What a &*@^ Page-turner!

Have you ever sat through a history lesson that is so mind-numbingly boring that you were checked out and if you intended to stay awake you would need to down a gallon of coffee and possibly bring in some toothpicks to keep your eyes from closing every ten seconds? On the other hand have you ever picked up a story that was such a page-turner that you forgot to fall asleep and it seared your brain and changed how you view the world? Isn’t the second one way better? It doesn’t’ matter of course if the author left out key facts, or dates, that most people find irrelevant, what matters is that you didn’t get that my head is too heavy to keep on my shoulders feeling. That’s the problem with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, people are going for the riveting page-turner rather than the staggeringly dull history lesson. Who needs fact when you have a blockbuster? Who cares if the story being told isn’t even about you, you might as well have an opinion; after all you read it, now it’s part of you, no?

It’s amazing how many people, from every walk of life, are all of sudden specialists on the conflict, a conflict which takes place in a country and a part of the world which most of those experts cannot even pinpoint on the map. But, hey they know what they are saying, after all the media told them a story, a really sad one, depressing in fact where the words “genocide”, “ethnic cleansing” and “massacres” were used. If that doesn’t get your blood boiling what kind of human are you? I’ll tell you what kind, it makes you horrible, wretched and worth hating.

Of course at the end of the day you and the rest of the experts don’t have to live with the story you are helping to foster, in which you don’t even bother with figuring out facts anymore because, really, you don’t need a nap right now. You get to walk away every time you get bored, but of course you can count on the media making it an interesting story every once in a while. The media has hijacked the story of the people living with the facts on the ground, to a point where the truth can’t even be discerned from the story you help disseminate, you know the one about genocide and murder, the one of a brutalizer and a victim.

Next time you turn on the TV you might want to consider that you are an audience member, not a player, in which you are then proceeding to play the largest game of telephone in the history of man, where every telling of this fascinating story becomes more brutal and more bastardized. So next time when you get a conflated idea that you are an expert in this field you might want to consider that you actually don’t know anything more than a story.

About the Author
Yael Weinstein joined the Colorado Agency for Jewish Education as a faculty member in 2009. Yael earned her M.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, focusing on the topics of Anti-Semitism and Jewish Identity. At Brandeis, Yael worked as a teaching assistant for Dennis Ross, former U.S. Ambassador. Yael also works with the curriculum development team at the international Melton office at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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