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Confessions of a "Self-Hating" Jew

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Message David Alpert

Note: The title of this article is rendered with tongue-in cheek in anticipation of attacks and name calling from those who offer knee-jerk support to Israel regardless of its policies.

I grew up in The Bronx, the eldest child in a working class Jewish family. We were not religious but I was bar- mitzvahed to make my mother happy. Growing up in The Bronx, my Jewishness was usually irrelevant. Only once, when my friends and I attempted to pick up some girls at the Bronx Zoo did I find out that I had killed Christ.

When I went to George Washington University, in D.C., I experienced a more general continuous contempt and hate. For example, during a basketball game with Georgetown University, the fans began chanting "get the Jew, get the Jew", referring to one of the players on George Washington's team. I also frequently heard the term "Jew boy" tossed around without caution or concern.

I was very young when WW2 ended and was overwhelmed when I learned of the Holocaust. Being young and naà ve, the news of the formation of Israel as a Jewish state had my unconditional support. Enough of this anti-semitism. When the issue of Palestinian displacement became evident, I experienced little concern for their loss; six million Jews had already paid the price.

As I matured, expanded my readings of the Middle East, and developed a more expansive and inclusive point of view, I realized that the territory ceded to the Israelis by Balfour was never acceptable to the Zionists. They, under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion, had other plans, to expand their land and to remove the Palestinians. Dr. Ilan Pappe, a respected Israeli historian, in his book, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine", describes in detail the expulsion and flight of 700,000 Palestinians during 1948 and 1949. It was very difficult reading as he described how villages were systematically attacked by Israeli forces who massacred many of the inhabitants and made life so horrendous that those who survived fled. It was in 1948, and it is now, the underlying strategy of the Israeli government, to create a situation that makes a two-state solution unattainable. Given the Jewish experience in Europe, I ask myself repeatedly, " haven't we learned anything?" How do the victims of the holocaust transition to the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing or genocide? Avraham Burg, former speaker of the Knesset, in his book, "The Holocaust is Over We Must Rise From Its Ashes", addresses the issues of the holocaust and Jewish victimhood. Until the Jewish community releases itself from the holocaust and victimhood, it will not unshackle itself from unnecessary pathological fear that prevents it from finding a peaceful solution with the Palestinians. It is this very victimhood that allows Israelis to commit atrocities and maintain their perceptions of being victimized and vulnerable to the aggression of others. It is this victimhood that allows Jews all over the world to supply unquestioned support of Israel with no regard for the atrocities committed by Israel.

Given: Israel is a small state surrounded by hostile states who would like nothing better than to see it disappear.

Given: Israel has the right to take whatever steps necessary to protect itself.

Given: Israel is armed with the latest, most advanced weapons by the largest arms dealer in the world, the USA. This includes weapons of mass destruction.

Given: There is a significant difference between aggression against another and defending oneself from the aggression the other.

Given: Israel is not a helpless, vulnerable state and must withdraw from that perception.

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Dave Alpert is a retired educator and psychotherapist living in N.Y.C. He is married, has two children and 3 grandchildren. Dave has spent his career working with troubled inner city adolescents. Throughout most of his life, Dave has been (more...)
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