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Jewish day school student first learned about ‘occupation’ when he got to college

Israel/Palestine
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More of the burgeoning conversation among young Jews. Ali Kriegsman and Jana Kozlowski seek funding for a documentary about the Jewish Day Schools’ failure to educate young Jews about Israel. “Before coming to Penn, I never even heard the word occupation mentioned,” says one student. The students are shocked and embarrassed to enter a critical environment where others are better informed, they say. Ian Lustick, professor at Penn, is the eminence grise of the show and says that Jews have a great responsibility, by heritage and for realistic survival reasons, to learn as much as they can about the actual relations of Jews and Arabs in the Middle East.

The documentary appears to have a We-still-love-Israel theme. From the Indiegogo campaign, which has raised $385 or so so far:

On a larger scale, we hope this documentary motivates Jewish communities around the country – synagogues, camps, schools, programs – to stray from a whitewashed Israel narrative and instead engage alternative perspectives and current day complexities, criticisms, and accomplishments. We believe you can love Israel with a critical eye, and we hope this piece exemplifies that breed of love – as well as the hypothesis that Israel can be *taught* with this type of love in mind.

Thanks to Annie Robbins.

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26 Responses

  1. Les
    Les
    February 24, 2014, 11:07 am

    A simple start to ending this miseducation is to use West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem the same way East Berlin and West Berlin were used when that city, like Jerusalem today, was divided. What will it take for the New York Times to report with that acuracy?

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew
      February 24, 2014, 11:55 am

      Les- I understand your point, but East Berlin and West Berlin were divided by a wall for the majority of their existence (1962 to 1989 versus 1945 to 1962). East and West Jerusalem are not divided by a wall (or barbed wire) and have not been for the last 47 years. (It is easier to be accurate regarding a political demarcation, when that demarcation is visible.)

      • Les
        Les
        February 24, 2014, 1:24 pm

        The lack of a visible physical barrier makes it imperative that our media always distinguish between Israel’s West Jerusalem or Israeli occupied East Jerusalem. What justifies this being an age appropriate issue?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 24, 2014, 7:01 pm

        Had a song, too.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        February 25, 2014, 2:14 pm

        Yonah
        Palestinian and Jewish jerusalem might as well be divided by a wall. Jews don’t go to beit hanina or issawiya. Palestinians are more or less banned from West Jerusalem. Jerusalem used to be a holy city.

      • MahaneYehude1
        MahaneYehude1
        February 25, 2014, 3:28 pm

        @seafoid:

        Palestinians are more or less banned from West Jerusalem.

        I don’t know what is the source of your information. When was your last time you visited West Jerusalem? I invite you to Jaffa street, the main street, to see Palestinians enjoy shopping in the shops and eating in restaurants.

  2. Citizen
    Citizen
    February 24, 2014, 11:17 am

    Really? “We believe you can love Germany with a critical eye, and we hope this piece exemplifies that breed of love.” How far did that get Lindbergh with Philip Roth?

  3. Citizen
    Citizen
    February 24, 2014, 11:21 am

    “American school student first learned about ‘occupation’ & Nakba when he randomly got to not college but to Mondoweiss.net. By that time he was a senior citizen worried more about how Obamacare was eating away at his medical insurance benefits.”

  4. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    February 24, 2014, 11:38 am

    Just this morning as NPR and WNYC were patting themselves on the back for their diverse news coverage, blah blah, and asking for more money to support it, I fantasized about a BDS against (or toward ?) NPR and WNYC and NYT etc. asking them to cover Israel and Palestine so that Jews and of course others could have the benefit (often said to be requisite for a democracy to function) of information about reality (rather than silence or propaganda).

    Here we are reminded that some young Jews have gone to Jewish Day schools where they have not learned a damn thing due to censorship. Hillels, too, enjoy/practice a similar censorship. HEY! We have a magic fantasy, don’t subject us to contrary facts!

    Nothing illegal about censorship, of course, salt of the earth in a way, typical of instruction in many places BUT . . .

    HERE’s this kid asked to support Israel and knows nothing about it and leaves school and all its censorship to be injected into a broad-minded (and broadly-educated) mass of university students. What a shock. what a slap at her fondness (I guess) for her parents and schools which she now learns were corrupting her, denying her, treating her like an object (to be propagandized) rather than as an ethical human being.

    Imagine if NYT and NPR had been reporting on I/P as they sometimes seem to claim they do (when fund-raising) all these years (all HER life!). Just imagine. I know, contrary to fact, but we can imagine.

    How do we get OPEN HILLEL to morph into an OPEN NYT and OPEN NPR movement? Has JVP an idea? Have the OPEN HILLEL’s got an idea?

    • Les
      Les
      February 24, 2014, 1:29 pm

      Board members of NPR stations are in a position to insist that Israel/Palestine be accurately covered rather than covered up by NPR since its income heavily depends on that paid by member stations.

