Jewish history professor at UCLA, David Myers, spoke about feeling isolated after calling for empathy among Jews and Palestinians during the recent conflict.
Standing in the middle: Myers attempted to create a conversation where both Jews and Palestinians could safely share in grieving for one another.
* He states how his call for empathy has left him feeling as though he’s a traitor to his people – the Jewish people – and also like he’s failing to comprehend the extent of the Palestinians’ plight.
His own grief: Myers expressed his personal sadness over the conflict in Israel and Gaza.
* Although he is located in the U.S., he finds the accounts of suffering coming from the region “almost unbearable.”
* Myers’ experience of engaging with the conflict involves teaching, doing media appearances, and then retreating into periods of depression.
Tensions on campus: Myers witnessed “us versus them” tensions brewing among students at UCLA.
* He recounts seeing Jewish students in a state of shock while those advocating for the Palestinian cause feel that their suffering is not adequately recognized.
* Myers tried to bridge these divides by expressing a need for understanding and empathy on both sides in an op-ed piece.
Understanding through history: Myers talked about the importance of acknowledging the traumas of both sides, the Holocaust for the Jews and Nakba for the Palestinians.
* He suggests considering “how well” these historical grievances are serving both sides given the current conflict.
* Myers hopes humanity can move beyond these patterns of violence, embracing empathy and understanding instead.
Finding solace: Despite the conflicts and disagreements within his own community, Myers is finding comfort in prayer and Psalms. He carries hope that, in time, the current lament may transform into joy.
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