The following is a story recounted by a NYC rabbi about her son's interaction with a pro-Palestinian activist, April 2002.
This week, we were in the subways in NYC and streams of Arab youth were chanting in the 42nd Street area yesterday, chanting, "Free, free, Palestine."[back to home]
My son Adam, age 17, asks one of them: "What do you consider to be Palestine?"
"From Jordon to the sea!" she responds.
He says, "My grandfather drained the swamps in 1909 and even further back my ancestors lived near Tzfat and tilled the land."
She says, "Will you chant with us?"
He turns to show his kippah and asks: "Will you chant, 'Share share Palestine?"
By now many youth have paused to watch the encounter.
She turns and asks those around: "What shall we do now?"
Several peel away continuing their original chant.
He asks her: "Are you in college?"
She answers, "Yeah, NYU."
He says, "I'm considering NYU, Brandeis and Vassar."
She says in the spontaneous way of youth with each other, "Oh, this is my first year at NYU. It's great! You should come!" Silence. I wonder if they are contemplating their sameness and differences.
He asks, "And the chant?" and she says, "I'll think about it."
She turns and departs silently, others with her. I ask my very Zionist son how he would handle issues of Israel being overwhelmed by a returning Arab population.
"Mom, that was an encounter in a subway. Did you notice I used her word, 'Palestine,' though it offends me. We just needed a place to start talking, that's a long way from policy; these things take time and we can't know how they will turn out. Every meeting is an opportunity."