A former Israeli soldier and member of the furthest reaches of Israel's left-wing establishment writes in a telling piece for the Times of Israel about how the overwhelming hostility he encountered during a speaking tour in America completely altered his outlook on the conflict.
Tasked with speaking on campuses and at churches in the Pacific Northwest, Hen Mazzig thought that his liberal, pro-peace credentials would provide him with an open door to reasonably present and discuss what is going on in the region.
It is a mistake many Israelis have made, and like them, Mazzig quickly discovered that to most of Israel's antagonists, it mattered not that he opposed the so-called "occupation" and truly cared for the well-being of the Palestinians.
As Mazzig found out, what animates this movement is not legitimate criticism of Israel and Zionism, as its members claim, but rather anti-Semitism.
"When I served as a soldier in the West Bank, I got used to having ugly things said to me, but nothing prepared me for the misinformation, demonization of Israel, and the gut-wrenching, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hostility expressed by many students, professors, church members," he wrote.
Mazzig continued: "I never expected to encounter such hatred and lies. I never believed that such anti-Semitism still existed, especially in the U.S. I never knew that the battlefield was not just Gaza, the West Bank, and hostile Middle Eastern countries wanting to destroy Israel and kill our citizens and soldiers. It is also here in America, where a battle must be waged against prejudice and lies."
But what clearly concerned the young emissary even more was the lack of a strong response from the American Jewish community.
"Most mainstream American Jews are completely oblivious to this ugly movement and the threat it poses," Mazzig said, noting that this has been a dangerous pattern for Jewish communities throughout history.
The full article is well worth a read. Click here to find it.