We hold all lives in our hearts

I am sick of being made to feel guilty for asking my progressive friends to express concern for all lives, rather than just Israeli ones. Credit: Shani Chabansky.

This week, the daily grind is getting in the way of my life. I am frantic, obsessively sifting through the mainstream and alternative media sites for the most up-to-date on-the-ground facts. Three lives, four lives, ten lives, fifteen, twenty. The numbers keep rising, and my pulse keeps racing. The only thing keeping me going through this election war is checking facebook statuses to know that the friends and relatives I care about deeply are safe.

These same friends and relatives are pressuring me to limit my concerns for my family and the Israeli lives that are at risk. Yet I refuse to bow to the pressures of ethnocentrism. I condone no violence whatsoever, nor do I condone a “put the family above all others” attitude. All lives are vital. All lives are sacred.

A recent text message conversation with a close friend was extremely helpful:

Me: Hey what do u say to the [people] who ask you what the israeli govt should do instead
Friend: I say they should try not occupying other people’s land, not putting them under siege, and not bombing the shit out of them.
Me: Word, and then when ppl condemn those who launch attacks from populated areas: there are no unpopulated areas in gaza. It is a completely packed prison.
Friend: Yeah, you could also point out that the IDF headquarters and bases are in Tel Aviv and other populated areas.
Me: Thanks. I am also sick of being made to feel guilty when i ask my “progressive” friends to stop limiting their concerns to israeli lives.
Friend: Don’t feel guilty, you’re not the one who is racist

Now is the time to turn to each other for moral support. Although it is against my nature, now is the time when rethinking good intentions and assumptions must momentarily cease in favor of taking action. Go call your local representative. Speak truth to power.

As my best friend once said, this is the moment when our emotions become logistical and our logistics become emotional.

Shani Chabansky is an editorial intern at Tikkun and former editor of Leviathan Jewish Journal. She recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in both Anthropology and the first inaugural class of Jewish Studies.

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