Zionist

         We grew up as Zionists in New York in the years after WWII. Even though there were few Jews in our town, Pelham Manor, the few we knew were smart and decent. Micky Schwerner came from our town, went to high school with my oldest sister. He was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan  in Philadelphia, Mississippi while trying to help black people register to vote.

          That is incidental. What is not incidental is the fact that, as a little boy, my first exposure to naked bodies, other than my parents, was seeing piles of them pushed into ditches by bulldozers. They were the murdered victims of Nazism. Those newsreels were played over and over and over again.

          As I got older and more involved with New York City and photography and the arts, I met more and more Jewish people. Some had numbers still tattooed on their arms, from the concentration camps.

          At that time Leon Uris’s book, Exodus was popular and many of us were caught up in the idealism and excitement of Israel, a new homeland for the Jewish people after the holocaust.

          We all admired David Ben-Gurion and Gold Meir and many others who led the early country and defended it passionately.

          There never has been co-equality and hardly even co-existence between the Israelis and the Palestinians. What I know about Palestinians is that they hate the Jews and want to “push them into the sea.” Since the Israelis are highly developed and disciplined, have all the weapons, and know how to use them, it seems to me that the Palestinians should adjust their attitude.

          Not only do the Israelis hold all the cards but they also control the water. This might be the most important of all. Israel is a beautiful, lush country and Palestine is a desert by comparison.

          One card Israel does not  have is the suicide card. Apparently, the one thing Palestinians can do is blow themselves up and take as many Jews with them as possible. I still remember the “the straw that broke the camel’s back” in my thinking. A pregnant Arab woman got into a big Jewish wedding and blew up about fifty people including herself and her unborn child. Any kind of sympathy I might have had for the Palestinian cause disappeared.

          Currently there has been more violence in the West Bank and Gaza, ugly violence, with lots of people killed and many buildings destroyed. I am always shocked to think of all the effort it took to build those buildings, and now to have to build them again.

          It is ever the same. What could possibly change it? As long as the Israelis think the Palestinians hate them and want to destroy them, they will keep making sure that can’t happen.

          Note: Some of my friends were shocked by my thoughts, “dismayed” was a word I heard. It is only my perspective, one perspective, but also a history of how I came to feel the way I do. That is all we have, to express it as we feel it and experience it. There is dualism before non-dualism to be philosophical about it.

Ricker Winsor

Surabaya, Indonesia

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