On Israeli American Identity

What brings up this particular issue are two recent current events: controversy surrounding Wonder Woman’s Israeli identity (and “pro-IDF and therefore pro-terrorism” stance), and the removal of marchers carrying rainbow flags with the star of david on them at the Chicago pride rally.

Me, I am a white Jew with a dual American/Israeli citizenship of very liberal upbringing.

It has been brought to my attention recently, by the liberal left, that my Israeli identity is triggering to some and is pro-occupation.

As someone who grew up with anti-settlement, pro-two-state talk in the house, this was a surprise to me. Was I not vocal enough in my dissent?

On the other hand, where would my parents be were it not for THEIR parents’ ability to flee to Israel? Fucking gone. There was no other safe place for Jews. It’s REALLY hard for me to apologize for the existence of a state that literally saved their lives.

And when non-Palestinians non-Israelis voice these sentiments, it boils my blood because they don’t know the region. They don’t know what my family has been through to survive. They don’t know. And as long as Israeli children attend schools and Israeli hospitals operate there will need to be a military to protect them. And unfortunately that same military engages in occupation as well. (This is where I interpret Gal Godot’s tweet as being pro-two-state solution while still supporting Israeli troops… though I guess who knows what her opinion is on the settlements.) But as long as Hamas fires rockets into Israel, the military will fight back. And as long as the Palestinian people are desperate, Hamas will not stop firing rockets. It’s a vicious cycle that we kicked off… that Europe’s antisemitism kicked off.

I don’t have easy answers here. And the sad reality is, coexistence is a distant dream at this point. What do we do, us Jews who benefitted from the creation of a state just for us–a state that then went on to occupy others and support islamophobic xenophobic policies? It’s no longer home for my parents, nor is it home for me; nevertheless, I won’t apologize for the identity I have. To me, that identity means survival, and I can’t think of anything more important than that.

But times change and the politics changed, and though I’ve never aligned myself with the more imperialist policies, fighting them can no longer be a passive pursuit.

I’ve found some great organizations, starting with the Jewish Voice for Peace, an org that

“opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression.  JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East. Current mission statement adopted in 2009.”

And I’ll keep looking.

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