Beloved - Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto
The past week, spent in San Francisco with Jenny and Mike, was truly one of the best vacations I've had.
San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities I've seen, and the next few entries will describe my trip, filled with sightseeing and culinary adventures, and will include some of the (entirely too many) pictures I took.
A friend of mine, who visited Israel in January, and found out about an initiative called “The People’s Voice”, spearheaded the whole day. He was so inspired by the idea, that he decided he needed to bring the leaders, Admiral (ret.) Ami Ayalon and Professor Sari Nusseibeh, to Toronto for a lecture. The lecture, as well as a few other functions with the two individuals, took place on Wednesday. I was fortunate enough to be included in the organization of the day. I was also exceptionally fortunate to be able to spend the entire day in the presence of Ayalon and Nusseibeh.
My emotions have been in a whirlpool since then. Prior to the day, I considered myself a left leaning Israeli, which is to say that I want peace, I want the bloodshed to stop, and I truly believe that Israelis and Palestinians can co-exist in relative peace. Conversely, I had a very difficult time reconciling those feelings with some of the occurrences in the occupied territories and in Israel. How does one make peace with someone who finds it acceptable to shoot at a car containing a pregnant woman and her four daughters, and continues to shoot until they are all dead? Or to play soccer with the decapitated head of an Israeli soldier? These are horrific acts, and absolutely no amount of maltreatment at the hands of Israel makes them acceptable. And on the other side – how can I accept the shooting of live ammunition on demonstrators, and the subsequent death of young children?
I love Israel. I want nothing more than to be a strong advocate for Israel, but I am very much conflicted. Is it possible to advocate for and criticize something at the same time? I think that it is, but it’s difficult. There’s an attitude prevalent in the Jewish community in Toronto that it’s wrong to criticize Israel in any way, regardless of what it does, because Israel received enough criticism from the rest of the world, and as such, the Jewish community must act as Israel’s defender. I refuse to accept this attitude.
I haven’t traditionally been particularly involved, politically speaking. When Ayalon quoted Edmund Burke yesterday, something clicked. I realized that I can no longer stand aside and let other people speak for me, and other people represent me. I have to speak, and I have to act. I’m trying to avoid being cheesy here, but I came out of Wednesday’s inspired, optimistic, and empowered. When Ayalon made the quote, I believe he changed the word “good” to “ordinary”. He said that when confronted with the quote, he asked himself what he, as an ordinary person, could do to bring a resolution to the conflict in the Middle East. I nearly choked at the thought that anyone could consider Ayalon ordinary, but if he can view himself in that way, then I can too. What can I do, to ensure that evil doesn’t prevail? I certainly need to make my views heard, which is something I’d been reluctant to do, since the majority of my co-workers are right-leaning. I need to be involved, and I need to get over my tendency to stand in the periphery, and start to lead and set an example.
I need to stop being a good person who does nothing.
"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."
-- Edmund Burke
I'll probably talk about this a little more when I have time, but I heard this quote for the first time yesterday, and I felt I needed to share it.
I'm drowning in work and irritation right at the moment, which you'd think would provide much fodder for this place, but I just can't find the time to write about it.
In short, BDI proves to be stupider with every passing moment, the people I work with - all teachers - seem to have little grasp of the concept of a deadline, and I'm off to San Francisco in a week.
Hopefully I'll have time for more during the week.