Samira Dajani holds a photo of her family in 1956 after they moved into their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem, Sunday, May 9, 2021. The Dajanis are one of several Palestinian families facing ethnic displacement by the Israeli government. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Why do politicians cower from using certain words? Does one word or definition really carry that much weight? Does it really scare people that much?

Does it hurt the feelings of an ally or a friend to tell them the blunt truth?

We find it pretty easy to be blunt with a state, nation, or people who are not our friends. And then we walk around as if we had courage to say it when others could not say it.

Are we that arrogant that we do not see our own cowardice when we fail to speak up as a nation?

What else is the Israeli government engaged in when it forcibly displaces people because of their ethnicity?

What else should we call it when your citizenship is dependent on your ethnicity despite living in the same land?

What word do you want us to use when your laws apply differently because of your ethnicity?

It was from Israeli Human Rights group, B’Tselem, that I learned what to call this: Apartheid.

But it is not just from Israelis that I know of this immoral behavior. It is from America’s own history that the Israeli government mimics.

Being an American, many of us are painfully aware of our history of racist laws. Laws that blocked citizenship for non-white people in the same way the Israeli government blocks citizenship for Arabs born in the same land. Laws that displaced and forced Black Americans to abandon their home for the benefit of white Americans in the same way the Israeli government forcibly displaces Palestinians from their homes and shoves them into overcrowded ghettos. A nation with an ugly history of “Manifest Destiny” that justified stealing the land of American Indians under the guise of a just God when we know full well a just God would never condone such immoral behavior. A country with a history of using racist fears for political gain by demonizing Asian and Latin American immigrants in the same way an Israeli Prime Minister demonizes Arabs.

Do you really expect me to be okay when an ally does the same exact things in 2021?

Isn’t the expectation of a friend to tell them the truth so that they may improve? How can we be an effective ally if we mince our words? How can we expect to celebrate a monument in defeating racism with the Brown v. Board of Education’s anniversary today on May 17th when we can not call out our own allies for their immoral behavior?

Political courage is something every politician claims to hold. Very few actually have it.

I write to inform my friends as best I can.