Wendy Kalman
There are many ways to see and understand

Between a rock and a hard place

If you are like me, an American Jew who believes people should be able to live life free of bias and that every person is truly entitled to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness and you support Israel, you are beginning to feel screwed by our two parties.

I see Republican policies as being indifferent, even harmful, to the actual welfare of citizens and country alike. And the president, though not a member of the party, leads with inflammatory statements. The relationship between the two doesn’t help. Republicans in Congress don’t distance themselves from him as long as they are able to advance whatever they want to push forward. Meanwhile, the alt-right movement and hateful citizens alike feel emboldened to express racist, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, misogynist sentiments. As a Jew, I find the increasing intolerance scary.

Anti-Semitism from the right is real.

The Democratic party is also problematic for me. While it changed its platform in 2016 to reject BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), I don’t see it being very vocal about it. In fact, while Congress is in the process of trying to criminalize it, prominent Democrats are denouncing those efforts. How can they both support their party platform and yet come out against supporting parts of it? Further, more and more, I’m seeing this boycott against Israel being extended to include acts against all Jews, even those who aren’t Israelis, like when Matisyahu was rejected from a Spanish festival; this is not “just” anti-Zionism..

Anti-Semitism from the left is real.

Then you have those who are associated with the left – like Democratic Socialists of America who are incorporating BDS into their platform – and Students for Justice for Palestinians, which focuses on hate instead of on what Palestinians need for Justice (ummm, like finding and electing Palestinian leaders. for instance, who actually want to achieve a state and understand that advocating and demonstrating for peaceful coexistence is the way).

The topping on the cake for me, was this week — when Bernie Sanders came out calling for a rethink on Israel.

Look, both parties have a spectrum of center-to-far elements within them, and both parties are led by people who are not members. IT’s an issue. It means that party members may not back everything their leaders or their fringes say, but without a loud enough party disavowal, the end result is the same — Jews who support bias-free socially aware positions and support Israel are caught between a rock and a hard place. We can’t find a comfortable home in either party.

So where do we go from here?

Lobbying? Educating? Pursuing other parties? Withdrawing from political life? Getting more active within parties to affect change? I don’t know. Honestly. But what I do know, is that I am finding the political atmosphere less and less welcoming. And it hurts.

About the Author
Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Wendy lived in Jerusalem for over a decade submerged in Israeli culture. Since returning to the U.S. in 2003; she has been soaked in Southern life in metro Atlanta. An Ashkenazi mom to Mizrahi sons born in Israel and the US, MIL to a French Mizrahi DIL and an Israeli DIL whose parents are also an interesting mix, and a step mom to sons born in the South, she celebrates trying to see from multiple perspectives and hope this comes out in her blogs. Wendy recently wrapped up work as a researcher for an Israel education nonprofit and completed two master's degrees in public administration and integrated global communication, and is looking for her next opportunity. Her interest in resolving conflict had her also taking a grad school class on conflict management and completing certification as a human rights consultant, Wendy's interests also have her digging deep into genealogy and bringing distant family together. All of this is to say, Wendy's life has brought her to the widened framework she uses for her blogs: there are many ways to see and understand.
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