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Sat Aug 16, 2014, 10:42 PM

Neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Palestinian, just a mother pleading for peace

Last Saturday morning I quickly roamed my house for something to write on. It needed to be easy to carry and not too awkward to take on the train with me. wasn't really sure what I was going to put on it. There were so many mixed feelings and competing thoughts. Once I found a sturdy board I sat down to finalise my thoughts. What exactly did I want to say? It was so hard to choose. Everything seemed clumsy or too political. I sat for a moment and focused. I then began to cut out the letters. ASHAMED TO BE ISRAELI. That was the heart of my message. This was new ground for me. I'm normally a proud Israeli. Proud to come from a country full of interesting people. Proud to be part of a race that has survived thousands of years of persecution.

I emigrated to Israel almost 30 years ago. I was 10 years old. In 1985 Israel was welcoming a steady stream of Jews from around the world. Our street in the absorption centre where we were first housed had Jews from so many different parts of the globe. Romanians, Argentinians, Russians and Ethiopians. Red heads, blondes, brunettes and dark-skinned Ethiopians. None of us looked alike. We all spoke different languages and our food couldn't have been more eclectic if we tried. We were a mixture of orthodox, secular and atheist Jews. All of us gained entry into ''the Land'' because of our Jewish forefathers. Israelis who are born in Israel are called ''Sabras''. Named after the cactus fruit. Prickly on the outside but sweet on the inside. This was very much my experience. Some welcomed us with open arms. Others sneered at us for thinking we had the right to live in their country.


Once my military service was completed I moved to Australia to study. Going from such a politically loaded country to a place where people get more passionate about their footy team was a big shock for me. Being an Israeli meant though that on a regular basis I got asked to explain the Middle East conflict. No matter how neutral I tried to remain I got accused of being Zionistic one moment and the next I was labelled pro-Palestinian. I tried to roll with the punches and just remind people that it's a complex situation and there is truth on both sides of the wall.

I've tried to keep out of the politics as much as possible, which over the years has not been easy. There have been plenty of times when I have said too much. Said too little. Trampled on someone's religion. Not intentionally of course, but with the desire to be inclusive. When the latest Gaza conflict erupted five weeks ago I assumed I would continue as I had. Remain neutral and let others state their truth about what was going on. I knew that parents on both sides of the wall were terrified for their children's safety. Both sides under attack. As it happened, one night I decided to Google ''graphic images of Gaza''. The pictures I was seeing were beyond belief. A torso of a child. Now a massive piece of charcoal. Eyes and mouth fused. Forever silenced. That burnt face could have been my daughter. The teenage boy trapped under rubble could have been my son. I was seeing my children's faces on these lifeless bodies. These lifeless bodies that had not chosen to live in Gaza. To be born into captivity. Into a place where there was no option of flying out if the pressure got too intense. No bomb shelters to hide in as the rockets rained down from above. I was no longer an Israeli. I was a mother. A mother looking at dead children. The shame covered me from head to toe.


We can clearly see that violence is not the answer. I could have written that on my sign. But would anyone have noticed it? We have rehashed the peace message so many times that it now falls on deaf ears. If I wanted to be noticed I needed to send a new message out. One that would offend some but hopefully make others think. Yes, I am ashamed of being an Israeli and violence is not the answer. We must find another way before more innocent children are killed. This is why I took the train into the city last weekend. In fact, I caught the train twice. Once for the pro-Gaza rally. And then for the pro-Israel rally. Each time holding my sign. I had Palestinians coming up to me shaking my hand. Wanting to pose with me. Thanking me for being brave. I also know that I offended a lot of people last weekend. That was never my intention. I know I'm not the only Israeli who is ashamed. I just know that most who are don't want to be accused of being anti-Semitic and remain silent. I can't be labelled. I'm not anti-Semitic. I'm not anti-Palestinian. I'm not a Zionist. I am a mother. A mother who is so blessed to have my children safe in their beds at night. I will not remain silent.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/neither-antisemitic-nor-antipalestinian-just-a-mother-pleading-for-peace-20140816-103ctx.html#ixzz3Ac5udfCr

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Reply Neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Palestinian, just a mother pleading for peace (Original post)
Violet_Crumble Aug 2014 OP
jwirr Aug 2014 #1

Response to Violet_Crumble (Original post)

Sat Aug 16, 2014, 11:34 PM

1. Remember this is what it took for peace in Ireland. Two mothers standing up and demanding an

end to the fighting so that their children could be safe.

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