I’ve got a couple of friends, Barry and Akrum. Barry is a Canadian Jew who has been living in the US for a number of years. Akrum is a Palestinian who immigrated to the US several years ago from Isreal to get his family away from the violence. Akrum is a restrauntuer running a pizza and deli place near the local university. He makes some wonderful middle-eastern meals. Akrum and Barry are very good friends. On occassion they discuss the politics of the Middle East.
Now Barry is supportive of Isreael but he will be the first to tell you that he is a Canadian, not an Israeli. Akrum is a supporter of the Palestinians and would like to see a Palestinian homeland but he also will acknowledge Israel’s right to exist and absolutely opposses terrorism.
I’ve learned a lot from these two. I’ve learned that two people can have passionate feelings about opposing views and still be great friends. I’ve learned that being pro-Israel doesn’t have to mean anti-Palestinian and that being pro-Palestinian doesn’t have to mean anti-Israeli. I’ve also learned that one can be a Jew and also appalled at some of the things that Israel has done. I’ve learned that one can be a Palestinian, disagree with Israel’s policies and still acknowledge the right of Israel to exist and denounce all violence toward her.
I wish more people could get to know Barry and Akrum.