Last Friday, as I mulled over whether to go to the weekly Sheikh Jarrah demonstration, I came across a poem by Natan Zach that I clipped from the newspaper last summer. Zach, whose poems often find him alone in his apartment, afraid to connect and frozen in inaction, declares: “Greater is the courage to wait / Than the courage to pour out one’s heart.” Indeed. As has happened every Friday so far, I decided not to go, and then felt guilty for the rest of the weekend.
By all rights I should be in Sheikh Jarrah every Friday. The cause is just and important. And it’s the in place to be for every self-respecting progressive Zionist. I’ve written op-eds, blog posts, and satires in support of the campaign to halt the eviction of Palestinian tenants from their East Jerusalem homes and against the idiotic policy of settling Jews in Arab neighborhoods. But I’ve got complex issues with political demonstrations. Every time I go to demonstrate, I feel like demonstrating against my fellow demonstrators.
I could tell the story of my life as a chronicle of demonstrations past, demonstrations missed, and demonstrations attended but regretted afterward.