Wednesday, June 29, 2005

On black and orange

There is a group of men in my shul who, between the six of them, probably couldn't work out the words to the Hatikva. They don't subscribe to a newspaper, and never wear anything red, green, or yellow. Their English is not something the queen would recognize.

Last month, the Six left behind their wives and children and went off to Israel for a 5-day Lag Be'omer trip, featuring the Meron mosh-pit, and visits to famous Rabbis and gravesites.

That kind of trip. Those kind of people.

On their return, there was evidence of an awakening: All wore orange bracelets, and soon orange flags were fluttering from the roofs of their cars. What happened? Nothing special. They hadn't taken an interest in Israeli affairs, or discovered an affinity for the people and the land. Going orange simply fed into their other preoccupations. For them, and others I suppose, an orange bracelet isn't a statement of support for Gush Ktif, but a chance to advertise anti-Zionism, and anti-Secularism.

Bein gavrah l'gavrah last week I spoke to one of the Six about his bracelet, and he was pleased to parrot all the familiar right-wing demonizations of Sharon and his government. Sharon is a traitor. Sharon is pro-Arab. Etc.

I left him with a question, a question he couldn't answer to my satisfaction. Here it is: Even if the right must disagree with Sharon's treatment plan, why can't both sides agree that he has the best interests of the patient at heart?

Didn't the destruction of Rabin teach us anything? Or, did the right-wing perhaps learn the lesson all too well?