A very quick (and woefully unedited) post:
A scan of some of the live-blogs that covered yesterday's conference yielded at least one person who found what I said--that I am not writing in order to serve Israel's hasbara machine and that I write for myself--to be a rather distasteful sentiment. In all sincerity, I can understand why I may have come across this way. In fact, after the panel I went around asking all my friends if everyone thought I was a misanthrope. Please allow me to explain and to offer my apologies for not being more coherant last night.
To be honest, I found both the inclusion of the long PR presentation and the moderator's comments to be somewhat offensive (for lack of a better word). Who the hell are you to tell me what I must do with my blog? Who are you to hijack my blog? Since when did I become your lackey? For that matter, who are you to tell me how I should approach my aliyah?
In my case, I am very conciously not an ideologue. I very conciously think of myself as an immigrant, and not as an "olah" and have done so since the moment I decided to make aliyah. I made this decision because I wanted to give my aliyah a fair chance of succeeding, and came to the conclusion that an "immigrant" mentality would be far more conducive to success than an "olah mentality". The latter term connotates someone who deserves a pat on the back, a welcoming committee complete with a brass band and lots of ass-kissing and handouts (a'la someone should give me a great job because I did this country the great honor of moving here). The former term connotates someone who should be prepared for abuse, being taken advantage of and years of working his ass off to make it in this new place. Less romantic and idealistic? Yes! But it worked for my grandparents in the States and I figured it would do just as well for me here. And indeed, I am at seven years and (B"H) counting.
Ahah! But didn't I know that the panel would be like this? Well, no, I did not. None of us really knew. Nor were we given any advance notice as to what the initial question would be. However, the title of the panel was "building Israel one post at a time". Mind you, it was not "serving Israel's hasbara needs one post at a time". Nor was it even "making aliyah every day" or "how to fulfill your idealistic leanings on your blog".
Nu, but what about building Israel? Hello, I am building Israel. As follows:
1) I live here.
2) I have built a life here. My friends are here.
3) I volunteer here. I give to charity here.
4) I work here and pay gobs of taxes.
5) I vote. I join political parties and (when I have the opportunity) I volunteer with them.
6) I have hobbies--biking, cooking and oh yeah, writing. I write about my life and whatever I have that is interesting to write about.
You see, for me, building Israel is not "making aliyah every day". It is not kiruv. It is not wearing rose-colored glasses. It is not being a part of Israel's hasbara efforts. Instead, it is living a perfectly normal life--that just happens to be in Israel and in Hebrew. It is also why I moved here. I do not want to be an ideologue. I do not want to consiously "on" all the time. I just want to be normal. (Incidentally, the links are just to demonstrate that the organizers knew, or should have known, what they were getting when they invited me).
All that being said, I did enjoy the conference, and look forward to attending next year!
P.S. I should also point out that the very idea of someone hijacking THIS blog is doubly offensive. I mean, I started this blog because I wanted to get my story--what it is like to be a poor, sad, heroic victim of terror ®--out there without having to worry about anyone's agenda or preconceptions. And another thing for those who 1) read my blog and 2) were there last night...did anyone else find it wildly amusing when the moderator started using descriptions of Machane Yehuda on a Friday afternoon as an example of what makes Israel unique? "The shouts of vendors. The children shopping with their Abba for Shabbat". Me: "the friendly neighborhood suicide bomber at the bus stop".