Recently, our church book club read The Lemon Tree.  I can’t say that it is one of my favorite books, but it is an important book.  Why?  Because it tells a story all too few of us know.  It tells about the creation of Israel from the point of view of the Palestinians.  Unlike the narratives we hear so often, Israel is not the hero.  Not that the nation is demonized but this is a much more complete picture.

The book tells about driving Palestinian families from their homes.  It tells about explosives made to tempt children to pick them up.  Think about that one for a minute.  It tells about the demonization of a people, the Palestinians.

Now, don’t start.  I know my history.  I know about PLO atrocities.  But I also know both sides of the story.  I don’t look at just the parts that make this group of people easy to hate.

The eerie part of all of this was that the vast majority of people who read the book thought it was biased.  “It’s anti-Israeli!  It doesn’t tell about the things those Muslims did!”

Yes, yes, it did.  But it is so much easier to hold on to the misconceptions and narrow perspectives that allow us to hate.

This sort of reaction?  This is why I write about race.  It is why I write about diversity in religion.  It is why I write about tolerance as well as ethnocentrism.

This may not be a story that is comfortable for many of us.  But until we can see the whole reality without making excuses for it, we cannot truly be peacemakers.  And isn’t that the blessing we’d all love to rain down on this Earth?

–SueBE

 

Advertisements