Our featured video is shocking although, given some of the others which have appeared on my site and on many others, I’m pretty sure, it is by no means surprising. I am using it as part of today’s JuicyLesson for a couple of reasons:
First, to show what Israel and Jews around the world are up against.
Second, to ask a somewhat rhetorical question. Lara, the young girl who’s the subject of our clip, is obviously very smart. Imagine a world where intelligence like hers is used for productive – rather than for destructive – purposes. What would such a world look like?
So far I haven’t really committed myself to a particular side in any of three M’s – Montreal, Missouri and the Middle East and while this was dawning on me, my analytical mind asked why. Why haven’t I taken a stand on Montreal and Missouri?
As far as the Mid-East is concerned, how can anyone ever support ignorance, violence, and fanaticism? How is it possible to empathize, even ever so slightly, with people – “displaced” or not – who commit atrocities like beheading. ISIS, the Taliban, Al-Quaeda, Hamas, and all militant extremists of their ilk, can all just go away, far, far away, never to be seen again, never to commit the horrors we have viewed over the last few days and weeks, beheadings and other such travesties, exceedingly violent acts beyond the bounds of what is considered to be “civilized” behaviour in our contemporary world. There’s no word for it. There’s absolutely no word for it.
Those of you who know me – as teacher, colleague, friend or not – also know that I am not one of those blind supporters of Israel. In fact, just the opposite. My view has always been to teach kids as objectively as possible, even in the Jewish school in which I spent 24 years of a teaching career which spanned some thirty-four, and then letting my students, in possession of the facts of the matter, make up their own minds.
Way back in 1982, almost exactly 32 years ago, on the first day of school for teachers, we were spoken to by Mr. Wilchesky, the educational director of our high school and of our two (in those days) elementary feeder schools. Israel had just that past summer, invaded and occupied part of Lebanon to its north, and Mr. Wilchesky was trying to put the proper spin on this Israeli invasion and land grab. He even went as far as referring to that part of the then-occupied Lebanon by its biblical name which escapes me at the moment.
I took exception to this obvious attempt to indoctrinate us teachers and asked the following question: Do you want us to teach this party line, or do you want us to teach more objectively, and have our students make up their own minds about what is going on?
Mr. Wilchesky’s answer pretty much sealed the deal. His exact words: “We’re losing our children.”
On another occasion, I was called into the office and told to take down a photo of PLO leader Yasser Arafat which I had posted at the back of our classroom and about which one or more teachers had complained. (The above-mentioned pic was from a series called Global Headliners or something like that and this was not the first time that I had chosen to post pics from that particular series.)
Anyway, I said that I would. I was then asked by the administrator involved if I wanted to know why I was being told to remove the aforementioned photo and rather than answer honestly that I couldn’t have cared less, I feigned interest and received the following answer: … because Arafat has said that it’s okay to kill Israeli children on their way to and from school.
So I am not a blind supporter of Israel but I still maintain that in this case, ISIS and Hamas are wrong and Israel is right.
As for the Israel-Hamas war specifically, I choose Israel as should all civilized people globally unless they are anti-Semites. Hollywood celebrity, the gorgeous Penelope Cruz, has publicly come down on the side of Hamas, condemning what she calls Israeli brutality which has caused the deaths of some 3000 Gazans, mostly civilians, and 67 Israelis, all but three of which were from the Israeli military.
How can she come down so solidly against Israel? She has to be an anti-Semite; otherwise there’s absolutely no way that she can support Hamas, given its goal of getting as many of its own citizens killed as possible so as to gain points in the important media war which is part of the whole conflict. Regardless of the reasons for Hamas rockets, they have to stop.
The bloodshed has to be arrested. Israel must somehow sit down with Hamas, like Begin did when he met the PLO’s Arafat seemingly eons ago, and together they have to work something out. It’s either that or it’s hopeless. Go Israel. Your opponents are anti-Semites. At least we’re learning who our true friends and more under-stated enemies are.