Sunday, August 19, 2012

could have been lightning...

A Sunday revelation   Sunday morning rain stills my feet, keeps me close to my keyboard, always a good thing. My love for writing may be obvious; it’s like having a bicycle made of words.

That said, I’m working on the second half of my sizable collection of new poems based on my Jewish history. It, the Wail of Joy, is comprised of sensuous poems, some very sensuous, unlikely to be generally shared until publication. Like parts of a dance or a very modern ballet that may seem too revealing if taken out of context, many of my poems work well with the hands and feet of accompanying verse.

Of course, there’s the other half, the Whale of Grief part that I continue to add to. What choice do I have? Although I’m a Jewish poet who loves life much more than strife, both seem indelibly connected to me.

I don’t shrug it off when Ahmadinejad of Iran refers to Israel as a cancer, that the Holocaust needs to be completed. “Sorry, sir,” I want to tell him, “but my children, along with family and friends, live there.”

Of course, the language I use for poems about him and his ilk is, admittedly, much stronger. Indeed, critics of my work want me to tone down edgy phrases, make them more acceptable, more palatable.

In all honesty, I tell them not to wait for that to happen. I say the same thing to those who fawn over Edward Said and his contribution to literary criticism; knowing of his support for Arafat loving Palestinians only encourages me to want to sharpen the edge of my pen.

Said had seemed a contradiction to me; Arafat the Muslim railed at his supporters to follow destructive Koranic imperatives regarding People of the Book (and citizens of the U.S. and Israel); that meant Christians too. Or so I thought. 

Then a strange thing happened. Groups like the United Church of Canada and Bishop Desmond Tutu rallied around the Palestinians, overlooked their atrocities, dismissed their rejection of every (brokered) peace plan, and blamed (Israeli) Jews for their miserable lot as the world’s best-paid (and self-appointed) refugees.  [please see: Disinvestment from Israel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
... resolution during the summer of 2005. The Episcopal Church USA ruled out the possibility of an Israel ... Boycotts of Israel; International sanctions; Israeli–Palestinian ... -]

When I visited Jerusalem and its most important churches, I saw how safe and free they were, how well protected they were. (The same for Jewish holy sites.) Where was the rub? Why wasn’t I hearing about the problems with Christians being driven out of Bethlehem? (Not by Jewish Israelis.)
Where was the truth? A friend replied to an e-mail about the increased number of Palestinian workers allowed into Israel (for better wages than in Palestine). He wrote that some of his “educated Christian Palestinian Arab friends” would dispute the article. I urged him to have them share their thoughts with me. 

Chances are that they would be offended by this quote from that article:

The money [Arafat] spent to buy the loyalty of his court, al-Masri gently suggests, could easily have paid for a functioning Palestinian state instead. “With three hundred, four hundred million dollars we could have built Palestine in ten years. Waste, waste, waste. I flew over the West Bank in a helicopter with Arafat at the beginning of Oslo, and I told him how easy we could make five, six, seven towns here; we could absorb a lot of people here; and have the right of return for the refugees. If you have good intentions and you say you want to reach a solution, we could do it. I said, if you have money and water, it could be comparable to Israel, this piece of land.” [please see:

If offended, I want to understand why, want to debate if need be. 

To the United Church of Canada, I would make the same offer. In a letter to Senator Nancy Ruth, The Senate of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario dated July 3, 2012, that church explained its position regarding Israel and the Palestinians:

…Nevertheless, our report offers directions about which Palestinian partners have significant concerns. Our decision to continue to recognize Israel as a Jewish State is highly controversial among Christian Palestinian partners. Their concern is that if Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish State it will then provide support to those who wish to have Palestine become an Islamic state. Palestinian Christians strongly desire Palestine to be a secular democratic state, something they believe is only likely if Israel remains that as well…

Bruce Gregersen
Staff of the Working Group on Israel Palestine Policy
cc: Senator Bert Brown Senator Yonah Martin
Senator Dennis Patterson Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen Senator Jim Munson
Senator George Baker
Senator James Cowan
Senator Elizabeth Hubley

I wanted to scream, “So that’s it?!”

But I didn’t. I wrote this instead, intent on writing more later, not now. 

The much needed rain has stopped.

 B. Koplen 8/19/12

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