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As an American, I lived through Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush whose policies, domestic and foreign, were horrific. But I never gave up my American citizenship, nor my allegiance to my country despite the many criticisms from abroad. As a Jew, to disassociate myself with my homeland, and the millions of Jews who perished over the centuries solely because they were Jews, would be to deny who I am. I can support Israel without supporting settlements, intolerant religious fanatics, or Netanyahu, Bennett or Lieberman. I can show my support for those who would change Israel to rekindle the ideals by which it was founded, whether through JPAC, New Israel Fund, or other organizations. And I can support their right to exist without shame or apology.
But anyone who believes what is happening in the Arab streets or the streets of Paris is only about Israel’s current foreign policy or strife in Gaza are mistaken and naïve. One need only listen to the actual words spoken by Hamas, Hezbollah, and others – their anger is not just directed at Israelis but all Jews. This is the hate they teach their children. The placards in the recent demonstrations read “Death to Jews” and “Free Palestine from the River to the Sea”. In their world there is no place for Jews. And this is the tragedy throughout history, no matter how relatively comfortable our lives may have been in Europe prior to World War II, or in Spain prior to the Inquisition, or in all of the Arab nations prior to 1948, we were never fully accepted and we were forced into exile or worse time and time again. The current strife in Gaza is just the latest excuse for anti-Semitism to raise its ugly head, not the cause of it.