Born and raised in America, I learned that my country was built on outstanding principles propped up by a great constitution. When I saw those principles violated and the constitution ignored, I complained. At times, I was told to shut up.
The Vietnam War was well underway when I started teaching at a California university. I learned as much as I could about the war, believed it was wrong and joined the protesters. My untenured position was at risk for joining the peaceniks.
I also learned that Arabs and Israelis were more alike than different when expressing their antagonism toward each other. One of each happened to be in a class I was teaching. Each would sidle up to me, separately and at different times, to explain what was wrong with the other.
The Israeli told me how Arabs wanted to drive Israelis into the sea. The Arab explained how Arabs and Jews had lived in harmony for centuries in Palestine; and he couldn’t understand why the Israelis were stealing their land.
Assuring me that they were threatened, the Israeli reminded me of how 6 million Jews suffered the fate of a holocaust in Germany. He even argued that Israel was under constant threat from millions of Arabs surrounding his people.
Telling me how groups called the Stern Gang and Irgun were terrorists who slaughtered both British and Palestinians, the Arab explained that thousands fled their lands after Israelis massacred hundreds of Palestinians in the village of Deir Yassin.
Thus, it has evolved for years, with most Israelis believing a myth that they have an absolute right to Palestine, and many Arabs under an illusion that America or Europe will put things right some day.