Thursday, September 12, 2002

On our best behavior for the tourists
I have noticed that I usually don't discuss politics with friends whose politics I disagree with. What’s the point? And if I don't know how a friend stands politically, I'll probably steer clear of the subject, so as to avoid unpleasantness. Janice (see her page for buying Israeli stuff) sent me this letter written by a lady she defines as a “"lefty" and a reform rabbi” who visited Israel this summer and writes of her experience. She points out that her Israeli friends didn't really want to talk about politics with her.

“Most of our friends in Israel once had strong political passions. Throughout this visit, the Israelis we encountered had little interest in talking politics—again and again, we heard the observation, “Sharon has no plan, but who does?” The Israelis we spoke to had no vision of the future, no useful scheme that could help them understand the violence they are living with, or offer a glimpse of a way out. They were eager to talk with us about the crisis—what they call Hamatzav, or The Situation—but only in personal terms. They spoke of grief and fear. Among this group are some that years ago spoke passionately of Palestinian rights, who were active seeking an end to Israel’s occupation. This time, no Israeli Jew we talked to had an interest in discussing the Palestinians’ plight. It seemed that they couldn’t—that it would be an affront to mention it, engrossed as they were in their own desperation. They were aware and disappointed that most of the world’s sympathies are with the Palestinians, but didn’t seem to have the energy to care all that much”.

I wonder if some of them weren't just avoiding the subject, knowing her to be left wing. Maybe they didn’t want things to get awkward, when they had such a short time to spend with her.