Erstellt am: 18. 1. 2013 - 17:41 Uhr
The country I have most submerged myself in professionally and privately without ever having set one actual foot in, is Israel.
I have faint childhood memories of my Egyptian father telling stories of how lovely it was as a beach holiday destination but also of how horrible it was with regards to how Arabs such as himself were treated.
As a teenager, via The Diary of Anne Frank, I started a journey into the past that still continues and affects me profoundly, not just because of the impact of the Second World War and the Holocaust, but because of the survivors I have had the privilege to meet and their enduring message - those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
I have found identical character and behaviour traits between myself and the many Israeli friends I have met in the course of my life so far... I have felt such a familiarity and kinship and had some major laughs (my friend Avi became my de facto brother when we both lived in London back in the day).
An instant camaraderie hasn't just been restricted to private friendships. I will never forget the occassion of a Middle East Women in Journalism Forum I was asked to host at Vienna's Bruno Kreisky Forum, a quite serious affair punctuated by the roaring laughter of yours truly and three ladies from Israel, Egypt, and Gaza, each respectively well-known in their region for their media presence. We couldn't stop laughing because even our laughter sounded the same.
This type of kinship and a deep-rooted respect I have not only for history but for every human being's right to exist and live a life of dignity and equality, is the reason any accusation of anti-semitism pointed my way, feels like a stinging slap to my face and a sharp punch to my stomach.
Because that's what I have gotten.
For questioning the policies of a government occupying the land of a people and forcing them into what has been termed the world's largest prison. For criticising the erection of a wall, the demolition of houses, the destruction of crops, the poisoning of water, the building of strategic settlements, the massive imbalance between numbers of casualties, between people hurt, between people broken.
Accusations of anti-semitism are hurtful and make me angry but the accusation of being a bleeding-heart-idealist/dumbass for applauding the efforts of such grassroots organisations as Israel Loves Iran and Real Democracy Israel, that really gets my goat.
Is it so wrong to strive for peace? Is it so wrong to think that just because something has been one way for generations, it can't be another way in the future?
I want to visit Israel someday. I want to soak in the sun, swim at the beach, visit the sites. I want to kibitz with the people and greet everyone I meet with a hearty shalom (a traditional Jewish greeting or farewell and it literally means 'peace') knowing that peace is really what's on offer. I continue to hope the day will come when I can set foot on the land of milk and honey and finally be able to say, "Shalom Israel!"
The polls suggest that a government ranked as one of the most rightwing in Israel's history is set to be replaced by one even further to the right. The elections set for January 22nd have already unleashed a torrent of discussion on the future of The Holy Land and The Occupied Territories. With a look at an initiative wherein Israeli "gift" their ballot to ineligible Palestinian "voters", the platform of a party headed by an Israeli-Palestinian woman, and an introduction to the ultra-ultra-nationalist Jewish Home Party, Riem Higazi presents "Israel Votes: An Election Preview"
Dieses Element ist nicht mehr verfügbar