Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

A Bad Way To Represent Your People

One thing I've noticed secular Israelis often have problems understanding is how the Jewish side of their identity is noticed by the rest of the world. Perhaps it's a result of the rampant secularism in Chiloni culture, or perhaps it's because in a country where Jews are the majority it lacks the special nature that it goes out here in the Diaspora, but many of my non-religious Israeli friends have no clue that when they travel abroad they're seen as anything other than Israelis. It is impossible to convince them that, to the world at large, there is no such thing as an Israeli. In Canada, the U.S. and Europe they are seen as Jews. Period.

That's why stories of Israelis behaving badly bother me so much. This isn't the first time an incident like this has happened either. What these kids don't, and possibly cannot realize, is that the local news media will not report this story as a bunch of foreign kids who went wild at their hotel. It's be "Jews misbehave and cause problems for locals".

Why does this matter so much? Because whether they want to be or not, Israelis are ambassadors for the Jewish people whenever they travel abroad and that's a great responsibility. We are involved in an existential struggle with our enemies for our right to have a land of our own in which we can live in peace. We are at war with both Holocaust deniers and those who say it was justified (sometime, that might even be the same person). To give ammunition to these villians is simply not acceptable.

Hopefully this incident will finally tip over something in the Israeli educational system and Israeli students will be taught this important fact. Unfortunately, I'm not hopeful.

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