07/29/14

Not Pro Israel or Pro Palestine. No Either/Or. And-Both. I’m Pro Solution. Here’s why:

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July 28 2014.
I went to the UJA Federation organized rally today in NYC in front of the UN – to stand with Israel – with my own signs.
I went with Nigel Savage, Rabbi David IngberSandi DuBowski, Molly Yavetz, Rabbi David David L Kline, and a few other Storahtelling LabShul friends.
The signs I made called for standing with Israel, while mourning with Gaza. They asked for no more dead – in Hebrew, Arabic and English. Some people were appreciative and grateful for the nuanced messaging, but others spat at me, pushed at me, wished me to go die in Gaza and Germany. To the older woman who kept following me with her own ” Stand with Israel” sign to block my own sign and yelling out loud – look at the traitor – he’s a mamzer – a bastard – I turned and said, calmly – my father is a Holocaust Survivor, please respect him if not me. To which she replied – he should have died there. There were other obscene and racist statements that I won’t describe.
Rabbi David Kline held one of our signs that read ‘No More Dead’ in Hebrew, Arabic and English. It was grabbed from his hands and torn in two because there was Arabic on it. He kept on holding the torn sign.
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There was so much hatred amid the flags and so called unity. I realize this was the back mob, not the stage, where more balanced speeches were made.
I am glad I went. I stand with Israel’s right to defend itself and survive. I am a proud Israeli Jew. I stand with Palestine’s right to exist and be free, I mourn with the families of the dead on both sides. I grieve for the blood of innocents no matter how hard IDF tries to prevent this. Each dead solider reminds me of my own days in the IDF – the friends I buried, the nights of fear, the relief of coming home.
I refuse to be either/or and avoid true compassion and care. I am sad for those of my people, here and in Israel who have been so infected by fear to be unable to handle both pride and compassion. 
Enough Pro Israel or Pro Palestine – I’m Pro Solution.We have a moral obligation as Jews to expand our circle of care and compassion even as we fight for the right to exist. I wish more of our leaders would be there. But for now, I am proud of having been there with some of the bravest rabbis, leaders and good friends that are helping walk the talk towards more peace and progress.

May this new moon bring with it better news, for all.

 

  • Stuart

    Thank you Amichai for standing in that difficult place with this vital message.

  • http://twitter.com/graygoods Gray

    Thank you for making a stand for ethical values and for reason! Exactly, to find a way towards peace has to be the number one issue. The spiral of violence has to be ended, more violence is not a solution!

  • LioraYuklea

    Thank you. I’m an Israeli doing my Master’s in New York. I’ve been invited to both Pro-Israel events and Pro-Palestinian events and have refused to go to either – I told people that I refuse to go to anything that represents a side that isn’t the side of the two-sided. I hear from my friends back home about what’s going on in Israel as far as violence against protesters, obviously it’s not as bad here but it’s sad to hear the intolerance towards the two-sided manifests abroad as well. On the other hand, I don’t suppose any pro-Israel messaging would be very well received at a purely pro-Palestinian event. What are the odds we could actually pull together something local that stands for the pro-solution side (totally adopting that btw)?

  • Donny Reich

    Perhaps the solution is to be Pro-Israel?

  • Mahmoud Haggui

    Thank you for being human, while brutality taking place in Gaza and freedom of speech is not allowed in the time of war in Israel.

  • Valter Piso

    I also stand for Pro-Solution.I wish more Jewish and Palestinian will join the group! Netanyhau’s right wing government and Hamas are the real enemies of both peoples

  • Gabi

    such a powerful message and one that i try to convey daily. so deeply proud of you. thank you.

  • alex

    Amichai, the rage comes not because these people want more dead Palestinians as your article implies. The sign you held implicitly says that the Palestinian deaths are merely the result of a meaningless war where both sides are equally wrong. Israel’s actions are being assailed from all over the world, do you really want to join in that chorus? The sign should have read “no more dead – destroy Hamas and free the Palestinian people”. You do not seem to recognize where the blame for this lies. The occupation is a distraction for these people. They want you and me dead. Why is that so hard to understand? Sometimes you have to choose sides. This is one of those times.