I Am Bereft. It Never Ends. Is This How The World Thinks Of Us?
By Diane Weber Bederman
I have been following the response to Obama’s abstention to UN Resolution 2334 (the umpteenth resolution against Israel while the world burns) and the speech made by John Kerry. The EU lauds Kerry’s speech. So, too do many on the media including the Globe and Mail in Canada.
"Beyond all the name-calling and posturing, there is a simple truth in the diplomatic blowout between the United States and Israel this week: that is, Israel’s relentless policy of building settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank may soon reach a tipping point that will make a two-state peace settlement with the Palestinians a practical impossibility.
And here is part of the opinion of Paul Heinbecker, former Canadian ambassador to the UN, praising UN resolution 2334 and John Kerry:
“U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s follow-up valedictory speech this week endorsed the resolution and detailed the Obama administration’s frustration in managing relations with Jerusalem, and in its vain efforts to negotiate peace based on a two-state solution. Mr. Kerry’s speech – some called it a eulogy for a Palestinian state – was directed variously at Americans, Israelis and the international community and echoed many of the themes of the resolution.”
And then ends with
“Nor would U.S. defunding of the UN reverse this resolution; the U.S. has defaulted on its contributions before and the UN has survived. And, if the U.S. were to walk away from the UN, as some suggest, who would shield Israel then?”
This is how the world thinks of us? We are an object of derision too stupid to know how to take care of ourselves?
And I am bereft. I am falling back into that abyss of helplessness and hopelessness.
It. Just. Never. Ends.
The attacks on the Jewish people and the Jewish state. There are 7 billion people on the planet and the vast majority of them are busy telling the 15 million Jews in the world what to do how to live and where. It used to be ghettos. Now in our ancestral homeland, Israel, we are being told by the “powers that be” that we take up too much land.
After three attempts by the Arabs to annihilate us and thankfully losing all three times, we are to return land that was never theirs. They never accepted the 1948 two-state solution making Article 80 moot. But never let facts get in the way of the narrative when the narrative attacks or scapegoats the Jews.
All of this reminds me of an essay written by George Steiner. I have searched Google in the hope of finding it again. To no avail. Perhaps he didn’t write it and it is just a false memory. But I think not. I seem to remember Steiner questioning the right of Jews to have children-to give birth to Jewish children.
Should we bring more Jewish children into the world after the Holocaust?
Is it fair to a child to carry, for want of a better word-this being mine-the burden of “Jew”?
I have been blessed with three children and nine beautiful Jewish grandchildren. Yes, all of my children married Jews. I worried that my grandchildren would marry “out.” That over time the Jewish chain would not only be broken but totally lost. Our connection to the past broken, irrevocably.
You see, I am the daughter of Avraham and Sarah. Yes. These are the Hebrew names of my parents. I can trace my history to the beginning of Jewish time. Several of my grandchildren carry the Hebrew names of my parents. My eldest grandchild carries the name of her great grandfather. We have talks, a little about dating and marriage. My mother told me “don’t date outside the faith and you won’t fall in live with a non-Jew.”
My granddaughter is a free-spirit. We are all of the human race she said to me; that new-age post- post- modern lala land mantra bequeathed to us by people like John Lennon. And I have worried that she will marry out.
Do I want my grandchildren to be as exhausted as I am defending and protecting our heritage?
Justifying our right to exist?
As a people?
As a state?
Something not demanded of any other people on the earth.
Is that what I want for my grandchildren?
The constant, just below the skin, feeling of anger toward those who feel they are entitled to continue to tell the Jewish people who we are and where we can live?
Do I want chunks of their lives spent on fighting a never-ending war?
A war that has been going on for thousands of years?
Do I want my great-grandchildren to hide their identity at school because Jews on campus are a target for hate?
Do I want my grandchildren as parents fighting against the next version of BDS or another lie about the Jews, shared by far too many?
Is it fair of me to ask that of generations to come?
Steiner said in one of his interviews:
“Think of the original documents of Zionism — and my father was in the early group with Herzl: it was a utopian dream, a dream of equality, of full racial understanding, of realizing Jeremiah and Isaiah (“weapons shall be turned into ploughshares”). Look at the suffering. Look at this armed state, which to survive has to be one of the most militaristic societies on earth.”
What has changed?
Nothing. Israel is armed to the teeth. Money better spent on her people, on innovation, and sharing her expertise, is spent on armaments and subsidizing bomb shelters. And then the usual comments about the amount of money America gives to Israel for those armaments as if America gets nothing in return.
I think there is one difference, though. The hate and lies spread so much faster thanks to social media. The anonymous bullies taking succour from people like Barack Hussein Obama and John Kerry and the UN and the EU.
In his 1963 essay on Kafka entitled “K” in Language and Silence, Steiner stated:
“The world of Auschwitz lies outside speech as it lies outside reason. To speak of the unspeakable is to risk the survival of language as creator and bearer of humane, rational truth. Words that are saturated with lies or atrocity do not easily resume life.”
I wonder if Steiner would change his mind today about
“Words that are saturated with lies or atrocity do not easily resume life.”?
Have they not all resumed life?
A new life?
No longer do we talk about concentration camps and crematoria. We no longer talk about killing individual Jews, one at a time, until we reach the end. No, today we talk about wiping out Israel; home to eight million of us. Or we can have a state-how kind of the world- but the areas must be made smaller and smaller to accommodate the Arab population.
Interesting; as it was Hitler and The Grand Mufti who connived to keep Jews from getting to the Jewish homeland before the war. Always about the Muslims and their needs. Nothing has changed since Mohammad fled Mecca for Medina and immediately ethnically cleansed two Jewish tribes and murdered the third; except that today we have the leaders of the west publicly working hand and glove with the Arab Muslim world to harm the Jews.
Do I really want my great-grandchildren fighting this war against the Jews instead of just enjoying life?
Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.
Diane Weber Bederman is the author of Back to the ethic: Reclaiming Western Values. She has degrees in science and the humanities. Her love of religion led her into a residency in Clinical Pastoral Education at Toronto Hospital. Living with mental illness prompted her to write, produce and narrate The Many Voices of Mental Illness, a six part radio series podcast on her website The Middle Ground, The Agora of the 21st Century at www.dianebederman.com where she also writes about religion, ethics and politics. She is a passionate advocate for Israel. She has written for Huffington Post Canada, and now contributes to Convivium Magazine, Times of Israel and CanadaFreePress.