Why am I organizing the Gaza boat? Because Jewish history commands me

People often ask me why I am part of a team to organize a U.S. Boat to Gaza that will be sailing this month with the next International Flotilla to break the siege of Gaza. They often make clear they are asking because I am an American Jew, whose family survived the Holocaust with some surviving family members ending up in Israel. And my only answer is: How could I not?

My parents raised me with stories about what happened in Germany and their family’s escape. I came to see that Israel represented for them a safe haven should there be another attempt at annihilating Jews. And yet, at the same time, they worried it was not so safe a haven given the animosity and physical threats and violence in the area.

But no one ever mentioned the displacement of 750,000 Arabs that was the result of the creation of Israel. I vaguely knew there were people living there, but I was never curious about who these “others” were. All I took away from my family’s history and the atrocities endured was that this should never happen again to anyone, anywhere.

Growing up in the ‘60s, I became active in opposition to the war in Vietnam, the anti-apartheid struggle and the women’s rights movement and later became involved in opposing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As a social worker, I was focused on social justice issues but never questioned the relationship between the U.S. and Israel and their policies regarding Palestinians. 

Then came the war on Gaza and a real political awakening for me.

Operation Cast Lead and the Goldstone Report were the catalysts. In November 2008, the ceasefire ended: Israeli soldiers broke it in a cross-border raid killing six members of Hamas and, in response, rockets were launched into Israel. Israel, fortified with American weaponry, attacked the people of Gaza. Approximately 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed compared to 13 Israelis. Gaza was pulverized. Judge Richard Goldstone and his team did a thorough report of the causalities on both sides. There was no doubt that the people of Gaza were disproportionally affected.

Right after the invasion in Gaza I realized I could no longer remain silent. I became one of the organizers of a group called Jews Say No! in New York City. We wanted to speak out and to make clear that the Israeli government did not speak in our name as they claimed. I began reading about the occupation, settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the building of the separation wall, Jewish-only streets for Israeli settlers, special identity papers for Palestinian citizens of Israel (one step away from wearing a yellow star) and the other indignities endured by the people of Palestine on a daily basis. And I saw the total collusion by the U.S. government – its unconditional support no matter what the Israeli government did, including giving them 30 billion dollars over a 10-year period for weaponry (F16s, Apache helicopters, white phosphorous, Caterpillar bulldozers used to destroy homes in Bedouin encampments) used ruthlessly against the Palestinians. This was intolerable for me. 

I understand the fears and frustrations of Israelis being fired upon by rockets and the resultant deaths and injuries. But what about the thousands of Palestinians being killed and whose homes, schools, hospitals, farms, mills, factories and infrastructure are being destroyed? What about a people living under a brutal occupation who are being denied the right to live with dignity in their own homeland? 

The siege and blockade of Gaza continue. The Israeli government controls the land, sea and air of this small area (25 miles long and roughly six miles wide) where 1.6 million people live. There has been no movement in recent years unless Israel allowed it. (Egypt’s partial opening of the Rafah gate to human traffic, though not to commerce, is a positive sign if it is allowed to grow). Most people cannot travel in or out of Gaza because of continuing restrictions, 61 percent of the population is food insecure, the unemployment rate is around 45 percent, one of the highest in the world, and exports remain banned with the exception of limited items like strawberries and carnations for European markets. Gaza is called an open-air prison even by England’s Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Given all this, I can remain silent no longer. Every day Palestinians are confronting the Israeli government at the wall, at check points, at demolition sites. They risk their lives. Like the Freedom Rides our boat is sailing to call attention to the illegal occupation and siege of Gaza.

My humanity and my Jewishness – Jewish history – demand my being part of an organizing effort to end the inhumane treatment of the Palestinians. The U.S. Boat, called The Audacity of Hope, will sail in late June to Gaza as part of the Freedom Flotilla 2-Stay Human. We will be approximately 50 individuals from across the U.S. committed to non-violence, human rights and freedom and justice for the Palestinian people.

To date, tens of thousands of individuals and over 80 organizations have endorsed this U.S. campaign and each day more sign on to travel with us in name. We travel in peace for justice, and I am proud to be part of this international effort. 

Jane Hirschmann is a member of Jews Say No!, a psychotherapist from New York City, co-author of three books, and one of the organizers of the U.S. Boat to Gaza. More information about the The Audacity of Hope is available at www.ustogaza.org.

