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  • First do no harm, J Street

    With nothing left to offer except hollow pep talks about the peace process, the liberal lobby is fighting BDS – together with the pro-Netanyahu, pro-occupation American Zionist right. Next stop: the Presbyterian Church USA's General Assembly. What is J Street doing? Why is it acting in concert with right-wing Zionist organizations like AIPAC and StandWithUs in fighting against boycott, sanctions and divestment, while offering no alternative of its own for ending the occupation? Because the truth is that J Street offers no alternative anymore; now that the Kerry talks have failed, and all the secretary of state has to show…

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  • Fight intensifies over what can, can't be said about Israel in the U.S.

    Events are being cancelled and Jews are being 'blacklisted' at a troubling rate, even by pluralistic and non-denominational organizations. By David Harris-Gershon Several months ago, American journalist Sharon Jacobs received a message from the Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center that her ticket to my book event had been curiously refunded. The JCC had invited me to speak about my memoir, What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, which recounts my reconciliation with the family of the man who perpetrated the 2002 Hebrew University bombing, an attack which injured my wife and killed…

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  • Kerry apologizes for speculating that theoretically, in the distant future, Israel could do something bad

    It took Secretary of State John Kerry exactly 24 hours after his “apartheid” comments were revealed by The Daily Beast to issue a comprehensive apology for the remarks. Despite demands from the American right, Kerry did not resign. The New York Times reports: In the statement that Mr. Kerry issued Monday, which bore the title “On Support for Israel,” he said that he had been a staunch supporter of Israel during his years as a senator and had spent many hours since working with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials. […] Mr. Kerry added that he did not believe…

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  • What progressive Jews can do for Mideast peace

    The Middle East peace process is very much a partisan issue in American politics. Until J Street figures out how to solve the problem of Likud penetration of the Republican Party, there is no American solution for the Middle East. By Thomas G. Mitchell It appears that Secretary of State John Kerry’s mediation in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has come to an end as Israel refuses to release the last group of security prisoners that it previously promised to release. This is because Jerusalem has no confidence in the peace process, partly based on expectations of the Palestinians and partly based…

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  • Standing up to AIPAC means supporting Israeli dissidents

    The voice of 'pro-Israel' militarism has been ringing through the halls of Washington D.C. since the 1970s. Now, to end the occupation, American citizens must couple their opposition to AIPAC with support for anti-occupation groups in Israel. By Philip Farah In the 1970s, Israeli TV had a great program, Nikui Rosh, that was something like the country's version of Saturday Night Live. Its most famous skit was one in which Israeli leaders would start beating the drums of war, warning against threats from across the Lebanese or Syrian borders, whenever the Israeli economy was in crisis. This is an old trick everywhere:…

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  • Who needs anti-Semites when we've got Bibi?

    This time it's true: Israel really is trying to manipulate the U.S. into going to war.    Who can disagree any longer that Israel is out to push America into war – and is putting on quite a show of it, too? The Obama administration is trying to neutralize Iran’s nuclear program diplomatically, and Bibi Netanyahu and the Israel lobby are the unquestioned, highest-possible-profile leaders of the campaign to stop them. Netanyahu is all over TV around the world, beating the drum against this “very, very bad deal” being put together in the Geneva talks, which resume Wednesday. His American-accented…

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  • Does Kerry need to convince AIPAC to support peace?

    The U.S. secretary of state's comments raise the question of whether he's convinced Netanyahu is ready to make the compromises necessary for peace - or whether he needs AIPAC's support to do so. U.S. Secretary of State Kerry seems to think that should the occasion ever arise, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will require the support of his friends in Washington in order to sign a peace deal with the Palestinians. Kerry took time out of his busy schedule in London to send a video message to a closed AIPAC summit taking place in California wine country on Monday. Click for…

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  • Does the 'NY Times' think Netanyahu is American?

    Tuesday's New York Times editorial about Netanyahu's "pushback" on Iran at the United Nations General Assembly doesn't say much, except for implying that diplomacy is preferable to military force when it comes to Iran's nuclear program. But what is noteworthy (and irksome) is the way in which the editorial board of the paper refers to the Israeli prime minister: Mr. Netanyahu has legitimate reasons to be wary of any Iranian overtures, as do the United States and the four other major powers involved in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. But it could be disastrous if Mr. Netanyahu and his supporters…

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  • U.S. Jewish groups use Holocaust guilt to push for Syria strike

    A policy decision on American military action in Syria cannot be justified by an analogy between Syrian suffering under Assad and Jewish suffering during the Holocaust.  Two weeks after a chemical attack in Syria killed at least 1,400, including 400 children, and one week after U.S. President Obama announced he favors a limited military strike on Syria, mainstream American Jewish groups broke their silence Tuesday and expressed what they conveyed as unequivocal support for a strike. As reported in Politico, AIPAC - the powerful Israel lobby known for being forthright on all issues related to American policy in the Middle East…

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  • Speaking truth to AIPAC's power

    AIPAC is only hesitatingly supporting Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, all the while scuttling a diplomatic resolution with Iran. American Jews should remember the differences between AIPAC's and their own views next time they have qualms about confronting it. By Roi Bachmutsky There are several organizations that American Jewry widely believes to be too cute, cuddly and unequivocally well intentioned to be held accountable for their actions. The iconic blue donation boxes in synagogues across the United States suggest the Jewish National Fund (JNF) is one of them. Two years ago, a JNF board member publicly severed all ties with the organization in…

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  • Don't cheer these peace talks

    To register their recent success, Secretary of State Kerry and the Obama administration destroyed whatever was achieved in the last two decades. For the first time since the 1991 Madrid Conference, the starting point for the negotiations are the positions of the Israeli right. The headlines celebrating the fact that “Israelis and Palestinians are talking again” were misleading. The Palestinian Authority is no more than a regional council in a territory controlled by Israel. Since the PA is completely dependent on Israel for almost all of its functions, Israelis and Palestinians are talking all the time, including on the political…

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  • The end of 'pro-Israel' in American political discourse

    There is no consensus on what pro-Israel means; even opposing political groups – like AIPAC and J Street – parade the term as a badge of honor. Pro-Israel has come to mean different things for different people, necessitating the introduction of a new vocabulary. By Roi Bachmutsky With abortion set to take national center stage in next year’s U.S. midterm election debates, it seems as though the clash between pro-life and pro-choice will steal the limelight. The very vocabulary we use forebodes the vitriolic tit-for-tat looming in the distance, each side debasing the other for grave injustices – either subverting women’s…

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  • Dennis Ross: Netanyahu's attorney in Washington

    Dennis Ross presents a framework for renewing the peace process, which he apparently lifted directly from the Israeli PM's hard disk - including de facto recognition of permanent Israeli control over eight percent of the West Bank.  Veteran U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross had a full page op-ed in The New York Times this weekend, in which he presents a 14-step program that is supposed to establish a framework for renewing the diplomatic process. The piece includes a lot of talk about peace, but the action items are lifted from Netanyahu’s policy book, demonstrating again why the Palestinians were right when they refused to meet Ross –…

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