Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Israel Manifesto

     I've not so much as refrained from posting about the war in Israel and Lebanon as I've been frozen into inaction. I've been thinking of the political implications. I still haven't decided whether or not Israel's tactics will be effective, or what the right solutions are to the many problems in the Middle East, including Iran. Of course, nobody's expecting a part-time unpaid blogger to have all the answers. The point is I didn't know what to write about.
     I've continued to read blogs, however. And many of the blogs I read have shocked me with their descent into ill-will for the Jewish state. And I decided I need to make a few things very clear.

My Israel Manifesto

  • The decision of supporting Israel is not, to me, a political one. I have family in Israel. Family who don't know whether the next time they step on a bus or walk into a pizza parlor will be their last. Family who are in the line of fire of Hezbollah rockets and future Iranian nukes. I support Israel, period.
  • In truth, all Israelis are my family. Jews, Christians, and Israeli Muslims. Sabras, Russians, Ethiopians. The soccer player from Ghana who risked his well-being to proudly wave the Israeli flag during the World Cup to thank his Israeli fans for supporting him the rest of the year when he plays for an Israeli club. They are the only people on Earth who will stand behind me when the rest of world stands against me. And I most certainly will not fail to stand behind them when the rest of the world stands against them. I support Israel.
  • To those bloggers I used to read who think it is OK to trash the legitimacy of Israel in the guise of disagreeing with its politics: You are wrong. You need to understand that this is personal. I am Israel. I will and do take things you say about it personally and I don't apologize for that. If you feel like you have to impugn Israel and its motives, you're doing the same to me. And don't expect me to forget how you really feel about me. I support Israel.
  • I don't always agree with the decisions the leaders of Israel make, and I'm more than happy to discuss for hours the implications of their actions. This is not the same as saying a) Israel should not exist, b) Israel's existence constitutes war crimes against Palestinians, or c) not letting Palestinians who have lived in Gaza or the West Bank into Israel proper is "oppression", "apartheid", or "genocide". Criticizing the Israeli government doesn't make you anti-Semitic. Singling out the Jewish state as the sole earthly target of your scorn does. That is not something I will discuss with you. I support Israel.

     I genuinely regret that the progressives in America - those that believe in individual liberty, in the government's role of protecting its citizens, of the government not controlling our personal, private lives, in equality and equal opportunity for all, is divided by this extremist faction that has fallen in love with the Palestinian cause. Arab-Jewish conflict is not Farm Aid. It is not Tibet. It is not "The Whales". The extremists are driving Jews to the Republican party, because when it comes down to choosing gay rights over the safety and welfare of your family, you have to choose the latter. It shouldn't be that way. Jews shouldn't have to compromise on basic moral issues just to feel like they have a place in the world.
     However, it is what it is. I support Israel wholeheartedly. And to tell you the truth, I'm not interested in hearing Arab propaganda about fake massacres or made up war crimes or revisionist history about Israel. Take your miserable drivel and hang out in your seedy corner of the internet with your brothers-in-arms, the skinheads, the neo-Nazis, the KKK. I'm done with you.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


     In honor of Independence Day, I ran the Peachtree Road Race for the 4th time. The Peachtree is the world's largest 10K race with 55,000 runners, 3,000 volunteers, and an estimated 150,000 spectators. It's great fun, and in the later groups, more of a moving block party than a road race.
     Because it's held on July 4th, patriotic themes abound. People carry American flags while running, spectators blast the Star Spangled Banner on their stereos, and a giant American flag hangs over the starting line. My first race was in 2002, only 10 months after the September 11 attacks. Blackhawk helicopters flew overhead, police and SWAT were out in force, and even the National Guard helped protect the thousands of people involved in the race. At mile 4, firefighters waved a flag from the top of their ladder truck to great cheers coming from the runners below.
     Even today, despite rules forbidding costumes (due to the risk of heat stroke - the high today is 97!), some runners come dressed as the Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam. But today I saw what is probably the least patriotic display imaginable, and unfortunately one that is perfectly accepted in the South. A man ran the race carrying a large Confederate flag. What could be less patriotic and inappropriate for July 4th than the one flag that represents rebellion and civil war? And even on days not July 4th, why is it that kids with Islamic headscarfs get harassed at school, but Confederate flags are OK? Can you think of anything less American than an armed insurrection against America?