While I am not religious (ya think?), nothing can change the fact that I’m ethnically Jewish. More importantly, nothing can change the fact that I believe in freedom and democracy. That’s why I stand with Israel.
Recently on Facebook, I shared an article about a proposed plan, which probably won’t go through, about sex-segregating the upcoming train system in order to appease the religious market. Part of what shocked me about this is that Israel is very liberal when it comes to sex and gender, in many ways much more so than the U.S. Women in Israel get drafted, just like men. (Yes, the terms are less for women, but the point is that both sexes get drafted.) They don’t have boy scouts and girl scouts; just scouts. The U.S. could learn a nice lesson from Israel.
The responses I got from my friends, though, veered off the sex segregation topic and into a wholesale attack on Israel and on Jews. As a Jewish woman and a supporter of Israel, I can’t help but take this personally. I know that many of you will disagree with me about all this, but I aim that if you follow my thoughts, you might be swayed. Either way, I wish you peace– shalom!
One commentator on my post called Israel a “disgusting country.” Another of my FB friends said about Jews, “Fucking goddie pieces of shit! The arrogance to think that the Lord and Creator of the entire universe would pick some backwards clan of violent Bronze Age sheep fuckers (literally) as His Chosen People is just so damned ridiculous! I don’t condone pogroms or the Holocaust, but I sure understand why they happened. I mean, any kid who went around talking about how cool and special he is in the playground would soon have his ass kicked for him and everyone would understand. Anti Semitism is the same thing; it’s just a matter of scale.”
I replied to these commentators: “@Bob– my mom lives in Israel and I don’t think it’s disgusting at all, but this isn’t one of its prouder moments. Likewise, the US has its share of shameful chapters.
@Anthony: *every* religion thinks it’s the “chosen people,” almost by definition of what religion is. Jews spent a lot of our history in our hidey-holes staying away from everyone else’s wrath, so I don’t think we were out there bragging in the marketplaces that much.
Let’s stick to the original post:) Shalom!”
One of the posters continued: “[Jews] bleated on incessantly about how special and chosen they are by some backwater god. The original Hebrews were a small nomadic tribe with next to no technology or literacy living in the shadow of giant advanced empires in a patch of land that has been called the world’s hallway since it is both in between much and yet contains nothing much of interest of itself. These backwater Bronze Age jackasses rambled on about how special they are on god’s eyes (a claim that can really only be made by monotheists) and the rest of the world has never stopped retaliating.”
In other words, we had it coming. I don’t think of Jews as any more “chosen” than anyone else, although I do think our contributions to the world are very significant, but as I said before, every religion thinks it’s “the best”! BTW, Jews were literate in much larger numbers (yes, even the women) in times and places where most other people were not.
Let’s start with why I see a need for Israel. Jews are in need of a sanctuary after what the world has done to us. Throwing us a bone in the form of a little strip of desert the size of New Jersey isn’t asking too much. All we want is a place to live in peace and to protect ourselves from our numerous enemies. (Please remember: there are tens of millions of people who would like Jews off the face of the Earth.) Perhaps Israel does not need to be geographically where it is, but we want the land more and we make better use of it. Jews came to Israel, purchased lots of the land, irrigated it and farmed it. It was much more desolate and poorer in the hands of Arabs. Now it has an important economy. It might interest my nerdier friends that a lot of internet pioneering was in Israel.
One of my commentators: “I lived in Israel for a year and my brother, sister and all of their children live there. I don’t want to get into debate about how nice it might be to live there but I’m sure if your mom was an arab, she wouldn’t think it such a nice place to live.”
I’ve already made my point when it comes to sexism, but if you still think Israel is a sexist/fascist/ultra-conservative country, compare it to its neighboring countries. I don’t think I need to spell out the details of how backward much of the Muslim world is, but in every liberal and progressive value, of which I hope you share with me, Israel is truly an oasis. By the logic of the above commentator, the measure of a country’s niceness is how it is to Arabs, so perhaps Saudi Arabia is the best nation in the world. (I’ll help you pack. Kidding.) Compare the progressive values of Saudi Arabia with those of Israel.
Think about where you’d rather live. Under whose administration you’d rather to live.
More about sexism. A commentator continued: “It’s pretty impressive how religions speak of the value that they have for women while at the same time, treat women like crap. The Jewish religion claims to hold women in greater esteem than men while not allowing them to have a voice. Many orthodox jews still believe that’s it’s even forbidden to hear a woman’s voice in song! Some members of my family even have separate beds.”
I replied: “I don’t know any Jews like the ones you’re describing, and I think even the most religious Jews out there share beds with their spouses (except during menstruation). Besides, in percentages, how liberal are Jews with regards to sex roles, or anything else, compared to Muslims? And I’ve never seen a Jewish woman wearing a burka, or even heard of such.”
The average Jew, in the US or Israel, espouses liberal and modern values. Can the same be said of the average Muslim? Not if you look at how their countries behave, at least.
Another commentator replies to the guy who said that while he didn’t approve of persecution of Jews, the Jews had it coming: “So the holocaust and the pogroms happened because the christians were appalled by the treatment of women and because the jews were so backgrounded? That is why the nazis burned Einstein’s books?
What is it with people that when they are thinking of the wrongs and crazy superstition of a people, they have to justify the pain those same people suffered?”
Good point about the holocaust and Nazis, but not so much the second matter. The above opinion ignores the point that all religions think theirs is the right one. As for Jews being a superstitious people, I replied:
“The wrongs and crazy superstitions of Jews? Compared to whom? I guess Einstein must’ve been crazy and superstitious… as are nearly all the Jews who are far over-represented in the sciences.”
While no one brought it up in this conversation, many people accuse Israel of racism, which I think is an unfair and untrue accusation, but that’s fit for another post. There are many issues involved in Israel and I don’t have the brainliness to address them all here today.
Israel is the one really free and democratic nation in the Middle East and is the only hope for that region. What really gets to me is that the world resents Israel and many nations in the developed world condemn it, while at the same time saying, “By the way, get out there and protect us from Islamic terrorism.”
Excuse the long post; I didn’t have time for a shorter one.
Just kidding. This is Not My God, a site for the personal aspect of atheism. I'm putting together a book with that title, having already 20 interviews lined up, but I still want to hear from more of you.
I've expanded the blog to include material not related to atheism, including rants, raves, consumer issues, curmudgeonly matters and other miscellany.
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