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

By Avraham Bronstein
Nov 23, 2018

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.