The Future of the US-Israel Relationship — A Call With MK Nachman Shai

Bobby Malley
on July 7, 2016

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Last Thursday, J Street hosted a call with MK Nachman Shai, a member of the Zionist Union Party, on the importance of the US-Israel relationship and the critical dialogue between the American and Israeli Jewish communities.
Below are a few highlights from the call:

On the need for a two-state solution…

“We cannot afford more violence. Too many years have passed of Israel controlling millions of Palestinian lives. If we want to keep this country Jewish and democratic, the only way is two nation-states for two people.”

On American/Jewish pro-Israel advocacy

“Yes, I welcome you speaking out…I’ll be very honest with you– on many issues, in many cases, the Israeli government, directly or indirectly, turns to you and asks for help. So, I should say, if we need you in so many occasions in the past, we also have to listen to you when you express your concerns about Israel. Yes, your positions on the peace process are relevant. You are an integral part of our lives. We are too small to separate from American Jewry and Jews in Israel. This dialogue is the lifeline of the Israeli people… we need you, and sometimes you need us too.”

On the relationship between American and Israeli Jews…

“There is too much arrogance and ignorance on both sides. You should know more about Israel, and we should know much more about your lives in America.”

On the role of young American Jews…

“Young people deserve to be asking questions and deserve to be heard. Young people are not supposed to agree with everything, maybe just the opposite — they should open their eyes and ears and see the world in their own way.”

On President Obama partnership…

“Obama is not always received with a smile by the Israeli government… but he is a partner and helps maintain peace and tranquility throughout Middle East. That’s what we all wished for.”

On the US election…

“Israel shouldn’t say a word to interfere. This is your decision. We respect your decision and– by the way– we expect you to respect decisions made by the Israeli electorate. But we hope very much that the tradition of friendly US presidents will continue.”

You can find a recording of the call here or listen below.

Bobby Malley is a J Street Communications Intern and a rising freshman at Harvard University.