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Monday, August 03, 2015

A Missed Opportunity

It feels more than a little wrong to suggest the presence of an opportunity in the acts of terror I mentioned in yesterday's post.  But there was... and, tragically, this opportunity was completely missed.

In the wake of these senseless, cowardly acts of violence, thousands gathered across Israel to protest the recent increase in incitement and ideologically-based attacks.  

These demonstrations could - and should - have been a groundswell of national outrage meant to roundly denounce the tiny, lunatic-fringe at both ends of the religious and political spectrum, and to allow the Israeli mainstream, regardless of gender, creed, status or camp, to shout to the heavens that you do not have an imperative (nor the right) to attack and destroy those with whom you disagree!

But like the hypocritical travesty that is the annual Rabin memorial, unity and inclusion were the furthest things from the minds of the organizers of yesterday's rallies.

Had these organizers thought to extend a welcoming hand to the religious community and right wing political organizations - both of whom shared the secular left's sense of shock and outrage over these despicable acts, but lacked a large, well-organized forum to express their outrage - the entire country could have come together in a rare healing moment of unity and understanding.

The images from yesterday that never were will haunt us for years to come:  

These rallies across Israel should have seen Hashomer Hatza'ir youth groups standing arm in arm with teens from Bnei Akiva and Ezra.  Right wing 'settlers' from Israel's periphery and heartland should have been standing side-by-side with political lefties from the country's cosmopolitan center.   National religious and haredi citizens should have been standing in solidarity beside secular and LGBT Israelis.  

But none of that happened.  

It didn't happen because the organizers of these rallies were more interested in seizing the opportunity to point an accusatory finger at their political opponents than in seizing the opportunity to recognize the shared sense of outrage and shame that knows no religious or political boundaries.

It is truly tragic to think that the deaths of a young woman at a Gay Pride parade and an infant in a politically motivated arson attack, might be seen as an opportunity.  But they were... and the opportunity was completely missed.

The organizers and speakers at these demonstrations were so blinded by their disdain for what they see as their political and ideological enemies, that they couldn't perceive the tragic irony of allowing their baseless hatred to enlarge the yawning chasm between our country's disparate groups who, at long last, finally had a common cause and shared sense of outrage.

I didn't think it was possible to be more shaken, ashamed or saddened than I was by the stabbing attack at Jerusalem's Gay Pride parade and the arson attack in which an 18-month-old Palestinian infant was killed.

But as I contemplate the missed opportunity for national unity that could - and should - have been seized in the wake of these senseless tragedies, I seem to have discovered new depths of despair.

Posted by David Bogner on August 3, 2015 | Permalink

Comments

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And this article by Jeff Barak in the Jerusalem Post certainly doesn't help matters http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Reality-check-The-writing-literally-was-on-the-wall-410920.

Posted by: shelley bloom | Aug 3, 2015 2:05:15 PM

Seeing what mileage they get from senseless attacks on them, I'd expect to see them encouraging more senseless attacks.

Posted by: RAM | Aug 3, 2015 6:26:38 PM

Not just in Israel, but also in the US,many are interested in hating those they disagree with and gaining power.They will use any event,no matter how horrific,to demonize the other.What happened at the rallies didn`t surprise.

Posted by: Ed | Aug 3, 2015 7:32:12 PM

Are you saying that "National religious and haredi citizens" who "should have been standing in solidarity beside secular and LGBT Israelis" we're not doing so because they weren't invited ?

Posted by: Gary | Aug 5, 2015 8:39:37 AM

Gary... That is precisely what I'm saying. As much as the media and organizers like to portray demonstrations as spontaneous, they are actually very carefully orchestrate. Police permits are required, transportation from all points in the country has to be hired and paid for, parking for all those buses has to be arranged, a bond has to be posted to pay for the clean-up after the demonstration ends (and for any damage done to public or private property), speakers are invited and arranged according to a carefully scripted list of considerations... and lastly, various regional political and social organizations are contacted to make sure that all those buses are full. While I'm sure that many right wing and religious people showed up on their own to these various demonstrations, there was no large visible block of them anywhere to be seen. And there were no speakers invited from those blocks. Bottom line, large demonstrations are made up of the demographic that the organizers want to reach. For all intents and purposes, everyone else is excluded. That is what I am saying.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Aug 5, 2015 9:05:51 AM

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