Feeling “Peaced Off”

After the latest greatest wholesale slaughter of Jews in a Jerusalem synagogue I received a message from a concerned friend in America. She wrote that her heart was breaking…for both sides. She called for shared mourning for the losses…on both sides. And something in me broke inside. I felt angry, betrayed, abandoned.

Coined myself a new phrase: Being “Peaced off”. Loosely defined as: That confused, somewhat shameful yet angry feeling that happens when you get punched in the face and in response your friend asks why you don’t have more compassion for your assailant’s bloody knuckles.

Please understand, I am a peace maker. I go faithfully to interfaith gatherings. I make peace-minded videos like this one.

And yet, there is a line. A subtle and all too easily twisted line. Between pursuing peace and getting played by the darkness. And when that line gets twisted, well, I get peaced off.

The photo above says it all – the dove of peace getting co-opted by the vultures of war.

For me, the peace doves are those bright beautiful West-Coast-types who ooze equal rights. They are my dear friends whose ideals I share, whose work I admire, whose faces are radiant & food is organic.

I have lived amongst you and loved you and am typing gingerly lest I offend you. Because I care about you and your opinions matter to me. And so please forgive me my honesty.

But your gentle countenance and calls for compassion scare the hell out of me.

During this summer’s war with Gaza a thousand rockets could rain down on Israel, but what pained me most? The pummel of Facebook posts from friends calling for Israel to halt its aggression. As Gazan children perished as human shields. As the world looked on with horror when another school was bombed for the launch pad in its backyard. What most peaced me off was the launch of another naive & self-righteous long-distance call for peace.

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Pointing fingers at the Israeli army might be convenient, but it is dangerous. Supporting the under-dog is admirable, until the under-dog turns rabid and left free to roam the neighborhood streets.

Remember the Menendez brothers, circa 1990? Two young men who brutally murdered their parents to get their inheritance. They begged the jury for mercy basically based on the fact that they were but poor pitiful orphans. The children of abusive parents. Their defense lawyers knew just how to play off the kind compassion of the court, banking on the goodness of people’s hearts. Skewed sympathy let them nearly get away with man-slaughter.

And so too in Israel. We see the daily butchering of justice in the name of the world’s most deceptive form of compassion.

It’s why I appreciate ISIS. They are such straight-forward people. No room for doubt or confusion there. Just blatant evil, black-hearted horror shows.

So different from the evil on the Jerusalem streets & free-floating in the ether. This beguiling  blackness garbs itself in the most stylish of greys. This evil feeds off of our well-intentioned moral confusion. It feasts on misplaced compassion, political-correctness, muddled morality. All these lofty ideals of peace & reconciliation are but lethal weapons in the hands of sleek PR fiends.

So, my dear friends with flowers in your hands, yes let’s convene another peace gathering and I will be there with bells on. But before that let us be discerning and draw clear lines. All is not a wash of oneness, equivalencies, equalities. There are cancers that can not be cured by chanting. Conflicts that can not be quashed through diplomacy. Aggressive medicine can sometimes be the most compassionate treatment for the disease.

The time is long overdue for us to lead the doves away from the vultures’ company.


Photo by Pawel Kuczynski.