The most attractive thing about mepeace when I first joined was the diversity of views and the low volume of hate language among members.

I don’t want that to change. But lately I found myself smiling less and raising my eyebrows more as I read through the daily discussions.

Tell me what you think. Should I run for my life, or just ignore them (the mepeace wars)?

My opinions about the Middle East are based in the unseen: In history and in G-d. I call Israel sacred.

I say this as opposed to other opinions that are based in the scientific (the seen). Israel is called “real-estate” and the religions within are simply viewed scientifically or politically.

If a person’s opinions about the peace process are based in the unseen (absolute truth about the unseen) does that make them “intolerant”?

Or does being intolerant of other PEOPLE with different views make a person intolerant?

(I think if we can call anyone an enemy to resolving conflict in the Middle East, it’s those with passionate beliefs who are violently hateful toward others who don’t share that belief.)

I am a New Covenant Jew (similar to Messianic) and like most honest people on this site, I know what I feel the map of Israel should look like and I can tell you why I feel it should look that way. (I wonder how many “un-drawn” maps there are among us)

Do I hate or disrespect anyone because they feel it should look another way or be called something else? NO.

Do I feel that all people within Israel’s boundaries should be treated equally? YES.

Would I be willing to redraw certain boundaries for PEACE? YES.

Do I spend personal time and money on peace efforts? YES.

Would I be willing to acknowledge other beliefs as “also true” (and in doing so half-deny my past spiritual experiences) for PEACE? NO.

(That’s where I seem to get in trouble...)

Can we consider it an act of partiality to dismiss fellow peacemakers if their reasoning includes the “unseen” and not only the “seen”?

I think so.

Fortunately, we all have the freedom to disagree on this site. And I am lucky. I’ve been disagreed with, but never disrespected. There are some incredible people here on mepeace who know how to stay strongly opinionated but still respectful.


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Comment by Hayyim Feldman on September 21, 2008 at 10:40pm
Melissa, I hope you don't mind if I take this opportunity to raise a potentially sensitive area for discussion with you. First, let me say that you have opened an extremely important question here.

Many people see the Israel-Palestine conflict as a struggle merely over "possesesion" (as if that were possible) of a small chunk of land. In my view, that perspective (of the "seen" only) overlooks the equally visible fact that the particular bit of land in question has immense symbolic power and meaning (unseen) in the lives of literally billions of the world's people. Which means, it seems to me, that Israel-Palestine peacemakers must at some point be willing to talk about and rethink the subject of religion. For those who think this is "opening a can of worms," I suggest you start setting those good worms to work, letting some fresh air and moisture into the tired soil of the Holy Land.

Now back to you, Melissa. You write:

Would I be willing to acknowledge other beliefs as “also true” (and in doing so half-deny my past spiritual experiences) for PEACE? NO.
(That’s where I seem to get in trouble...)

I'd like to see what gold we can spin from this trouble. To begin with, I must admit that I don't really understand it. Can you please tell me, if you were to acknowledge (hypothetically, of course) other beliefs, rooted in other people's past spiritual experiences, as "also true" - that is, as real in their lives as your beliefs are in yours - how could that possibly require you to deny your own past spiritual experiences?

An analogy: I assume that Arabic or Hungarian are as true for their respective native speakers as English is to me. By acknowledging that they are "also true," I don't lose an iota of the truth of English. Maybe I could become fluent in many such languages, if I want to, or maybe I will choose to remain immersed in the inexhaustibly vast richness of English (or in that of Judaism, to bring the analogy back home). So I really don't understand why you feel that gets you into trouble. I look forward eagerly to hearing how I'm missing the point, if you think I am.

Comment by Hayyim Feldman on September 21, 2008 at 10:02pm
Amera, I am pleased to see you make the divorce analogy here, which in my own life was more than analogy. It was my experience of my parents' painful divorce that gave me the insights I rely on as a peacemaker, as I tell on my mepeace profile page. In that respect, I was able to become a winner in that divorce - though it was something I would certainly not wish on anyone!
It is, I think, a principle of what Melissa has called the perspective of the "unseen" that good can come from past pain - by way of atonement, leading to forgiveness.
Comment by windsfeather on September 21, 2008 at 3:38am
Dear Melissa,
It was a truthful and heartful statement you presented. In a divorce there are no winners. The war rages on in how we present our ideals to what people really hear. It is important to understand that we can always agree to disagree and the best foot we can put forward is how we can achieve individually. I want you to know that Arafat also had the same view point and knowing his health he knew that in his lifetime he could not achieve peace. He understood that in order for his vision to come to light he would have to change that vision to reflect the good for all people. Think if you lived your life and worked towards a goal and to know that you spent years invisioning a goal only to realize that goal was changed by other thoughts of peoples own designs of a vision. The hardest part about accepting the people we meet is meeting them on a level they can understand and knowing that their view points may differ from ours doesn't always make them incorrect. Working within the heart of our own individuality and bringing to the forefront of helping others to achieve something no matter how little it may seem is a great gift that the man upstairs smiles upon. Never give up hope for their are hands so small that you walk by each day and do not notice. It may be as simple as a smile or a hello that can make a life or death decission to them. Just remember for all that you do each day it brings greatness to the very life surrounding what you hold onto. Remember this, "True character is defined not in what we say, but in what we do."
Comment by Eyal Raviv on September 19, 2008 at 10:13am
Beautiful post. You are a peacemaker and I am glad you are here.
Comment by Yigal D. Kahana on September 18, 2008 at 5:45am
Hi Melissa,
You're not really asking a question.
You're making a statement.
And I agree with it.
Comment by Paul RETI on September 18, 2008 at 4:52am
Great and pertinent blog!

One simple answer is: If you agree with me then you're a peacemaker. :-)


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