I didn't originally intend for my posts to be so political but, as anyone who knows me would not be shocked to hear, I am extremely political by nature - a trait I no doubt inherited from my Father - and I naturally tend to see politics (I'm using the term "politics" broadly, to refer to any sort of political, moral, or social message, implicit or explicit) in everything...or most everything. I'm not one to see most serious problems in the world as merely the result of honest "misunderstandings"...a dynamic which would imply that once both parties in a conflict are well-informed on the nature of their ignorance, peace will then be achieved.
No, I believe strongly that most of the serious problems in the world are indeed triggered by a conflict between two parties over differences in fundamental political/social/moral/cultural values....ideas which represent the heart of who we are, and what we believe to be the best way to structure our communities, our families, and our nations. As such, I see the Israeli-Arab conflict through this lens and filter much of what I experience here not as solitary events totally divorced from any greater meaning, but in the context of the moral, religious, and political aspirations of its actors.
Sure, "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar", and I do try to see our shared humanity (the hopes, fears, and passions which we do have in common) when I can. And, indeed, some of my posts have commented, and will continue to comment, on the personal, the quirky, and the just plain odd. But, I at least aspire to be a realist, and fear the Utopian urge (this chimera of world peace and harmony just around the corner) many of us have, not because I believe that such idealism doesn't have a place in every healthy soul - I believe it does. But, rather, because the history of humanity clearly suggests that we should balance this longing for a perfect world with a healthy degree of fear of those who claim that they have found a new solution to our society's gravest problems (conflict, war, poverty, etc.) that, up until now, nobody has ever thought of. This epistemological skepticism (an understanding that there is much that we don't know about social and political phenomena - their cause and effect - and how we can solve intractable problems) is what defines much of my politics. Call it, the audacity of experience. (No offense to you Obama supporters!)
So, while I'll strive to comment on my experiences as a new Israeli consistent with a passionate longing that we might, one day, finally achieve peace with our neighbors, that we'll one day truly be "a free people in our land", and will attempt to see the people I meet not as mere abstractions - but as the rich, stunningly complex humanity they are, I'll also attempt to do so with a keen awareness of human frailty and moral failings, and a determination to not shy away from seeing the harsh reality of what actually prevents our most cherished political visions from being realized.