Frozen out by Israel, repelled by Trump, US Jews find more in common with Palestinians

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump with their spouses outside the White House, Mar 5, 2018. (photo: Bloomberg)
Israel has chosen to embrace Trump and serially antagonize US Jews.

By Avraham Bronstein | Haaretz | Nov 21, 2018

To be clear: We [US Jews] certainly benefit from far more privilege in our lives than the Palestinians we met. Still, our conversations caused me to reflect on how we could begin to relate to their feeling of being left behind.

Earlier this month, I toured Ramallah, East Jerusalem, and the Bethlehem area with a group of over 30 rabbis, educators, lay leaders, executives, and philanthropists from across the denominational and political spectrum.

It was a powerful, intense experience facilitated by Encounter, an organization that brings American Jewish leaders into direct contact with Palestinians for an on-the-ground perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Over the course of the four-day trip, our group asked many of the Palestinians with whom we met what they hoped to gain by speaking with us. Some thought we might be able to influence others on their behalf — whether it was the US Jewish community, the American government, or even Israelis — whether at large, or in positions of power.

Most of all, though, it seemed to us that they simply wanted the dignity that comes from being heard. Ironically, that is something we, American Jews, are increasingly looking for as well.

We, the vast liberal majority of Jewish Americans, have been increasingly marginalized in the face of a rapidly developing realpolitik connecting the Netanyahu government and the Trump administration.

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