I was driving home the other day and happened to notice an interesting ad on the back of one of Trimet’s buses:
I’m the first to admit that when I begin hearing about the Israeli – Palestinian conflict and their intermittent attempts at both peace and war, my eyes start to glaze over. Not because I don’t care – and not because I don’t think we need to work out a solution in which both groups will eventually be able to live along side one another without feeling the need to throw rocks, drive tanks, or start indiscriminately building houses all over the damned place just to make a point. It’s because of two reasons: 1) I don’t know enough about the history of the issue to make an educated decision about who – if anyone – is truly to blame and who are the victims, and 2) what I do know shows that the history of this problem stretches back way beyond even the First World War all the way to biblical times.
I strongly suspect, from what I have read in the news over the years, that there’s plenty of blame to go around … but as always, I could be wrong. Of course, not to be outdone by this attempt at swaying popular opinion, a pro-Israeli organization responded:
My thoughts immediately go to issues like the settlement of the West Bank, which has been condemned as being in violation of international law, and am forced to conclude that such “support” for a nation that would carry out such activities would remain conditional, if at all. Of course, there’s also Hamas, which hasn’t cared too much in the past about discriminating between military and civilian targets when carrying out their attacks. Ads like these tend to gloss over these facts in order to bypass your brain on the way to your gut … or your heart, depending. So in light of this, I propose my own ad, which will never see the light of day, but made me feel a little better nonetheless.
As for the rest, I know that this issue is a hopelessly entangled mess of religion, culture, and politics that makes any proposed solution problematic at best. I generally don’t write about anything so intensely political, but this is going on in my neck of the woods so I felt almost obligated. Back to my regularly scheduled kvetching tomorrow.