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Reply To: What were some of your primary takeaways after reading Matti Friedman’s “There Is No ‘Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’”?

Sarah Merly

Before taking this course and reading Matti Friedman’s opinion piece, I thought the term “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” was innocuous enough and accurately covered the gist of the situation in the Near East. Now, Friedman has encouraged me to think more carefully about the terms we use to describe the Near East and to remember that the phrase “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” actually makes Israel’s enemies sound like the “right” side to support and suggests that Israel can easily overpower their enemies if they wanted to. In addition, Friedman’s comparison of the term to calling World War II the “America-Italy Conflict” has helped me a ton in understanding just how extraordinarily simplistic and insufficient the term “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” truly is. Going forward, Matti Friedman has encouraged me to carefully evaluate each word and phrase I use when speaking about the Near East, making sure that I acknowledge Israel’s multiple enemies from all sides, their openness to sharing land, and the massive spiritual implications at the center of it all.