Almost a decade ago, I overheard a group of older Jewish men at a suburban St. Louis grocery, sitting, eating and loudly agreeing with one another that all Palestinians were less than dogs and needed to be wiped out. At the time, I was rattled and quickly left the store. For years since then, I have chastised myself for not having the courage to say something polite to them, to perhaps challenge the narrative in their minds.
I took away this lesson from that moment: I have a voice within my own family and my own community. I have defended the Jewish faith and people whenever I have heard a person try to make a disparaging or generalizing remark. I have also argued for the right of Israel to exist without being attacked. And, with some Jewish friends I have tried to share with them the inhumanity of the conditions in the Occupied Territories.
These are not easy conversations. But, it can be easy to dehumanize the other side when we live in silos.
I refuse to raise my children that way.
Image sourced from Flickr and used under a Creative Commons license.