I saw an article recently about a Palestinian professor who took a group of Palestinian students to visit Auschwitz. The critical uproar against his actions was very saddening. I thought back to about five years ago when I took a Palestinian friend to see a musical about the history of the Jews. When it came to the bit about the Holocaust, she was horrified! “HOW many people died?!” she asked me. When I answered, “Around eleven million,” she was completely and utterly stunned. “I thought it was like six hundred!” she said. She instantly saw that she had been presented a false reality, a biased report, a lie. She clearly felt uneasy and, likely, a bit gross. Her eyes widened as she further thought about how inhumane it was for people to minimize such an event – moreover, for the purpose of fueling a continued resentment, an “us vs them” mentality, and an international dispute. She was also wondering what else had been presented wrongly to her for the point of keeping Palestinians hostile against their Jewish neighbors.
Granted, a big and beautiful difference in this story, is that my friend is a Christian. She was once a Muslim, but met Jesus and chose to follow Him. In fact, she already loved the Jews. She was still working through some of her past perspectives, but she genuinely loved them. This helped her respond to these newfound facts with sincerity, compassion, and a desire to help heal the wounds between Palestinians and Jews.
Her heart toward healing is a key toward healing in the Middle East. Likewise, the compassion the professor in the article displayed, is also key. Compassion and hearing one another will do more than a peace treaty, a summit, or thousands of books on that matter. Certainly, those tools can be powerful if they involve the spread of compassion, but on their own, they fall short. Love will heal nations. I applaud this professor for leading such healing.