Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"We're Watching You...": An American Response

I'm in Atlanta this week giving a few seminars, and during the lunch break, I headed over to the Subway stand here at the conference center to buy a soda and a bag of chips. As I'm standing in line, a man behind me says to me "we're watching you".

At first, I had no idea what he was referring to. Did he see my yarmulka and think I was about to buy non-kosher food? Or was he an attendee at the seminar I was giving and let me know he was waiting for me to screw something up? I was totally taken aback. But the look on his face was extremely forgiving. Then he continued speaking....

"We're all watching you. I just hope that in the end, everything works out in Israel's favor."

Suddenly I realized what he was referring to. I told him that I too hope that everything works out in Israel's favor, and that most of all, I hope that all the violence ends as quickly as possible.

We spent a few minutes talking and the feeling I got from him was that he felt Israel was not only doing the right thing for its own protection, but that Israel was representing the general free world. As we parted ways, he said he prays for peace for us and the world.

I mention this story because it struck me on two levels:

- First, the initial language he used when he addressed me: he said "we're watching you". Even though he clearly meant that he was watching the news with interest about what was happening in the Middle East, I personally took away another meaning. Everyone is watching us. There is always opportunity to make a Kiddush HaShem, and, chas v'shalom, a Chilul HaShem. That capability exists not just in Israel, but all over the world, no matter where we may be.

- Second, in previous posts, Jameel had expressed concern that Israel was suffering from a PR perspective that the actions and response are overly severe or that Israel is using this as an excuse to take out their aggression. I wanted to report that while such feeling do exist, there are plenty of those in the US -- even non-Jews -- who side with Israel and who pray for its survival and triumph.


Wherever I am, Jameel's blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


bec said...

it has been my experience that often (in the US since 9/11)many more non-jews i've encountered are more pro-israel than many non-orthodox jews. while it'd be great to have both on our side, sometimes it is a bit of a relief when there are people in addition to our own rallying behind us.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely correct I am a Non-Jewish American, and Israel has my support as well as everyone I have spoken with about the situation there. Good Luck!

the sabra said...

woah nice.
definitely heartening.

Chana said...

Are you kidding - if someone said "we're watching you" to me south of the Mason-Dixon line
line, I'd start sweating, and be hoping there wasn't a gun to my back or something!

Anonymous said...

I am also a non-Jewish American who lives in Atlanta. We are watching you with admiration, trepidation and a prayerful hope that you will do what you must to put an end to the monstrous behavior of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria.

Be strong Israel. I have no doubt that God is on your side.

Joe said...

"in the US since 9/11)many more non-jews i've encountered are more pro-israel"

Perhaps. But backdate it. I am American and not Jewish. After reading Ben Gurion's book when I was in the 5th grade I started reading more. I swore I'd do my part to make sure "never again" would become reality. You have much more support here than you realize. The mass media tries to hide that but the Internet now allows routing around that damage.

Shana Haba B'yerushalayim. Stay safe.

Nulaanne said...

I to support Israel and I know that HaShem watches us all.

Anonymous said...

I'm quite surprised at the '--even non-Jews--' part of your post. I had assumed that Israelis knew that the support for Israel is broad and deep in the USA, extending far beyond resident Jews. Eclipsing resident Jew support, actually. Born and raised in the southern US, my experience is that, when looking to the Middle East, most see Israel as 'us,' and everyone else as 'them.' If not brothers, cousins at least.

Fern R said...

It's possible that Israelis underestimate the depth of American support of Israel because American supporters of Israel make up the silent majority while those opposed to Israel make up a very vocal minority. Also, from my limited vantage point, Orthodox Jews (which I am guessing makes up the majority of this blog's readership) do not interact much with American conservative Christians, which are Israel's biggest supporters (numbers-wise) in the U.S. Most of the Orthodox Jews I know think that Christians only support Israel because Christians believe Jews need to return to Israel for the Messiah to come. However, my experience with American non-Jewish supporters of Israel is that they support Israel (1) because they view Jews as G-d's chosen people, or (2) they see Israel as being very much like America or some combination of the two.

Anonymous said...

Why people so love to hate Israel and the Jews?

I visited Pravda English main forum and saw that astonishing hate. Examples:








And many more of that pure Anti Semitism stuff...

Spread that information in Israeli Net and let people come there for studying the enemy and writing the truth and confront those haters.


Keep strong!

Abe Bird (Brussles)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Must: Thanks for the guest posting :)

It reminded me a of story that happened to me about 10 years ago. I was flying back to Israel from Phoenix, and was stopped for a random suitcase check while getting my boarding pass. (This was pre-9/11 when security was very different).

The security person came over to me and saw the kippa on my head, and asked where I was flying. I told him I was flying home to Israel. He was incredulous -- "You're Israeli?!" he asked.

I answered that I was born and raised in the US, but moved to Israel a few years earlier.

He said to me, "I can't believe the *&^% computer singled YOU out for a security check -- you are the LAST person on the plane that needs to be checked! I'm so embarrassed that I have to check you!

Listen son, have a wonderful flight back home to Israel, and may G-d watch over you and your entire country..."

DbRhK said...

If Israelis underestimate the support they get here in the US, it's possibly for two reasons:

1) Except for in the US, Israel's always the world's whipping boy.

2) Anti-Israel sentiment tends to be stronger in major cities--which are full of leftists--than in the heartland. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, the major newspaper of San Francisco (the Chronicle) seems to compete with al-Jazeera to espouse the Palestinian cause. (The San Jose paper is somewhat better.)

To the extent that Israelis are more familiar with public opinion in the major cities (where many of their Jewish brethren like me live), they are apt to come into contact with more anti-Israel/pro-Pali sentiment.

At any rate, all of you in Eretz Yisrael: Keep strong, and be careful! We American Jews are watching you with great concern, and will help however we can.


PsychoToddler said...

Whenever you wear the Yarmulke, people are watching you.

You gotta represent.

Anonymous said...

I'm just another American watching you! ;) In reality, I'm cheering for Israel... and screaming at my TV whenever some islamotard on CNN starts to biotch and moan about "disproportionate Israeli response". I try not to get my news from CNN... but I had to see how bad they were spinning things to make Hezbullcrap and HamAss out to be the poor innocent victims.

Most American's are aware of how Israel has been provoked into this war. Enough is enough, and it's time to kick some muzzie ass! My only regret is that Israel is not shelling the crap out of iranian president crazy guy. In time... ;)

Peace and love to all Israelis! I support you 100%!

Stevin said...

I have to agree with Chana. If somebody walked up behind me and said "We're watching you", I'd worry. Unless it was from the mouth of a beautiful woman.

Sweettooth120 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sweettooth120 said...

Must Gum - I am totally going to do something that is typical for me, and go way off topic.

This has nothing to do with your post, BUT, your name has intrigued me. What a fantastic surprise I had the other day, during a shopping trip at my kosher grocer. While in line to check out, something caught my eye. It was Must Gum. Of course, I had to buy it(fruit flavor). You're right, it is quite addictive.

Next time, I think Spearmint will be drug,oops, flavor of choice. : )

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