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The Labels That Don’t Stick

We all like to label things to some degree. It’s part of human nature – just ask Ban Ki-Moon who’s an expert on human nature.  Or the EU – who are obsessed with labelling everything!  I guess it’s part of the human psyche to create order where we see disorder, to create calm where we see chaos.  It makes the busy aspects of our lives that much more manageable by dividing them into easily digestible chunks so that we don’t have to think too much, like marking the sugar bowl sugar so you don’t accidentally put salt into that perfectly brewed cup of tea.

Of course we also like to label people – so that we can easily sum them and place them into easily digestible chunks too. Take the current crop of candidates in America jostling against each other to win nomination to run for president in what has to be the longest election campaign I’ve ever seen.

You’ve got the religious zealot, the power hungry megalomaniac, the ultra-conservative, the ultra-liberal, the egomaniac and the untrustworthy. I’ll leave it up to you as to how to assign each appropriately.

And when it comes to Israel, the debate is even more fierce over who to label pro-Israel or anti-Israel. Historically American Jews have mostly supported the Democratic party who were seen as pro-Israel, but these days it is the Republicans who seem to hold that mantle.

Israeli flagsThen there are those labelled Zionists, but even within that label are different kind of Zionists. Jews of course were the original Zionists – and have been so for thousands of years.  But now there’s also Muslim Zionists, Christian Zionists and others – all at times arguing over who’s the more supportive.  Sometimes we are obsessed with gathering the greatest number of people we’ve labelled Zionists on our side – irrespective of whether that’s an accurate description of them or not, because there are many people who claim to be Zionists and yet go against the very ethos of it.  There are even some who try to curry favour by labelling themselves as a Zionist, only to sprout everything that goes against it.

Then in politics we have the left wing and the right wing. And people who are considered left-wingers will argue that the right-wingers are ruining the country, while at the same time the right-wingers will argue that the left-wingers are doing the same.  And sometimes no matter how left or how right you think you are, you will always be considered left by someone more right than you, or right by someone more left!

But the problem is that people aren’t quite as static as a bowl of sugar or a jar of pickles (which BDS definitely want to label). People are different and all of us are made up of different thoughts and feelings and motivations.  There’s a bit of left and a bit of right in all of us.

And the reality is that labels don’t quite stick on skin the way they do on a tin can. Most of us are made up of different elements and thoughts and motivations.  We can be simple creatures and yet incredibly complex.

Sometimes we are too obsessed and too focussed on the labels we assign rather than on the issues themselves, and ultimately what we really should care about are issues that matter rather than labels that don’t.

Whatever political ideology I might fit into doesn’t bother me, because in the end, I’m a proud Jew who believes very strongly in the only Jewish state on earth – a strong and secure Israel.

And that’s one label that will stick forever.

About the author

Picture of Justin Amler

Justin Amler

Justin is obsessed with Israeli pickles and has used that knowledge in order to blog about Israel and the Jewish world. He gains great pleasure when his blogs are read by more than just his mother.
Picture of Justin Amler

Justin Amler

Justin is obsessed with Israeli pickles and has used that knowledge in order to blog about Israel and the Jewish world. He gains great pleasure when his blogs are read by more than just his mother.
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