I had not even reached the airport to catch my flight before the hate and prejudice suffocating the region raised its ugly head.
In the uber to the train station that morning I brightly told my driver I was making my way to Palestine. He, with not a hint of concern, asked me: ‘you know what is going on out there don’t you?’ I could tell from the tone of his voice that he was not wanting an answer of truth based in fact, but I assumed ignorance of that and responded with such:
‘Well there is an awful lot going on in the region but my concern is that there is increasing risk of Israel becoming more involved in Syria, which I fear could encourage Hezbollah and Hamas to become more active. Also I am out there during Naqba which is likely inspire protests and unrest.’
He was quiet for a moment before launching into a sadly predictable tirade:
‘It is the Zionists, they run the world. They are colluding with America to have a third world war. That is what they want.’
I took a deep breath and responded simply:
‘No one wants a third world war, that is in no ones interest.’
We were quiet.
It truly is shocking how Anti-Semitism has become so rooted and normalised in our Capital that it can become casual taxi journey chat. I do not think prejudice around any other racial or religious group could be so easily shared between strangers with no fear of push back.
I am reminded of the vital need for a movement such as BECOME THE VOICE. A movement wherein humanity is put above cultural and religious identification. Where we come together over shared values of human rights and mutual tolerance and respect of one another and one where we train participants to be more critical of the conspiratorial propaganda they consume.