With current events like Gaza, kids can grasp the truth

BRATTLEBORO — This I know to be true: The Israeli government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu do not represent all Jewish people, let alone all Israelis. It's baffling that anyone with the ability for reasoned thought can continue to spread this ridiculous notion.

To believe this lie, one must therefore conclude that the crimes of Netanyahu, and the Israeli government, including illegal land grabs, settlement building and, most importantly, the murder by the government-sanctioned Israeli army of Palestinian men, women, and children as well as the protesters and journalists bearing witness to these crimes, are considered acceptable by the world's Jewish community.

Is that what the people at BAJC believe? Is that what the teachers we're talking about were/are teaching? Because I honestly cannot believe that.

And speaking of teaching and learning: In 1974, when I was 15 and my siblings were 10 and 9, respectively, we were all taught, by our teachers, the complexities and historical context/timeline of something that was in the news nightly and that we wanted to understand better: The busing of black schoolchildren into previously segregated Boston schools and the accompanying violence.

We saw Irish Americans, the children and grandchildren of people who had been persecuted upon arrival in Boston when they came to escape starvation and worse in their own occupied land, behaving like, well, racists.

Our teachers explained that the people shouting slurs and hurling rocks at the children on the buses did not represent all Irish people, or even all Boston Irish people, and our parents (because we discussed the news at home, too) told us these people were disgracing their culture and forgetting their past.

Kids are smart. Kids want the truth. Kids can understand differences and complicated concepts. To quote one of my heroes, Maurice Sendak, “You cannot write for children. They're much too complicated. You can only write books that are of interest to them.”

We need truth more than ever right now, and we need to be very careful indeed that we are teaching our children truth.

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