Attending the Pro-Israel Rally in Times Square this past weekend was an amazing experience. There were, by estimation, ten thousand Pro-Israel supporters all listening to speeches and joyously singing songs such as “Am Yisrael Chai.” It was a peaceful rally, and while I might not have agreed with every single word spoken by the speakers, it was fantastic to see so many people coalescing over one cause.
And then, coming from over my right shoulder, I heard something that jolted me out of my serene mindset. “Death to Gaza! Death to Gaza!” Someone was walking around screaming those hateful words at what was otherwise peaceful rally.
I was embarrassed.
I hoped that if anyone else from either side of the conflict heard this, they would know not to judge our cause on our extremists.
This is something that always gets lost in conflict though, to not judge the other side by the extremists. Yes, there are certain places in Gaza and the world where people will chant “Death to the Jews” and “Death to the Zionists.” But, we have to remember that those are the extremists and do not represent the majority of opinions in the same way that those who scream about killing all Arabs do not represent the entire Zionist point of view.
In this conflict, we really have to make sure to just disregard the extremists when dealing with things because, on both sides, there are just normal people. Just one week ago, the children in Gaza worked to set the world record for children flying kites at the same time, an innocuous activity that can really make you remember that these are people too.
Conflict tends to poison minds to equate the entire other side with their least common denominator. That mindset then carries on for years to come and as it hardens only causes more hostility. That’s why it’s important to carry out things in a civilized manner and to make sure the voices heard on either side are not those of extremists.
Don’t allow hate to be the voice that’s heard and don’t let either side be judged by their most extreme points of view.