May 16, 2011

A BuJew on Glenn Beck’s Rally For Courage in Israel.

Glenn Beck to stage Rally For Courage in Israel.

A part of me doesn’t even want to write this article because I hate giving Glenn Beck what he wants: media exposure. Still, I felt compelled for a variety of reasons to speak on today’s announcement.

If you haven’t heard, earlier today Beck announced on his radio show he will be holding a follow up to last years Restoring Honor in Washington D.C.

The next event has been labelled by Beck the Rally For Courage and will take place in Jerusalem in August.

In the video he announces that he believes a disaster is awaiting Israel and adamantly opposes the ongoing work towards peace in the region. He says a “two state solution that cuts off Jerusalem” will isolate Israel from the rest of the World and be deadly for the Jewish people . The difference between “good and evil is very clear now.”

When I watched this while drinking my morning coffee I found myself in shock. The issue of Israel and Palestine is a very complex issue with no simple answers and I don’t plan on attempting to answer it here. But what I do know is that polarization of the issue is one of the main reasons we’ve yet to find a solution.

As the Arab Spring turns into the Arab Summer many in the Middle-East have been standing up for their rights and eschewing the two common stereotypes Westerners often have of people in the region. We often assume there are two kinds of people in the Middle-East, extremist sympathizers and firm proponants of Western Supported Governments. What has been proven over the last few months is what really exists is a middle ground. Arab’s pushing for their own vision of their respective Countries and leadership that embraces neither of our stereotypes but rather their own form of sustainable democratic government.

After the announcement of Osama’s apparent death has begun to simmer new questions have arisen about the circumstances surrounding the incident. The World has shown a reinterest in what was a fledgling Al Qaida organization, including an Arab population where many were offended by the reported defenseless killing and burial at sea. A recent attack in Pakistan, said by Al Qaida to be the first of many, killed at least 76 people and wounded 100 others.

The United States needs to recognize that the majority of problems we have in the region are related to our ongoing precense and the hoarding of their resources. Our continued interference puts us head-on against what many in the Middle-East have shown they want; independence and autonomy. We create situations that make people want to oppose us.

Again, there are no simple answers. The tensions created between the West and the Middle-East have existed for centuries. However, by polarizing the issue into right and wrong and good and evil we only instigate and add trash to the landfill. Incidents like this and the Koran burning priest in Florida create the “us” vs. “them” mentality that pervasively exists around the planet.

Unless we can find ways to embrace compassionatly the diverse interests involved in not just Israel and Palestine, but the entire Middle-East and the rest of the World we will only be repeating history as we so often do.

Beck continued

“God is involved in man’s affairs, but so is the force of darkness… I believe I’ve been asked to stand in Jerusalem. Many in the history of man have had the opportunity to stand with the Jewish people…and they have failed.”

When my family immigrated to the United States from a largely Jewish region in Eastern Europe, which are now the borders of Poland, Latvia and Belarus, many stayed behind. Several years ago my great-uncle Irwin did a lengthy geneology. It ended with the holocaust. He found no surviving family members. In 2007 I travelled to Auschwitz, where my ancestors disappeared, and looked at the thousands of pictures of prisoners on the wall, some which held the previous incarnation of my surname. I walked through the rooms filled with pair after pair of childrens shoes. I sat in a room and smelt the piles of human hair sitting behind the glass. I saw the gas chambers.

Glenn Beck, what are you trying to accomplish? You are not standing with the Jewish people. You are blowing your own self-obssesed hot air on the flames of hate. You are adding to an animosity that can only be softened through understanding, compassion and interconnectedness. I’ll say it again. There is no right and wrong answers. There is no easy solution. Polarization does not help.

Beck is asking people to “stand with me, in August.” Well Beck, I say no, thanks.

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