The Diaspora: Navigating between Bibi and BDS

Friends, an interesting event occurred today which I feel obligated to share.

I had just finished my workout and started to change at my local Community Centre’s public washroom. I began to drop my pants and change into my swimsuit when I realized I was wearing my ISRAEL boxers. Yes, those wonderfully comfortable, blue and white boxers which scream: ISRAEL! ISRAEL! ISRAEL! All around the elasticized waste.

I would usually consider myself a rather open, self-assured individual. However, the fear of being ‘caught,’ wearing such an article, frequently perceived to be emblematic of hatred and attempted genocide caused me to throw a towel around my waist with such haste that I began to lose my balance. After a minor stumble, I regained my composure and casually tucked my ISRAEL! Undies into my duffle.

While en route home, I thought of the events which had transpired just moments before. Why had I been so ashamed? Just 2 years before, I wore those same boxers proudly (maybe stupidly) through Jordanian airport security, and continued to wear them through ensuing vacations in what some may consider to be hostile regions. (Before I go on, I do in fact change my underwear. It just so happens that once upon a time, I haggled a 2 for 1 bargain and subsequently find myself wearing these quite frequently).

Back in Vancouver, one of the most open, tolerant places in the world, why had I behaved in such a way?

As I deconstructed my thought process/ behaviour further, I became increasingly aware that my reaction had come from a confluence of factors. On one side of the spectrum, my dissatisfaction with Mr. Netanyahu’s recent remarks and inability to identify or understand his behaviour left me confused and unable to defend a place I have; and will most certainly again, call home. Simultaneously, I wondered if an ardent supporter of the BDS movement (A one sided movement, which unfortunately places greater emphasis on Israel’s destruction then it does creating peace) would notice my underwear and shout out some anti-Semitic slur.

So where does this leave me?
Well, for the time being, I will continue to monitor Netanyahu’s actions and further develop my own opinion. I will continue to speak moderately about an extraordinarily complicated conflict, which will not be solved by extremism on either end of the spectrum. I will continue to denounce the BDS movement that will only exacerbate differences and inhibit durable peace. Most importantly, I will continue to respect my friend’s plethora of opinions; and only ask that they recognize the complexity of the situation before forming, or acting on their opinions/ emotions in a manner, which cannot be rescinded.


About the Author
Aaroon is a McGill Graduate who studied economics/ economic development
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