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JLeslie's avatar

Does how you feel about the Israeli Palestinian conflict have anything to do with how you feel about Jews, Israelis, Palestinians or Muslims in your country?

Asked by JLeslie (60827points) January 13th, 2015 from iPhone

Or, when you travel? Do you make assumptions about them? Not want to be friends with them? Do you not see it as a factor at all when you meet them?

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14 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

If you’re asking if the Israeli/Palestinian issue influences my views on Jewish or Palestinian residents of the United States, the answer is: Yes. Of course I make assumptions, the primary one being that Jews will be pro Israel and Palestinians pro Palestine. Interacting with Jews or Palestinians here, the topic rarely comes up. Interesting

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’d like to say it does not matter and that I consider and judge everyone on their own their own merits. Note: I’d like to say that. But the fact is I do not.
I consider equal treatment an unnecessary security risk. Achmed might be perfectly fine and friendly. But one of his 10 brothers might be friends with a disgruntled, unemployed, 20 something looking to make a name for himself. In fact, the Kevin Bacon game shows how likely it is. I figure nothing is to be gained by inadvertently giving him any info that might be used against me. This is not xenophobia.
I meet so many people and already have the opportunity to socialize with friends and family that I know well and enjoy. Why should I bring extra stress into my life?

During the First Gulf War (Iraq invading Kuwait) my kids attended an international school in Japan, one of the safest countries in the world. Some cleric in Iran? Iraq? declared jihad and said Americans all over the world are now targets. I was concerned that the normally friendly Iranian family with a child in the same class as mine would somehow give the school directory (listing nationality, address, phone number) to a supporter who would give it to a supporter and we would be targets.
Nothing happened, but I was prepared for the worst.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LuckyGuy Do you think it makes a difference having kids? I tend to think I’m bulletproof and can take care of myself. But I don’t have kids. So I really don’t worry about the US citizens for the most part in my travels, but if I went to other places that might be different. Hmm, have to think about that.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe It absolutely made a difference. I was responsible and making decisions for others. For anyone who thinks it doesn’t matter I want you to do a little thought experiment
I had the privilege of visiting the Old City, Jerusalem, around that time. Here’s a 15 second description of the layout. It is an ancient, walled city about 1 km on a side that is split into 4 quarters: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Armenian. You can easily walk from one quarter to the other. Got it?
Now, wearing the clothes you normally wear in hot weather, I want you to imagine walking from one quarter to the next and tell me how safe and comfortable you feel. In the Jewish and Christian quarters my kids were free to stray a little and look at things that interested them Once we hit the Muslim quarter we walked in formation. Twice some “Arabs” tossed coins on the ground in front of my sons and called to them that they had dropped their money. Twice! My kids knew it was BS. They were not carrying any money. They knew instinctively this was dangerous. And I knew to be hyper-aware and not let my guard down.

dappled_leaves's avatar

No, I don’t make assumptions that all Jews (or all Israelis) support Netenyahu’s actions or that all Muslims support Hamas. It doesn’t work that way. I live in a city with large populations of followers of both faiths; each is a group with very diverse opinions, as one might expect.

longgone's avatar

No. I fight against that kind of thing.

Can’t speak for my subconscious mind.

rojo's avatar

If we are being honest, yes it does. The conflict, and the unquestioning US support both moral and militarily, gives me a negative attitude toward Jews as a whole (individuals that I know are a different matter). On the bright side, the continued protests against the conflict within the Israeli Jewish community gives me hope and tells me that there are some level headed citizens in the country.

flutherother's avatar

I feel very uncomfortable with how Israel behaves towards the Arabs and I wouldn’t want to visit. There is nothing more disheartening than to see the oppressed become the oppressors. I don’t pre judge individuals but I suspect most Jews here support Israel come what may. Most Muslims I have spoken to have sympathy for the Palestinian cause but don’t support violence.

JLeslie's avatar

When I wrote the Q I wasn’t thinking about whether you assume what Muslims and Jews think about the conflict in your country and abroad, I just meant that depending on how you yourself feel about the conflict, does that affect how you think about Jews and Arabs in your own country? I see why it might have been unclear though.