UPDATE: Original headline on this post said that Hirschmann is on the boat. She is not.

About Jane Hirschmann

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 72 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. seafoid says:

    “The displacement of 750,000 Arabs” sounds so much more acceptable than the dispossession and expulsion of the native Palestinian population

  2. Chu says:

    I became one of the organizers of a group called Jews Say No! in New York City

    It would probably be a more effective organization if it wasn’t only for Jews. Do you think Jews are the only ones who should partake in political opposition to Israel? You live in a city that has diverse ethnic population, and I think you should try and include them as well. Israel not only affects Jews in America, it affects each and everyone of us.

    • Mooser says:

      The group is called “Jews say No!”, but I don’t think she says it is for Jews only. I would assume no religious investigation is made when you join.

    • James says:

      chu – i think the idea is to raise awareness of the fact many jews are opposed to what israel is presently doing…. it would be harder to convey that with a group called ‘people say no’ for example…

      • Chu says:

        James, I see. But I think a name like ‘Americans say No to Israel’s Oppression’, would bring in a larger array of activism in NYC.
        I’m part of JVP, but I’m not Jewish. Larger numbers of people should be critical of this ally, and by not using Jews in the title, it may attract a larger group to stand together.

  3. GuiltyFeat says:

    At least this writer has the courage to admit the purpose of the flotilla. She doesn’t use the word “aid” at any point in the article.

    I’m fine with the flotilla setting out in protest against Israel. I just wish people would stop trying to pretend it’s about delivering aid.

    • Chu says:

      The flotilla highlights Israel’s illegal blockade on an imprisoned population.

      It’s not just about aid, it’s about applying media pressure to a state who is violation of international law. The behavior of the state is immoral, putting Gazans on a diet. Do you feel this blockade, imposed since 2007, is justified? Is it sustainable or not?

      1.5 million people have been pushed into a corner to make way for a 20th century Jewish State and now they are being starved to death.

    • Mndwss says:

      You have courage to admit your hate for aid. (As long as it goes to Palestinians).

    • I read the comments yesterday and I felt some of the comments were a bit harsh on you, But reading your post today I tend to admit that they were entirely right.
      It is not a protest it is an attempt to break an immoral siege step by step.
      If Israel doesn’t let the flotilla go, there will be an uproar against her and more pressure from all around the world, if Israel let the flotilla through, more ships will follow …
      What is it that you don’t understand ?

    • Mooser says:

      “I’m fine with the flotilla setting out….”

      Whew! It was so expensive sitting there with the engines idling, waiting for your permission. Weigh anchor, Capt!

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      Oh, come on. Why do you think people want to break the blockade? Because it is having a disasterous affect on the delivery of aid to the Palestinians and destroying their lives.

      Your’s is a bit like making the point that one doens’t die from “falling” off a roof, he dies by hitting the ground. Yes, it’s a protest against Israel. Why? Because Israel is choking the Gazans.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      You just can’t wait to see these people dead, can you? Remind us again how much you supposedly oppose the blockade you’re imposing that cause Gazan children to starve, and yet you fight tooth and nail against anything and everything that countermands it.

  4. GuiltyFeat says:

    “Do you feel this blockade, imposed since 2007, is justified? Is it sustainable or not?”

    No I do not believe the blockade is justified. Nor do I believe it is sustainable.

    I believe it should be protested, vigorously.

    I believe that there have to be smarter ways of doing that than by provoking the Israeli army.

    • Chu says:

      The population of Israel needs to bring this change.
      What do you see inside the state that may bring some change?

      You seem to talk about smarter ways of doing things.
      What do you suggest?

    • Mooser says:

      Well, whoopee for you, Guilty Feat. And I admire your good sense in coming here to say that. Shows the kind of self-preservation so prevalent in our history.

    • Mndwss says:

      “I believe it should be protested, vigorously.”

      Just don’t say or do anything to provoke!

    • Mooser says:

      “I believe that there have to be smarter ways of doing that than by provoking the Israeli army.”

      Gosh, I hate to be a vocabulary critic, but isn’t there a better name for an “army” which can be “provoked” to violence against the orders of its officers? What was that word? “brabble”? No, wait “smurderors”?
      Oh, I’m sorry Guilty, you’re making it clear that, of course, the Israeli troops will wait for the proper orders, and carry out their assigned functions. They’re not some murderous rabble.

