I have a new friend. He’s one of those people you just know from the first firm handshake is a good person. In the few weeks I’ve known him he’s told many stories of seeing wrongs being done. Racism, bullying, oppression and the like. Like all of us – every single one of us – he’s seen it all. But unlike most of us, his stories usually include the sentence “Well, there was no way I was going to stand by and watch that, so I…”
It’s easy to oppose injustice. Especially from afar. But it’s even easier to say nothing out loud and to think quietly to yourself: “Thank God that’s not happening where I live and to me and my kids.” For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing exactly that about Gaza. And let’s be honest, you probably have too.
Yes, it’s complicated. Yes, it’s confusing. Yes, it seems like they’ve been fighting forever and always will. And no, there’s not much you or I can do to change what’s happening. But since I met my new friend, saying nothing at all about it has been feeling more and more cowardly.
As a Jew, especially and American one, I ”should” understand why Israel is doing what it it’s doing. But as a human being, I can’t. Because as a human being, my place is on the right side of wrong.
So I’m on the side of those who believe that no objective is worth achieving if it means killing little kids and babies.
The side of those with no place to go.
The side of those who don’t use horrors of the past to justify horrors happening today, right now.
The side of anyone who believes that peace is the only thing really worth fighting for – and that almost nothing is worth dying for.
The side of those who live and let live.
The side of those with the vision to see things from the other side.
The side that risks danger and persecution to speak the truth (like my brave new friend).
The side of people who don’t let a shared religion or cultural background blind them to injustice, crime and murder.
The side of those whose only crime is having parents who happened to have sex in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I could go on and on.
Today, I’m on the side of every Israeli brave enough to stand up and speak out against what’s happening in Gaza. And I’m on the side of every single Palestinian who, right at this very moment is terrified, desperate and thinking “Oh my God, I wish this was happening anywhere else and not to me and my kids.”