an intense and sort of violent "us-or-them" mentality

"My experiences at day school and summer camp involved a lot of traditions related to Israel and, often, the Israeli Army. I think there should be serious questions asked about how American Jewish institutions, and especially summer camps, teach a version of Israeli nationalism that includes nasty strains of militarism and ethnocentrism. My education overlooked important significant histories and set me up to be alienated by the realities of the conflict I only learned once I left institutional bubble. I felt betrayed, and my takeaway for many years was that organized Jewish life was just not for me. Luckily I've been able to find Jewish communities that truly share my values both in theory and practice, but I know many young Jews who left their schools and camps having learned an intense and sort of violent "us-or-them" mentality. On the other hand I know young American Jews participating in the rising wave of Millennial social and political engagement who are deeply disturbed by the conflict and turn their back on the Jewish community as a result. I'm grateful to know Jews who, like me, feel connected to their Judaism but are still disillusioned by the massive ethical gaps in the way that Israel was taught to me. I believe the occupation is contradictory to the Jewish values I was raised with. I don't need to give up my Judaism to oppose the occupation, but I may need to give up my big synagogue membership, and that's fine with me." -Asher Kaplan, Pressman Academy, Camp Alonim