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Friday, February 2, 2007

Zionists out

Zionists out
By Bradley Burston

Talkback comment, in response to When Jihad says 'Kiss, make up, and kill the Jews,' of January 29:
Who are you, and what have you done with the real Bradley Burston? The REAL Mr. Burston surely would have blamed himself - and the rest of us - for today`s suicide bombing. Are you feeling ok, man?
Citizen Zero,
Toronto, Canada

I decided this week that it was time I outed myself.
I couldn't take it anymore. The sneaking around. The posturing, the covering up.
So this is me, coming out.
I've been this way for as long as I can remember. I kept quiet about it, but it was always there. Even before I knew myself what it was.
It colored my thinking. It affected my relationships. I couldn't talk to just anyone about this thing I was carrying inside.
Were I to come out with it, I thought to myself, I'd be asking to be lumped in with people who are routinely shunned, reviled, quarantined by polite society, spat at by the over-righteous, openly blamed for global ills.
You think, there'll be people who will never look at you, shake your hand, or smile at you quite the same way again.
Then again, there's only so long you can lie to your own heart.
So here it is.
I'm a Zionist.
Go ahead. Take your best shot.
There will be those, and they will be many, who will tell me that it is wrong to love this place, that I have no right to love it, and certainly none to claim it as mine. That by God's law, it will never be mine, it can never be mine.
There will be those who will tell me that it is wrong - in fact, impossible - to love this place and, at the same time, believe that it should be shared with another people who loves this place no less than we. That by God's law, it will never be theirs, it can never be theirs.
Perhaps they'll never want to speak to me again. Perhaps we'll both be better off.
Here's one thing they will not change:
I love this place. Even if it doesn't much care for me. I love it unconditionally. I see its flaws. It is a collection of scars and blemishes, bad behaviors and raw moods and tantrums, guilt trips and passive aggression and active aggression and denial. I don't care. It loves me, it loves me not. I love it nonetheless.
I love the way it looks and smells. Overexposed and overpowering.
I have been this way now, for as long as I can remember. I don't expect this to change materially for as long as I live.
In some ways I was raised to be this way, and in some ways I was raised to be anything but. Ways that no one will fully understand. My being this way hurts my family, old friends, the people I left behind to be this way. And yet, from this remove, I see that this is how it works for everyone, more or less. You must leave your family of origin to start a relationship, a family - a new one, from scratch.
One of the tough parts of being this way is the necessity of making it all up as you go along.
If I came out with it, I'd thought to myself, I'd be lumped in with extremists, people whose outrageous behavior and evident, even brutal, contempt for people unlike them makes an irrationally bad rap that much worse.
So if I'm already out, here's what I have to offer:
I believe that a Jewish country need not be racist. I believe that a Jewish country must not be racist.
I believe that Jews have every right to a state of their own, no less than the Palestinians. I believe that the Palestinians have every right to a state of their own, no less than the Jews.
I believe that if one side denies the other the right to a state, it does direct and permanent harm to both peoples.
I believe that in a world in which there are dozens of Islamic countries, some of which cannot abide the corporeal presence of the Jew, there is room for one Jewish one.
I believe that in a world in which the flags of 13 nations bear a cross, the flag of one nation can bear a Star of David.
I believe that a people at war commits crimes. I believe that a people at war tends to see its own crimes as legitimate. I believe that war breeds racism on both sides, and that racism fuels war.
I believe that the process of dividing and sharing the Holy Land will be agonizing for both peoples. Both peoples have seen what civil war will be like, the Jews in Gaza in 2005, the Palestinians in Gaza in 2007.
I believe that the process of forgiveness will be painful, in some ways cruel. I believe that it will be next to impossible.
I also believe that it will happen.
I believe that a time will come when the sides will come to recognize what each has been saying to the other ? often in the worst possible ways ? for a lifetime now:
We're here. That's final. Get used to it.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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