Disclaimer: The articles in the "Opinion" section are based on the author's own individual insights, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ISKCON News or ISKCON in general.
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I'm born Jewish. Let's get that out of the way. I have identified as a Vaisnava three times longer than as a Jew in my life. I'm going on 67. I identify as a devotee of Krishna, not as a Jewish devotee.
I've been to Israel three times; Gaza once (when it was open to everyone while being administrated by Israel in 1979). I drove all over the tiny country, and I jogged in and amongst Israeli and West Bank Arab Tal villages. I have limited, but tactile experience of the people in the Old City, including Palestinians, sabras (Israeli's born there), and others from everywhere.
Israeli society is cosmopolitan. I've chanted in the streets and beaches there.
But I can't dance and chant in Gaza even if it were open. I can't do it in the West Bank either. Hamas, Hezbollah, and the PA (Palestinian Authority) won't allow Hare Krishnas to propagate their religion in public, and they make severe restrictions even in private.
It's that way all over the Middle East. Except for Israel. Israel is the ONLY Middle Eastern country where we as Hare Krishnas are free to practice and promote our spirituality to our hearts’ content. If any of the administrators of the Palestinians have their way, Israel will be destroyed. In their version of Palestine, Hare Krishnas will be silenced. What does that tell you?
Certainly a Vaishnava cries for the suffering of our brothers and sisters wherever they are in anxiety, danger, or oppression. However, like Duryodhana, the leaders of these organizations are dedicated not to let the Israelis, even those born in Palestine, have a head of a pin to stand on. And when these organizations take power, so many other restrictions on women, education, etc. will swiftly follow. Just look at the brutality of the ISIS army of fanatics. Just what the world needs, another group of extremists severing heads, fingers, and lives so they can rule by fear.
There are noble and pure Muslims amongst the Palestinians; unfortunately, they are not in charge.
Srila Prabhupada was the emblem of love of God; he literally wouldn't hurt a fly. So when you think of the unfortunate Palestinians in Gaza, remember what is at stake in this flashpoint of civilizations. On one side of the border, you can preach the "peace formula" from a podium in a public park, in a college class, or at Harinam in the busiest of intersections. On the other, you will be prohibited and persecuted.[ israel ] [ palestine ] [ west ]