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 » Shine A Light Day 7


Jews in the United States have a strong historic, spiritual and emotional bond to Israel, the birthplace of Judaism.  The Pew Research Center Report on Jewish Americans in 2020 found a large majority of U.S. Jews (82%) say caring about Israel is either “essential” or “important” to what being Jewish means to them.
Israel is the only democratic state in the Middle East and is comprised of Jews and non-Jews with a population of over 9.3 million people (74% Jews (Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Mizrahi, Ethiopian); 21% Arab including Muslims (and Circassians), Arab Christians (including Armenians) and Druze; about 467,000 people are defined as others, including non-Arab Christians, members of other religions and those registered as having no religious classification in the population registry).
The vibrant society that makes up Israel is so different from the narrow view that much of the world understands.  These videos introduce you to the diversity of Israel and provide a brief overview of the history of Israel (with links to a more in-depth series).
WATCH: Who are Israelis, Really? (7:38)  Unpacked
WATCH: History of Israel Explained (4:24)  Unpacked


In recent years, Israel and its people have been demonized politically, in the media and on college campuses, especially in the US and Europe, as Israel has been accused of “colonizing”, “ethnic cleansing” and apartheid – false narratives. On Day 5 we shared content on the meaning of Zionism and how it has been co-opted to mean something that it’s not.
As we discussed previously, criticizing the Israeli government’s policies isn’t necessarily antisemitic – just as we would criticize any government’s policies, including our own; but criticism of Israel can be antisemitic when double standards, deligitimization and demonization are used in an attempt to cloak antisemitism as something else.
While there is plenty of room for criticism of Israeli government policy, there should be no room for the exclusionary, reductionist and dehumanizing language in political discourse on the topic.
WATCH: Rabbi Sacks on the Connection between Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism, Judaism and Israel (5:58)
READ: To My Fellow Progressives: Anti-Zionism is Antisemitism Oren Jacobson, The Detroit Jewish News - November 5, 2021


Since 2000 organized campaigns around the world have promoted the “boycott, divestment and sanctions” of Israel.  Some supporters may believe that these efforts will encourage Israel to change its policies towards Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. However, the predominant drive of the BDS campaign and its leadership is not to criticize and change these policies, but to demonize and delegitimize Israel. The complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict has presented as the fault of only Israel.  The BDS campaign does not support peace efforts and rejects a two-state solution and actually penalizes many Palestinians living and working in Israel and the West Bank.
WATCH or READ: Rabbi Sacks on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign (6:07)   
READ: What is BDS? My Jewish Learning
READ: Ben and Jerry’s Boycott Hurts Palestinians The Times of Israel - July 21, 2021
READ: Miss Universe Says Pageant in Israel Shouldn’t be Politicized Amid Boycott Pressure Forbes - November 17, 2021


Community Conversations: The State of Antisemitism in Nebraska
January 11, 2023
7pm  |   Alan J. Levine Theater at the Staenberg Omaha JCC


WATCH: The Mainstreaming of Antisemitism: How Should We Respond? (55:28) American Jewish Committee Virtual Global Forum with Bret Stephens, Bari Weiss and Simone Rodan-Benzaquen.
LISTEN: Combatting Rising Jew Hatred (55:49) In a recent Jewish Boston podcast, Dr. Rachel Fish, addresses the surge in anti-Israel actions and hate crimes against Jews.