Balance

I am revisiting something I wrote (see below), nearly three months ago. I feel sad that in announcing my intention to find balance I have alienated certain people. The issue specifically is the Palestinian one, discussed below, but it could well have been something else. I have been accused of sitting on the fence and intellectualism.  It has been said when you upset people in this way you may well be on the right track, besides which I would not be true to myself if I didn’t say what I thought. But I am sad, since as a community activist my mantra has been to seek common ground with disparate parties in the interest of seeking the common good. I should also say that my community activism is far more than writing about it as my work among the homeless demonstrates but then I leave it to others and ultimately God to affirm me in this way. The other point, and using the Palestinian issue as an example, is I do not defend the indefensible and I do call for wrong to put right. Recently, President Obama was recently criticized calling Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “chicken s***” (something others may think but not say). My point is rather than insult that person and yet still continue to support him, read my blog, realize there are grave injustices being perpetrated by the Israeli state on the Palestinian people and change your policy of unconditionally supporting Israel to it being dependent on addressing these grievances. That, I suggest is NOT a suggestion from one sitting on the fence.

We are told in the good book that “a false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight”, Proverbs 11:1 and “divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord; and a false balance is not good”, Proverbs 20:23. And it is balance that I want to talk about here. This is not merely to do with needing to correctly weighing some item of merchandise but rather how what we do must include sifting facts, assertions and counter assertions, and the opinions and perspectives of others, concerning any matter.

One of my avowed intentions is to be balanced when I make reports, especially concerning matters that are controversial, which many of my posts are. My most recent controversial literary foray, regarding what is happening right now in Gaza, continues to reverberate and invariably, when I try to say something helpful on the subject, I am taken to task by one or another who see things quite differently. I have already waded in with three posts on the Palestinian question (one, two and three), together with a letter to a Zionist friend, along with posts on truth, trust and blessed are the peacemakers. It was in the interest of balance, I posted on something else happening in the region, every bit as significant, concerning the attack of Islamist militants on Christian and other minorities in Iraq (here and here).

What brought matters to a head was when I posted on my Facebook page a link to a report by an Israeli soldier, who happened also to be a Messianic Christian, on how he saw what was taking place in the war in Gaza, based on first hand experience. His point was he was part of a unit doing what needed to be done i.e. protect Israeli citizens against Hamas led terrorist attacks, and the force used was not only proportionate but exceedingly so given the Hamas policy of cynically using innocent people as a shield for such attacks. One of my Facebook friends strongly objected to this posting along the lines that this was pathetic propaganda and “it still can never justify the fact that it is” Israel” who were and are the original aggressors, they did not keep to the original agreements and continued through the decades to steal land and property that was never theirs while oppressing and crushing those whose land it was”.

I made mention in an earlier post that when it comes to rights and wrongs on a matter of dispute it is sometimes the case of “six of one and half a dozen of the other”. The same might be said here and only God can say precisely where the balance truly lies and what should happen, and as for the interested parties, the focus should be on pragmatics rather than ideology. Sometimes we have to recognize we are where we are and deal with what is. That does not let any of protagonists the hook and although as I write there is an uneasy truce, unlikely to last long, the only way for a lasting settlement is to deal robustly and justly with the disputes. While I am inclined to a view that stopping Hamas, and its evil intent, is part of the solution needed, the other part is for Israel to be subject to external scrutiny and deal with the legitimate grievances of the citizens of Gaza, something that presently they show little willingness to do.

The point of this post is not to refute my friend’s arguments, which have some measure of validity, but rather to point out how difficult it is to find the right balance in terms of where the truth actually lies, and then to act accordingly. Notwithstanding, for those like me, who love and seek after truth, this is something we have to be committed to do. And it is not just about this issue, but every issue, although realistically we cannot do this in every case because life is too short, our knowledge and wherewithal to get to the bottom of whatever it is we need to get to the bottom to is too limited and some things matter or are more relevant or is more within our compass to make a difference than others. I have now posted over eighty blog entries on a whole assortment of matters and for most of them the matter of balance has been an important consideration. Meanwhile, one must seek to find the right balance and not be satisfied with anything less.

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