Friday, February 13, 2009

Because I am a jew...

Because I am a jew, I signed the petition for the divestment from the occupation of palestine.
Because I am a jew, I learned to respect my father, my mother and my history.
Because I am a jew, I feel the ghettoization of people who are "dangerous to us" sounds a little too familiar for me to support.
Because I am a jew, I learned jewish values that told me to respect the stranger.
Because I am a jew, I learned to value all life.
Because I am a jew, I learned to spill my wine in respect to the pain of others.
Because I am a jew, I learned to pray that one day ALL people will be free.

Just because I am a jew does not mean I am a zionist, and just because I am a jew does not mean that I support the actions of the Israeli government and the occupation of the NATION of Palestine. Hampshire College, the institution at which I currently attend school, recently made the decision (after months of petitioning from student groups, primarily Students for Justice in Palestine) to divest from companies who are benefiting from the occupation in Palestine.
I have been thinking a lot about my identity as a jew and the way that it is torn up. I was raised in between reconstructionist libralism, conservative movements, and liberal, activist, socialist zionism. I grew up learning that arabs were bad, wanted to blow us up and destroy my family. I grew up thinking that the arabs and muslims that I knew were simply the exception to the rule... And then I realized that they were not, and one day I saw a movie that reminded me that Palestinians were people too. Perhaps it should not have taken me till I was so old to realize this, however, the propaganda within the jewish community is deep. I grew up and my heros were the zionists that founded the state of israel... I grew up hoping that one day I would go to Israel. And I went to Israel, and they told us look- there is an arab village, and there is a jewish village. And they told us that rubber bullets can't hurt. But rubber bullets do hurt, and they neglected to mention that while Jews in Jerusalem are living a 1st world life, arabs in Gaza are living in the third world. They showed us a rocket fired into an israeli village, but neglected to mention the Palestinian children dead because the hospitals are inadequate, the water of poor quality and the living conditions terrible.
I live in a world of mixed feelings over my jewish identity, I balance a desire to re-learn my hebrew and reconnect with my people, and a deep hatred and resentment for my people who I feel have turned the other cheek while the Israeli government puts Palestinians into ghettos...
WE CAME FROM GHETTOS, from spain to germany to poland to russia, we came from ghettos, our people have been locked up and pushed out, disenfranchised for 2000 years, and yet, as soon as we get the upper hand we turn around and lock innocent people up behind big thick walls designed not to protect or help them, but to "save" us from them. We have turned our backs on members of the human race, and the words that come out of our mouths echo the sentiments of the third reich.
When we learned about the Holocaust in hebrew school we read about the Sneetches, the sneetches is a classic Dr Suess book about the division between the plain belly sneetches and the star belly sneetches. In the end, after capitalist driven exploitation they learn that it doesn't matter if you have a plain belly or a start belly, that all sneetches are the "best on the beaches". So I learned that money talks and all people are equal, and divestment (no matter the statement an administration makes) talks, and divestment matters. And because I am a jew, and because I grew up with "jewish" values, I signed the petition for Hampshire College to divest from the occupation in Israel. And because I am a jew, I am extremely proud of my institution for divesting.

1 comment:

J.G.S. said...

Because I am a Jew, I'm expected to put my people above all others, but because I am a Jew, I know that I cannot afford to think that way.

Because I am a Jew, I think the Holocaust should be more than just a bargaining chip for colonial land, be it Holy or not.

Because I'm a Jew, I say "I don't care if it's profitable, I care that it's blood money!"