Guest Post (Daniel Borg): I Partied Till I Loved Israel
Daniel Borg is a Swede who was actively engaged in Swedish politics, passionately pro-Palestinian and went to join the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). You can read his explosive observations from within the ISM here on Israellycool.
I like Jews. The first time I met Jews was in Israel while in ISM. They made me crazy. My last days before taking the flight back to Sweden (very nervous ahead of the Ben Gurion security), I had one only one night in Tel Aviv. I spent it in a hostel in Hayarkon Street. I sat in the little hostel bar and was all fired up with pro Pal fervor. I made no excuses.
What happened? The Jews listened to my pro pal ISM B.S., then said “Ok, Daniel, now let’s go out and party, it’s your last night in Israel, oooopaaa” they took me for a night out, there and then I got somewhat understanding of this Jewish people.
Everyone knew I was ISM, fervently pro Pal, they were very zionist, right wing, but they accepted me and wanted me to feel included. Especially because it was my last night, and my first and only day in actual Israel. Before that, I had spent all my time with fellow activists in East Jerusalem, Ramallah and Hebron. They were not offended by my anti Israeli rants or by the fact that I had worked for ISM. A fact I was very openly proud of.
They liked me as a person and wanted to give me a good last night in the Jewish State. They succeeded. Because they are Jews. It is their State. They are proud of it, so proud that they even can give respect and love to an indoctrinated and stupid leftist like me.
During my later travels with Nadja Borg, I continued being pro Pal, fervently. Still everyone had tolerance for me, let me in, gave respect. They were not Meretz, the far left Israeli political party – all our friends were rightist. I made great friends in Israel while being openly pro Pal, cause they can handle this sh*t. They ain’t Muslims. The Jews are not easily offended, you need to work hard to offend them, trust me, I have long experience in this business.
Then last year, just in the process when I started to question my pro pal stance, I got pro Israeli. I stood in a line in Ben Gurion to get in to Israel. The line was on hold, and it took longer than usual. I figured it must be an Arab that gets unfair treatment. No, it was a passport guard that played peek-a-boo with an amazing toddler. He held the line because he found that baby to be cute. Then it was my turn. He asked me what I do, I said I study French, then he proceeded in French and we had a great discussion in French about everything… and of course now the line was held up due to me. He accepted my entry visa, and I felt he was my best friend.
Then some days after I and Nadja spent an evening with Kay Wilson. Sorry for becoming Pro Israeli after that. It is inevitable. There was no other outcome. I can put 200 bucks on the bet that the most fervently pro Pal gets changed after meeting Kay.
I and Nadja had great trips to Jerusalem. We met a lot of Israeli Arabs in cafes, bars, restaurants and in taxis. The first thing I did when I understood they were Arabs (not always easy to tell the difference), was to tell them I have worked as ISM in the West Bank, and then ask “hard” questions about apartheid, discrimination, occupation etc etc. Every single one of these Arab Israeli citizens reacted the same way: great laughter. My BBC questions were just silly. They laughed, and they explained the destiny of their cousins in Syria, Jordan and Gaza. And compared that to their lives as Israeli citizens. It made me quiet. It should make every pro Pal quiet… Do I need to reiterate their answers? Can you somewhat figure out how they made me quiet? By telling me the truth, which sadly my Swedish media, my Social Democratic party and my teachers NEVER did.
So…. there was a tipping point, I just said: screw this, I can’t deny reality anymore, I need to drop my pro Pal anti Israeli B.S.… this is just a part of why I became pro Israeli. Now I am leaving out the political parts, but the non-political parts are just as valid. I can’t deny that Jews are amazing, and especially the people in the only Jewish state. They can teach us leftists a thing or two about tolerance and including people.