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Jewish@edu – Israel Fellowship
Jeremy Rosenberg } jewish@edu writer
AIPAC experience enhances WSU student’s Israel advocacy.
Having an open mind allows you to explore and accept ideas that you may not otherwise want to hear. Going into the AIPAC Israel Fellowship program in Washington, D.C., I knew I’d be hearing from people with plenty of different views on how to properly support Israel as American Jews. In keeping an open mind, I took away three big things that have contributed greatly to my thoughts on Israel and have encouraged my greater involvement in the pro-Israel community.
Perhaps the most important takeaway is that there are different ways to love Israel. I think it is important to understand that even if the politics aren’t always agreeable, no one’s perspective should be discredited. Obviously, I’m not involved in any of the organizations that are far-right or far-left, so it’s easier for me to say, “Let’s all just get along.”
What needs to be remembered is that even if we’re on opposite sides of the political spectrum, we’re all on the same pro-Israel side. As the saying goes, for every two Jewish people, there are three opinions. I think the same can be said about anyone in the pro-Israel community, and we should treat that with the same level of respect we’d treat someone having a halachic argument with us.
I also learned that being pro-Israel does not make you anti-Palestinian. To clarify: Being pro-Palestinian doesn’t mean you support Hamas or the PLO or any other controlling organization of the Palestinian people. Being pro-Palestinian can mean you believe in the human right to live life without being under the control of those who condone unacceptable behavior. While some Palestinians do hate Israel and would like to see it gone, there are others who were born into a situation beyond their control, who would like nothing more than to live in peace.
The last big takeaway was a sudden understanding of the importance of AIPAC. In the last few months, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the Policy Conference (AIPAC’s annual national gathering) and the Michigan Region dinner.What I learned from the organization, as well as about it, was the true message of AIPAC — that it supports a healthy U.S.-Israel alliance, and it does so in a bipartisan way, allowing all represenatives and senators to be a part of the cause. Before Policy Conference, I was under the impression Israel had very little support from anyone in the House or Senate. Now that I’ve been proven wrong, and thankfully so, I have a greater appreciation for AIPAC and what they do for Israel every single day.
As I move through my college career and professional life beyond, I look forward to meeting more people with differing views, continuing healthy conversations among different communities, and being an active participant in AIPAC to ensure the U.S. is always a friend of Israel.
The Israel Fellowship allowed me to challenge my own beliefs and to hear the thoughts and ideas of others, which I believe is invaluable to my experience as a strong member of the pro-Israel community. @
Jeremy Rosenberg of West Bloomfield is a freshman at Wayne State University.