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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Why Was Andrew Pochter in Egypt, Not Israel?

Did his family support this delusion?
Andrew Pochter

Andrew Pochter

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Condolences to the family of  Andrew Pochter, who was the American killed in Egyptian riots.

I find his story very disturbing.

Pochter’s family said he had travelled to Alexandria for the summer to teach English to 7- and 8-year-old Egyptian children and to improve his Arabic.
“He had studied in the region, loved the culture, and planned to live and work there in the pursuit of peace and understanding,” read the statement, that asked for privacy in a time of grieving.

Pochter was looking forward to beginning his junior year at Ohio’s Kenyon College and had planned to study abroad in Jordan next spring, according to the statement.

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What was he doing in Egypt?  Why did he feel more connected to Arab countries than to Israel?  Did he really think that he, a Jewish American, could do something for “the pursuit of peace and understanding?”

Did his family support this delusion?

Did his family and friends and teachers warn him that he was going to a dangerous place?

Frequently when someone in the states says they’re going to Israel, people act horrified:

“It’s so dangerous!”

Now, I would like to know if Pochter received such reactions to his plans.  Of course there’s no guarantee that Pochter would be alive if he had gone to Israel.  But for sure, if he had been killed here, the article about his death would include something of how his family didn’t want him to come because of the supposed “dangers.”

Think about it.  Where can one find more danger, in Israel or the Arab countries?  If someone is injured or hurt, where is there better medical care?  And are you disturbed by the fact that an American Jewish student is more attracted to Arab society than to Jewish Israeli society?

Am I the only one bothered by this incident and this situation in general?

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About the Author: Batya Medad blogs at Shiloh Musings.


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74 Responses to “Why Was Andrew Pochter in Egypt, Not Israel?”

  1. I am a Jew who has Arabic Jewish ancestry…..yes he had every right to go to Egypt. That being said, it was effing stupid of him to think that they wouldn’t care that he was Jewish. They would and did. I get very pissed off when people don’t read up. After the so-called Arab Spring….one day later after T Square was taken, a local Shul and a Church were desecrated and firebombed. Do people not think? As a Jew, I read up. Don’t be naive. READ UP.

  2. Why blame the victim? If safety were his objective, he wouldn’t have left campus. Instead, he saw a challenge. It’s not for the writer to determine where this young man belonged.

  3. If a person plays in traffic and gets hurt, whose fault is it? the driver that should have seen him and stop in time or the person who shouldn’t have been playing there? He saw a challenge but he went where it was stupid for a Jew to go. He should have been able to be safe, but he did go to a very dangerous place and took his life in his hands. May Hashem comfort his family.

  4. what you all write is true…but it is a good question….I’ve spoken to some Jewish college left wingers who are just plain idiots.

  5. Too much of this article is riddled with falsehoods. Andrew Pochter was and still is one of my closest friends. Although one of this parents is jewish, he was raised christian and did not identify as a jewish american. Regardless of his upbringing, I know that Andrew would never have wanted his death to become a matter of Jewish v. Islamic values. He meant to address the larger global issue of how we human beings interact and treat each other and was especially passionate with how such paradigms transpire within the middle east. He believed that through an open forum of dialogue, we could progress ourselves and our neighbors. To answer your question, "did he really think he could do something for the pursuit of peace and understanding?" He absolutely did. So do I. And it was I, along with his friends and family that encouraged him to take the opportunity and go to Egypt. I do not regret such encouragement because I know it was what he believed to be right. If you think his pursuits as "delusions" than I am afraid you have no business writing about Andrew Pochter.

  6. Sean Hutton says:

    **** you batya.

  7. David Blatt says:

    Why can’t you just offer condolences to a Jewish family on their loss? What do you gain by being so hateful? Only chilul Hashem!

  8. Joe Krakoff says:

    this article is a ****ing travesty.

  9. Joe Krakoff says:

    thoughts with you while you're dealing with this.

  10. Alan Magendzo says:

    As a Jewish American, I am embarrassed by this article.

  11. Muslims hate Christians as much as Jews.

    To shorten your paragraph – he was an idiot that didn't know anything about the Middle East

  12. Al Exander says:

    I'm just lost as to why he was killed? I respect his pursuits and what he did, I agree with you about the absurdity of this article. Just trying to find more clarity about what occured at the protest that led to his stabbing. I'm sorry for your loss. There are many of us who believe in what the likes of Mr. Pochter and Libyan Ambassador Stevens were doing, and are following in their steps.