    • They’re not provoking anybody. All the sadistically violent IDF have to do is to escort them and make sure the aid is delivered. IF, that is, aid gets through, as you have been falsely claiming. Israel is salivating at the thought of more violence against protesters, but its main point is that Israel completely controls Gaza, cuts it off, all illegal, and ensures people die from lack of medicine, housing and infrastructure. I suppose you would be against relieving the Warsaw Ghetto too, on the grounds that it would be provocative. I mean, you don’t want to go upsetting the sensitive souls of their jailers and torturers, do you? Just make your conscience-easing little protest and go home, safe in the knowledge that nothing has changed, and you can fly your little liberal flag.

    • ToivoS says:

      GF your advice to MLK would be that I support your cause but there have to be smarter ways of doing opposing Jim Crow than by provoking Bull Conner.

      And you know what? That is the advice MLK received from his liberal supporters in both the north and south.

    • Shingo says:

       I believe it should be protested, vigorously.

      I believe that there have to be smarter ways of doing that than by provoking the Israeli army. 

      How about BDS GF? Would you agree to that? It doesn’t provoke the IDF.

      • Everything provokes the IDF. A child provokes them enough to be arrested or shot. A pregnant woman provokes them to violence. A shepherd provokes them to attack. These people are provoked by the sight of Palestinians or activists, such is the flaky hair-trigger nature of their hatred, nurtured for years by the Israeli state. And of course the knowledge that there will be no retribution for whatever atrocities they commit.

  5. eljay says:

    >> I believe that there have to be smarter ways of doing that than by provoking the Israeli army.

    It’s interesting that “the most moral army in the world” should feel provoked by a peaceful* flotilla attempting to provide aid and succor to oppressed people.

    (*I say ‘peaceful’ because I do not expect that the flotilla will attempt to run down, hijack or destroy Israeli ships; assault or kill Israeli soldiers; or launch raids or attacks upon Israel itself.)

  6. Mooser says:

    I mean, you just gotta sit back and marvel, a Jew who can’t come to grips with the fact that the Jews are a religious minority! And thinks his kids will be damaged if they don’t grow up where there is Jewish supremacy? And then is irresistibly drawn, directed by God, to become the ethical, moral, and religious arbiter of Mondoweiss! Brave new world, that has such screechers in it, or something.

    oh, crap, I clumsily pressed the “submit” button.

  7. James says:

    jane – thanks for this article and having the clarity of mind to see the need for what you are doing here… bravo and thank you..

  8. yourstruly says:

    “this should never happen again to anyone, anywhere”

    the glue that binds together the oppressed of the world

    the reason 1/4 of the audacity of hope’s passengers & crew are jews with another 1/4 being people of color

    the long and short of it?

    whether one sides with the oppressed or the oppressor

    jewish history?

    the history of all peoples

    one time or another

    one way or another

    but with the future racing towards us now?

    the chance to turn things around

    -

  9. MHughes976 says:

    You’re doing a great thing, Jane, and for good reasons. You cite humanity and Jewish history as motivators, but the actual argument seems to be all about humanity. Where do specifically Jewish things come into the picture? – If you’re too busy actually doing something important, rather than just talking about it, to answer ‘theoretical’ questions like this it would be very understandable.

    • AM says:

      Does it matter? If any belief system can be taken and positioned to align with universal ideas of humanity that we all agree with, I’m not going to complain. Better than having a wedge, artificial or real, injected into the conversation. Makes isolating extremists easier

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        I’m not so sure, AM. If someone cites humanism and a religion, but only applies the humanism, it can give succor to those members of the religion who would use it to advance non-humane goals. If, on the other hand, people say “to hell with what my religion [religious authority, whatever] supposedly says, I’m doing what I know is right, based on reason and humanism” then that could have a real positive trickle down effect.

        Anything that defangs religion, and gets it out of the public sphere, is okay by me.

        • AM says:

          sorry for replying so late (I don’t even know if you will see this)

          “Anything that defangs religion, and gets it out of the public sphere, is okay by me.”

          Is an equally dangerous comment. Imagine what falls under the category of ‘anything’

          FWIW, I’ve pretty much fallen by the wayside as far as religion is concerned, but I’ve seen and experienced how it can be such a beautiful force of good in this world.

