You know, I understand why the Palestinians hate.
Look at their past. How can anyone with a history like the Palestinians be anything but hateful? There have been generations of poverty. They’ve been defeated in every war that they’ve ever fought in the past 200 years. They want to be proud of their heritage, but they can’t seem to win – not even once.
No one in the Arab world likes them. Even the pariahs of the world don’t let them into their countries, unless they’ve been checked over three times.
And, their history books. They are full of incident after incident of injustice and humiliation. Their parents and grandparents are living reminders of what they have failed to achieve.
They feel oppressed, and it sucks.
And then, there’s the present. Can you imagine having an engineering degree and working as a janitor? Can you imagine waking up in the morning and not being able to afford eggs or milk for your kid’s breakfast – and know that the Jewish kids across the valley are getting more food than they could possibly need? Can you imagine trying to get to a Palestinian hospital just a few kilometers away, and then having to wait in line at an Israeli checkpoint for five hours while your little baby lies deathly ill?
If you can imagine that, you know how much that sucks.
And the future? Think hopelessness. Think no end in sight. Think endless poverty and endless strife and endless corruption. Think warring factions and more and more guns in the street.
The future sucks too.
Can anyone NOT be hateful in situations like that?
Well actually, there are people who haven’t been hateful in situations like I’ve just described. Think of the Jews.
Everything that I’ve described could have been the Jewish experience – and has been the Jewish experience. But, the Jewish experience has been to turn away from hate.
How is it that you don’t turn hateful? Well, the first thing that you hafta do is understand where the other guy is coming from. You have to understand that the other guy’s past, present and future sucks – and that they are doing what they are doing because of that.
And then you imagine how you might have done the same, under the same circumstances.
Then, you say something like this: What you did was wrong, but I’m not going to hold it against you. I’m not going to seek retribution. I’m not going to make you pay. I’m going to let it go.
I’ve seen a lot of Jews do that. Lots, and it brings tears to my eyes when I see it. The same goes for those Palestinians too.
Because I personally know how hard it is to forgive.