An answer to the question, ‘Why do you care so much about Israel/Palestine?’ | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

An answer to the question, ‘Why do you care so much about Israel/Palestine?’

Several years ago, a student in my Israel-Palestine course approached me after class with a question. Why, he wanted to know, did I care so much about this subject?

The student liked my course, considered it fair-minded and had no complaints about the way I was teaching it. Though he didn’t share many of my critical views about Israel he understood and respected them. But why, he was wondering, did the subject so consume me? Why did my relationship to this history feel so intense, so visceral?

Had I been a staunch defender of Israel the student probably wouldn’t have found my emotional investment surprising. Especially since I was avowedly Jewish it would have seemed to him “normal” for me to be teaching a class extolling Zionism and Israel. But what could be driving a Jew to invest so much critical energy in the subject?

It was an honest question.

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