A Letter to Israel from a Sympathetic Palestinian

Israel, I know how you feel.

It’s been a tough year.  And it’s only just started. Your world seems like it’s crumbling around you.  Everything you knew is no longer true.  The comfortable circumstances to which you have become accustomed are rapidly changing around you.  And worse yet, it seems you can do nothing about it.

I know how you feel.

Your so-called “friends” are turning on you.  They said they would all always stand by you, no matter what.  And now, just when it seems that you need them the most, they have forsaken you.

I know how you feel.

About a month ago, I attended a lecture in Ann Arbor, Michigan by one of the leaders of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS).  After the speaker completed his presentation, many audience members approached the microphones to ask questions, continuing the discussion.  Among the many participants were a few pro-Israel attendees who challenged the speaker on his assertions and arguments.  As I sat there watching them, I remembered how, many years ago, I used to attend events sponsored by pro-Israel groups on that same campus.  They would invite ambassadors, generals, and academics to argue for you.  A few other interested Palestinians and I would stride in that hostile sea, and we would plead our case.  We would wonder if anyone was really listening.  We would doubt that anyone would ever see the world the way we do.  We would sit there, looking around, feeling alone, as if no one understood us, and as if no one ever would.  When I saw those students standing up for you last month, they had the same dejected look on their faces I bore over fifteen years ago.  It must have felt terrible.

So, I know how you feel.

The position you currently find yourself in is full of uncertainty, discomfort, and doubt.  It is as if no matter what you do or say, you just can’t get anyone to believe you.  You don’t know where to turn.  You can’t figure out what to do.  You’re lost.  Was everything you’ve ever told yourself just one big lie?  Were you going about things the wrong way this whole time?  You’re wondering, fearful and apprehensive, about what the future holds.  You’re thinking, “What am I going to do now?”

At one time or another, I have asked myself all those same questions.  Trust me, more anger is not the answer.  I’ve tried it, and it just doesn’t work.  Change is hard.  But having everything you’ve ever known uprooted is not a death sentence.  I got through it, and so can you.

Trust me, I know how you feel.

Recently, your days have been full of turmoil and chaos.  The past several months for you have been bad.  Really bad.  But you’ve only had a bad few months.  I’ve had a bad 65 years.  I know I’m only 36, but I was born in 1948, just like the rest of us.

So you’ll survive.  I promise.  You just have to accept the fact that things are never going to be the same.

While I can sympathize, there is one major difference. Like you, I have always felt that the truth was on my side.  But unlike you, it turns out that I was right.

Nevertheless, I’m here for you.  And I promise you, I’m not going anywhere.  We’ll get through this.

A Sympathetic Palestinian

About Amer Zahr 181 Articles
Amer Zahr is a Palestinian American comedian, writer, professor and speaker living in Dearborn, Michigan. He is also the editor of "The Civil Arab."


  1. Israel is probably right about something because all the so called “Palestinian” that happen to live in Israel proper (Israeli-Arabs if you will) don’t sound to happy when the prospect of joining the future Palestinian state comes up.
    Just saying…

    • As a citizen of the “so-called Palestinian” state, welcome Brother Jonathan. Here you can frolic with Goblins and Gremlins and ride Unicorn into a pastel sky of rainbows where leprechauns will shower you with lucky charms and no, I’m not talking about the cereal. For here we live in a mythical mystical magical place where everyone is given a bag of sunshine and a puppy upon arrival. Now is not the time to fight. Come join us in love. The kind of love that makes you go wubba wubba if you get my drift….

  2. Jonathan, define “happiness”…Palestinian Israelis (Palestinians who remained behind after the Nakba) are treated like 3rd class citizens. I am 55 years old and recall seeing electricity in my home at age 16. My father got a house phone back in 1983 (I have long been gone to seek my future elsewhere). Palestinians are not allowed any reasonable opportunities in high tech industry. I spent 3 years on an assignment at my company’s Israeli subsidiary. I was 1 of 2 senior executives in big pharma in the whole country. My colleagues were amazed to see an “Arab” in a leadership position (leading a group of 40 Israeli “Jews”) as the only Arabs they know are those who pick up their trash and clean their houses and wash their restaurant dishes. Happiness is relative. Ask my father and he will tell you what happiness is. Happiness WAS when he lived his simple life tending his land most of which was taken from him starting in 1948 (Israel confiscated 90% of our land and continues to do so now). I am not sure where you get your “knowledge” of our HAPPINESS, but, I am comforted by the fact that there is a growing number of Israelis who are beginning to recognize the historic injustice that has befallen us, the Palestinians (no matter where we live). Jonathan, read “The General’s Son”. It will help you see the light.

  3. You are not arab and of course not palestinian at all,
    neither me,but i am palestine patriot more then you,
    israelis killed your whole people and took your lands and you have no problem with it? Stockholm syndrome is so so bad,

    • Hi Metin, I know Amer quite well. We grew up together. (Amer if you’re reading this: “NGP”…yep, see? We’re homies from way back). Metin, there is no stockholme syndrome in play here. Amer has worked very hard over the years to support the rights of Palestinians more than you ever have or ever will in your lifetime. Being a patriot for Palestine doesn’t mean reading articles on websites and making the occasional comments. That doesn’t make you a patriot at all and if you knew Amer at all, you’d know that he is definitely not OK with Israel taking our lands.

  4. What a load of nonsense mr Amer Zahr.. who sponsors you?
    . OUT USURPERS LIARS MURDERERS FROM OUR LANDS There is nothing called “israel” except through violence and force. . What is it that you understand?

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