They play off of each other like an improv game from, "Who's Line is it Anyway." Only this situation is not so funny. At risk is the perception that the myriad of Jewish people, of all races and colors, are actually some form of fascism. For Palestine, the greater risk is the perception that all of their sons should be viewed as terrorists and watched carefully, destroying the benefit of the doubt. For Jews, the cost is rising anti-Judaism. For Arabs, the cost is rising Anti-semitism that labels all of their people and some of the Jews as well as an enemy to the free world.
Meanwhile, back in Israelistein, kids of high school age and above who should be partying, who surf the net, and who have at some times learned of America's triumph over racial hatred are completely stripped of their personal ability to love their neighbor.
I am an Israeli, and recenty my friend took me to a hairdresser who was Lebanese. Freida was amazing. The similarity in our hair helped her give me the perfect cut. The similarity in our heritage gave us an idea of the ideal relationship for Muslims and Jews. Freida asked me if I thought the situation would get better over there. I answered with a resounding yes. Why? Because our generation will know of M.L.K.. Our generation will have seen the connections in music we love, clothes we wear, globalization gone wrong, yet still able to unite us in some ways. We don't want our grandparents wars anymore. Freida remarked that many radicals burned our flags and protested us. I reminded her of our own mutual past. And an Iranian joke I read where they were holding anti American signs while they stood in line for U.S. visas. That is the irony, everyone, including mine and Freida's parents, knew that it would be better for us here, where we could live with relatively little Mid-East prejudice. Freida and I dress like regular Americans, we talk like regular Americans, and we love it. We appreciate the right to do what we want. I for one am happy I didn't have to serve in the army. Doubtless she is happy she didn't have to wear a headscarf, considering she loves her hair.
Perhaps it is a sad thing that we have lost touch with our ancestry to the point where we feel their causes are irrelivant to our happiness here in America. Or perhaps it is the fact that we enjoy our being able to speak without hatred to each other, our being able to learn whatever history we believe in, our being able to make a living without fear of bombings or tanks.
The real issue at stake is leadership. You can call "Arab Anger," something to be feared, or "Israeli Occupation," something to be ashamed of. Still, youthful exuberance, opportunity, education, and love can and have always overcome cliche propogandized hatred. What do we want, Freida and I?
I suspect what everyone in Israel/Palestine want, freedom from bad leadership that will not allow us to live like young adults, but rather forces our relatives in the Middle East to live like pawns. Neither Sharon nor Arafat want this to end because it is their power at stake. They have a vested interest in not allowing us to live in peace and they will finance this interest until the end. When we recognise finally that our mutual leadership has steered us away from the more modern values of tolerance and good working relationships, these leaders will hopefull be gone with the era of hatred they propogate. It will be the last groups of the alphabet, Generations X, Y, and Z, that will make something of our collective consciousness, our collective soul, our New Age openmindedness, our Beneton colors, or else it will be Sharon and Arafat's old stupid semitic men that end it all before we take leadership.