Can you believe it?
As a non-Jew who lived in Israel for almost 15 years, even I find this astonishing and amazing.
Kasim Hafeez has taken an amazing journey from true hatred to even truer love. He grew up on a diet of antisemitism and went on to become an anti-Israel activist. But then, he made the fateful decision to visit Israel and see for himself.
What he saw changed him forever.
Op-ed: His father praised Hitler, but Kasim Hafeez writes about love for Israel, Jewish people
by Kasim Hafeez, 04.25.12 | ynetnews.com
I am a Zionist, a proud Muslim Zionist, and I love Israel, but this was not always the case. In fact, for many years I was quite the extreme opposite. I experienced the high levels of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activity taking place on British university campuses, because I was the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel activist.
Growing up in the Muslim community in the UK I was exposed to materials and opinions at best condemning Israel, painting Jews as usurpers and murderers, and at worse calling for the wholesale destruction of the “Zionist Entity” and all Jews. In short, there was no accommodating a Jewish State in the Middle East.
To grow up around this constant barrage of hatred directed at Israel has a massive effect on an individual’s own opinions. More disturbingly, many of these people weren’t radical or extreme, but when it was about Israel the most vicious of rhetoric poured out, coupled with the casual anti-Semitism that seemed too prevalent, when the phrase “stop being a Jew” used as an insult.
My father, however, was much more brazen in his hatred, boasting of how Adolf Hitler was a hero, his only failing being that he didn’t kill enough Jews.
By the time I had reached 18 I was completely indoctrinated to the fold of radical Islamism. My hate for Israel and for the Jews was fuelled by images of death and destruction, set to the backdrop of Arabic melodies about Jihad and speeches of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah or Osama Bin Laden.
These views were reinforced when I attended Nakba Day rallies, where speakers predicted Israel’s demise as Hezbollah flags were waved proudly in the centre of London.