Thursday, September 4, 2008

Parents Circle

Yizhak Frankenthal came to talk to us from the Parents Circle an NGO that he founded for bereaved parents. Frankenthal lost his 19 year old son, Arik, who was killed by Hamas in 1994. He is a religious Orthodox Jew. He realized that he lost his son because there was no peace in Israel. Once he started talking about peace and reconciliation he lost his friends.
Frankinthal works for peace now and has a lot of influence. He meets often with Arafat and Hamas, even though they killed his son. He believes that this is a political, not religious conflict.
He tries to explain to the Jewish government that the occupation is detrimental.
He believes Israel is for Jews but Palestinians are not second class citizens. He says Jews want peace but there is no partner. Though what I hear from Palestinians, they want peace too.
He compared what the US did to the Indians, the Jews did to Palestinians. I heard this comparison before with a right wing Israeli student who also compared the situation to what America did to Mexico. This student asked us to think about what we would do if the Mexicans asked for their land back. I thought this was an interesting comparison.
When asked what Muslim-Americans or Jewish- Americans can do to help solve the conflict he replied, “get out of the way.” This reminds me about an NPR interview I heard with a Palestinian woman who, when asked a similar question replied, “don’t choose a side.” I promised myself to try to remember this throughout this trip.

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