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February 09, 2012 - Image 45

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-02-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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My Journey from page 40

Seeing Israel and the West Bank
through Palestinian eyes dramatically
altered my views of the story being
played out by the country I love. I saw
poor, water-starved West Bank Arab
villages looking up at hilltop settle-
ments with gleaming white homes
and swimming pools. I was herded
through narrow, fenced checkpoint
corridors, questioned by young
Israeli soldiers swinging their Uzis
close to my body. I traveled along
the high, ugly separation wall and
its barbed wire extensions, isolating
my east Jerusalem friends from their
relatives living close by. I walked
through the Muslim Quarter of the
Old City and up Al Saladin Street,
realizing that the idea of a truly uni-
fied Jerusalem was a fantasy and a
mythical hope. I drove through newly
constructed Jewish neighborhoods
gradually encircling Jerusalem and
separating it from formerly contigu-
ous Arab villages.
It now became crystal clear to me
that the status quo couldn't exist
much longer. In the absence of a two-
state resolution to the conflict, Israel
will soon face the unbearable choice
between remaining a democracy or
a non-democratic homeland for the
Jewish people. It was astounding to
me that the Israeli government was
acting in a way seemingly ignorant of
these facts and that our own govern-
ment was not playing an active role
moving Israel and the Palestinians
toward the only realistic way to
resolve their differences.
Even more frustrating was hearing
the presumed organizational voice of
American Jewry supporting virtually
every action of the Israeli govern-
ment and branding any Jew voicing
conflicting views a traitor to Israel.
I learned about J Street and was
delighted to find that its views were
consistent with my own. I joined its
Ann Arbor group and found myself
working with other Jews whose love
of Israel was as strong as mine,
and who were working to orient
American Israel policy to the real-
ity of achieving a pro-peace, pro-
Israel solution of the conflict.
I discovered that while the
"establishment" Jewish organiza-
tions claimed to represent the
voice of American Jewry, the
J Street voice was consistent
with the opinions of almost all
Jews with whom I associated.
They and I support a two-state
solution to the conflict, cessa-
tion of settlement growth and
removal of most of the settle-

ments through land swaps, resolution
of the right of return through means
other than return to Israel, sharing
of Jerusalem and effective security
guarantees. Just as my father and
brother were working through Detroit
Jewish organizations for the survival
of Israel back in the '50s and '60s, I
now find myself working for the sur-
vival of Israel through J Street Ann
Arbor, while J Street Detroit is being
formed and starts to grow.
The Jewish community of
Southeastern Michigan has come
a long way from shopping on 12th
Street to its current prominence and
geographic spread. The survival of
Israel is still at stake, and once again
.
American Jews need to raise their
voices to assure its survival. For me
and for most Jews with whom I come
into contact, J Street provides a pow-
erful and growing movement through
which our voices can be effectively
heard. ❑

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Michigan's Republican presidential
primary is scheduled for Tuesday,
Feb. 28. Friends of Israel who plan to
participate might wish to review all of
the candidates' Middle East position
papers prior to voting by visiting their
websites or contacting local campaign
offices.

If you are not wearing it... sell it!...
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Prepared by Allan Gale, Jewish
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Metropolitan Detroit

A Service to
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© Feb. 9, 2012, Jewish Renaissance Media

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February 9 • 2012

41

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