Thursday, August 11, 2005


The last few days I've been feeling a lot of anxiety and sadness. There's nothing in my own personal life that warrants those feelings; I'm doing my writing thing, working in cafes, enjoying the nice weather, etc. But it's a tough time to be a person who loves Israel, right now. And it's even tougher if you live here. And living in Jerusalem is always intense, especially now. And for me there is the added quandary of, as someone so eloquently put it on the phone last night: "things would be a lot simpler for you if you were unreservedly anti-disengagement."

Ah, yes, the woes of having a nuanced, multi-faceted world outlook.

I feel I owe an explanation of something to my readers. Six months ago, I published this post about my views about disengaging. I thought it was clear, from that post, that I am not "unreservedly" anything. That, indeed, I have lots and lots of reservations, about a great many things.

Then last week, I made the mistake of busting out like Rambo, criticizing the Orange movement for the prominent participation of children (a criticism by which I still stand, though I hear and respect some of the arguments against me). I did not take into account that most people's lives don't revolve around my blog, :-) , and that therefore the post from six months ago just might, maybe, have been forgotten.

So I think some of you assumed, from my posts of last week, that I'm a dyed-in-the-wool member of the Shinui party, or a secret participant in Shalom Achshav, or simply that I don't have any sympathy at all for my fellow Jews. Nothing could be further from the truth. (No offense to Shinui or Shalom Achshav. I'm just saying I haven't made any decisions whatsoever about joining any sort of political party or movement).

The truth -- the whole truth -- is that I have a large, messy jumble of thoughts and feelings about the disengagement. My criticisms about children happened to be the thought at the forefront of my mind when I happened to feel like blogging a few days ago. In other words, it was the most easily elucidated and accessible concept for me as a writer in that moment. I could just as easily have chosen to start with another of my messy, jumbled thoughts -- such as, for example, how bothered I am by the attitudes and actions of the Israeli police; or why I don't think a referendum would necessarily have been a good idea; or how I think that each of the settlers should indeed be given a huge compensation package and, yes, whatever nice beachfront property they want; or how hypocriticial I think it is when anti-disengagement people complain now about Israel "not being a real democracy," when other groups, such as Israeli Arabs, have been complaining about the same stuff for years and the right wing/ dati-leumi community never seemed to care until they/we were the victims -- etc etc etc.

I could have just as easily written about those topics, except that a topic is not "easy" for me until I have some combination of both facts and an internal fire for the idea. Choosing one aspect of the disengagement to write about is, for me, like waiting for a flock of birds to suddenly decide together, inexplicably, that now they are picking up and flying away. I can't explain exactly why I favor some topics over others on a particular day.

The point of all this is: Just because I'm not writing about something, does not mean I am not thinking about it. I've been meaning, for example, to write a post denouncing the murder, by a Jewish Israeli, of four innocent Druzes in Shfaram . . . . but unfortunately have not been able to make the time. It's hard to get to everything. I often feel very bad about all the things I feel I should be writing about, but am not.

I think most of you knew that. But it beares emphasizing that my opinion about one aspect of the disengagement implies absolutely nothing -- nothing -- about my opinion on any other aspect. I would appreciate it if certain commenters would refrain from knee-jerk reactions and read my posts as commentary on stand-alone topics. The temptation to use my comments section as a bulletin board for advertising one's opinions about irrelevant ideas is very understandable . . . but I would appreciate it if people would try to resist it (as most of you do).

When I write that I am "thinly pro-disengagement," I mean that if I were in a position to make decisions about what happens in this country, I think, all things considered, that I'd probably weigh in on the side of disengaging. But . . . . I'm not in a position to make decisions, except insofar as I'll be able to vote in the next election. And therefore, I am free to feel and express all the doubts and misgivings that any thinking, intelligent person would feel about something of controversy and vital importance. This blog is where I do that. If you are looking for black-and-white thinking, I suggest you go elsewhere. If you are open to nuance, stick around. I might have something for you over the next few days. (Or, maybe not. Maybe the flock of birds will decide to blog about something else, like the article in the New York Times announcing that someone invented a mango slicer! I need one of those!)

Alright, I'm off to run errands and then go to the Kotel. Ciao, my readers. This blog would be nothing without you.

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