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Possibility of Religious Pluralism II

As I begin an afternoon of catching up on blog posts, I wanted to make an amendment/reflection of a pervious post of mine. We’ve already had a discussion on people’s reactions to the post as a group, but for the sake of those who are reading this blog, I’d like to address it here as well. In my post, The Possibility of Religious Pluralism, I reflected on my experience of viewing and more dramatically, hearing, the convergence of the three Abrahamic traditions when we were on the Mount of Olives. This was a very beautiful and uplifting moment for me and evoked for me all of the possibilities of eye-opening experiences that awaited me in Jerusalem as well as the importance of the city to those who are more religious than I. I also attempted to convey my experience of transitioning from this uplifting moment to a more sobering one as we drove through the Arab village of Silwan, where some organizations have accused Israeli police of violating the rights of children when attempting to prosecute children who are believed to be guilty of stone throwing. It was my first post, however, and I fear I neglected giving a full reflection of my experience and why this was a significant event for me because I was trying to figure out the purpose of the blog and was trying to remain somewhat neutral and not get too emotional. I believe this was a mistake because some people in the group and some readers felt that the post was an attempt at activism. It was not. What I was attempting to convey was my emotional reaction to transitioning from my experience of seeing something beautiful to seeing a neighborhood where, regardless of whether of not the violations claimed to exist occur or not, the violations form a narrative which provokes further acts of violence by the areas youngest citizens. Even if I firmly believed that the arrests were conducted in complete accordance to Israeli and International Law, the fact that a counter narrative exists and provokes real violence and animosity is sobering.

Before I begin making my apologies for failing to present my post in this way, let me just say that if it was such an attempt at activism, I believe have in my arsenal significantly more reputable sources to draw on and, in my opinion, significantly more explicit and grievous exploitations of human rights by Israeli security policies with which to construct an argument than the B’Tselem link I posted. Therefore, if I had been attempting to engage in activism, rather than just relaying the first thing that came to mind when I drove through Silwan, my blog post would probably have been much different. This was not my intention however, and I apologize that my omission of a more thorough emotional reflection of events made my post seem activisty. This is not my desire for the blog. I do not, however, think that the blog should simply be a reflection of that which we have personally witnessed. I think it should also be a reflection of our experience of grappling with what we see and what we’ve been told/the narratives some of us bring with us on this trip. How else are those narratives to evolve? I came to Israel to further develop my own understanding of Jerusalem and the Israel-Palestinian conflict and if I omitted talking about the evolution of that understanding from the blog I would be omitting what I anticipate being the most powerful part of this experience for me.

Hunter King

No bang bang

"No bang bang" Arab and Israeli Security forces/friends on the Temple Mount.

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