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Last month, the small pond of Ithaca, NY swelled into a storm of controversy when a Mother's Day piece appeared in the Ithaca Journal, describing one mother's "growing sense of inner peace and well-being" that has made her a "more open, kind, loving and patient" parent after eschewing the kind of victimhood mentality that pervades the Palestinian-Israeli conflict:
"On the global scale, for example, Zionist Jews in Israel have occupied Palestinian land in the name of God and victimhood. If anyone criticizes Israel for their terrorist attacks and slaughter of the Palestinians, they are immediately labeled "anti-Semitic" and guilt-inflicted for the Holocaust without any regard for Palestinian suffering."
The article was written by a yoga instructor named Sandy Wold, who runs a business called "Healing the Goddess" and is part of a larger "New Age Goddess" movement that includes a queen goddess named Starhawk who, according to an Honest Reporting dispatch, writes books on "earth-based spirituality," and regularly attacks Israel for its "racist policies" and "apartheid wall."
Yet the controversy that these self-actualized women have aroused seems overblown. After all, Ms. Wold and Starhawk are not the first people to find inner peace and well-being by siding with Palestinians over Israelis. In fact, for my own well-being, rather than empathize with an imperfect society, I too have found a way to sympathize with a murderous one. One can look at it this way, for example: We all know what it's like having that annoying, do-gooder neighbor who's always trying to be friends, always giving us stuff--in this case water, electricity, jobs, roads, housing--and forgiving us no matter how we mistreat and provoke him. Really, Jews are like Ned Flanders from The Simpsons; no wonder everyone wants to ring their necks! So I've adopted the approach of the enlightened classes -- the diplomats, the media, the literati and the Europeans -- wherein I shrug off par-for-the-course bombings of Israeli civilians but loudly condemn targeted assassinations of terror organizers that result in even a single Palestinian civilian death. It's a way of saying, "Wink-wink, do you see how indignant I am over the loss of Arab life" Please remember that the next time you're scouting for bombing targets closer to here... leave me and mine out of it, okay?"
The goddesses have inspired me to reflect, and I marvel that I was once a Jew who, as Wold describes, labeled as anti-Semitic those who simply object to the Israeli policy of existing. First of all, being anti-Israel and being anti-Semitic aren't synonymous: I'm sure there are plenty of people who agree with Israeli policies even while not particularly liking Jews. But more importantly, I've come to understand why the Palestinian who lived through the indignity of being asked to open his violin case at an Israeli checkpoint last year made international headlines (though indeed a guitar was used in the 2001 Jerusalem Sbarro attack) and why the story was embellished to look as if the violinist were asked to play for the soldiers' amusement; I also understand why Palestinians had to dig up old graves to show massacre in Jenin, and why everyone pointed to a corner-rounding magic Israeli bullet killing the crouching 12 year-old Mohammed al-Durra in 2000 crossfire, tragically before he ever got the chance to take 20 Jews with him as a shahid (though subsequent investigations indicate only Palestinian gunfire could have gotten to him); and finally, I understand why in 1999 Suha Arafat accused Israelis of poisoning Palestinian water.
The hope is that if Israeli "genocide" of Palestinians (or "terrorist attacks and slaughter" as Ms. Wold terms it) is cited often enough, it will bring international peacekeepers in to tie Israel's hands and be at the mercy of the world. Why else would everyone get so angry when two or three Palestinian civilians are killed in the course of military responses to massacres? It's the agonizingly slow pace of this genocide! The displaced Arabs started out with 400,000; they screamed genocide and became four million. This is what happens when you leave genocide up to Jews.
Anyway, it's the only rational explanation I can think of for why anti-Israel rhetoric has increased "in direct proportion to the growing toll of Jewish casualties from Arab terrorism," as commentator Dennis Prager points out. Still on probation for the Holocaust, the Europeans can only cheer the Arab world on from the sidelines, plus contribute what they can through UN programs like the Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which employs and transports Hamas members and explosives.
Understandably, the Israeli breed of Jew has confounded the world. (Jews fighting back? What's gotten into them? Their behavior was so much more palatable in WWII. Why do they refuse to jump into the Red Sea? Maybe it'll part for them again!) It used to be: "Jews, go to Palestine!" Now it's: "Jews, get out of Palestine!"
I have faith, though, that the world is committed to the Holocaust "never again" happening to the Jews. (I suppose not leaving any Jews for it to happen to again is one way to go about it.) To stay true to the promise, though, something will have to be done about the anti-Jewish climate at our universities. It's time to introduce courses on tolerating people, and perhaps a course on tolerating Jews. For starters, they can explain why Jews getting preferential admission into Israel is "racism," but blacks getting preferential admission to universities is "affirmative action."
Then again, the most constructive thing, as Ms. Wold advises, is for each of us to do "our inner work to resolve our inner turmoil" and stop the "fighting, arguing, advising, debating, protesting, blaming and name-calling," so that "each of our truths will help us co-evolve exponentially, and... solutions to complex issues and world peace will come," accelerating the planet's "pure thought-form around peace that harmonizes... everyone on neighboring islands and neighboring countries... the "Hundredth Monkey" phenomenon."
To that end, I have begun to confront my own "biases, opinions and judgments," and have come to accept that I suffer from what can only be Islamophobia. Because on practically a daily basis, I imagine there are news reports detailing horrors all over the world--car bombings, suicide bombings, even air planes crashing into buildings--and in every case, Muslims are the ones executing these acts. Isn't that awful of me? Charting a path to my own self-actualization, then, I placed myself into therapy, knowing that the problem must be inside myself and that if I just heal my own mind, all these horrors will stop and peace will prevail.
I am now also open to the possibility that Palestinians aren't responsible for exploding Jews at all. Just look at the disparity between these two Reuters headlines: "Israel Kills Three Militants" vs. "Bus Blows Up in Central Jerusalem." In other words, the Jews are suffering too, but apparently what they suffer from is spontaneous combustion.
Yes, I'm quite sure now that it's all just been my imagination all along. Thanks to the lucidity of the goddesses, I now see that even if massacres from Bali to Beslan to Madrid were indeed wrought by Muslims, somehow, in a departure from this worldwide pattern, on the one singular, exceptional sliver of land that happens to be dominated by Jews (who wouldn't have even fit onto it had they not been so skinny coming off the Holocaust), it's not Muslims who are the culprits, but the Jews themselves. (That's why what you're really worried about when boarding an airplane is a Hasid getting on too.) So what we have is the following scenario: Jews get bombed by Muslims, and it's Israel's fault; Muslims fly airplanes into American buildings, and it's Israel's fault (because of our pro-Israel policies - and someone should feel guilty since Muslims don't); and finally, Lebanese Christians kill Lebanese Muslims in Shatilla, and it's Israel's fault.
Once you understand this, the world becomes so much less overwhelming, and you can deal with just about anything. You'll even know the first thing to ascertain should aliens descend on the earth and start eating people: What did Israel do now? My computer-programmer husband is actually developing software that will calculate the percentage of Jewish responsibility for everything that happens in the world, so soon we won't have to do any thinking at all.
In my current self-transforming work to count myself among the "authentically peaceful, loving, non-reactive, and nonjudgmental" so that, as Ms. Wold suggests, "the human vibration and potential rises," simultaneously raising global consciousness, promoting healing for all, and evolving humanity so that we might avert "global catastrophe," I have learned that the most important thing to keep sight of is that Jews and Palestinians aren't so different, and it's our similarities that we should focus on. For example, a proud Jewish mother says, "So my son the doctor"? And a proud Palestinian mother says, "So my son the suicide bomber"? (Indeed, the best gift a Palestinian kid can give on Mother's Day is martyrdom, which has bought moms new apartments, jewelry and social status.) Similarly, a Jewish father has a conversation with his son about his future: "Ok, kid, it's time to start thinking about making a living!" And a Palestinian father: "Ok, kid, it's time to start thinking about making a killing!"
