Photo Credit: Lori Lowenthal Marcus
Israeli flag flying in Zichron Yaakov, Israel

Gold discussed Fields of Exile with The Jewish Press, and in particular her own lens as a leftist yet ardent lover of Israel.

“The left is engaged solely with the Occupation,” Gold says, “while the right solely focuses on anti-Semitism.” It leaves her in a tough spot as she identifies strongly with the both of those pre-occupations, yet she holds them both in her head and in her heart at the same time.


Gold explained that she was forced to recognize the continuing reality of modern day anti-Semitism when she was awarded a grant to study the experiences of sexism by Jewish women. What floored Gold was that while she fully expected anti-Semitism to be a thing of the past, instead, the quantitative research revealed that it was anti-Semitism that was by far the more prevalent problem.

“It was a real shock,” Gold said. “The most depressing six months of my life.”

Gold acknowledges that she’s performing a careful balancing act astride two very contradictory worlds which constantly threaten to unseat her as they repel each other. We took the opportunity to ask for her responses to a few seminal points in very current history. We were looking for the point at which the leftist lover of Israel’s views diverge from those of non-leftists.

The Kidnapping of the Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach:

Gold: Yes, I thought of them as ‘Our Boys.’ I was obsessed with what happened to them, just like everybody else. I couldn’t really think about anything else.

The Murder of Mohamad abu Kheidar:

Gold: I was shocked and hurt. I mean, we did that?! I was horrified, it was primitively hideous. And very glad that the Israeli government immediately took action, to their credit, they did that, that made me proud.

TJP: What do you mean by that? And did you immediately think it was probably Jews who murdered him? If not, did you think it was an honor killing because the boy looked effeminate?

Gold: I thought right away it was Jews who did it. I’ve heard the ugliness for decades. And I was pleasantly surprised by the government’s response because the government tolerates acts of violence against Arabs. Settlers are allowed to go into Arab villages and orchard groves to destroy the crops and nothing is done to them. Surely you’ve heard of the price tag attacks? It meant a lot to me that the perpetrators were brought to justice.  And I don’t think there is such a thing in Arab culture as honor killing of males.


TJP: Did you expect that a war would break out? Do you support what the IDF is doing? Do you support Netanyahu’s decisions?

GOLD: I did not expect there would be a war, but on the other hand, I did see the violence spinning out of control. I used to pass through Shuafat (the Arab village where abu Kheidar is from and where there was a tremendous amount of anger and violence directed towards Israel in the wake of the boy’s death) and it always seemed like a tinderbox, ready to explode.

I completely support what the IDF is doing, they must destroy the tunnels. I am not unaware of the deaths of innocents and it’s horrible, but I don’t think it is our fault that they are dying.

I am horrified by what is happening (the death and destruction in Gaza), but I am more horrified by the ugliness and hypocrisy in France and England.

You see, whenever there is any excuse for anti-Israelism the mask falls away and the naked hatred is exposed. It as if the whole world has caught fire.


GOLD: I’m not anti-Obama, but he doesn’t seem to care about this at all. These are not stupid people, but they had to know they were handing a gift to Hamas. They may really believe that this was the best way to help Israel, but Ben Gurion is the most secure airport in the world. I am appalled that they allowed this to happen. People are being trapped in Israel and cannot get home? What kind of a message is that?

TJP identified several points at which the shared love of Israel diverged regarding these issues, but not that many. It would be interesting to hear what others think marks the distinction, if any.

*    *     *     *  Gold then talked about what she believes will lead to a diminution in hostility between Arabs and Jews.


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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: