Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Was Once One Of Them

Having been raised fairly traditionally as a Jew, I used to think my view of the Israel/Palestine conflict was quite balanced. A lot of people were getting killed on both sides, and neither side was completely right or completely wrong. Well, I still don't think either leadership is perfect, but as far as people getting killed, the numbers are quite disproportionate on the side of the Palestinians. Still, it was only around 2005 that my views started changing. Many people ask me what the turning point for me was.

One of the major things was meeting people from that part of the world. It is so easy to hang on to ideals when we live insulated lives. I had never known any Palestinians. Frankly, I had never really known any Arabs. The crisis in the Middle East now had faces and names personal to me.

Another major factor was getting involved in the progressive and activist movement. Prior to this, my social life was pretty well restricted to evangelical Christians and others with Zionist viewpoints. Combine that with Zionism at home, and it makes for someone with a pretty one-sided view. In fact, the more "religious" I got, the more pro-Israel I became. I still consider myself a person of faith, though with a much more liberal theology and worldview. And my worldview includes a free Palestine.

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