  13. This article, on top of being quite poorly written, suffers from the exact stubbornness and inability to step out of boxed-in ideologies that Andrew sought to combat. Let us all follow his courageous example of nuance, optimism and generosity.

  14. Maria Shine Stewart says:

    I find this blog post, with the exception of the one sentence at the beginning offering condolences to the family of Andrew Pochter, to be in extremely poor taste. The writer is blaming the family and speculating about the victim, casting aspersions. If the writer feels anger at wanton violence, there are ways to vent that without blaming the victim. Judaism does not condone speaking ill of the deceased. I can only imagine the pain a post such as this would cause a family member of the deceased if she or he were to read it. Please consider this before posting in this vein in the future when there is a tragic loss.

  15. Lila Hanft says:

    Ew.

  16. Lisa Kamins says:

    when I first read the original article I thought and still think the same way. I do not understand what I Jewish American, who was involved seriously in Hillel in university, would go to an Arab country. he himself should have known the dangers and risks. any way. I found the whole thing with this young man rather disturbing.

  17. Lisa Kamins says:

    when I first read the original article I thought and still think the same way. I do not understand what I Jewish American, who was involved seriously in Hillel in university, would go to an Arab country. he himself should have known the dangers and risks. any way. I found the whole thing with this young man rather disturbing.

  18. Lisa Kamins says:

    thank you for clarifying things. it is unfortunate that so many people are fooled by the media and refuse to see clearly and plainly what is going on in the Arab and Islamic world. this is a world filled with hate and violence, and one naive young American is not going to change it, and like what happened to your friend, is sadly more likely to get himself killed as many other innocents of their own country do. look at what they do to each other, here they are protesting a unethical administration, and they murder and rape each other. there does not appear to be any justice in the Arab or Muslim world. if you can find it, it is most likely, realistically, to be stamped out, sadly, my Islamic extremists.

  19. Gail Stuehr says:

    Because that is where he wanted to be.

  20. Jacob Alperin-Sheriff says:

    Disgusting blaming the victim but no less than I'd expect from someone with a Shiloh morality.

  21. Jacob Alperin-Sheriff says:

    And "this situation in general" is something you've helped create, so why be bothered? Be happy!

  22. Eliot Fleming says:

    ^loren griffith, alan silverstein, lisa kamins- it's people like you that hold the human race back from positive progress.. Andrew Pochter didn't live in fear nor roll over and quit knowing the seemingly insurmountable odds we face trying to bring peace to this part of the world. he had the courage to enter into the fray to inspire change for the betterment of all of us. we should all be so lucky to die doing what we believe in and know is right. to you three i say that you are cowards. I truly believe that good triumphs over evil and love outshines hate. I intend to live my life as andrew did, never give up and never, ever, surrender..

  23. Oren Weingrod says:

    As both a Jew and the children of Israelis I am disgusted by this piece of commentary. The writer should be ashamed that he had the nerve and lack of conviction to not only insert himself in a conversation where he does not belong, but also to cast aspersions on a recently deceased man. This is not the Jewish way, this is not the Israeli way, this is not the human way of acting. Shame on you for treating the desires and goals of an interested and talented man "delusions," shame on you for deriding his vision, and shame on you for attempting to tarnish his memory by placing the blame not on the inhuman monster that killed him, but on the 21-year-old student who wanted to help people.

  24. Seriously though. Oren I hope they hear you!

  25. Remy Bernstein says:

    the brevity of this article betrays the vast ocean of ignorance residing within its margins.

  26. Remy Bernstein says:

    the brevity of this article masks the vast ocean of ignorance residing within its margins.

  27. Lily Zwaan says:

    this is ridiculous

  28. Simon Golovcsenko says:

    How dare you Batya: you are drawing ethno/cultural lines where they do not universally exist. For you they may be quite present, but for Andrew they weren't: where all you seem to see is hate, separation, and difference, he saw the ubiquitous human experience and a desire for peace, love, and understanding. I invite you to reevaluate your context and position on these issues: "Are you disturbed by the fact that an American Jewish student is more attracted to Arab society than to Jewish Israeli society?" Maybe he saw something beautiful happening there; maybe he saw some hope; maybe he saw "Arab society" (as you call it) as far less stagnant than the traditionally myopic unwavering zionist perspective.

    Sincerely,
    A Jew who thrives on human connection and a friend of Andrew's.

  29. Les Le Gear says:

    Attracted to arab society? WTF. Where have you been over the four decades or so. WTF is attractive about arab society? You're as delusional as this unfortunate boy was. Get real.

  30. Gabe Gabeler says:

    "Am I the only one bothered by this incident and this situation in general?"

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