The Epitome of It All

I woke up this morning and reached out for my phone. I opened up Instagram. I saw a post from Stand With Us, showing two Muslim women and two religious Jewish men walking down the street next to each other. The caption read “The epitome of Israel in one picture.” I smiled.

I pulled down the notification bar at the top of my phone. I saw the Twitter notifications flooding in from Israel. Two killed… three killed… in a synagogue… on the side of the road… it went on, updating faster than I could read the one hundred and forty character posts. Among the killed were Israelis. Among the killed was a Palestinian. Among the killed was an eighteen-year-old boy from America, who, a few hours later I would realize, was a boy with whom I have countless mutual friends from the youth group we both were in. This, I thought to myself, epitomizes Israel. I did not smile.

Next I checked the news — the non-social media news. These stories seemed to be missing. And I am not surprised. The world media does not report these events. The world media did not report the picture my friend sent me from Israel a few days ago of a bus that was off to be serviced after having a cinder block take out a side window. The world media did not report when a knife was found hidden in a hair comb at a security check in Israel.

I know, I know the world has had a lot else going these last few weeks. And my heart aches for the people of Paris, and the people of Kenya, and those murdered by Boko Haram, and those in Syria and Lebanon and around the rest of the Middle East whose lives have become anything but what they should be, and the students of Mizzou, and the people on the countless flights that have had emergency landings because of bomb threats, and everyone else who has been effected one way or another by the terror that has been penetrating our world these last few weeks.

But why is the world silent when it comes to Israel? Why does the world bond together for these other tragedies, hold vigils and moments of silence for these events, but do nothing for Israel? Why does Facebook have “checked in safe” for other events, but not Israel? Why does the US administration, and the UN and the EU not condemn the horror going on in Israel as they do the rest of the world?

Why when I try to show my support for all these other terrors, do the people I am supporting not reciprocate for me? Why did I go to a Black Solidarity rally to show my support for their cause, only to turn around and see SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) holding up a giant banner protesting Israeli apartheid? That was not the point of that event. Not at all. We should not be taking away from others suffering. We should be standing together, supporting each other, helping each person who has been affected by these last few weeks.

We should not be silent. We should all be speaking out. We should be calling on the mainstream media, and our federal and local representatives to report all terror. And report it honestly. Get the word out.

Twice now in the last month I’ve looked down at my phone to find out I am two degrees of separation away from someone who was a part of a terror attack in Israel. My jaw dropped, my heart pounded, my head spun. That feeling of losing control is the worst and most indescribable feeling. And it’s not even for someone I directly knew.

And now I find myself feeling, and believing, that that is the epitome of the conflict. Not growing peace and coexistence as I’ve tried to convince myself and others; but rather pain and suffering — affecting Israelis, Americans and Palestinians.

It baffles me that the world is silent. It astounds me that people are trying to capitalize off of other’s pain to promote their hateful messages. And it saddens me that I see no end in sight.

I am asking you, no, I am begging you — do not be silent. Stand up. Speak out. Spread the truth. Let’s move forward together.

About the Author
I am a sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign studying Animal Sciences. I am a Hasbara fellow on this campus this year following a year as a CAMERA fellow. I am involved in Israel Advocacy n campus through Hillel, Illini Students Supporting Israel and Illini Public Affairs committee.
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