My 94-year-old Grandpa with his art in his home in Israel, he migrated from Iraq to (then) Palestine in the 1920’s. A professor of linguistics. He taught in Arabic, Hebrew, and English.
-shot on 35mm film, 2018-
Whenever I do check in on facebook these days, I see a lot of people speaking out and discussing what is happening in Israel and Palestine. As someone who is about to play music there for the fourth time in two years (thanks to the amazing people who support us), and it being the place where my entire family lives, I feel it important to share a bit about my connection to this place, and how I feel about being there.
Without a doubt this is a much longer discussion, which I am eager to have with anyone who wants to discuss. But the short(ish) version of it is this. I have been visiting Tel-Aviv from my home in NYC since I was born, I lived there for 6 years from around the ages of 15 to 21. During which I went to an American international high school and served in the IDF for two years (as does every 18 y/o citizen who isn’t a fugitive/in jail) I feel no pride in my service, I did it to stay close to my family and have some time between high school and college to actually think about what I wanted to do with my life. I was a graphic designer for the IDF Public Relations department (also a much longer discussion). Thankfully I did not have to commit any acts of violence, was kept safe and able to learn and live. I summarize my time in Israel as positive, and of course this has to do with the circumstances of which I was born.
I grew up simultaneously in two places, thus feelings of “belonging” and “national pride” are somewhat lost to me as a person who all at once belonged, and didn’t belong in many situations. In New York/America I was “Israeli” or “Middle Eastern” or “Jewish.” In Tel-Aviv/Israel I was “the American girl.” Even though I spoke hebrew fluently, and pretty much fit the look. These identities felt polarizing in the different situations I found myself in. I just wanted to feel free and not judged, loved and accepted, let to live, like perhaps many other people do.
I recently read this and found it very interesting. It forces me to ask hard questions about Israel and America. Does America engage in the act of “ethnic cleansing?” and can we discuss America as a Regime as well? I see America and Israel being part of the same world powers. It seems easy to criticize something when in a position of privilege. A lot of us talk, but few really do anything to change the status-quo (because our lives depend on it).
My thoughts on Palestine have completely shifted as I got older and learned more about the world. Segregated from really meeting Palestinian people and forbidden to go into Palestinian territories, my abilities to reach out and make connections was limited. I am currently making progress on this, trying very hard to meet more people and listen to their experience. To really get into my visions for a solution will involve continued further discussion and research. I just want to extend my perspective. I am working towards a harmonious future with all people and the earth, it is what I spend my time thinking about and learning about. Please feel free to talk to me about your experience and your visions for a better future. I’m there.