by R.J. Godlewski
©January 18, 2014, All Rights Reserved.
“I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” Genesis 12:3 New American Bible
Recently, a critic lambasted me for being a “Jew Lover”. I found his remarks rather strange, as I do not possess any particular affinity with Jewish people. True, most of my childhood acquaintances were Jewish, but we were friends because we shared common interests and I treated them with compassion and kindness because, frankly, my parents were decent Catholics who taught me to treat everyone with respect. There are, I admit, a few prominent attorneys in Michigan that I abhor, for example, but that has to do with their profession and attitude more than their religious beliefs, which, from a decidedly Christian perspective, I find rather obsolete than objectionable. No, I believe that I was singled out for being a supporter of the modern State of Israel. This, I could probably understand.
I “support” Israel because it predates me. That is, I have never lived within a world where Israel did not exist. For the same reason, I have never lived within a world where Poland did not exist either, despite both sets of grandparents once being Poles living within “occupying countries” as their own nation did not ultimately exist for 126 years prior to its reemergence following the conclusion of the First World War. I do not recall any lengthy periods of “terrorism” committed by the Poles against the Russians and Austrians as I have come to understand against the Israelis by Arabs. Nor do I remember hearing any stories about Arabs living in Israel resorting to sneaking to a mosque through the sewers, as did my Catholic grandparents attending Mass under the occupation of Russian Orthodox soldiers. I find any subjugation of freedom an abomination.
Of course, I cannot be labeled as a “lover” of Israel, either. I love America and there is little room for another nation. This is why, in one past letter sent to the Jerusalem Post, I explained that while I could not agree with most things that my president has done over the past five years or so, I would, naturally, support him more than, say, Prime Minister Netanyahu despite a vast degree of respect for the latter and more than my fair share of irritation over the former. This remains the same reason that I would support a casual Catholic over a devout Jew. Nothing personal, mind you, just that loyalty begins at home.
My deep respect – in the official, if not colloquial definition – for Jewish people arises from the fact that my Savior, Jesus Christ, was, Himself, born into a Jewish family. He chose twelve apostles – plus Saint Paul – as Jews. Unlike those modern detractors that claim the Church must adapt because its traditions remain archaic, I have to endorse what God decided upon. For example, if Christ wanted female priests, then He certainly would have appeared during a period in which women were given much more rein than the period in which He actually came amongst us. This, of course, explains why I cannot be considered a true lover of Israel: Israel did not exist when God chose to come amongst His people. Again, I remain puzzled for criticism where no criticism was due. And trust me, I piss enough people off that they remain free to hate me for being me alone. They do not need to involve Jews in general or Israel in particular.
After all, how can I be a good Catholic and worry about the perceived preeminence of Israel? Alternatively, could I be a good Catholic and hate anyone? Even a cursory examination of history reviews the reason for Israel being territorially challenged: the Israelites sinned against God as frequently as everyone else does. This remains precisely why God – Jesus Christ, His Incarnation – rebuilt the temple in three days. Within the grand scheme of things, in full view of the incalculably large universe and the even more unimaginable concept of eternity, earthly presence does not mean very much to this oft-tainted Catholic. I bear too much effort upon my shoulders just trying to keep myself Heaven-bound (with God’s good grace and, perhaps, Mary’s kind guidance). I firmly believe that it will take the intercession of thousands (if not untold billions) of saints who have already gone to their eternal reward for me to stand a chance of reaching paradise. I, therefore, do not possess any ‘free time’ to worry about the souls of others.
So now we return to my being caricaturized as a “Jew Lover”. Why? Because I believe that any threat against an established constitutional democracy (despite Israel bearing one of the worst political systems imaginable) warrants self-defense? Because after a lifetime of associating with Jewish friends, not even one of them has tried to kill me for simply being a Roman Catholic? Because if I were to ever visit Israel I understand that, that government would not throw me into prison for simply arriving there to visit? Or is it simply that my ardent critic cannot accept life – or the world – as I see it? I am not a lover of Jews. I simply remain a lover of human beings…some of whom just happen to be Jews and some others bigots. God judges things for Himself.
R.J. Godlewski (GOD LESS KEY) is an independent counterterrorism consultant engaged within high-risk maritime extractions and the director of the private not-for-profit International Nuclear Emergency Response Team [INERT] network designed to counter nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons terrorism and proliferation. He holds a B.A. with honors in Intelligence Studies, Terrorism Studies concentration and an M.A. with honors in Military Studies, Asymmetrical Warfare concentration from American Military University as well as undergraduate and graduate certificates in Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Security Management respectively. He is the author of Skills of the Assassin: Understanding the Tactics of the Professional Killer widely used in undergraduate intelligence and security curriculums within the United States, Great Britain and Europe. Mr. Godlewski is a veteran of both the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve.