Dear Students Flying Palestine's Flag: I'm Israeli Jewish & My Country Has A Right To Exist
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Politics and Activism

Dear Students Flying Palestine's Flag: I'm Israeli Jewish & My Country Has A Right To Exist

I dare you to look me in the face and tell me that it doesn't.

Dear Students Flying Palestine's Flag: I'm Israeli Jewish & My Country Has A Right To Exist
Roderick Eime / Flickr

Today there was a Palestinian flag waving on my college campus.

This wasn’t a surprise to me. I go to a leftist college in a liberal part of the country, and the leftist formulation of any world conflict as “white people bad, brown people good” ensures that nearly everyone on campus has something to say about Israel/Palestine. To them, Israel is just another awful place half a world away, in the same class as Russia and North Korea when it comes to atrocity.

To them, the conflict is simple. To them, it’s not personal.

It’s personal to me.

When I see American leftists uncritically supporting Palestine, I see the Chicago Dyke March, which ejected Jewish marchers because the sight of a Star of David is “triggering.”

I see the people on my college campus who called for the Jewish center on campus to be repurposed for a college of ‘power and liberation.’ I see support for terrorist organizations like the PLO and Hamas.

I see people who don’t understand the first thing about the Jewish experience. I see people who think Jewish people don’t matter.

They’ll never say it out loud. They like to pretend to support marginalized groups, but because Jewish identity is complex, they don’t think we’re marginalized. They demand that we stop talking so much about the Holocaust, but they bring up the Holocaust as a yardstick for every cause they support, from the plight of Native Americans (appropriate comparison) to veganism (not appropriate in the slightest).

They don’t understand the fear that comes when you realize that you would have been among the six million Jewish people who died, the fear and disgust that come when you hear your Gentile friends debate whether or not they’d hide a Jew. There’s no good antidote to that fear. There’s just the knowledge that as long as you are surrounded by people who differ from you in race and religion, you’re not safe.

The existence of Israel makes me feel safe. Israel, to me, is an example of Jewish strength and resilience. It’s the home of a people who are, above all else, survivors. We survived the Holocaust and all the smaller massacres that came before. We survived when Jordan, Egypt, and Syria mounted a war against us that they were sure we’d lose. We survived again. And again. And again. If Israel had lost even one of those wars, I wouldn’t be here. No one in my family would.

So when I see the Palestinian flag, I see people who don’t understand. People who don’t want to ask. People who want this issue to be simple, black and white, not involving thousands of years of oppression and millions of lost lives. How do I explain to these people that what they want — the “wrong” they’re trying to right — would destroy the only place in the world where it’s safe to be Jewish? I have historical arguments. I have economic arguments. I have sociopolitical arguments. I’d deploy every one of them if I thought it would change those people’s minds about whether or not my family and I have the right to survive.

But it won’t. That leaves me with the emotional argument. If you, the well-meaning leftists of American college campuses, get what you want, where am I supposed to feel safe? Where am I supposed to go?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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