I realized today that State of the Israel is Moshe Rabbeinu in this week’s parashah. He is punished for what seems to be an unrealistic expectation of behavior. But we couldn’t say that G-d is wrong for doing that; we can just say that we don’t understand. Moshe was supposed to be the ultimate teacher in showing B’nei Yisrael how to talk to get something done. Perhaps this is impossible; perhaps Moshe did need to hit that rock not once but twice to get it to react. Perhaps Israel didn’t need to take on the flotilla the way it did. Perhaps there was another way to approach these boats, maybe just ignore them and like bullies, they would go away.
So who is playing G-d in this scenario? That’s why it is so complicated. Playing the part of G-d in this scene is none other than the Western World. (Who do they think they are, after all?)
And this is another part of the inconvenient truth of Israel. The liberals of the western world are inconvenienced by the harsh reality of Israel of the day-to-day real decisions that Israel faces. Not just faces; has to make. But recently, the liberal world has now unfortunately made the shift from being simply disappointed in Israel to wishing Israel would just go away. It was a mistake. Let’s try something else. That’s why so many people are not quite defending Helen Thomas but thinking maybe she is right in some bizarro kind of way. Those Jews should just go somewhere else and then everything would be okay.
In the case of Israel, what changed over time was that Israel went from a state that exemplified Jewish victimhood (a role that Jewish liberals are comfortable with) to one in which Jews were actually in a position of power, which liberals are not comfortable with. Meanwhile, Palestinians, aided by the media, effectively exploited Jewish liberals by portraying themselves as the real victims, and Israel as the oppressors. I experienced this first hand once when I went on a Birthright Israel trip (which is a paid trip for American Jews to travel to Israel). At one point, we went to the cemetery at Mount Herzl, which is sort of Israel’s equivalent of Arlington National Cemetery, and is located by Yad Vashem, Israel’s main Holocaust Museum. While stopping at the cemetery, we were asked to offer our feelings standing in a cemetery honoring fallen Israeli soldiers, and the first American Jew who commented was this liberal girl who reflected, “All I can think about is how many Palestinian graves there are.”
It must be something in the water.