Monday, June 14, 2010

Activism probably shouldn't be emotionally satisfying

If it is, you're probably in it for the wrong reasons.

Two points especially worth taking from this post at Meretz USA. First, the execrable blog, MondoWeiss, is "a project of The Nation Institute." Anti-Israel activists have always loved to claim they're outsiders, but in reality, they're not. Actual Palestinian voices are still unfortunately rare, but anti-Israel and antisemitic voices are as much a part of the mainstream as ever. Second, maybe first in importance, is Ralph Seliger's wonderful answer to the question, "What do you tell young people who want to feel they’re making a difference?"
It isn’t boycott, it’s more engagement that you need. The United States should be more engaged in finding a solution and we should be more engaged in reaching out to all sides.

That probably wouldn’t be very emotionally satisfying to someone who was upset about the issue. But I think it’s part of growing up to understand that the world is not here to give you emotional satisfaction, and in this issue there is both complexity and perplexity, and you need to learn as much as you can, and be receptive to all sides, and be discerning.
That's huge for anti-Israel types. They want to "do something." They say, "We have to do something. We can't just sit by." That's wrong. There are other options. There are organizations, like Seeds of Peace and OneVoice trying to bring people together. That's real peace activism. And the whole damn mess is not about somebody's feelings as an activist sitting comfortably in Europe or the US! Talk about privilege, yeesh!

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