          For all the problems you claim religion brings, its non existance will not remove those problems. People will find something else to twist and control a population with, and the non existance of organized religion will have little to no impact on that.

  10. seafoid says:

    i don’t buy this “Jewish history necessitates I take a stand” . What sort of tikkun olam does the Jewish community have to show, honestly? Apart from the freedom rides? and what privileges did they cede to the Southern blacks ?

    • sherbrsi says:

      I agree. I buy none of this crap about Jewish freedom motivating solidarity with the Palestinians. Jewish communities fought for rights when it was for their interests, when they themselves where living in ghettos and disadvantaged positions. In a post-Israel world, it is (as made abundantly clear by the Jewish communities of the Western world), in their interests to promote an ethnic-exclusive state at any cost (no matter if it infringes on any number of Palestinian/Arab/human rights).

      The comments here and especially some of the self-indulgent (but sincere solidarity activists) make it seem like they are answering some predisposed call to liberate another people, as if them being Jews makes them specially inclined to do so.

      • sherbrsi- To what do you attribute Jews voting overwhelmingly Democratic?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          The same Democratic Party that started extraordinary rendition and finalized perpetual trade deficit with China under the Clinton administration? The same one that voted almost unanimously for the Patriot Act in the US Senate? The same one that’s continuing to run Gitmo and actually increased the number of drone attacks we field and thus has actually increased the US’ civilian to militant kill ratio? That Democratic Party, WJ?

        • patm says:

          wondering jew,

          You called me a Jew hater and offered no proof. I expect an apology from you.

        • MHughes976 says:

          I could well understand if someone said ‘My reflections on Jewish history tell me of the importance of universal values and of human liberty’. I would only say that reflection in the same spirit on (say) the troubled and tainted history of the Christian Church would have the same effect.
          It is the case – and perhaps we Euros see it even more clearly than Americans – that Jewish people were able, because they were coming into the Euro intellectual world after a time of exclusion, to offer a critique of Euro ideas and institutions that Christians, being the traditional exponents of those ideas, were less able to do. It’s a bit of cliche to refer in this context to Spinoza, Marx and Freud, but there’s truth in some cliches.

        • patm, if you recall i downgraded it to judeophobe. and then afterwards i said that you make my antenna quiver. I am sorry i called you a jew hater.

        • No, Chaos, the Democratic party that passed the civil rights act of 1964 and that has lost the white vote ever since. the Democratic party that nominated a black candidate that lost the white vote by a wide margin but won 78% of the Jewish vote. that Democratic party.

        • patm says:

          Wondering jew: “patm, if you recall i downgraded it to judeophobe. and then afterwards i said that you make my antenna quiver. I am sorry i called you a jew hater.”

          Calling me a Jew hater (i.e. a Judeophobe) was a nasty slur, wj. Thank you for this apology.

      • RoHa says:

        (Pssst. I agree, sherbrsi, but rights are just infringed, not “infringed on”. You use the “on” when “infringe” means “trespass” on territory.)

  11. seafoid says:

    There is more than just the Gaza siege. The whole system that values Jews over Palestinians is immoral and Jews have to face up to that. Zionism is such a disaster for the religion because :

    a) it brings out the worst in those who believe “we are superior because we have suffered so much” and ” we are the chosen people” . It reinforces an inward looking tendency at the expense of far more important externally shared values

    b) it has coopted and corrupted virtually all of mainstream Jewish thinking

    c) Because it is deeply immoral it has no long term future and dehitching the Jewish wagon from the Zionist horse is going to be deeply traumatic

    South Africa was a piece of cake by comparison.

    • yourstruly says:

      traumatic as in boo-hoo, boo-hoo, boo-hoo, buy with no casualties taken

      & traumatic for the zionists perhaps, but exhilerating for us humanist, anti-zionist jews

      & doesn’t the impact of jews openly supporting the palestinian cause merit consideration? It gives cover to those who hesitate in coming out for justice in palestine for fear of being called an antisemite – “hey, how can I be an antisemite when a quarter of the passengers on the audacity of hope were jewish” sort of thing?

      • RoHa says:

        “hey, how can I be an antisemite when a quarter of the passengers on the audacity of hope were jewish”

        If you say that, you are an anti-Semite for noticing and commenting on the fact.

