Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Good and the Sad

The Atlantic Monthly has done a wonderful service by publishing the article, Security Fences, by Abigail Cutler. Hat tip to CAMERA.

"Today the West Bank barrier is just one of many partitions around the world aimed at repelling invaders-whether terrorists, guerrillas, or immigrants. Here are the sites of other notable security barriers, in chronological order of inception."


The article does a great service (and feel free to email the editors a thank you at: It allows people to see in MSM that the idea of a security fence is not unique to Israel and isn't what many would like you to think -- an apartheid wall.

I've had a hard time with two friends (they don't know each other) because of their insistence that the fence was just that -- an apartheid wall. It's not that I can't accept an opposing view. Please. But both have refused to even discuss it -- to learn anything about it. Both refuse to have their belief challenged, and I was asked to not send emails about it. Both want it left out of conversation. One is in New York -- a journalist and a part-time teacher of Journalism (yes, be scared). The other is a Hollywood screenwriter who munches on a steady diet of Neither is Jewish, and both I've known for almost a decade. My dilemma -- both know how important Israel is to me and yet don't care to iron this out. I've never had a friendship with conversation limitations. And I've found I've lost respect for both. I don't know that the west coast friendship can be saved, but I'm also guessing it's not the last time I will face a situation like this. Anyone out there have any advice?


At 6:38 PM, Blogger patrickafir said...

What makes me sad, though, is knowing that there is a considerable amount of people who do understand that Israel is not unique in this matter, but decide to unfairly criticize Israel anyway. That's disturbing to me. In essence, it's saying that the temporary inconvenience of Palestinian Arabs is more important than the permanent loss of Israeli lives.

At 7:19 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Right. Those people are much worse. It is quite sad.

At 1:53 AM, Blogger MaxedOutMama said...


I have no good advice for you, I can only offer compassion. The bit about the journalist is very disturbing. If we end up closing our border with Mexico for security concerns, will that be an "apartheid" wall?

My guess is the pressures on these two people are such that they can't deal with the mental isolation from their social circles discarding this idea would involve, so they have chosen to establish a mental "apartheid" wall against dispassionate consideration of your questions.

At 7:17 AM, Blogger Tom Carter said...

Esther, I agree with MOM, as usual. In my experience, the further people move toward the far ends of the political spectrum, the less willing they are to consider ideas that run counter to their fixed opinions. This seems especially true these days among religious extremists on the far right and liberal extremists on the far left. That's at least one thing they have in common. How to deal with them? The short answer is, you can't.

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Esther said...

MoM, the sad thing is I bet a fence with Mexico would be fine. Only Israel is at fault. I think you're probably right about why they can't hear new ideas.

Tom, I'm afraid you're right. I guess I need to figure out if I can still be friends with people like this and accept that these friendships will be superficial. Is it worth my time? I'm still wrestling with this.

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

"idea of a security fence is not unique to Israel and isn't what many would like you to think -- an apartheid wall. "

I haven't read the article yet, but America and Europe both have a wall for the same reason.

"But both have refused to even discuss it -- to learn anything about it"

Would I be mistaken to assume they are people that have extremely liberal or leftist points of view? That me be a harsh question, but I am curious.

"both know how important Israel is to me and yet don't care to iron this out."

Because your facts might get in the way of their theories. It shows you the problem with journalist nowadays.

I don't know anyone that actually believes this stuff. If they did I would explain it no matter what and let them feel foolish for not wanting to accept the facts. But, honestly, don't even bother. They will never accept it know matter what facts you put in front of your face. You are better off trying to help the moderate or the willing to listen out. There are plenty of people who are on the fence and a few facts would help them out. This is a rambling response.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Actually, it was a great response, Gindy. And I really appreciate it. Yes, I would consider both to be quite to the left (the journalist got very angry when I suggested there's bias in the media). I have filled them in on the facts and both responded by saying they respect my passion on the subject and they wish I could respect their views. I guess the upshot is I don't.

The one in LA couldn't understand why we couldn't just not talk about it. He's African-American, so I asked him how he'd feel if I suddenly started showing empathy towards the KKK (I didn't even mention that the KKK hate Jews more than blacks, but I digress). He insisted that was apples and oranges, etc. I then mentioned that while I know he isn't anti-Semitic, others who don't know him might wonder because the things he spouts are the same things used by anti-Semities to try to delegitimize Israel. Needless to say, I haven't heard back from him since that email (I know you're not shocked) and I'm guessing I won't. But I'm glad I said what I felt, rather than just eat it everytime we got together. It's a growth thing for me.

Perhaps the lesson is to never talk politics but since that's become such a huge interest of mine, especially Israel, it's hard to avoid.

At 3:29 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

"Perhaps the lesson is to never talk politics... "
You have to talk politics (my very opinionated opinion).
If you don’t, what is now a main stream opinion based on non-existent facts will become a main stream fact and nobody will remember that it used to be just an opinion.

Many people want to be “good” and do the right “thing” without going through the pain of finding out by themselves what this enigmatic quality is really based upon in any given historical time zone.
They use already formed definitions, usually created by some interest groups with very practical goals.
Deep down they know (like your friends) they are being used, but they have to believe it is a good and just cause.
Shattering these definitions means shattering their comfort zone and their own perception of themselves.
They would have to start looking for new formulas and above all they would have to acknowledge that they were wrong and acted wrongly.
But.., many can see the light and change.
Let’s talk politics!

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Felis, you are awesome!! Thank you!! :)


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