Monday, June 20, 2011

Who am I?

I was raised in a very liberal Jewish household. Like, with many liberals I was raised to be sympathetic to the plight of the oppressed (a notion I still feel today). For a long time, I identified with the plight of the Palestinian people. I felt ashamed that Jews could persecute another people like this.
It was in the early days of the past decade, during the second intifada. That I began to question the logic of the people I was friends with. They claimed that Palestinian terrorists were only defending their people, that   there battle wasn't about hurting Jews. Then, came the Passover bombing in Netanya; and of course there was the pre 9/11 Sbarro's bombing. I questioned actions that had no tactical purpose. They were for lack of a better term. Hate crimes.
A few years later, I visited Israel for the first time. It was in the midst of a fierce debate over the disengagement. I was shocked at how much disagreement there was between the people of Israel. I quickly came to one conclusion. No matter what I believed about Israel, this kind of dissent did not exist in the Arab countries and certainly not amongst the Palestinans.  I saw people of every color living together. This was a very different picture than the one painted by people who criticize Israel.

Eventually over the years, my sympathy for the Palestinian people has not changed. Every life, no matter how disadvantaged is worth living to the fullest of its potential. What has changed is my view on who is oppressing them. The Palestinian people deserve their freedom from Hamas and Fatah, even if they don't know it.
However, it is hard to balance my social values, political ideals and religious beliefs. Come along with me and we'll take a ride.

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