As a kid I thought I was pretty remarkable. But with time I learned the truth. When a kid half my size beat me up in third grade – I learned I wasn't that tough. When another kid got higher grades than me in fourth grade – I learned I wasn't the smartest kid in the class. When at recess soccer games I got fought over by the two pickup teams, each team trying to stick the other team with me – I understood I was no Pele.

The biggest, most important lesson I learned was when in fifth grade I gradually found myself with no friends. One rather astute and precocious kid took the time to explain an essential fact of life to me. He turned to me one day, at the beginning of lunch recess, and said: "Do you wonder why you are left with no friends? Why nobody wishes to play with you?"
"Uh huh, ya, why is that? Whaddya think?" I answered, thinking I was indulging the geek.

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"Because you are a conceited snob" he said. "That's why".


I was thunderstruck. But it was true, through and through. I tried to change, to learn humility (the experience itself was a lesson in humility) and not think too much about myself. And so I continued on in life, trying remarkably hard to be unremarkable.

What I was proud of – not as a personal achievement but as a fact of being – was the fact of being Jewish. That brought me to wish to join my fellow Jews in rebuilding our lives as a nation in our land, consequently making aliyah (moving to Israel). I was enchanted with the ideal to dream of and the opportunity to realize living in the heartland of our homeland, in the very hills where our history started thousands of years ago. So now I live a quiet, remarkably unremarkable simple Jewish life in my community, just a few minutes from Shiloh, the site of the first capital of the Jewish people, before Jerusalem, before three thousand years ago.

And suddenly, just like that, in the twinkle of a bureaucrat's eye, I've become remarkable. The Europeans have once again decided to mark Jews with a special symbol, label, designating them as somehow morally inferior to the highly moral Europeans who until just recently (and again recently) took just pure joy in killing us, looting us, exiling us from place to place, and finally in "genociding" us. Of course that wasn't all – Europe mostly looked on casually as Arabs tried to continue the genocide against us, even refusing to allow the U.S. to use their land and air in the airlift bringing vital arms to Israel in its fight for survival just forty two years ago.

Not that forcing us to wear a label is new. In the Islamic empires we had to wear yellow. In Europe we had funny pointed hats. Eventually we had the yellow Star of David (no relation). So now we have labeling of products from Jewish communities in Judea or Samaria, the heartland of our country.

You may say: It's not directed against Jews, only against "settlers".

But you're wrong. Those who say they have nothing against Jews or Judaism, they only oppose Zionism or Israel – are lying, either to themselves or to others. Those who say they aren't opposed to Israel, only to "settlements" are of the same ilk. You may think it's not a good idea, granted. But when you think it's not legal, not moral, you have to face the fact: you are against Jews living in a particular place (racism), in the heartland of their homeland. Don't say "settlements" – say Jewish communities.

Of course the Europeans don't label products from Turkish occupied northern Cyprus, or Moroccan occupied Western Sahara. After all – those occupiers aren't Jewish! Only us – living in our own land where no other independent nation-state ever existed except the Jewish nation-state! That's racism, rank Jew-hating, and it's nothing new in Europe, just another round of an old poison.

As for us – I'm remarkably sanguine with the prospect of being once again a remarkable person. Not personally, but as a Jew living in my homeland.

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