Testimony 17: Anonymous
Last year I attended a virtual event hosted by my synagogue featuring a speaker from an organization called “My Truth”, a group of former IDF soldiers who work to present a positive image of the IDF.
Early in his talk, the speaker showed us photos of Israelis on the beach which he described as normal life for Israelis. He then showed us photos of Palestinian children with weapons, and described this as normal life for Palestinians. I had been expecting the speaker’s political views to differ from mine, but this flagrant racism genuinely shocked me.
When I spoke to a couple of people in the community after the event they agreed that the comments were racist and unacceptable. But I believe we need a public discussion about anti-Palestinian racism, so that people feel empowered to challenge it when it arises, and say that it is unacceptable in Jewish spaces.
I know my community would not tolerate generalisations of this kind about other groups. I think the idea that Palestinians are inherently violent has however become normalised and accepted in our community because it has long been employed to justify Israel’s policies in the West Bank. It saddens me that our community’s determination to encourage uncritical support for Israel has resulted in racism being tolerated when it comes to Palestinians.