I am a liberal American Jew. I believe we as a community have a responsibility to support science and conservation. I believe that environmental issues should transcend political boundaries, both party and national. I believe in equal rights for all loving couples regardless of sex or gender. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, and that she is the master of her own body. I believe that social services are a right for any citizen in a developed country, and I am willing to pay taxes to support them. I believe in a peaceful two-state solution for Israel and its Palestinian neighbors, and I believe in Israel’s right to defend its self against terrorists that aim to erase it off the map. You read that correctly, this tree-hugging, bleeding-heart socialist supports Israel’s use of restrained force to protect its citizens and its borders.
The recent unrest in the Holy Land is very unnerving. I hope that the fact that rockets are reaching as far as Tel Aviv dispels the common misconception that Hamas is armed with only rocks and passion. I hope that civilians on both side of the Gaza border are sick of constant threats to their lives and lifestyles, and I hope that this is the last major violent outburst before we reach a lasting peace. I know this last one is likely too much to ask for, but if I am going to hope, I may as well hope big.
I must admit that I hate to see the carnage on both sides; the images of injured Palestinians are just as upsetting as those of injured Jews. I also believe that being critical of Israel’s actions is an important part of supporting the state, but in this case, it is clear to me that Israel had to act and in doing so they took precaution to minimize civilian casualties on both sides of the border. This weekend I plan to stand with other local Jews at a pro-Israel rally to show my support for my kinsmen and for justice. At the same time, I will be rallying in favor of peace and in favor of human rights. Displaying my support for Israel is not a concession to support some right-wing ideals that have somehow become synonymous with Zionism in the mainstream. Rather, it is a show of pride that my people have built a thriving country in a hostile environment, a country that in many ways embodies my liberal ideals. I will stand with my Israeli flag because I am a Jew who believes that Israel is vital to the continuation of our traditions and I will do so proudly because I am a liberal American.
Dovi Kacev grew up in South Africa and San Diego and is a resident of the San Diego Moishe House. He is an avid surfer, and he studies sharks.