Stu News and Photos

My name is Stu and I am here to share what I can.

Not sure how many people are reading this (feel free to let me know via comments) - I haven't blogged in a bit - been pretty preoccupied by the war in Israel.

I've grown up as a Jew, raised in what would reasonably be labeled as a conservatively Jewish household - I was taken to temple every Saturday morning and most Friday nights and Sunday mornings, I went to Hebrew school through to high school, and I ate a lot of Chinese food.

Another thing about growing up Jewish was learning that there were a whole bunch of folks who didn't like me because of it. Throughout our temple/Hebrew school were reminders of the Holocaust (this picture, which was used as a poster in one of the classrooms, still sticks strong in my memory).

In addition to this history of Antisemitism that I was taught, there were moments in my life where I was a direct victim: Getting pennies thrown at me while on the bus to school during seventh grade - our house getting spray-painted with swastikas and hate speech - and others.

I see how the media is playing the coverage of the current war - trying to balance things, and that's me being kind - really, it's unbalanced. When Israel accidentally hits a civilian, or when they specifically target a building where Hamas terrorists hide behind schoolchildren or medical staff, the media spend a lot of time, showing a lot of footage. When Hamas terrorists fire rockets from Gaza into Israeli towns like Be'er Sheva and Ashkelon and Gedera, not a peep from the major media.

So, to the average American, it appears that Israel is the aggressor. And yet that's just not the case. As early as the eleventh century BCE, Jews have organized towns on the land that is now labeled as Israel. Since that time, they have been persecuted and chased from their rightful land (a strip of desert the size of Connecticut) by the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Syrians, etc. This continues to this very day, and yet despite this horror, Jews have maintained some form of presence on that land.

And they have worked that land, and they have built it into a home, and they have sought nothing more than to live in peace, to be openly Jewish on the street, to pray in their temples, to gather together and feel proud of their heritage.

But that's just not ok with some people. And so the story gets turned around and the anti-Jew conspiracy tales are told, and now it's 2009 and Jews still don't have a safe place that they can call home. Other religions have homes that are peaceful - Jews, not so much.

What will happen next? Will other religions, other nations clear their heads, read some legitimate history texts, and organize to keep Israel safe? Or will the world continue to believe ideas such as what was expressed by the philosopher Voltaire: "The Jewish nation dares to display an irreconcilable hatred toward all nations, and revolts against all masters; always superstitious, always greedy for the well-being enjoyed by others, always barbarous - cringing in misfortune and insolent in prosperity."

So that's what has been on my mind.


Suldog said...

Well, Stu, I read you, and I read you, if you know what I mean. Unthinking hate is hideous at any time against any group.

Growing up, I could never understand the stereotypes I heard about Jews. Most of the Jewish folk I knew personally were kind, generous, intelligent, and unlike all of the hideous things that I had heard said. Of course, generalizing towards the good traits is no sure way to be a good human, either, but it always ticked me off when somebody would say, "Jew him down" or some such slur.

Also, I lost my virginity to a Jewish girl, and for that alone I owe a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid :-)

Melissa said...

Stu, I have been thinking about what to say here. The war, every time there's new violence, makes me sad. As a Roman Catholic living in a city with a large and active Jewish population, I actually never really heard much in the way of what I'd think of as anti-semitism. Then again I am naive.

In fact, the Jesuits that taught me in college probably knew as much about Jewish teachings as most rabbis. I found them to be a pretty open minded group of fellows, so on things religious, I have always felt the freedom to seek out knowledge of all other types of worship and doctrine.

I will keep you in my thoughts as you wrestle with this. I wish I were knowledgeable enough to offer any "real" sort of comments.

Sharfa said...

I hear ya.

I just don't get it, I'll never get it. (Racism, religious persecution...etc.) I don't believe we will evolve as a species until we move beyond such things.

I'm so sorry Stu.