the silence of our american and israeli tour guides speaks volumes

“I went on NFTY in Israel L'Dor Vador the summer after my junior year in high school. I had never been to Israel before and was excited to explore a country that I had been told was my homeland. The trip was structured so that we went to sights of the Holocaust (concentration camps, sights of old, destroyed, Jewish communities) and then from there were brought to Israel. We were told to kiss the ground and be grateful that we had moved past the Holocaust and now had a place where all Jews could call their home. I felt uncomfortable throughout the trip, but couldn’t really put a finger on why at the time. Now when I look back on the trip, the silence of our American and Israeli tour guides speaks volumes. Not once did we talk about Palestine or the occupation. Not once did we even question what price so many people had to pay for Israel to become a state. Instead we were given NFTY in Israel t-shirts and got to ride on camels and were told we were home. When I look back on the trip now, I feel deeply sad. Because in the process of silencing the narratives of Palestinians, my tour guides dehumanized themselves. I don’t want that for Jews or Palestinians. So now as an alumnus of this program, I want to hold it accountable to speaking out against the occupation. NFTY was so important to me, but I cannot be a proud alumnus until I see a change in the way they run their programs in Israel/Palestine.” -Molly, NFTY, NFTY in Israel

NFTYSophie Trauberman