinions to me that I do not hold:
1.) Israel has a right to exist because she exists. The state of Israel is a fact, and there are fellow human beings—men, women and children—living in that state. To say that she doesn’t have a right to exist would lead no other logical conclusion than for me to be in favor of the dispossession and/or genocide of the millions of Jews currently living there.
2.) The Temple Mount is obviously Jewish, therefore it’s equally obvious to me that Jews should have rights to it. What they don’t have a right to is the destruction or removal of sites sacred to Muslims that were built there, bearing in mind that it wasn’t Muslims who destroyed the first two Temples. Some of you may disagree with me— that’s your prerogative—however the government of Israel clearly doesn’t disagree or they would have removed the sites by now. I would assume that the reasons they haven’t done so are religious as well as political.
3.) Terrorism and the killing of innocents is wrong, no matter who does it. Period. I have made my stance on that very clear on numerous occasions, and have expressed horror & dismay whenever a story about Palestinians murdering innocent Jews has caught my attention, with the exception of the most recent murder & burning of Joseph’s Tomb (a.s.)
The reason I didn’t comment on that event is because I was shocked & hurt by the extreme statements made by an LGF member during the course of reading about it. This was someone whom I’d previously respected and had excellent conversations with. The subsequent up-dings of those awful statements by others was equally as shocking to me.
I left after calling out words I saw as being far over the line because I was feeling very emotional about it and didn’t want to open the door to the negative thoughts that were clawing at my mind—namely, “See? All of ‘them’ hate all of ‘us’, so screw them, I’m going to hate all of them right back!” To go there would have been to adopt the very attitude that I so loathe in others.
In case it’s still unclear to anyone, I think the murder of the young father, the wounding of the other five men, and the burning of Joseph’s Tomb was wrong—they did nothing to warrant being attacked like that, even if they weren’t following the established process for visits. It annoys me that I even feel the need to say that considering my history here, but there it is.
4.) I don’t think 100% of the blame for the current mess can be placed on the Palestinians. That is not to say that there is moral equivalency, so please don’t anyone jump down my throat asking if that’s my position. I repeat, it is not.
What I am stating is the obvious, at least to me: There is a conflict that has been going on for 60+ years—the dynamics at play are numerous & complicated and the results have been devastating to millions of people on both sides. It would be impossible for such a thing to drag on for decades like this if the blame lay 100% on one side.
As I learn more, my opinions will undoubtedly be revised here & there, but for now I have nothing more to say about the conflict, nor do I have any intention of getting into an angry finger-pointing session with anyone as that will just cause counter-productive feelings of resentment which are not conducive to understanding. If anyone feels my stance is not sufficiently pro-Israel, too bad—it is what it is.
On the other hand, if anyone has something constructive to add or wants to have a civilized discussion, I’m open to that with the exception of the person who made the initial ugly statements and those who approved of them. I bear those individuals no ill will, but neither do I see the point of entering into a dialog when the other party has such strong negative feelings towards Muslims.
Muslims have done a lot of bad in recent years, but they also do good. I love my Muslim brothers & sisters as a whole, and I will not deny that or apologize for it any more than I would ask Jews to stop loving other Jews because some behave badly, or Christians, or Americans, etc.
I think that pretty much covers it. Thanks for reading this far.
With hope for a better future for all one day,