Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thank you to my new Palestinian Arab friend Jey A.Z.

This post is a tribute to my new facebook friend Jey AZ. He is a Palestinian Arab man who lives in Ramallah, West Bank. He and his close Jewish friend G decided to challenge me to face and overcome my overwhelming fear and hatred of Palestinian Arabs. I thank them both for their act of love, courage, and compassion for me. I thank Jey AZ for making me feel safe enough inside myself to start looking at and facing my fears about his people. I was pleasantly stunned when he said that he was outraged by the Iranian regime calling for the destruction and slaughter of a whole nation, the Jews. He also made clear his total rejection of suicide terrorism. I honestly didn’t believe I would ever hear such healing proclamations from any Arab man, let alone a Palestinian Arab man.

I explained to Jey AZ that I was raised in a Jewish home that was characterized by overwhelming emotional terror and abuse. I was rejected as a human being and a woman from birth by my father and by my mother from a young age and eventually by my maternal grandmother as well. In this atmosphere of terrifying fear and captivity, I needed a scapegoat to blame and externalize my fears. I chose the Palestinian Arabs because they are the easiest and most acceptable target to hate in Jewish culture.

Now that I have freed myself from captivity just over three months ago, I no longer need an external enemy to define me as a Jew. I can let go of treating the Arabs in general, and the Palestinian Arabs in particular, as scapegoats for my emotional suffering. I feel like after meeting Jey AZ that I have found a human being on the other side who actually understands me better than some of my fellow Jews. All of a sudden being Jewish feels safe and free because I don’t have to be afraid anymore of the Palestinian people. I was reading some Hasidic Jewish literature today and really enjoying it because all of a sudden I could define my Jewishness in a positive rather than a negative sense. I feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders, like a gigantic albatross has been removed from my neck.

I am writing a book on verbal abuse. I was re-reading a book on verbal abuse and I could feel my spirit coming alive inside me because I was beginning to feel liberated from some of my deepest fears about being Jewish. I was reading this book with new eyes of hope, courage, strength and inspiration. I felt much stronger and healthier inside myself. I realized that I have to begin dealing with and healing from this trauma related to my fears about the Palestinian Arabs before I can write this book in a spirit of inner wholeness and security.

Does this mean I totally accept the idea of a Palestinian state? Not really. Am I still angry and fearful toward the Palestinian Arab side for murdering 1,500 Israeli Jewish kids and mothers in 2000 to 2004 under the Arafat war? Yes.

But I do appreciate very much that Jey AZ explained to me how the new PLO / PA regime has banned the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and is now arresting terrorists instead of financing and leading them as under Arafat. Do I see the humanity of the Palestinian Arab side? Yes absolutely. Does this mean I now understand that I need to consider the other side, the Palestinian viewpoint, when thinking about Israel? Yes. Do I now need to think about how the Israeli checkpoints which are designed to ensure Jewish security contribute unintentionally to human suffering on the Palestinian Arab side? Yes. Do I feel like a different and better human being inside? Yes completely.

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