For the last few days, which have felt like years, I have been sitting and watching as Jerusalem, a city that I have called home for the last two summers, erupts in chaos. Places where I would eat schwarma, meet friends and relax have turned into places full of fear where the courageous try to live a normal life. I have to ask myself what can I, an American Jewish Zionist who lives at least an 11 hour plane ride from Israel, do about it? How can I help a situation that I can’t see or reach?
Just before the violence began I heard from former ambassador, Dr. Michael Oren. In his talk entitled, “The U.S.-Israel Relationship,” Dr. Oren spoke about the changes that have occurred in the relationship between America and Israel, including those that took place during and after his ambassadorship, and the enduring importance of US-Israeli friendship. Dr. Oren emphasized that while both countries were seemingly different, they shared common goals and values such as democracy and freedom. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and treats its citizens the same way that Americans are treated by their government. Furthermore, Dr. Oren stressed that the relationship between the U.S. and Israel is mutually beneficial, both countries need each other to survive.
Americans can do a lot to support Israel and stand by the Israeli people as they go through a hard and dangerous time. In fact, this is something that Americans have been doing since the founding of the state. In fact, several Americans helped to build the Israeli Air Force during the Independence war in 1948, as discussed in the documentary, Above and Beyond. Ever since 1948, the US and Israel have had a special relationship, it hasn’t been without bumps, but it has endured.
Now, while our ally is experiencing a tremendous upsurge in terrorism, Americans should stand by Israel and support it. This support can take many forms: from writing on social media about Israel, educating others about the situation, and calling out members of the media on their bias about Israel to buying Israeli products or even just talking about Israel with friends. The impact of these small acts is significant and can be outsized. No one knows when that one item that was posted on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram could start a viral wave of support. This could be an impact that YOU make.
I can no longer stand by and watch what is going on in Israel, but I am a college student, I have classes and homework and internships, I don’t have the ability to pack up my life and go to Israel at the drop of a hat, as much as I would like to do that. For now, I will post on social media, tell my friends what is going on, write pieces like this one and encourage my friends, family and fellow Americans to stand by and support Israel.
This was contributed by former American University CAMERA Fellow Rachel Wolf.