“Immense sadness”: Sacramento Jewish, Palestinian community members process conflict in Middle East – CBS Sacramento

SACRAMENTO — Community members in Sacramento are feeling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a very deep way including two prominent community leaders organizing their own as best they can.

It’s been a tough couple of days for Barry Broad and Basim Elkarra.

“It is unique and in a class of its own because it’s waging war against civilians,” Broad said.

“Any person of conscience right now, when they see innocent civilians get killed — whether Palestinians or Israelis — you just feel immense sadness,” Elkarra said.

Both men were touched very deeply by what was happening abroad.

“My daughter lives in Israel and so there are people with these direct kinds of connections,” Broad said.

“As a Palestinian American that is from the Gaza Strip, I do feel guilt that I live here in America,” Elkarra said.

Elkarra’s Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is working to help manage the tough feelings associated with what they argue is a never-ending occupation.

“It’s difficult to have comfort or even provide comfort because you don’t know what to expect, and people expect to be far worse than in previous years,” he said.

Concurrently, Broad’s Jewish Federation is trying to help its community process what they see as violence on a level not seen in decades.

“What happened here was not a conventional military conflict between armies,” Broad said.

Yet, despite their differences, both men share one commonality: an understanding that civilians are the ones suffering and that peace, while maybe not visible now, is still out there.

“When folks from different faiths come together and folks from different backgrounds come together and push for peace and advocate for peace, it does make a difference,” Elkarra said.

“People of goodwill do exist out there and we need them to come to the fore,” Broad said.

Community efforts will continue as organizations from CAIR to the Jewish Federation to Chabad will try to help their own however they can.

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Andrew Haubner