We provide our alumni with a platform to share their voices on critical issues that impact them. We stand by and support them as they engage each other across lines of conflict and tell their truths to the wider world.
In response to the US Embassy relocation to Jerusalem and the killings of protesters in Gaza by the IDF, here are some of these voices, with more being added daily:
Let us not repeat our elders’ mistakes and instead build a new reality for the generations to come so they will not know the pain we are fully drenched in.
Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem will blow up any opportunity for stability in the Middle East and bring bloodshed to my hometown. Determining whose capital is Jerusalem is bigger than Trump’s decision. The love for Jerusalem is embedded deep in our hearts and minds. We have passed it generation to generation. In my family, we have been passing this love since 637 AD, when we first came to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is my motherland.
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and I don’t need Trump’s permission to know this. But this doesn’t mean that all of Jerusalem should be our capital. A lot of Israelis like me believe in a Palestinian state next to Israel. We know that Jerusalem will be shared or divided and that’s fine with us because peace is more important than streets. Life is more important than everything. And violence against innocent people is unacceptable on both sides.
The final status of Jerusalem has always been one of the most difficult and sensitive questions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for years. The real fires of passion are still burning in the background, ready to flare-up when somebody pours oil on the flames.
Just like we can’t take those UN resolutions which deny the connection between the Jewish people and its eternal capital Jerusalem too seriously, we shouldn’t get to excited about the move. President Trump did the right thing, but if we as Jews don’t hold Jerusalem in our hearts and pray for the sake of this incredible place every single day, if we need a foreign country’s leader to remind us what Jerusalem means for the Jewish people, then we are missing the point.
Peace and justice will never be achieved by blind hatred. Remember that no human is born evil and that if a person can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love.
Trump didn’t change the status of Jerusalem. He only changed the status of America.
The anti-Trump sentiments on the Jerusalem decision from the American left are misplaced. Every US president since the Oslo agreement sided with Israel, but then blocked the Congress-backed decision to move the Embassy for geo-political calculations that do not involve Palestinian rights.
The only possible upside to this is that it may finally remove any legitimate claim the United States can make as a fair mediator to the conflict. The diplomatic charade has gone on too long. That’s a small consolation though for the lives being lost.
The Two State Solution is dead. There is no future in which Jerusalem is the capital of any country other than Israel (ideally a truly democratic Israel that is binational and inclusive of Palestinians).
However, Trump isn’t making a calculated decision that is finally putting to rest years of misguided US policy devoted to the “peace process” and the creation of two states. He’s just listening to his donors.
I would like to see Trump call advocate for the absorption, integration, and annexation of all lands and peoples in the West Bank and Jerusalem into Israel as sovereign Israeli territory and citizens of Israel. No more should US taxpayer dollars be wasted on the drawing and redrawing of maps that will never be accepted or implemented for a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state.
In principle, Israel has the right to determine its capital city in any area within its recognized sovereign territory. As long as it is not in the occupied territories, Israel can declare its capital anywhere. Countries do not get to decide for other countries where their capital is located.
In practice, let’s not play dumb. Half of Jerusalem as a municipal entity is located on the other side of the Green Line, and what’s worse, most of its Palestinian residents are denied full citizenship. At this point, I really do not know what else needs to be done to explain what a crime it is to hold a population permanently deprived of citizenship. Parts of Jerusalem are also located beyond the separation wall in what has become no-man’s land.
Do we want to enjoy the privilege of receiving recognition of our “undivided and eternal capital”? Great. But one can’t simply recognize Jerusalem while simultaneously not recognizing its legal status quo as entirely based on civil injustice.
This isn’t just a protest in Gaza—it’s a march to death. Thousands on thousands of Gazans hopped on buses to a border infested with snipers and killing technologies, with a rock in one hand and a flag in the other. How is one supposed to feel when your best option is death? When you have no life necessities, no water, no electricity, no food, no work, no money.
Today, Gaza is taking a stand, Gaza is sacrificing and in its sacrifice, reminding the whole world how to live once more. We Gazans do not want death, we do not want war, we do not want your pity. But we do want you to wake your conscience up, to stand for injustice and humanity.
Stop breaking our belief that we as human beings can exist and live together. Stop using this sacred place as a reason for war and hate rather than a place that brings everyone together.
My newsfeed is full of lies. Israeli lies, Palestinian lies. Those who write that the demonstrations are nonviolent and those who write that everyone is a Hamas terrorist.
I remember once, exactly ten years ago, I thought we had no choice. That Palestinians only understand force. But Gaza has changed for me in the last year: it has faces now. So many faces that I recognize, people I truly love, I appreciate, I know. Friends that I’m worried about now, and about their families, and about their friends. I think about the two million people who really, really, don’t have anything to lose any more.
What is a moral army anyway? How do you shoot people morally? What’s the psychological process one goes through when they shoot a little boy and then explain themselves that there was no other choice? What’s the psychological process that a society goes through when it shoots to death dozens of people who hold rocks and burns tires, thinking there’s no other choice?
I do know many people come to the army with good intentions and come back with disgusting history. So many wonderful people were born on both sides only to grow a disgusting history. I think about what we became, and how this terrible situation of controlling millions of Palestinians makes us a little more apathetic and cruel every day.
Solutions exist. There’s so much more to try, and so much more to do. I’m going back to Yo’av who said ten years ago that there is no other choice, that there is only force, and I know today that he was wrong, and that compassion is as powerful as hate, it’s simply a muscle that we don’t use often. And boy it’s a hell of a muscle.
I think about the people who spoke at the Israeli-Palestinian shared memorial ceremony—those who lost their loved ones and decided that they want to talk with the side who killed them—and I say to myself, these are really the strongest people in the world. They have huge muscles that make me jealous in the way they redefine humanity.
Some people in this world were born with such a huge amount of love in their hearts that no gun can ever kill. Some of them live in Gaza.