Stop Discrediting the Jews

I am a Jew. I am a woman. I am an Israel supporter.

I make no apologies for any of the aforementioned.

Yet somehow, I’ve been expected to. To this day, I’m asked to apologize for killing Jesus. As if somehow I’m a reincarnation of a Roman soldier. I’m asked to apologize for my physical ineptitudes G-D gave my gender. As if the fact that my short legs can’t keep up is somehow a deliberate choice I’ve made. And I’m asked to apologize for defending a democratic country against terrorists. As if somehow disliking terrorism has become a social faux pas.

I’m no less appalled by being asked to apologize for any of the above.

As the current conflict has waged on, our brave soldiers have been asked to defend our Homeland with their hearts and their guns. On the homefront, we’ve been called up to defend our country with our words and our actions. The battleground is Facebook and our enemies are terrorist supporters.

Let me be clear–I am pro Palestinian. I am pro Israeli. If one truly wishes to say they are pro-Palestinian, then they too are pro Israeli. Being pro Israel and pro Palestine are not mutually exclusive; being pro Israel and being pro Hamas is mutually exclusive.

I am not Jewish because I am pro-Israel, I am not pro-Israel because I am Jewish. Perhaps I’m more exposed to one world due to my affiliation with my other, but I am not “brainwashed” to love Israel because I’m Jewish.

The hours I spent in Hebrew school were spent learning about the language and culture of my people. We’ve moved around quite a bit, so it goes without saying we had to cover a lot of ground in these classes.No pun intended. . .well, fine. Pun intended, but it’s cute, right?

In these classes, I wasn’t taught to hate Arabs. I might’ve come to my own conclusion from my World History classes that perhaps Jihadist murder rampages against your own people might not have been the best idea, but I was far from brainwashed. My books weren’t all written by Anita Shapira (an author of whom I am admittedly a fan), but rather by authors from all walks of life. Judaism requires that people be critical in order to reach a higher sense of enlightement. We learn about the trials and tribulations of our forefathers in accepting their religion and are asked to do the same. Sorry, but I won’t be walking 40 years in the desert to get to a land I might not even be welcomed into. . .not sorry.

Judaism teaches it’s followers to accept one another, but be critical of what they’re told. We’re taught to do things not because we want to, but because it’s what we need to do. No soldier “wants” to fight in the IDF, no matter how proud they may be. But everyone wants a safe home and to protect the land the way their friends, family and forefathers before them had done. There is a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves. Whether you live in Israel or you’re just a Jewish kid in the suburbs of America, the sentiment remains the same.

My Judaism makes me no less qualified to speak about Israel than my being a woman makes me somehow less qualified to speak about women’s issues. I have the choice as both a woman and a Jew not to advocate for either cause. In fact, I can argue against them. To this point, many women lobby against women’s rights and a woman’s right to choose. They might have differing views than I, but they’re not brainwashed. They’re citizens formulating their own opinions based on knowledge they’ve gained by learning and experiencing life.

I am pro-Israel. I am Jewish. I am pro-Palestine. I am a member of society and a humanitarian. For the love of G-D I am a person; I am human. Stop insinuating my religious beliefs make me blind. Stop asking if I feel like I’m brainwashed. Take a lesson from my religious playbook; allow me to lead by example.

Be honest with the world, be honest with yourself. But above all, respect one another.

“Love your neighbor as yourself, this is Torah.”

About the Author
Toby Klein is a current senior residing in the suburbs of Chicago. She's a senior fellow in Write On For Israel (Chicago) Cohort 10.