Lost in the War on my Twitter Feed
Let me scroll down just a little longer, read one more article. Let me find one with the right balance of intelligence, facts and insight into this Israeli/Palestinian/Hamas conflict.
I recently beefed up my Twitter feed, adding several accounts including the Israel Defense Forces, the Embassy in Israel, the Philly Consulate, a New York Times reporter named Anne Bernard who I knew in my journalism days, The Jerusalem Post, the Times of Israel, Haaretz and a blogger named Sarah Tuttle-Singer.
I have also unfollowed a few, including Mia Farrow, Salon and the New York Times.
Every day I scroll and click, scroll and click, excavating the feed in search of truth, in search of evidence.
A map showing the origin of Hamas rocket fire.
An explosion at a Gaza school.
A clip of Hillary Clinton from The Daily Show.
A rant from Dennis Miller.
An explosion at a Gaza shelter.
The comments sections.
Israeli flags burning.
Swastikas in Paris.
Swastikas in Rome.
Swastikas in Miami.
Synagogues attacked in Germany.
Hitler salutes and slurs in London.
A rabbi attacked in Sweden.
Celebrity tweets un-tweeted, a letter from Spanish celebrities, a rebuttal from Jon Voigt.
A statement from Netanyahu.
Video of Hamas assembling and firing a rocket next to a hotel and apartments in Gaza.
The numbers of Palestinian deaths.
An interview with Amos Oz.
Some I read or watch twice (Clinton, Oz). Some I stop reading or watching in the middle (every comments section).
In everything I see, I hope. I hope those shells weren't from the IDF. I hope the actual body count contains less civilians and more Hamas terrorists. I hope people understand that if there were 20-odd tunnels leading terrorists into the United States from a hostile nation, we'd blow them to smithereens Wile E. Coyote style, since many in this country can't even bear illegal children on our borders. And every day I hope not to read about violent anti-Semitism that just needed an excuse.
My heart is always with Israel, our Panic Room across the sea. But that heart is sick now, leaking doubt that news articles can't dam.
Two weeks ago, I had "The Israel Talk" with my older son. Last Shabbat, we had a second talk, "The Israel Talk Strikes Again," where we told both boys about Israel's history, Hamas, the reasons for the current fighting and the surge of anti-Semitic demonstrations.
And then I was back to my Twitter feed. Scrolling, scrolling, clicking, clicking, deep into our second day of family beach vacation.
"Mom, why are you on Twitter so much reading about Israel?" asked Maxon, standing behind me in his bathing suit as I scrolled, seated inside our shore house during a sunny day.
"When I don't understand something, or when something upsets me, I try to read as much about it as possible."
"Oh." He waited a moment, then went outside and jumped in the pool.
I could hear them until I plugged in my headphones to watch a video. Later, Ezra bounded up to me with two games in his hands.
"Mom, play pick-up sticks with me!" he shouted. "Play cards with me!"
"Just a minute, honey," I said, paying more attention to the article open on my screen.
"MOM! Stop looking at your computer!"
I looked up. I looked around me. We were in my family's beach house, but my mind was overseas with families who couldn't enjoy a sunny day together. But we could.
We could go to the beach and not be worried about bombs. We could play cards uninterrupted, without running to shelters at the regular sound of sirens. My Twitter feed wouldn't give me closure. But it was closing me off from my family.
So I shut my computer.
And kicked Ezra's butt in pick-up sticks.