I journeyed through Washington DC to visit the Embassy of Israel. I made the visit as part of a program on U.S. foreign policy held by a non-profit organization, which is hosting nearly 40 participants from around the world this summer. I looked forward to listening to Aaron Sagui, the Embassy Spokesman, especially because of rapid developments and the challenges ahead in the region. Instead, I left feeling humiliated. After a long wait at the security gate that was not so different from the humiliation Palestinians experience at a check point, I was stripped down to my underwear – an exercise that is repulsive at worst and undiplomatic at best. I asked them if other participants are going through the same process, they said “yes.” When I asked my fellow participants, they were in disbelief. None of them were stripped down to their underwear. I was the only person whose ID is Palestinian. An Embassy is a gateway into a country. An institution driven by a simple purpose: the diplomatic and critical exchange of ideas, culture, and political understandings so that sound relations may be established between people. The briefing ended with a question about hope regarding Israeli-Palestinian affairs. Mr. Sagui rightly stressed that we must have hope. However, we must also recognize that every time Israel acts in such repulsive manner a piece of hope is stripped away.
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