I’m American, and Jewish, and when I meet Arabs, Muslims, and Jews in America, who live here, I just meet them as a person and don’t assume much of anything. I think of them as Americans. Being American, especially if they were born and raised here, I think trumps almost everything else. Just like my German-American girlfriend when I was growing up. I had relatives who would never buy a German car, I heard holocaust stories, there were generalizations made about Germans, but that didn’t affect that I was close friends with my neighbor who was born here, but her parents came here from Germany, it was an absolute nonissue, she was just another girl in my class. I didn’t even know, or connect any dots, that she was German-American until a few years after we were girlfriends actually. This was in the 70’s. The same was true of my Arab and Persian friends. During the time hostages were taken in Iran, also in the 70’s, I had many many Iranian friends, and a friend who had lived there for a few years in grade school, because her father was some sort of diplomat. She had only good things to say about her time there. My point is, in America, I don’t think about. My friends who were immigrants or whose parents were immigrants (I had many friends like this) were grateful to be here, some of them escaped within an inch of their lives when leaving their countries.

I do assume Israeli-Americans are pro Israel, but I never assume where they stand exactly on what the Israeli government specifically does regarding the conflict. I know Israelis who are ok with being very aggressive against the Palestinians, and I know others who don’t support it.

I find it odd when people generalize all Jews with how they generalize Israelis. I think most people are very much a product of their country, more than their religion, or even ethnicity.

When I am traveling, I don’t think about it much either, although, I have been raised being told the French are antisemitic (I don’t think that all French people are, I don’t even think the majority are. My family always said the French are antisemitic while also saying how wonderful France is, and their experience was never negative with any French people, so there is a contradiction). So, I guess if I met an Arab in France I might be wary.

Any assumption I would make, if I did make one, would have more to do with my own safety than an opinion about the other person. What I mean is, I don’t dislike any Arab or Muslim without even knowing them, and I don’t mind if they have a different viewpoint about what is going on in the middle east, I just care if they hate Jews enough to hurt me. But, I would think that about skinheads in America too. In fact, in America I am more paranoid about a skinhead with a swastika tattoo than an Arab or Muslim.

@rojo I have to say your answer surprised me. I do appreciate the honesty though.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@JLeslieI do assume Israeli-Americans are pro Israel, but I never assume where they stand exactly on what the Israeli government specifically does regarding the conflict. I know Israelis who are ok with being very aggressive against the Palestinians, and I know others who don’t support it.”

This is my experience with my Jewish friends also. I don’t know any who are not “pro-Israel”, in the sense that they all believe that Israel needs to exist. Many of them spend time there. But they are divided about the violent conflict that we have seen there recently, just as my non-Jewish friends are.

rojo's avatar

@JLeslie I think we are on common ground with regards to our attitude toward individuals.

When younger I used to be very pro-Israel; nothing they did or could do was wrong.

As I have gotten older and things have become less black and white in my eye I have become a lot more cynical about it. It seems that on both sides those who rise to power, those who could actually do something about the situation, are less inclined to do so. It seems it is to their advantage to keep the conflict on the edge of eruption and if a few pawns are sacrificed in their own personal game of thrones, well, that is just the way it has to be.

My impression is that the average Israeli and average Palestinian, like Joe Average everywhere, just want to get on with their lives, providing for the welfare of their families and improving their economic situation, without the imposition of government constraints or barriers and constant fear of death or dismemberment.

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo When you meet an Arab or Jew in America is the conflict in the Middle East even in your mind?

Like a friend of my sister just moved to my area. I’m hoping to have dinner with him and his wife sometime soon. He’s Palestinian. Doesn’t even faze me in the least he is Palestinian.

rojo's avatar

Not really, not unless they bring it up and very rarely will the people I’ve met do so early in a relationship. Later in the relationship friendship usually helps smooth out any differences in thoughts and ideas and bring acceptance to opposing points of view.

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