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J as in Jews


My father and my stepfather, both citizens from European countries, hated Jews. My father, who is dead now, was a British soldier who had been sent to the Middle East during one of the various conflicts between the Israelis and Palestinians. According to my mother, my father hated Jews because they were ruthless against the Palestinians, and he had witnessed it first-hand.

My stepfather's consideration of the Jews, I believe, was cultivated in Nazi-occupied France when he was just an impressionable boy during WWII. His hate for Jews is strong, to say the least, and his admiration of the Third Reich is unapologetic.

It is possible that my father's and my stepfather's dislike of the Jews has influenced me. As a child, however, I don't recall paying attention to Jews or even having an opinion of them. As an adolescent I was quite impressed by Jews because my favorite entertainer, Barbara Streisand, was Jewish. As an adult, after discovering that most of the Jews in Israel are from Europe and of European descent, I started feeling different about Israel, not necessarily individuals who were Jewish, however. Also, because of Zionism, which I understand to be the preservation of Israel based on the religious belief that Israel is the biblical Promised Land, I am not as sympathetic towards the existence of Israel as others are.

Nevertheless, I do feel awful about the Holocaust and so did many Americans and Europeans right after WWII. It is understandable that the country of Israel was created at a time when the world's sentiment was compensatory. When I think about the Holocaust, my sympathy towards Israel is regained. However, when the issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict comes up for topic when I am among friends and acquaintances, my impulse is almost always to support the Palestinians. My feeling is that modern Europeans should not take over the land of another people just because the god they believe in has promised it to them.

Of course, however, at this point Israel is an established nation. To expect Jews to vacate the land on which they dwell (for three generations now) would be too cruel. I like to believe that human beings are progressing beyond the habit of being cruel, a sentiment which spawns my feeling that "modern" Europeans should not take over the land that belongs to other people as our brutal age-of-exploration ancestors did. Instead of Jews leaving Israel, I would rather see religion leave the human race, the next natural step in our ever progressing species.

Furthermore, the longevity of hating Jews needs to be analyzed. My father and stepfather were probably more influenced by popular culture than they were by their own intellects. What are the reasons people hate Jews? I have heard people say that Jews are "money grubbers." Others are turned off by the idea that Jews think they are the chosen people, and even I am wary of their seeming influence over American politics. In any case, these reasons are not good enough to persecute the Jews. I can think of far worse reasons to be upset over a people, for example, mutilating the genitalia of girls, aborting embryos or fetuses based on gender, forcing women to veil their faces, etc.

To summarize this examination of my opinion of Jews:

One, I regret that Israel was established as a state by the United Nations (UN), which, by the way, some Jews agree with this sentiment because they feel the Promised Land must be restored as an act of God, not by the men of the UN;

Two, I like many individuals who happen to be Jewish, Barbara Streisand and the late Malvina Reynolds for example;

Three, as I feel about most religions, I am not positive about Judaism;

Four, I have no sympathy for the habit of hating Jews;

and, five, because the concentration of power within a single group—any single group—of people is a very dangerous situation, I am (for real or imagined reasons) concerned about the supposed "Jewish Lobby."

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