we walked out halfway through

"I was never taught to think critically about the Occupation. NFTY was my closest group of friends in high school and I was deeply involved in my local chapter, but eventually I became so troubled by my NFTY friends' unquestioning support for the Israeli government that I cut all ties. My rabbi at my Reform synagogue encouraged us to question Jewish teachings and doctrine, to be actively struggling within our faith, but he rebuffed any efforts to explore the contradictions in how we think about contemporary issues to do with Israel as a state and the Occupation. My Birthright organizers celebrated small examples of coexistence or tolerance within Israel but shielded us from any insight into the lived experiences of Palestinians today. They pushed a single cohesive narrative about the Occupation that left no room for questioning human rights violations or excessive force. When they gathered us at the convention center, my group was so deeply disturbed by the speakers' militaristic otherizing of non-Jews that we walked out halfway through." -NFTY, URJ alumna

NFTY, URJSophie Trauberman