        But you will be an anti-Semite whatever you do, so you might as well point it out.

  12. Theo says:

    I know this blog is mostly jewish, however I am sick and tired of this constant jewish culture, jewish history, jewish heritage, jewish suffering, jewish obligation, etc, etc.

    There are many peoples who suffered more than the jews did, ( the kurds, the armenians or the gypsies for example), nations with longer and more glorious history, arabs and the chinese contributed more to the science, architecture, etc. Even today we use arabic numbers.

    Jews gave us the bible, a history book jazzed up with hundreds of fairy tales, not much more. All inventions during the past hundred years done by “jews” has nothing to do with a jewish nation, ( as there is no such thing), but those scientists, authors, composers were german, english, hungarian, american, russian, etc. with a jewish religion. They studied and learned in universities of those nations, not in a jewish cultural factory!

    There are no catholic scientists, evangelist authors, buddhist actors, moslem politicians, episcopal musicians, they are simply americans, or french, or german, or russian. So cut out this jewish BS and be an american who cares for others. End of the tirade.

    • GuiltyFeat says:

      Theo, I’m not an American. I’m an Israeli Jew.

      I am sorry that “this constant jewish culture” has been so overpowering to your sensibilities.

      You might be interested to know that many of the scientists, authors and composers you reference from Germany, England, Hungary, America and Russia succeeded despite being from those places given that each of those nations exercised varying degrees of prejudice against their own Jewish citizens including the enforcement of strict quotas on how many Jews were allowed to study and learn in their universities.

      Jews make up 2% of the US population but over 35% of the recipients of the National Medal of Science winners since the first award in 1963. How would you explain this “jewish BS”?

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Jews make up 2% of the US population but over 35% of the recipients of the National Medal of Science winners since the first award in 1963. How would you explain this “jewish BS”?

        What’s your answer to that, GF? No fair putting up a provocative question like that if you aren’t willing to put your money where your mouth is, first.

      • patm says:

        Just out of interest, guilty, why haven’t you answered my June 15th question regarding Major General Mickey Levy, police commander in Jerusalem from 2000 to 2004?

        • GuiltyFeat says:

          patm – check again.

          Now stop trolling.

        • Mooser says:

          “Now stop trolling.”

          Gosh, what would we do here without our arbiter, Guilty Feat?
          Who would tell us who is a troll, and who is not conforming to the niceties of debate? How would we know?

          I bet Guilty Feat, whose every comment reeks of pretension and entitlement and bigotry, has alienated more people (and more Jews, for that matter) from Israel than anything else ever printed at Mondoweiss.

        • patm says:

          “Done” you say! The worst kind of trolling, you say.

          Your answer to my question, “So, guilty, why on earth should we believe Mickey Levy when he tells a reporter that Israeli “officers had to be sure they could see a suicide vest or explosives before they opened fire”?” is pathetic. It won’t do.

          Listen to yourself: ” Er… no reason, I guess. It’s of absolutely no consequence to me either way who you believe. I just thought it was interesting.”

          So, you think it “interesting” to trot out Major General Mickey Levine as a reliable source despite knowing his despicable record of dealing with non-violent Palestinian protestors.

          You are the troll, guilty, the worst kind.

      • Mooser says:

        “Theo, I’m not an American. I’m an Israeli Jew.”

        Nah, he’s from Crete, cause all cretins are liars. Anyone who wants to find out which merry olde country “Guilty Feat” (I never, ever met a Jewish family named “Feats”. And you can’t raise a cane back up if it’s in defeat. God, they were great) all you have to do is click on his name, and it will bring you to an archive of his comments. As I recall, he’s a Englishmen.
        But Zionists and Israelis, I have found in my life, lie as easily as they breath.

        • Mooser says:

          An Englishman who, as I recall, abandoned his father and family because they did not approve of him going into the street and inciting fights over religion. Fights he usually lost, and they had to pay the bills. So he left for Israel, where Ashkenazi Jews never lose!

      • Mooser says:

        “Jews make up 2% of the US population but over 35% of the recipients of the National Medal of Science winners since the first award in 1963. How would you explain this “jewish BS”?”

        You just did, idiot!

