Erasing Hate

December 1, 2008
By Kirsten Prost, Nashotah, WI

I’m a Lutheran who has come to see Jews as my brothers. Laugh if you will, but I’m serious. Anti-Semitism is pathetic, especially after all the Jews have suffered through.

Iran’s President, Ahmadinejad said: “Israel must be wiped off the map.”

That is clearly insane.

I don’t see anything wrong with the Jewish people and their state. Frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with the citizens of Iran either. That’s what makes the situation so difficult. You’ve got a despotic leader influencing good people, who don’t want war.

No one ever wants war. I think this is especially true for the Jewish state. Wasn’t losing six million of your people a high enough price to pay for their land? Do they really owe anyone anymore? I believe the answer is no.

People get confused by my passion about this issue. I’m not Jewish. I’ve never been to Israel. I’ve never even been to a temple.

I tell you what I have done though. For the past two summers I’ve worked at OSRUI that is a Jewish camp on Lac Labelle, near my home. It’s a long story how I came to the job. But when I first started working people would rib me about the fact that I worked at a “Jew camp”. If I could only count the times I heard, “You’re not Jewish are you?"


“Ok good,” was always the reply. As I started making friends with the counselors, rabbis, the rest of the waterfront staff and my boss, the anti-Semitic comments of my friends grew to trouble me. As I made friends with the Israelis working at camp this bothered me even more. And as I made connections with the kids I was teaching swim lessons, taking tubing and life guarding, this blatant anti-Semitism hit home. What if my family was Jewish? What would it be like to be laughed at for what you believe, persecuted for you believed, killed for what you believed? It broke my heart to hear Israelis saying that they don’t believe in God. To quote one of the guys I worked with, “There is no God. He died.”

I know people say ‘never say never’ and ‘you can do anything you set your mind to’. But I’m a realist. I realize that if you want to see big change you need to start by doing little things.

I have stopped making ethnic jokes, won’t laugh when other people tell them and continue to empathize with the fact that Jewish people are some of the nicest people I’ve met. I figure the best way to get something done is to lead by example. If I can change one narrow-minded person’s view I’ve succeeded. If I can change more than one view I know we will be able to win if a war ever breaks out. The world can’t survive another holocaust. It’s time to recognize that.

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