The resemblance is so great, who can deny we're cousins? And who can accuse Israelis and other Jews of "hating" Arabs? Hate them? We worship them! How many Jewish sacrifices we've laid at the altar of Islam - a thousand offerings to appease our Muslim gods. And with the Gaza withdrawal this year, Jew will turn against Jew and spill more blood. Is this not love?
After international pressure does finally push the Israelis into the sea, though, I just hope no one is disillusioned to see suicide bombers swimming after them to carry out their mitzvah before the Jews can drown. (If the Jews left Israel and moved to Mars, the Palestinians would develop a space program before a constitution.)
And that's because if Palestinians woke up one morning without an excuse to kill a Jew, there'd be no reason to get out of bed. It is said the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Well, if it doesn't involve an opportunity to kill Jews, what's the point? What else are these largest per-capita recipients of international aid going to do with their money and aggression? Open a business? If they lose a grip on their hate, they'll have a massive identity crisis, and suicide bombers will become actually suicidal. To wit, Mideast expert Daniel Pipes cites a Palestinian Christian, who declared that when there's a Palestinian state, "the sacred union against the Zionist enemy will die. It will be time to settle accounts... It saddens me to say so, but Israeli laws protect us." (Let's hope that the man who betrayed his people with such candor has since been arrested.)
But if what he says is true, it means President Bush had it right in his September address to the UN, when he said, "Peace will not be achieved by Palestinian rulers who intimidate opposition, tolerate corruption, and maintain ties to terrorist groups. The longsuffering Palestinian people deserve true leaders capable of creating and governing a free and peaceful Palestinian state... [in the form of a] stable democracy." They deserve leaders like, well, the Israelis.
Just look at the West Bank fence that humiliates Palestinians by helping stop over 100 planned attacks on Israelis a month, according to embassy numbers -- an essential step toward Palestinian statehood. The apartheid wall could single-handedly impose the Palestinian dream of self-determination on the Palestinians. Such that at the next Olympics we might be able to cheer athletes from an actual Palestinian nation, and perhaps even see brick-throwing and belt-bombing become official Olympic sports. (Rival martyr factions already compare their competition to a British soccer league.)
Thus striving toward a more just world, Western society will expand its spirit of equity so that soon, as we stroll along New York's Yitzhak Rabin Way, we can look for a matching Yassir Arafat Square. And Holocaust education in schools will become more fair and objective: To little Schlomo, Hitler may seem like a villain, but little Qudsia may see things differently. (This will mean taking a page from our friends in Europe where, as the 700 Club informs us, Muslim students cheer at the mention of the Holocaust.)
Ms. Wold wrote to Honest Reporting apologizing for the "lack of sensitivity to and inclusiveness of your group's perspective and experience," but there was no need. After all, a goddess can't be wrong! She should just think of it as a growth experience. At least now she knows that her relationship with those "many Jewish friends" who "know a lot more" about the conflict than she does has been utterly meaningless. Besides, who's judging? Today's anti-Semites-slash-anti-"Zionists" are out and they're proud. (Not that there's anything wrong with that... why, some of my best friends are anti-Semites!)
In fact, these days even regular folks have started to repeat ideas and phrases from the likes of Mahathir Mohamad, the recently retired Malaysian prime minister who said that Jews rule the world by proxy and own newspapers, and suggested that Muslims fight the Jews using brains and not just bombs. I must admit, it was sort of neat hearing this stuff come out of someone of Mongoloid stock; you don't see that every day. It's all about diversity, folks, give everyone a chance! (Incidentally, it's a big lie that there's no freedom of speech in the Muslim world: Anyone can go over there and with virtually no consequences announce that Jews suck; here it's not so easy -- as the goddesses have learned.)
May the world forgive this brash display of my inordinate Jewish influence, but I thought it would actually seem rather tame, considering that I spend the rest of my time drinking the blood of Arab teenagers.
At least my therapy is teaching me to be less defensive. After all, it worked so well in the 1930s.
Julia Gorin is a New York-based opinion writer and contributing editor for FoxNews.com and JewishWorldReview.com, and a stand-up comedian specializing in conservative humor. Her work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, and exactly once in the New York Times. This article appeared in Front Page Magazine June 8, 2005 (www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=18330).
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