I watched the Netanyahu and Abbas speeches unfold at the UN this past Friday through the veil of Twitter. Unable to bring myself to watch them directly — My eyes! My eyes! — I let people like me report to me in 140 character bursts what exactly was going on. One woman was tweeting quotes, others were reacting, several pointed out particularly egregious lies in Netanyahu’s speech, and I scrambled for documents to prove the depth of the lying. At one point I tweeted the following:
This morning, I read a piece by Israeli national treasure Akiva Eldar in HaAretz, Israel’s paper of record, entitled “Netanyahu’s speech of lies.” I read it, I tweeted it, I tweeted quotes from it, I tweeted a few of my immediate reactions to it, and then I tweeted this:
I AM SO SICK OF BEING ISRAELI.
and just like anywhere else on the internet, ALL CAPS means I WAS YELLING. And I was yelling because it is the damn truth.
Upon tweeting said shouty tweet, there ensued an hour of furious Twitter flurry, with more than 30 people re-tweeting it, and a bunch asking me why I felt what I felt, and me responding, and people asking what Bibi’s lies were, and me responding, and people telling me how happy they were to finally find “a good Israeli,” and me responding (“I’m not the only good Israeli…!”), and my list of followers grew and grew, on and on, until I finally broke down and said
and suddenly the flurry stopped.
Of course I have no way of knowing that the flurry stopped because I’d outed myself as (gasp!) a Zionist, but it kind of felt that way. But it really doesn’t matter because the bottom line remains: I am sicksicksick of being Israeli.
I am sick of watching my home lurch from bad to worse — from the unavoidable xenophobia of any hounded and nationalistic people, to creeping-vine-xenophobia, the kind that the holds the whole house up at a certain point, having all but replaced whatever was once between the bricks. Israel had one good, shining year when it seemed it might be stepping forward rather than back, but 1993 came and went and here we are, worse off than we were before the Oslo Accords, because the Palestinian economy is more thoroughly wrecked, the Palestinian people more thoroughly occupied, Palestinian land more thoroughly gobbled up, and thousands of people (the vast majority of them Palestinian) more thoroughly dead. And to those who would say “Is America really any different?” (as some Twitter friends essentially have) I would say: Yes. In America, we go from bad to better — slowly, painfully, splutteringly, we move forward. Israel? Not so much. Have you seen the recent spate of anti-democratic laws passed in The Middle East’s Only Democracy ™? Or read up on why all those protesters were out on the streets for all those weeks? Not to mention the continual erosion, by design, of any and all hope for a genuine, mutally acceptable peace with the Palestinians? Bad to worse, bad to worser, bad to worsest (until the next worsest comes along).
And I am sick of the lies, and lies, and lies, and then more lies, and more to the point, the fact that I continually find myself living in what feels like an alternate reality because my Israeli government goes on and on telling whopper after whopper and my American government just lets it go. Watches as the lies slip and slide past, without so much as a “hey, are you sure? Maybe we should check the documents!” And I sit here with my masters degree and my books and my ability to think in a fashion that does not resemble a drunken bastard and time after time, find myself insisting that, no, really! You can’t make reality up! (Think of it this way: It’s like the climate change debate, on every front, every day, all day long. Forever).
I am sick and tired — exhausted, drained, and demoralized — by the endless, daily effort involved in just thinking about all this, and you know what? If I weren’t Israeli? I wouldn’t have to.
I don’t know if the plan has been to drive Israelis like me away (though driving Israelis like me away is certainly considered a bonus in some quarters), but damn. I am sick to tears of having to have anything to do with the sociopathy and psychopathy that characterize official Israel.
And I am sick to tears of being sick of it.