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An Uber ride

Article’s tags: Gaza / Hamas, October 7

From a Canadian of German descent, Derek Fildebrant:

I've been quietly watching the Hamas/Palestine-Israel conflict unfolding as it washes onto our shores. But now seeing Jewish businesses and people threatened on our streets by overt anti-Semites has compelled me to share a story I haven't spoken of until, now:

Last year I ordered an Uber to get to the Ottawa airport in returning to Calgary. The driver was an Arab (I *think* from Saudi A.). He was friendly and talkative, and inquired into my family background, which I said was primarily German.
Upon learning I was of German descent, he immediately lit up, and very quickly spoke of his and his people's admiration for Germany. As someone proud of his heritage, I of course was glad.

That is, until he explained that his admiration was for the mass murder of the Jewish people committed in Germany's name. He raved about how Hitler saw the Jewish people for what they were and that Muslims and Germany shared a historical mission: the elimination of the Jews.

Despite my instincts, I stayed mostly silent, wanting to know how this man felt. He genuinely believed he was paying me a compliment by praising the blackest crime committed ever committed in the name of Germany.

After getting to the airport, I tried to digest the experience. Firstly, it reminded me that at least some people think that Germans/German descendants are still closet Nazis. In his case, he felt that was a good thing that gave us a connection.
Secondly, it made me question if my Jewish friends and acquaintances quietly feared I and other German descendants secretly harboured evil intent

This Über driver doesn't speak for all Arabs or Muslims - only for himself. But, it's undeniable that the Islamic world has a serious problem with anti-Semitism. It's taboo to say it, but I'm going to. And I think I have some license to. In 1945, Germans were confronted with the crimes committed in their name. Most did not know the extent of it, but they knew they had at least some responsibility to bear for supporting a regime that that at a minimum, they knew persecuted the Jews.

The German people had to confront what was done in their name. They had to understand these crimes, make restitution (so much as was possible at least), and reconcile with both the Jewish people and themselves.

That shouldn't extend to self-hatred and a rejection of ones culture as some Germans have taken it to mean, but "Vergangenheitsbewältigung" (struggle of overcoming the past) was and is necessary in making people with others and one's self.

Since 1948, Israel's Arab neighbours have tried repeatedly to perpetrate another mass murder of the Jewish people. Many - as we saw in recent weeks - still try. And do so with the overt support of diaspora communities in the West, and certain progressive political factions.

That doesn't mean self-hatred or a rejection of their faith and culture. But it means honestly confronting what has been done in the name of their faith, rooting it out, and moving forward in reconciliation.

Israel has its faults. It is not above criticism as many political conservatives and certain Christian denominations treat it. It is a state, and states are (very) fallible. Israel has done wrong, and it is fair game to call it out when that happens.

Criticism of the Israeli government isn't anti-Semitism in and of itself. But those who hold it to an impossible standard of expecting it to lay down its arms while barbarians commit mass murder of civilians are letting slip the mask hiding their hate.


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