The election results came in early morning Israel time. After keeping it together long enough to get my son to gan (pre-school) I drove to work holding back tears and knowing that I certainly wasn’t going to get anything done that day. I had two options — either sit at my desk all day in a daze, or do something positive that would at least help me make it through that day and the days and weeks to come. That morning I opened the Pantsuit National Israel Facebook group, as a support network in the spirit of the well-known Pantsuit Nation group that I had been following with such excitement in the weeks prior to the election.
And what we heard from Israelis during the first days after the election was not comforting either — “Welcome to club, now you have your own Bibi.” We knew that Trump — while displaying some of the same characteristics of Prime Minister Netanyahu of fear mongering, narcissism, manipulative, to name a few — is in a league of his own. In the immediate aftermath of the election, we needed a forum of like-minded allies, and even held three meet-ups that very same evening, in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Modiin.
Israeli members of Green Course promote the anti-Trump rallies in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on May 22nd.
After the inauguration we held our own Women’s Rally at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, to coincide with the women’s marches taking place around the world. We expected to have around a hundred people – and almost 500 showed up.
While planning the event, we kept trying to reach out to partner groups to help us promote the event to progressive Americans living in Israel. But there was no one. There is no organized group or institution of progressive American-Israelis and that’s how we knew what we were doing was important. While our message regarding Trump was clear, our biggest challenge was how to address the divisive issue of the occupation and changes in US foreign policy towards Israel, such as moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and the appointment of an ambassador known to be a supporter of the settlements. Many of our members have divergent opinions on these issues and we made, and continue to make, the best possible effort to be inclusive of a range of opinions on these issues.
For the entire progressive community, not just in Israel, this is a time for unity and solidarity, and the issues are too important to let differences divide us. If you’re in Israel, please join us for two protest rallies on May 22 to coincide with Trump’s visit — in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.