This was The Arabs, this

I popped into a cute little craft store. While browsing the cute little crafts, I overheard a conversation between the store’s owner and a potential customer.

“This one’s nice!” Said the potential customer. She was young, maybe 35, and wearing nice glasses. She was pointing to a little blue glass vase.

“That one’s from Hebron,” said the store owner. “It’s Hebroni glass.”

There was a long silence. I looked up and then looked toward the potential customer. She looked like she’d been slapped as she daintily put the case back down on the table.

“I’d… I’d prefer not,” she said, and walked out of the store.

“We live among all sorts of people,” the store owner sighed. It took me a moment to realize she was addressing me.

“What just happened?” I asked.

“It happens a lot, when I tell people that the glass is from Hebron. People don’t want to buy ‘Arab glass.’ It’s fair trade and all…” The woman sounded very tired.

We had a nice sad talk.

I got on the light rail, thinking. At the first stop, a man got on and began wagging his finger in my face, and then gesturing to the chipped glass of the train’s window: “this was the Arabs, this.”

I stared at him. I didn’t know why he was addressing me. Maybe the same reason the store owner felt like she could confide in me. My longish hair? My beard and lack-of-Kippah? The fact that I’m wearing a scarf?

I don’t know. I didn’t say anything. We rode on in silence, glass and glass and glass.