Be pro-Gaza, not anti-Jew

Published: August 18, 2014
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Each “Jew joke” you share with your Whatsapp friends’ group insults the religious sentiments of at least 13,854,800 people in the world. PHOTO: AREEBA KAMAL

Repeat after me:

“All Jews are not extremists.”

“All Jews do not hate Palestine.”

“All Jews do not want to eradicate Muslim identity.”

Each “Jew joke” you share with your Whatsapp friends’ group insults the religious sentiments of at least 13,854,800 people in the world.

Each ‘gas-the-Jews’ holocaust meme you forward reduces the inhuman slaughter of 11 million innocent people killed in one of the worst genocides in human history, to a derogatory laugh.

The persecution of innocent people in Gaza is the direct result of a horrible territorial conflict. It has very little to do with the teachings of Judaism or Islam and everything to do with a terribly destructive political power-play that has dominated the Middle-East for decades.

If you insult or humiliate or hate Jewish lives because you are pro-Palestine, you are not very different from the man in my suburban college town of Massachusetts who called my hijabi friend a “terrorist” because he was pro-peace.

If you think the oppression of Palestinians by terror waging members of the Israeli government defines the intents and beliefs of all Jews, you are no different than the ignorant people who claim terrorist factions of the Taliban speak for the views of all Muslims in the entire world. The violence of a small, extremist, selfish, ignorant group of people cannot determine the intentions and emotions of an entire religious population.

To demand freedom for the Palestinian people is critical. It is the rallying cry we should unite around – as humans first and Muslims second. But being pro-Gaza does not mean glorifying the killing of Jews by Hitler – who was just as opposed to dark-skinned people like you and me as he was to Jews. Being pro-Gaza is not akin to demanding doom for another religion. It is our strange urge to brand Islam ‘good’ and other religions bad and sinful that has driven our religious minorities to the obscure edges of Pakistani society, as we negate their beliefs and torch their worship houses.

I was lucky enough to witness the comfort of seeing past apparent differences as part of a large pro-Palestine, pro-Gaza rally in a US city this year. We marched in unison down the streets of Chicago, hundreds of men, women and children of all colours, races and ethnicities, faiths and national origins imaginable, praying for peace and respect for human life.

Photo: Areeba Kamal

Photo: Areeba Kamal

Photo: Areeba Kamal

Photo: Areeba Kamal

Photo: Areeba Kamal

Photo: Areeba Kamal

Photo: Areeba Kamal

At the end of the day, any kind of faith is beautiful. There is plenty of room in our world and in our minds for several religions to coexist peacefully even as we remain secure in our respective set of beliefs. Faith is meant to empower us as we call on a higher being for help, to unite us under the banner of a common identity. The minute we use faith to draw hurtful divides, impose self-made judgments or crack humiliating jokes, we contradict its very essence.

areeba.kamal

Areeba Kamal

An alumna and former employee of Nixor College. She is currently studying International Relations and Computer Science at Mount Holyoke, USA. She tweets @KamalAreeba twitter.com/KamalAreeba

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Talent to keep the pot boiling

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_EmBKSs-s2M

    Funnily enough,this 3 min talk by Javed Chaudhry will explain attitude of why normal people in the world leave behind vendettas of ancestors and no longer invest neither money/time unlike a certain group of people,who invest all their energy (and their descendants energy) into keeping old issues/out-dated causes alive and can’t move on.Recommend

  • The bitter truth

    Author,
    Pakistan can learn something from Israel-both are new countries carved out of an old one in the 1940’s.
    1. Do you know that the minority Arab population who are Israeli citizens,thrive in the country,with better rights than Arabs the surrounding countries,including Saudi Arabia. They enjoy all amenities,are integrated into every level of Israeli society and are educated …compare to pakistan and how minorities are treated here.
    2. The arab population has increased inside Israel since 1948,as compared to the minority population inside Pakistan,which has fallen from 20-25% in 1947 to around 3-4%,today.
    3. An Israeli Arab man can marry a Jewish woman inside Israel and it is supported by the secular Govt. ? Even if the Jewish woman converts to Islam-no problem….can you imagine a hypothetical Jewish man in pak/ksa,marrying a muslim girl ? What will happen to them-lynching ? Beheading ? Burning alive ?
    It’s easy to guess,which country has the capacity to host the world’s greatest terrorist Obl…it was no accident that he came here.Recommend

  • The bitter truth

    Author,
    Pakistan can learn something from Israel-both are new countries carved out of an old one in the 1940’s.
    1. Do you know that the minority Arab population who are Israeli citizens,thrive in the country,with better rights than Arabs in the surrounding countries,( including Saudi Arabia ). They enjoy all amenities;are integrated into every level of Israeli society and are educated …compare to pakistan and how minorities are treated here.
    2. The arab population has increased inside Israel since 1948,as compared to the minority population inside Pakistan,which has fallen from 20-25% in 1947 to around 3-4%,today.
    3. An Israeli Arab man can marry a Jewish woman inside Israel and it is supported by the secular Govt.- Even if the Jewish woman converts to Islam-no problem ! Can you imagine a hypothetical Jewish man in pak/KSA,marrying a muslim girl …what will happen to them-lynching ? Beheading ? Burning alive ?
    It’s easy to guess,which country has the capacity/national mentality to host the world’s greatest terrorist Obl…it was no accident that he came here.Recommend

  • antanu

    Strange logic by another Blogger.Being pro some one automatically makes you anti_someone.Even if one does not claim to be anti Jews but anti israel does not hold true.If you are anti pakistan or anti india or any country for that matter makes you anti denizens there of also.Any other claim is hypocrisy. Recommend

  • abhi099

    keep hating jews. The hatred against jews will make them even stronger and even more ruthless. Israel belongs to jews. No one can harm then even in their dreams.Recommend

  • Prashant

    Who are you trying to convince Areeba?

    Would you be able to convince people who have declared a section of their own community as non Muslims, another section of the community is being bombed every now and then because they call themselves Shias, leave alone basic rights, their women not getting kidnapped/raped/converted is considered a favour from the state by the minorities.

    Not hating Jews is a distant dream for some in Pakistan, not hating your own would be a good start.Recommend

  • Talent to keep the pot boiling

    Javed Chaudhry talks here about the opinion of the great Singaporean lawyer, the honourable Lee Kuan Yew,who changed Singapore from a fishing village,to the ultra modern & advanced Asian metropolis it is,today.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Every single blog post on Gaza by a Pakistani gets “look who’s talking” lectures. -.-Recommend

  • Zog

    Fully agree. Anti semitism is no different from Islamophobia and muslims of all people should take a stand against it.

    Even if jews support Israel, that does not justify anti semitism. People have freedom of choice. If you want to dissuade them, argue your case calmly and rationally..

    Also Pakistani mullah’s are now destested by muslims the world over for their craziness so they need to be reigned in for spreading hate and division. What an embarrasment they are.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    If you ignore the plight of Pandits, uighurs, Balochis, Pakhtuns, Ahmadis, Shias, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, suffering inside and outside Pakistan and only speak against selective atrocities, why wouldn’t anyone not lecture you.

    Nobody respects selective humanity or opportunitic humanity.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Well a Muslim girl shouldn’t marry a non-muslim any way. It’s just a way of losing a whole generation. It’s just plain odd and illogical.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Thats probably why they should stop writing these blogs ayeRecommend

  • Sacred

    What if the Muslim girl was in love with a non-Muslim?Recommend

  • The bitter truth

    Thats why Israeli’s look after their Arab minorities much better …
    Whats odd to you must’ve been just as odd to Jewish Israeli’s…yet their Jewish majority country peacefully allows an Arab muslim Israeli man to marry a Jewish Israeli girl-it happened last week..Recommend

  • yp4 fellow :)

    For all the arguments below, I think that you can’t attribute all the inequalities in the world to a cry for peace and justice. Beautiful piece – keep up the great work Areeba!Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    If if they both are in Love? Does that make sense then?Recommend

  • Akshay

    And a Hindu girl marrying a muslim man is logical? What is loss of generation? Its your argument that is based on Islamic ideology instead of human rights and equality.Recommend

  • Prashant

    Yes but a Muslim man can marry a non Muslim by converting her to your faith. I won’t ask you to change your opinion, please do not expect the world to change their opinion of you either.

    In short, don’t cry foul when criticised and take it as it is.Recommend

  • minionsmoosh

    I thought they called themselves Shiavones?Recommend

  • Rafeeq

    Yep I had a few Jewish friends who were very religious yet they said the Talmud and the Torah actually prevented them for carving a Land for themselves there. One of them said that after the Jews from Egypt defeated the original Canaanites living in present day Palestine, they were driven out of their homes by God, using the Romans and the Byzantines.

    In fact he even acknowledged that until Omar (which we Muslims refer to as Umar R.A., the second rightly guided Caliph) came and conquered Palestine and handed the authority of the Temple mount to them (even restored it), they were living as second class Roman citizens in Jerusalem and many had left the land and spread across the world (the twelve tribes).Recommend

  • abhi099

    I hope every muslim man follow this matter in india. They keep on targeting non muslim girls for their marriage.Recommend

  • Pathan

    Interesting. And some funny comments.

