Why We Can't Just "All Get Along"
I have a stepdaughter who recently visited her siblings in the San Francisco Bay Area. Neither of the California siblings is strongly connected to anything remotely resembling a Jewish heritage. As the most important aspect of coming-of-age-in-the SFBA is 'fitting in,' there tends to be an assimilation to the Mainstream, which is a kind of post-hippie, multi-spiritual, politically correct world view where all beliefs are of equal un-value, and it's deemed "not cool" to 'pass judgment' on anything in this bubble of rectitude (except out and out racism against non-Jewish minorities is given lip-service proscription).
So Oldest Daughter has a discussion with the siblings about the Middle East. The youngest asks in plaintive tones, "Why can't Everyone Over There just get along?" This child is a recent product of the University of California system with a degree in psychology. So much for a university education and its ability to install an informed world view.
Oldest Daughter grew up in both Israel and California. Oldest Daughter is a product of the kibbutz system, and while not datia, is certainly conversant with Israel and what it means to be Jewish. Oldest Daughter has served in the military, gone to college, and has a firm grasp of the Middle East, both ancient and modern.
She provided her sibs with the best answer I've ever heard for those who are either uninformed or in denial about the Middle East:
"We can't just 'all get along' because frankly, why should we? Why should we, Israelis, products of an ancient tradition of learning as well as a post-Renaissance and humanist society, get along with a bunch of medieval fanatics who at their most liberal concede that some Jews might be allowed to survive the coming Arab-led genocide and live here as second-class citizens under Palestinian law?"
"These are people who deny the Holocaust ever happened, insist that Jewish antiquities are all fakes planted by the Israeli government, and claim that despite the Koran, the Bible and the Tanakh, the Jews have no historical affiliation with this land whatsoever."
"These are people who believe that women are second-class citizens, and that its okay for fathers to totally control their daughters' lives. This is a society that condones honor killings because a girl talked to a boy without a male relative being present and without having prior approval of the family patriarch. This is a society that agitates for the imposition of "Moslem law," meaning Sharia--a Code which calls for execution by impaling of homosexual men and the stoning of women who engage in "immoral behavior," which is defined by, of course, the men. This is a Code which gives full credit to the testimony of a Moslem male but denies such weight to the testimony of non-Moslems and Moslem females---so even if a woman denies a charge of 'immoral behavior' the testimony of her male accuser outweighs her denial."
"These are people who openly glorify the killing of Jews, are terrorizing the Christian communities of the West Bank, killing Christians in Gaza, throwing their political rivals off of rooftops and indoctrinating their children to hate anyone who isn't like them."
"Do YOU want to live in a society like that?" she challenged them. "You really want Abba picking your husbands for you? You really want to be told you have to cover up from head to toe just to go to the store?"
"Why should we be expected to "get along" with people like this?"
I gather from her account that this information was something new to the siblings, and that as a general principle, no, they didn't themselves want to live in such a society.
I have to applaud her for putting it so succinctly. It seems that many folks in our former domicile have extremely simplistic views of the Middle East, and a vast unfamiliarity with the history and the societies that exist here.