American Elephants


The Other Side of Hate Speech — In Israel. by The Elephant's Child

From The Jerusalem Post:

“Sometimes we are privileged to meet rare and inspiring people, people whose life experiences are so different from our own that hearing about them provides us with a new understanding of the human spirit, a new way to see things, and a new way to think. Yahya Mahamed is one such person. Tall, dark and slim, the first thing one notices about him is his smile.”

“I grew up in Umm el-Fahm, the third-largest Arab city in Israel. It’s a very problematic place. The Islamic Movement runs the municipality. This means they have power over everything: schools, services, who gets hired… and they are very anti-Israel. ISIS logos and swastikas are common,” he says.

“Violence is the norm in Umm el-Fahm,” he continues.
“Bullets are shot into the air, and several people have been hit by them. The police aren’t where they need to be. If they were, it would greatly improve quality of life and safety for the city.” It would also help dispel the accepted view that the job of the police is to oppress the residents, he adds.

Mahamed was raised to perceive Israel as an oppressive, evil regime. “I remember being a child and watching television with my mother. The only thing on was Palestine, Israel oppressing Palestine, Israelis killing Arabs, Arabs killing Israelis. Nothing else. My whole world was the conflict; in school, on TV, in the community. I was an Arab and therefore a

Mahamed’s story is a fascinating glimpse into the world of the Middle East. He identifies as a proud Israeli Arab. He was given the illusion that one could have either Israel or Palestine but not both. He was taught that Israel only existed because it took land from the Palestinians.  That he was given no education, only propaganda. He was taught in school that Hitler did a good thing and left a small group of Jews alive so that the world would know why he killed the rest. In the Israeli town where he grew up, there is no one to give an alternative viewpoint.

Do read his whole story. He is only correcting what even Israeli Arabs are taught—with the facts. And he takes his story around the world with him in spite of the death threats and danger. He remains in his Arab-Israeli town, but he removes the ISIS graffiti and the swastikas because they normalize terror and hate.”We need to take away the hate” he says. An inspiring young man.

Learning what we don’t know is important.

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