MANY AUSTRALIAN JEWS take an intense interest in Israel. They find it difficult to ignore the miracle of its creation so soon after the Holocaust, but also impossible to ignore the underside of that miracle: the tragic dispossession of the Palestinian people. They find themselves on the horns of a dilemma made all the more wicked by the gag so many Australian Jews impose on themselves, even when they disagree with the Israeli state’s actions and policies.
Despite recent worrying moves by the Israeli state to repress dissent, Jews in Israel who hold pro-Palestinian views are not necessarily seen as traitors to their country. They are not even thought to be very unusual. But for Jews in Australia it’s a very different scenario. Publicly admitting to pro-Palestinian views is eerily like coming out about your sexuality: there’s a similar set of worries about what your family and friends will think, who will stand by you and who will shun you. And once you are out, do you become an activist for the cause or is simply coming out courage enough? And anyway, why should it be brave for an Australian citizen to criticise the actions of another state?
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