As a community relations director for a Jewish federation, one of my most important responsibilities is interpreting developments in Israel for the local media, elected officials, Christian leaders, and even members of the Jewish community. This responsibility often entails defending – or at least rationalizing – Israeli government policies or putting into proper context actions taken by the Israeli military.

Thus, I’ve explained to Presbyterian pastors why Israel erected a security barrier, which they had viewed only as a “separation wall” imposing hardships on thousands of Palestinians. I’ve provided a newspaper editor with some necessary context for Israel’s deportation of illegal African immigrants, a situation that presents the Jewish state with a complex moral dilemma. Lately, I’ve been explaining to some of my fellow Jews on the Left why Israel opposes unilateral Palestinian efforts to gain observer status at the United Nations, even as it supports a two-state solution.

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