A record year for smartphone sales in Israel.
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Instant access. This is the blessing, and the curse, of the Millennial. The blessing is that we have the ability from our smartphones or laptops to access nearly unlimited information through the Internet. Where once you would need to scour libraries searching for information on a topic, now you can acquire it simply by typing into a search engine.
But this instantaneousness isn’t limited merely to searching for information. It expands to taking pictures that no longer need to be developed; to music no longer contained by vinyl or CD, but rather thousands of songs accessible on one tiny device; to archives of television and movies attainable from the comfort of one’s own bed.
This is a blessing! But, it is also a curse. We have grown impatient.
Everything must be instant.
And that includes solutions to incredibly complex conflicts.
Lack of foresight is a symptom of this curse. The idea that: let’s correct XYZ right now and worry about the details and consequences later – is detrimental to the future of society. Instant access has led us to instant gratification.
And this leads us to lose track of rational thought.
As the vice president of an NGO (Justice & Unity in Mideast Policy) that operates on American college campuses and deals with all of the conflicts plaguing the Middle East, including the Israel-Palestine conflict, I have spoken with too many Millennials who believe if Israel would only withdraw from the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria/West Bank, that would be the end of the conflict in its entirety. Of course, this withdrawal would include the dismantling of most (some believe in all) Jewish settlements. What these students fail to consider is what happens the day after? Unfortunately, the Israel-Palestine conflict is not a simple one.
It’s certainly not as simple as too many Millennials believe it to be. There are complex factors in play, which include emotions, religion, nationalism, political ideology – the list goes on.
The fact that the Palestinians themselves are divided – Hamas in Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority in parts of the West- Bank, proves a major complication.
Will the two separate governments allow freedom of movement between the two separate enclaves? Will they have a shared economy? Will Jews be allowed into these lands, but not in Gaza? Or will the two governments unite? In that case, Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel, would be part of the official State of Palestine government, much like Hezbollah is part of the official Lebanese government (both of which are supported by Iran).
These are only a few of complexities for which there are no answers at this moment. Too many Millennial “Social Justice Warriors” fail to consider these complexities when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
And this barely even mentions the Jewish aspect of the withdrawal.
Jewish Millennials – pause for a moment. Before you begin protesting against Israel because of the occupation, take a moment to consider the complexity of the conflict. Consider the division among the Palestinians.
Consider Israel’s legitimate security concerns. Consider the fate of your fellow Jews, who have been marginalized and persecuted for so much of our history as a people. And consider what would happen the day after, if Israel would instantly withdraw from the disputed territories.
Instead of protesting against the only Jewish state in the world, your ancestral homeland, consider the other factors of the conflict which hinder a just solution. The corruption of the Palestinian Authority, which embezzles millions of dollars in foreign aid, and uses the money to support the families of terrorists, or line their own pockets.
The incitement to terrorism against Jews in the official Palestinian media. The human rights abuses from Hamas that occur daily in Gaza. And Hamas’s continued call for the destruction of Israel.
Hopefully, after considering all of this, you will be one step ahead (or, really many) of J-Street, and be able to recognize that Israel is not solely responsible for the conflict. Israel’s first priority is her survival, and the survival of her citizens – be they Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Druse, or non-religious.
Israel is not perfect. And it doesn’t claim to be. But Israel does subscribe to that Western democracy you so much enjoy from the comforts of your home in America – that Western democracy that isn’t present anywhere else in the region.
If you’re pro-Israel, but anti-occupation, don’t align yourselves with organizations that demonize and delegitimize Israel. That won’t solve the conflict, and neither will boycotting. If you really want to be grassroots, demand for the Palestinian leadership to be held accountable for their actions. Then there will be progress in peace.Yoseff Shachor made aliya in 2009 when he was 18, and now lives in Jerusalem. He is the vice president of Strategy and Policy, for the NGO Justice & Unity in Mideast Policy (JUMP). Shachor is also a member of the Hebrew University chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi – the international Jewish fraternity.