Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem provoked cheers from evangelical Christian groups and some far-right donors, but in fact, says Sarah Brammer-Shlay of Jewish organization IfNotNow, a majority of American Jews oppose the move, which they understand will bring more violence and repression down on Palestinians. IfNotNow organized protests around the country last week and plans on more actions in the coming weeks to challenge the Trump administration’s pretense of being a friend of the Jewish community. Brammer-Shlay joined me to talk about the actions, Trump’s latest moves, and the rise of antisemitism in the Trump era.
I think a pretty frequent question that’s been asked is “Wait, can someone be a supporter of Israel and still be an antisemite?” And the answer is yes. We’ve seen that.
There’s a lot of different layers. I think it’s important for us to note that the US government–and we see this with the embassy move–the US government has its own reasons for supporting the occupation. We as Jews need to say we’re not your pawns for doing this.
Christian evangelical organizations that our community for the most part would totally not align with in situation where they’re supporting Israel, give them our support. There have been synagogues, there was a synagogue in California recently that hosted an event with the head of Christians United for Israel, which is the biggest pro-Israel lobbying group, and this is an organization for which the idea behind supporting Israel is so that the Rapture will come and that’s not a good situation for Jews. This is not a love for Jews, but we’re seeing a conflation of supporting Israel at all costs with saying they side with Jews and that’s not actually true.
This is also really connected to Islamophobia as well. I think what we’re seeing here is that Israel is seen as a Western country in this region and in a lot of these, especially with these Christian evangelical organizations, it’s an anti-Muslim effort to say “We support Israel and we support Jews, we don’t support the Arabs in the region.”
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