        • Mooser says:

          And Theo, I understand that Guilty Feat is compelled to be polite, but I’m not. Listen, just get it through your head, Theo, once and for all, you are not as smart, and not as good, as a Jew.
          Well, except me, of course, but as Micheal Jackson once screeched: “One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch, girl”

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        “Jews make up 2% of the US population but over 35% of the recipients of the National Medal of Science winners since the first award in 1963. How would you explain this ‘jewish BS’?”

        I would explain it the same way I would explain the fact that, although that Jews make up 2% of the US population, there is only 1 Jewish NASCAR driver. Success follows interests.

      • Mooser says:

        “I am sorry that “this constant jewish culture” has been so overpowering to your sensibilities.”

        Gosh, Guilty Feat, isn’t that exactly the same reason you left England? As a matter of fact, your archived comments very plainly show that you could not stand living in what you considered a predominantly non-Jewish society, nor could you envision yourself raising children in the absence of Jewish supremacy.
        It’s all there in your archived comments.

  13. Mooser says:

    “I know this blog is mostly jewish, however I am sick and tired of this constant jewish culture, jewish history, jewish heritage, jewish suffering, jewish obligation, etc, etc.”

    Darn it, Theo, if you don’t like my jokes, just say so!

  14. Theo says:

    GF

    Yes, only 2% of the population, however 14-15% of the Senate and the congress is jewish, 70% of the TV executives, (according to their own answer on a survey), 80% of the Hollywood top people, and Wall Street is practically owned by them. The same goes for the MSM, mutual funds, hedge funds, etc.
    The question is: are jews smarter than any other person or they have the money and buy their politicians and positions?

    On the other hand, if we have a huge financial or real estate fraud going into hundreds of millions or even billions, the perpetrators are mostly jewish, such as Milken, Medoff, van Boer, etc.
    The second question is: are jews more crooked and dishonest than the rest of the nation?

    My oldest friend from high school days is jewish, however you do not hear him telling that to the world every single day! We knew eachother for 10 years before I even knew it and that was nearly 50 years ago.
    I don´t tell anyone every day that I am a christian, either.
    Got the point?

    • Mooser says:

      “We knew eachother for 10 years before I even knew it”

      It’s not easy for me to hide the fact that I’m Jewish. The very birds in the trees announce it as I walk by!

  15. Theo says:

    GF

    I remember you telling us that you have a british and an israeli passport and considering getting one from the land of your parents.
    That shows how much you appreciate your land of birth and the land given to you by God!

    • GuiltyFeat says:

      Theo, buddy, this is all getting too weird.

      Please tell me what percentage of Jews in the senate you would feel comfortable with?

      I grew up in a Christian country where I was forced by law to refrain from work on the Christian day of rest and take compulsory holidays to commemorate Christian festivals. I had to use my vacation days to observe the holy days of my own faith. The flag of the country was made up of the crosses of three Christian saints. I was expected to respect the flag. The monarch of the country was also the head of its church – my money, stamps and passport all bore her head.

      I understand that it may be impossible for you to empathize with how uncomfortable that made me feel. I’m happy you don’t feel the need to tell everyone you’re a Christian, but when your society is built around your own faith, there’s little need to go on about it.

      I promise you that here in Israel, I never mention that I am a Jew to anyone.

      I think your obsession with the numbers of Jews in different professions in the US is unhealthy. You should probably try not to think about it so much.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        See, this is exactly the sort of trolling I expected from you, GF.

        You know what I think? I think it’s disingenuous for you to be able to say, “Jews get more awards than you do and that makes us superior! How many Arabs get awards for science and peace prizes, huh?” and then turn around and try to stick people with “anti-Semite!!!” labels if they point out the same facts you do.

        The truth is, GF, you’re a Jewish supremacist. “Jewishness” isn’t an religion or an ethnicity or anything normal to you, like it is to most Jews. To you it’s a source of nationalistic fervor that trumps any loyalty you could possibly have to any other nationality you possess, by birth or otherwise.

        You know what’s ten times harder than being Jewish in a modern Christian society? Being gay. So don’t bitch and moan about how hard you’ve had in the UK. There have been at least a couple of Jewish prime ministers. Have there been any outed, gay prime ministers?

