Purporting to speak for young American Jews, IfNotNow, and other radical organizations are running the #YouNeverToldMe Campaign, accusing Jewish institutions of not sharing the full story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a Jewish educator, I feel guilty as charged.
As a proponent of this campaign put it on Twitter
“The #YouNeverToldMe campaign was born out of a pattern of realizations that the education we receive about Israel is one-sided and incomplete. @IfNotNowOrg has developed a syllabus that includes Palestinian narratives and an honest look at the Occupation.”
Indeed, we Jewish educators are guilty of not sharing the full story. This is why I decided to launch the #WeNeverToldYou campaign, for Jewish educators and professionals, to help alleviate this crisis.
#WeNeverToldYou that in 1948 just three years after the end of the Holocaust, Palestinians joined a proud campaign that openly declared it wanted a second Holocaust, to annihilate all the Jews between the river and the sea.
#WeNeverToldYou, to this day Palestinians hold a policy of ethnic cleansing and Judenrein territories, with not one Jews living in Gaza, not one Jews in Nablus, not one Jew in Jenin. We never told you that even very pro-Palestinian Jews who came to Gaza to provide humanitarian aid were attacked. #WeNeverToldYou
#WeNeverToldYou that as the brutality and dominion of ISIS were at their peak, a Haaretz poll found 24% of Palestinians support ISIS. #WeNeverToldYou
#WeNeverToldYou when this year, CNN reported on one of the most moderate Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas saying: “The hatred towards the Jews is not because of their religion but because of their social roles related to taxes and banks.” Hand to imagine what the less moderate Palestinians think about us American Jews. #WeNeverToldYou
#WeNeverToldYou that before that big, horrible, and ugly wall built between the Palestinians and Israel, suicide bombers were sent on an almost daily basis to kill innocent civilians, women, children, Holocaust survivors and anyone they can. Just because they were Jewish. #WeNeverToldYou that the only thing that was able to stop those suicide bombers was the wall. No talks. No negotiations, no goodwill gestures. Just a wall. How ugly. How determined were so many people to inflict pain and bloodshed on me and my family when I was growing up as a child in Israel. #WeNeverToldYou
#WeNeverToldYou of the 1929 massacre in which, long before any trace of “occupation” came, the innocent students of the Hebron Yeshiva were massacred in cold blood by their neighbors, when they were just young teenagers. #WeNeverToldYou
#WeNeverToldYou that if you, an American Jew with no connection to Israel get murdered in cold blood by a Palestinian, for no fault at all, the murderer and their family will get a government revetment salary for the rest of their lives. #WeNeverToldYou
#WeNeverToldYou that if you are Jewish with no connection to Israel, and attempt to buy any real estate from a Palestinian, he and his family may be killed as part of official Palestinian policy. #WeNeverToldYou
We, Jewish educators, are guilty. #WeNeverToldYou how to protect yourself. I am reminded of a family friend, Samantha. She didn’t look very Jewish and took the Arab bus from Hebrew University at Mt. Scopus to another location. When the doors closed she suddenly heard whispers. It then got less subtle. A young man came over to her with a threatening tone asking her: ”Are you Jewish?” She said no and got off at the next stop. So young Jews, #WeNeverToldYou that in most places in the Middle East, and in parts of Israel, saying you are Jewish can get you killed. It doesn’t mean it will, but it can. On behalf of Jewish organizations and educators, I apologize to you and Samantha that we didn’t make this much clearer.
On behalf of Jewish educators who tried to be too sensitive and impartial, I apologize to young Jews who feel confused and betrayed by the system. We set you up for this. We pretended there were no good guys and no bad guys. This was just some kind of conflict. You now wake up and see the suffering Palestinians have brought on themselves — suffering that is real, serious, and hurting many innocent lives — and say#YouNeverToldMe. True, #WeNeverToldYou. If you would like the curriculum changed, please let us know.