  5. CitizenC
    CitizenC
    February 24, 2014, 2:47 pm

    This is interesting, despite the equivocation of the filmmakers, because it challenges the Jewish establishment’s cure-all for liberalism, Jewish education. See Marianne Sanua’s Let Us Prove Strong, her history of the American Jewish Committee post-1945. The AJC went from fretting that Jewish education was inculcating nationalist and self-segregating tendencies in children, in the 1950s, to seizing Jewish day schools with both hands in the 1990s, as the ultimate weapon against the liberal scourges of intermarriage and assimilation. Peter Beinart favors Jewish education also, as a way of reproducing “Jews” who don’t intermarry and care enough to support a liberal Zionism. But not even Jewish education is fully effective, at least against Israel’s current Zionism.

    We may also note the terminal bankruptcy of the US Jewish establishment (and of Beinart’s liberal Zionism) in advocating “education” not as a way of enlightening and broadening minds, but of brainwashing and constraining choice.

    Actually I think Mondo had an earlier post about the indoctrination at one Jewish day school, from an alum.

  6. hophmi
    hophmi
    February 24, 2014, 5:08 pm

    ” We believe you can love Israel with a critical eye”

    Yep. But not on this site.

    • Ellen
      Ellen
      February 24, 2014, 10:52 pm

      How it is that anyone can “love” a country? It is a legal abstract. Not real. Loving Israel or any country is a bizarre fetish.

      How about loving friends, family….other humans?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        February 24, 2014, 11:14 pm

        Ellen- Imagine a boat that was used to save a family from a flood. If someone loved that boat, would that be a fetish? Pre state Zionism saved cousins of mine from a flood (an inferno). Is loving the means that saved their lives a fetish?

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        February 25, 2014, 1:01 am

        Greater Serbia saved a lot of Serbs in Bosnia, Yonah. It was a nice boat that those people loved but it sank in Kosovo.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        February 25, 2014, 2:36 am

        Something for your boat, Yonah

        Well Zionist darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable
        And justice’s lightness has a call that’s hard to hear
        I wrap Bibi’s existential fear around me like a blanket
        I sailed my ship of IDF safety till I sank it,
        I’m crawling on your shore.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUgwM1Ky228

        For the Israel/Palestine space, there is more than one answer to the question of justice.
        But it isn’t Zionism

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        February 25, 2014, 8:52 am

        Imagine a boat that was used to save a family from a flood.

        Yeah, who cares if the boat was used to drown two other families who were not Jewish.

      • joer
        joer
        February 25, 2014, 11:16 am

        I think you can a love a city, land, or country, particularly if you have cherished memories with loved ones that happenned there. However, in this context, when her love for the country comes via ideological indoctrination, I have to wonder how much of the love is for the ideology. And I am sure she made good friends who she loves, but if the friendship is based on adhering to the ideology, how much of a real friendship is it? It’s like having a drinking buddy, and when you stop drinking, you may discover all you had in common was booze.

      • joer
        joer
        February 25, 2014, 11:42 am

        Yonah-
        The young lady was not in a flood, or an inferno for that matter. She went to Hebrew Day School-not the most pleasurable experience, to be sure-but one that led to her “love” was a result of indoctrination-not being rescued from a traumatic experience.

        And to answer your question-in that scenario you present-Yes, the love for the boat would be a fetish-and that wouldn’t be a problem-unless the boat belonged to someone else and you wouldn’t return it.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        February 25, 2014, 3:49 am

        How it is that anyone can “love” a country? It is a legal abstract. Not real. Loving Israel or any country is a bizarre fetish.

        I totally agree. I like my country and I like being German, but “love” would be too strong a word.

      • Walid
        Walid
        February 25, 2014, 9:28 am

        Ellen, it starts with their referring to Israel as “she”; it then degenerates into something more obscene.

    • joemighty
      joemighty
      February 26, 2014, 8:21 am

      for sure.

  7. just
    just
    February 24, 2014, 6:10 pm

    ““Before coming to Penn, I never even heard the word occupation mentioned,” says one student. The students are shocked and embarrassed to enter a critical environment where others are better informed, they say.”

    How in the heck can they be so ignorant, and yet be accepted to
    U. Penn?????????? Don’t they have access to the internet, to other folks, to books? No critical thinking skills at all. No curiosity. And they are accepted to U. Penn……….astonishing.

    Good luck on the documentary. Perhaps they should get the money from their parents and teachers @ their Jewish Day School(s).

    good grief.

    • joemighty
      joemighty
      February 26, 2014, 8:15 am

      Kids of religious parents, directed all their lives by their school’s philosophy—and probably their parents’: not ignorant and changing their view of the world. Not a bad thing. Rich Jewish parents? You are into stereotypes, I think, not surprisingly. Most kids I know—-even, amazingly, Jewish ones—had loans or scholarships or both. Mine did.

  8. Real Jew
    Real Jew
    February 25, 2014, 8:18 pm

    We all know the media is not gonna give an accurate description of the current state of israel . So I think these young folks have a fantastic idea. Convince the jewish community to engage in meaningful and objective debate, educate our children with the truth not propaganda, and silence the fanatic bullies that we all kniw exist among us. If any change is gonna happen it has to start with the jewish community first then we can try to join our Palestinian brothers and sisters in the fight for equality

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