    Islam says jews and christians cannot be friends of muslims (Not all of them, i agree). But all the jews/christian rulers are killing muslims. A leader represents the herd. They butchered muslims in palestine for last 60+ years.

    Why do people become ignorant. Study and then represent your views.Recommend

  • Prof

    At least she is trying (and a good attempt)… Recommend

  • Prof

    At least she is trying (and a good attempt)… Recommend

  • Hellooo

    Ok,I’ll play along with your arguement-So yeah…and the Ottomans were defeated by the Britishers who divided their British mandate in the middle east into Israel and Palestine,just like the Moghuls were defeated by the Britishers who later divided British India into India & Pakistan…so what ? Israel has the right to exist,same as pakistan.
    Don’t bring religion into this-view it as a political issue…if you keep talking about Islam being attacked in gaza,you need to consider that there are Israeli citizens who are muslims too.Recommend

  • Hellooo

    Why only jews and christians ? Can you be friends with any humans in this world ? Huh ? Hindus,buddhists,shintos,parsis,sikhs,hazaras,ahmedis,yazidis,atheists…..Anyone ?
    And of course jewish/christian leaders are bad people for killing muslims-whats your opinion of Jihadis killing people in Nigeria,Somalia,Kenya,Bali,Iraq,China etc-they’re good people,right ?Recommend

  • Prashant

    If you keep aside the bollywood stars, I have never seen a Muslim Hindu love story ending in a marriage without one having to convert and more often than not it is the non Muslim who has to accept the brotherhood.Recommend

  • JustSaying

    http://www.express.pk/story/281069/

    How about you read this it’s fresh , will help you think again. Recommend

  • siesmann

    Unfortunately most Muslim would assert that Islam teaches them to hate Jews.They quote Quran Ayats out of context as many Islamophobes do with certain other Ayats.Intolerance has been made out to be a very Muslim thing.Hate is the very anathema of Religion.Al-Rehman and Al-Raheem cant be a hate-preaching God.Recommend

  • Alec Taylor

    I agree with the sentiment of this article and its author wholeheartedly, but I think she is confusing Jews and Judaism. Jews, as in the Jewish people, and Judaism are two different things. Jews are an ethnic group descended from the original Hebrew-speaking peoples of the southern Levant and Judaism is their traditional religion since at least the mid-first millenia BC. Not all Jews practice Judaism and believe in its tenants and not all people who practice Judaism are Jewish as traditional, mainstream Judaism does not have “converts” and “gerim” (ger-masculine; gerit-feminine) which is the term for non-Jews who have adopted Jewish customs or assimilated into a Jewish community, are not necessarily considered to be wholly or even partly a part of Am Israel (the Jewish people). Plus, a Jew who practices another religion or no religion is still considered to be just as Jewish as the most devout Hasid and definitely more so than even the most fervent ger/gerit.Recommend

  • Alec Taylor

    Also, Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people just as it is that of the Palestinian Arabs, and Israelis and Jews in general have just as much a right to live there as the Arabs. While the Israeli government has typically not treated the Palestinians fairly and terrible things have been done to them, the Palestinian Arabs have done horrible things to the Jews in Israel and did so long before the modern state of Israel was even established. however There are many Jews in both Israel and the diaspora that want to live in peace with the Palestinians and are willing to compromise. they are the majority. But as the saying goes “it takes two to tango” and in this case it means that both sides need to agree to live in peace and compromise. I stand with the people of Gaza, just as I stand with the israelis and all people on this Earth I suppose, but I can’t, nor should anybody, support Gaza’s government and its atrocities committed not only against the people of Israel but against its own citizens in Gaza.Recommend

  • Gratgy

    Pakistanis are Pro Gaza only because they are Anti Jew, if it was because of sympathy then why are they not Pro Mosul, Pro Syria where muslims are being killed in far larger numbersRecommend

  • Solomon2

    Is any Pakistani willing yet to openly voice the thought that Pakistan’s salvation lies with championing Israel rather than the Palestinians, or has the disaster of domestic terror, ISIS, and Hamas’ nihilism still not made a sufficient impression?Recommend

  • Sacred.

    I have. True love doesn’t care about religion.Recommend

  • Jahil hamid

    Jews are killing muslims in palestine. huh!. while muslims are showering rose petals on Israel.Recommend

  • Alec Taylor

    I think you misunderstood them. The Talmud basically outlines that Jews should not have a secular state until the messiah comes and rebuilds the temple, and then he will rule as king. But in the mean time, it says that Jews should live in their homeland and for a Jew to live in eretz yisrael is a great mitzvah (religious commandment/ good deed). It doesn’t matter anyway. Who knows if there will be a messiah or if god even exists. Plus many Jews are completely secular anyway.Recommend