Since the tension flare-ups in the Middle East, I’ve been inundated with both Pro-Israeli and Pro-Palestinian reports. Both sides are passionate. Both sides have their points. And both sides want me to pick their side.
I’m not an expert in politics in general, and I’m certainly not the most knowledgeable about Middle East politics. It seems to me that the issues run so deep, so far back, and they are so tangled up in culture, religion and economics, that to truly understand the heart of the matter would take years of study and conversation. And to be quite honest with you, my heart can’t take it. Just scratching the surface of it right now is almost too much to bear.
I have a daughter who is both Jewish and Muslim. She has blood coursing through her veins that carries the history of slavery and oppression, of conqueror and pharaoh, and of people who just can’t get along. And truly, I worry sometimes about the weight she will carry in her life because of it.
The day will come when she will ask me what side I’m on. My opinion will matter not only because I’m her mother, but also because I’m a Muslim woman who chose a Jewish man. And I still choose him, happily and wholeheartedly, every single day.
But, in her heart, she will be asking me what side she should be on. How can she pick a side? How can she turn her face to her left, trying to deny her right? How can she pretend that choosing in favour of one side isn’t also choosing against another? How can she pretend that choosing a side isn’t choosing against herself? How can she choose between her mother and her father?
In our house, in our family, she will never have to choose. I am committed to this with all my heart, and I will shoot down and knock out anyone who tries to sway her to one side or the other.
We are not going to get into who’s right and who’s wrong. Both sides have arguments that are valid, and both sides have arguments that hold no water with me. They can have their reasons, and they are welcome to them. That’s what we will teach our daughter.
And when she asks how she is to choose a side, we will tell her she doesn’t have to. All she has to choose is love. Each side feels they are right. Each side feels they’ve been wronged. Love them both. Honour them both. Fight for them both. Not for one side to win, but for both sides to win. Not for one side to conquer, overcome, and defeat, but for love to conquer, overcome and defeat.
We will not pick sides. We will simply hold up love as our standard, and never sway. Because only love wins. That’s all she needs to know.