Five days ago, a well-meaning American friend invited me to an event called “I Stand with Israel.” She meant to show me that American Jews are standing in solidarity with Israeli Jews during this critical time of war. I decided to decline the invitation as irrelevant. When asked to offer a reason for not attending, I could not tamp down the cynic in my breast and wrote, “Um. I stand IN Israel.”
I forgot all about that event and my pithy response until this afternoon. There was a siren and a boom. I stayed in the safe room for as long as I could stand it which wasn’t very long. I was FURIOUS.“Um. I stand IN Israel.”
I was furious at my government for not going in to Gaza with a ground incursion. I paced with furious speed inside my safe room, pounding the walls with my fist and screaming the f word over and over and over again, until I just couldn’t stay inside those four walls anymore.
I came out of the safe room to send a message to my mother to let her know that all was well. I tried to breathe.
I wrote just one line: We are fine.
I Clicked SendWhen I clicked send, I saw that my inbox was overflowing so I went to clear out some of the messages before getting back to my work. Among those messages was a rant on that event page for standing with Israel. The comment was apparently directed toward my response. Something twisted about Zionism and secular Judaism. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Normally, I would not have answered him. Clearly, the guy’s a nutcase. But I was feeling reckless after the siren and after all these days of waiting, waiting, waiting, for Israel to go in and do what it needs to do to stop these endless rockets, sirens, and misery. Maybe I needed a small battle to contend with the larger one: the one I cannot control.
I was feeling anxious and emotional. So I ventured a few lines just to clarify that I live in Israel because the Torah commands me to live in Israel and not because of this or that political ideology. I told him that I live in Israel because it is my land.
|(photo credit: Ministry of Tourism; www.goisrael.com)|
And he wrote: “You can disagree all you want. I see fact for what it is. Genocide, starvation, apartheid, murder, =racism…
It isn’t your land chimp bitch. Stolen property does not belong to the thief.
That is common law around the world.
And you are a liar, or too fuckiing [sic] stupid to understand your own Torah.”
His name is Don Leonard. Feel free to report him for hate speech. I did.
I was just struck dumb by that phrase, “It isn’t your land chimp bitch.”
I repeated it over and over again to myself, sometimes aloud. I found it had a certain ring. It evolved for me until it became, “IT’S NOT YOUR LAND CHIMP BITCH.”
My husband giggled.
But while I was acting all tough and saying, “It’s not your land chimp bitch,” inside I was feeling wounded and hurt, anxious and angry. All of that emotion just churned inside me. I couldn’t wrap my mind around my work project; the work that pays our rent.
Then the fury boiled up and spilled over and I did something I’d been threatening to do for days. I quit a long-held volunteer position with a Jewish organization for the simple reason that not a single one of my co-volunteers had inquired after the well-being of my family since this whole thing escalated. My son is called up three days after he is engaged to be married. I am calming down frightened children in bomb shelters and hearing sirens, but NOPE. Not one word. I’ve been with that org for more than a decade.
|Photo by Cpl. Shai Wagner, IDF Spokesperson's Unit|
They all voted for Obama, all of them, at least the Americans. They sold me out: me and my people, their OWN PEOPLE.
|The President-elect and Vice President-elect meet with the Supreme Court Justices. (Photo by Pete Souza)|
|(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)|
They don’t care. They only cared about Romney going all Big Love on them. They cared about minor domestic issues that didn’t even affect them personally. Women my age often aren’t even menstruating for goodness’ sake. They’re not getting pregnant. Abortion is NOT their issue. But ISRAEL IS.
None of them are GAY. But they ARE Jewish. So why is gay marriage more important to them than Israel? I’m sorry. I just don’t buy their frigging excuses ANY MORE.
Can you tell I’m angry?
|President Barack Obama listens to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel during a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)|
The Arabs started this latest escalation as a direct response to the election results. And don’t any of you Americans think otherwise. This is ON YOUR HEADS.
Anger talking. Sure. But there it is. It’s what’s inside me. It’s how I feel.
So I wrote the guy above me at that org, “I quit effective immediately. Best of Luck,” and felt relief suffuse me. It felt good. I also called out, “IT’S NOT YOUR LAND CHIMP BITCH,” one more time for good measure. That was amazingly powerful because it just made me laugh. Laughter is better than fury and helplessness.
The phrase makes me laugh because I have a deep-seated belief that Israel belongs to me and my people. That makes the phrase seem utterly ridiculous, even absurd! I said it a few more times:
IT’S NOT YOUR LAND CHIMP BITCH.
Then a friend posted this Oliver North clip: http://video.foxnews.com/v/1978528038001/
I stopped laughing. North said that President Obama is threatening Netanyahu behind the scenes, telling the Israeli prime minister that should Israel go ahead with a ground incursion, the U.S. will block all airplane part replacements.
Well, I figured all those oh-so-supportive-of-Israel statements Obama was issuing right and left were a bunch of horse-pucky. Like anyone thought he’d support Israel? So I was inclined to believe Ollie North.
The fury just built inside me. If we don’t do this ground incursion, that’s it. Nothing left to talk about. I can’t bear it. I just can’t bear it.
The whole thing is falling apart.
Israel will still be here. The land won’t go anywhere. But it will become more and more dangerous for Jews to live here. We’ll have lost control of the entire venture.
I will not be afraid. I will not be afraid.
|(photo credit: Kewima; http://www.flickr.com/photos/kewima//)|
My fury knows no bounds. I want to break something, smash something.
And now the rumors start to flow about ceasefire declarations.
My anguish is so enormous I have no more words.