At the progressive Jewish conference of the year, a Palestinian politician wins rousing applause and a former U.S. presidential candidate talks of the injustices caused by the founding of the State of Israel — both seeds of hope for someone who wakes up every day to news of home demolitions and land grabs.
Several days ago I returned from 10 days of traveling in the United States. Throughout my stay I met many Jews, some more progressive and liberal than others. I met Americans of Palestinian, Syrian, Iraqi, and Moroccan origin. My journey through Trumpland came to an end with the annual J Street conference in Washington D.C.
New York has its own tempo. People are always hurrying, with every color and size mixing in Times Square. One can always recognize the locals, who stampede their way through the crowds in their suits, a thermos in one hand, a smartphone in the other.
Perhaps my tendency to stick my nose in other people’s business is problematic, but this does not mean the Big Apple has the legitimacy to beat me down.
A man in Times Square pushed me, causing me to fall flat on my face and break my nose. In one fell swoop I found myself bleeding all over my new jacket, as I laid on the sidewalk. A homeless woman helped me up, and friends who were there accompanied me in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
At the hospital, a doctor who looked over my papers saw the word “Israel.” He entered the room excitedly and told me: “Don’t worry, I’m also Jewish and you’re in good hands. Say, what do you think about Trump? Are you for one or two states?”
I looked at this excited redhead as I writhed in pain, and told him: “Trump is great. I hope he falls on his face just like me. Please just fix my nose. By the way I’m Palestinian and you’re also in good hands!”
Start talking about the occupation
We reached the J Street conference with one goal in mind: to take part in the progressive Jewish conference of the year. I wanted to meet leftists of all stripes in order to get them interested in the issues facing Palestinian women in Israel, as well as Arab-Jewish relations. Reaching that goal, especially with a broken nose and broken English, was not especially easy.
Very quickly...Read More