        You can’t sit there and say something like, “Jews get more awards than you do! YOU SUCK!” and then turn around and say, “You’re an anti-Semite for pointing out that Jews get more awards than your own ethnicity!” It’s the same crap that Nazi Germans pulled about wailing why oh why did the rest of Europe persecute them when they were “so obviously superior” by their own warped definitions.

        You’re exactly the same way, GF.

        • GuiltyFeat says:

          “You know what’s ten times harder than being Jewish in a modern Christian society? Being gay.”

          I think that’s probably true. I think there is a difference between one’s religious belief and one’s sexuality. I have been accused of being over-sensitive about growing up as a Jew in a Christian country and that may be true, but I found a way to resolve my problem. I can’t imagine what it must be like growing up gay in a country where every aspect of society proclaims heterosexuality as the “norm” and homosexuality as “outside the norm”. I think I might have found it intolerable.

          Dude, I get that you hate me and that you neither want nor need my empathy. I get that you will even find a way to turn this post into an example of my nazi-emulating hatefulness.

          Nevertheless, I simply wanted to acknowledge your claim that being gay in a modern Christian society must be significantly harder than being Jewish was for me in England.

          I have followed the It Gets Better project since it began and I love the message it sends. Life may seem shit, but it gets better. I truly believe in that message for everyone, everywhere, whatever obstacles they are facing.

      • RoHa says:

        “I understand that it may be impossible for you to empathize with how uncomfortable that made me feel. ”

        Thousands of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs seem to be able to put up with it. Indeed, many have chosen to migrate to Britain in spite of the potential discomfort.

        Perhaps you should stop taking those sensitivity pills.

      • Shmuel says:

        I understand that it may be impossible for you to empathize with how uncomfortable that made me feel.

        We are all minorities – ultimately, a minority of one. Were public religious symbols and holidays the only things that made you feel uncomfortable in British society? From your comments here, I gather you are not particularly comfortable in Israel either – despite Saturdays off and a Jewish symbol on the flag. In England you were also a part of the majority in many ways (indulge the assumptions): native-born, a native speaker of English, a cricket/football fan, a democrat, capitalist (moderate Labourite?), consumerist, well versed in Anglo/American music, film, tv and literature, a Eurosceptic, etc. It was your “home and native land” (to borrow a line from the anthem of my own country of birth). In Israel you are an immigrant, a non-native speaker of Hebrew, liberal-Orthodox in your religious practices and beliefs, and so on and so forth.

        Is this one element – in a country that happens to boast remarkable religious and cultural freedom and diversity – really more important than any other aspect of your personal identity? And what are your conclusions regarding the ways in which people should and can live together in necessarily heterogeneous societies? Do Jews belong in “Christian” countries? Do Muslims? Sikhs? Pastafarians? Are you any less English because you’re not particularly keen on St. George or the Lords Spiritual? Do Christians or Muslims belong in the Jewish state? What are the wider ramifications of your “discomfort” and the solutions you have opted for? As a member in good standing of various minorities, the way in which you have resolved your own discomfort, makes me decidedly uncomfortable.

        • GuiltyFeat says:

          “In England you were also a part of the majority in many ways (indulge the assumptions): native-born, a native speaker of English, a cricket/football fan, a democrat, capitalist (moderate Labourite?), consumerist, well versed in Anglo/American music, film, tv and literature, a Eurosceptic, etc.”

          Well that’s just embarrassing. If you remove the word football, you’re pretty much spot on.

        • patm says:

          guilty: “Well that’s just embarrassing. ****If you remove the word football,**** you’re pretty much spot on.”

          No football fan! Well, that settles the issue. Guilty is definitely a girl!!

        • GuiltyFeat says:

          I’ve never lied to you, patm, you silly troll.

          I’m a cricket and rugby fan. The American’s have it right – Soccer’s for chicks.

      • Bumblebye says:

        GF
        You were “forced by law to refrain from work on the Christian day of rest”???? What the hell century were you born in???
        What absolute codswallop, tripe, rubbish you wrote!
        Huge areas of the working world are not naturally 9 – 5 Mon -Fri, but many of those that are have flex-time, often used to enable early Friday leaving by not just religious (Jews and Muslims) but also hedonists who like a longer weekend. It is also quite easy to find employment which would include mandated Sunday working.
        What a pathologically weird perspective you have for the country of your birth, which has NO laws which would discriminate against you on the basis of your faith. And if any individual or employer did so you would have redress through the law.