This week, US President Donald Trump had addressed the UN and has stressed his strong support for Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This once again displays the new Renaissance as it pertains to relationship between Israeli and American leadership, as Trump and Netanyahu have shown much admiration and praise for each other. Meanwhile, a Palestinian narrative of a history of Israeli occupation has built enough support in the US to stray away Jews from Israel support. American Jewry, especially in the youth, is losing sympathy towards Israel, and this is causing the weakest relationship in history between the American Jewish people and Israel. Therefore, it’s now important for American Jews to support Israel through not only political advocacy but also social advocacy, making sure other Jews can pledge support for Israel.
On Monday, Trump spoke at the United Nations and talked about how he said there would be a “good chance”  to striking a peace deal in the Middle East between the Israelis and Palestinians. He praised the capability of ‘Bibi’ (how Trump referred to Netanyahu) and ‘other side’ in reaching a deal. The Trump administration has arguably put more stress on Israeli relations and Middle East peace talks than the preceding presidents. Trump has mostly agreed with Netanyahu and his policies, such as the Iran nuclear threat, dealing with chaos and Syria, and even promised to move the US embassy to Jerusalem (without any action). In all, Netanyahu and Trump have shared a tremendous relationship, far better than the struggles that American-Israeli ties dealt with in the Obama administration.
In my Israel-Advocacy class, I spent time learning about the Palestinian narratives and the points that the pro-Palestinians bring up in their arguments. Their story of a Palestinian nation abused and discriminated, expelled and conquered is one full with imagery and a lot of emotion. From terms thrown around like Nakba (catastrophe) and occupation, it’s hard for people not to get reeled in by the Palestinian side once hearing their side first. Ultimately, the truth is what’s important, and often times Palestinians sacrifices much truth and exaggerated statistics to support their viewpoint. Thus, the Palestinian narrative is persuasive, and it has antagonized the Israeli state from within and especially in the United States / globally. Certainly the Palestinians have a lower standard of living and this needs to be addressed, yet the Palestinian victimization has left the world questioning Israel’s violation of human rights and giving the Israeli democracy a bad name.
This Palestinian narrative that has captivated college campuses and sparked many anti-Israel campaigns has streamed into affecting the American Jew’s support of Israel. The Jerusalem Post reported earlier this year that while in 2010 84% of US Jewish college students leaned toward the Israeli side of the conflict with the Palestinians, in 2016 that has unbelieveable dropped to 57%. This is incredibly concerning, as more and more young Jews believe “Israel falls short with values such as human rights, tolerance, and diversity”  . Adding onto so, Jewish college students that support Palestinians have jumped from 2% in 2010 to 13% in 2016. It is hard to mask the underlying issue here, that the Palestinian narrative has gotten into the heads of American Jewish college students. Especially since this is affect the youth, it’s essential that those supporting Israel find a way to reach college students and ensure they remain supportive of the only Jewish state. If this doesn’t happen, the great Israel-American relationship occurring in the political world will be put to waste by lack of support at the grass root level.