On ATS I have noticed that there is a fair amount of stereotyping that goes on. Whether one is Liberal or Libertarian, Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, a
skeptic, or a believer, there is tendency to try to reduce the 'other' to a bunch of slogans.
As a Jewish person, I feel it is worth stressing that not all Jewish people think and feel the same. I've noticed a bias against Israel that surfaces
from time to time. I personally have no issue with this - I too have issues with the state of Israel, and the way they treat the Palestinian people. I
am not alone in this thinking, yet I feel that a commonly held myth is that all Jews support Israel. I've also noticed that some individuals will use
the topic of Israel as a way of letting broader anti-Semitic views out in public. I have seen some posters here who show some sympathies for the
National Socialists of Germany of the 1930s/1940s, and I think it equally important that these people be held to account.
My Own History
As already mentioned, I am of Jewish descent. I am not religious at all, and I would call myself a cultural Jew. My parents and grandparents come from
New York, in many ways the epicentre of the mass migration of Jewish people to the 'New World' that was so pevalent at the turn of the century. On my
mother's side, my great grandparents came out from Austria and Hungary. On my father's side my grandfather came from Poland, and my great grandparents
on his mother's side came from Russia and the Ukraine. I know little of the history of my family except for the fact that both sides of the family are
considered to be completely Jewish, and that any of my relatives who stayed in Europe ended up being killed in concentration camps. Another small
piece of information I have gleaned is that the reason my great grandfather on my mother's side came to the U.S was because of a violent anti-Semitic
incident which happened to him. He was made foreman on a farm, but the other workers refused to take orders from a 'Jew', and they violently beat him
within an inch of his life. Upon recovering from his injuries, he decided to flee from the pogroms which happened with some regularity, as well as the
rapidly approaching First World War.
What is anti-Semitism?
According to Wikipedia, Anti-Semitism is prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews as a national, ethnic, religious or racial group. I more
or less agree with this, but as a Jewish person I consider it of the utmost importance that people understand that anti-Semitism, and criticism of
Israel are two very different things. I find it a commonly held misconception that people assume if you are Jewish you support the state of Israel.
This is often, not the case at all.
A lot of cultural Jews are brought up with fairly Liberal, left of centre beliefs with the idea of tolerance and understanding of great import. Post
September 11, a lot of this type of thought caught the label 'self hating Jew', as the Neo-conservative agenda came to the fore.
It's not just cultural Jews who don't support the Israeli state and policies. There are in fact, some Orthodox Jews who also have a problem with
As has been mentioned plenty of times before, the Palestinian people are a Semitic people, and anti-Semitism can also be applied to them. Not all
Palestinians are Muslims either; there are plenty of Christian Palestinians. Neither are all Palestinian Muslims extremists who want to see the
complete destruction of Israel. Finally, not all Muslims are Semitic people.
I have a quite close personal friend from Lebanon, who was in the PLO, and he and I agree on a surprising number of issues. One of these is the idea
that the only real peace that will come about in the region is a 'one state solution', where the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian people live together,
with appropriate representation of all in the parliament, and the defacto apartheid state ceases to exist. No internal passport checks and gates for
the Palestinians to go into Israel, and no private roads for Israel cutting swathes through Palestinian territory, going into lands appropriated by
Jewish Israelis. Perhaps an unrealistic fantasy, but what he and I consider the only real way of achieving peace.
It strikes me as somewhat ludicrous, the idea that there can be a Jewish democratic state, as by being Jewish, it precludes democracy. How can there
be a democracy if some people are not recognised as citizens, or are herded away to reservation like areas?
Hand in Hand
Something many people are probably not aware of is that in Israel there is a school called 'Hand in Hand' which is a school that has both Palestinian
and Jewish students, and tried to work toward peace.
In Divided Jerusalem, a School Bridges Boundaries Between Young Israeli Arabs and Jews.
The walls at the Max Rayne Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem, located along the Green Line in the city’s southwest, are draped with hand-painted
murals, squiggly sketches, and paper cutouts around words like “dignity”—but, like everything else at the school, it’s written twice: once in
Hebrew, kavod, and once in Arabic, karam. Each class is run by two teachers, one Jewish and one Arab, and the 600 students are split evenly between
Israeli Jews and Arabs.
In a diverse yet deeply segregated Jerusalem, where mundane public places can quickly become social battlefields, the students at this school are an
experiment in coexistence. They are the leading edge of a small but growing trend toward bilingual, multicultural education in Israel.
Ten-year-old Atalia Davidoff, a Jewish student, says that while she regularly gets flak from her neighborhood friends for going to school with and
hanging out with Arabs, she likes that it’s something out of the ordinary. “It’s really fun to learn with Arabs,” she explained. “It makes
me feel special.”
The school also has a website:
It is initiatives like this school which I see as the only way forward for dialogue.
An Uncommon View for a Jewish Person, or not?
One of the reasons both myself, and my friend who is ex-PLO feel so strongly about a one state solution is that a two state solution is by its nature
divisive and encourages each opposing side to see their opposite as other. When you reduce something to other, it's far easier to demonise them. I
doubt that anyone disagrees that there have been atrocities on both sides. Israel is unique in that they are very strong and hold all the cards, yet
they are able to portray themselves as weak and at risk by the Palestinians. The Palestinians are disenfranchised, but they are a smart and tenacious
people who understand PR, and hopefully Israel can be 'shamed' into making a fairer deal.
edit on 14-5-2014 by cuckooold because: (no reason