Israel, Scotland, and Liberalism

I’ve transferred myself to a new hostel. The experience has been pleasant and the people are generally nice. Last evening I found myself talking to a small group consisting of a young American from Seattle, a Brit, a very proud Scotsman, and a young woman from Israel. Absolutely, Israel was the hot topic of the evening.

Apparently, meeting an Israeli is rare.¬†This young Israeli had just separated from the Israeli Defense Forces and has been spending her new found freedom traveling the world. As interested as everyone seemed to be about her homeland the conversation didn’t take long until it turned to politics. Not surprisingly, I observed the Scottish man slowly maneuver this conversation as he would gradually input his opinion regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Of course, he was never out right be rude about it. To an extent, I think he knew better. The Israeli seemed to tread carefully as the conservation went on but it also felt more like she had been here before. It was later confirmed that she gets asked about this very topic just as much as Americans get asked about the election.

I made several attempts to defend Israel as the sole functioning democracy in the middle east. I even reminded the group that Israel has large political parties that consist of Islamic Arabs which she confirmed. That conversation ended calmly. However, a later conversation took a strange turn. Probably because, at this point, most of us were intoxicated. No real shame there.

It started from a conversation about the election until I was trying to explain my disdain for Hillary Clinton and my own views regarding foreign affairs. It felt like she was trying to attach US foreign policy to me. She tried to make US foreign policy my views on foreign policy. Which I shouldn’t exactly be surprised about. I’ve discovered that when you travel abroad you act as though you’re an ambassador for your own country to other travelers. I had to keep clarifying that I could disagree with my own government and even the historical actions of my own government.

I thought for a moment that maybe she felt as though the actions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria played in favor of Israel and she didn’t want me taking a position of abandonment. I’m probably also over thinking that considering our mental state. She could easily just be a liberal Israeli. I was often reminded that Israel is a country like any other. There are those in Israel that don’t support Netanyahu and that Israeli is far from a one party state.

As for Scotland… as friendly as this guy turned out being, he was the epitome of how I stereotyped on Scots. Typical socialists.


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