I wanted to be unbiased about Israel. I really did.
I went to a Zionist school as a child, and grew up in a Zionist home. My whole life I’d been taught that Israel was right and our haters were ignorant, cruel, and just plain wrong. It was easy enough to believe, and I didn’t hesitate to believe it. Israel was the innocent victim; everyone who attacked us, physically or verbally, was the Bad Guy. Then I left that bubble in small doses—I worked with people who questioned Israel’s tactics and policies. I spoke to those who supported a two-state solution or whatever latest peaceful agenda everyone could supposedly work out. I started to realize things weren’t as simple as I’d thought.
And so when this new conflict erupted, I took a step back and tried to view everything I heard with perspective. Yes, we left Gaza and gave it to you, but maybe it wasn’t fair of Israel to create embargoes. Maybe Gaza’s citizens are truly living a difficult, oppressed lifestyle. I don’t know. I can’t speak for either side, living as I do in America, getting my information as I do through the slanted trickles of various news sources.
And then someone blew up a bus.
I saw that on Facebook this morning before I even had a chance to open my news apps, and suddenly my efforts to build up a critical attitude seemed so laughable, so naively hollow that they all came crashing down around me. All I could think was, I thought we were finished with all that horrific bus bombing. It’s not only blatant terrorism—it’s sophomoric. When governments are trying to broker a cease-fire, and someone blows up a bus, it’s like throwing spitballs when the teacher’s back is turned. Only lethal spitballs. At innocent people.
It doesn’t matter who started it. It makes no difference who’s wronging whom, and who really deserves the land. Blowing up a bus full of civilians is never okay. You really want peace? You want to work towards a solution? Then prove it. Make me believe you. Don’t kill my people, injure my friends, terrorize innocent civilians. You’re not only hurting your enemies; you’re hurting yourself.
Suddenly those pro-Israel pictures my friends have been posting on Facebook don’t seem so biased. They don’t seem so blind. I feel foolish, instead, for trying to believe in a world with shades of gray.
Nothing is fully black and white. But I do want to know: How can you persuade me to defend a people who blows up a bus? No, it wasn’t a collective effort by the entire Gaza population. But the public celebrations after the bomb went off align you with whoever did it. I’m sorry, but you just lost my support.
Zionists, count me back in.