While it will be a long wait for a safe consensus about this issue to emerge in Israel or in America, we need to treat the prospect of the end of the two-state solution as the five-alarm fire that it is. The question is whether the American administration has the political will to engage in muscular diplomacy. By Ken Winikur and Ben Avishai Addressing young Israelis in Jerusalem on March 21, 2013, President Obama discussed the imperative to reach a just peace with the Palestinians. Speaking like a community organizer, Obama laid out the challenge: “Political leaders will never take…Read More... | 7 Comments
Despite having an explicit anti-settlement position, J Street and Americans for Peace Now actively opposed the Presbyterian Church's efforts to divest from companies that profit from the occupation. By doing so, they are standing in the way of the Palestinian stride for freedom. By Naftali Kaminski and Michael Zigmond Undoubtedly, when Peter Beinart wrote his groundbreaking essay in 2010, "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment," he did not foresee the events around this year’s 220th General Assembly in Pittsburgh of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), but his analysis was proven right again. For months the entire Jewish establishment, both nationally and here…Read More... | 25 Comments
By Max Socol In 2010, less than a year after returning to the United States from Israel, I helped establish J Street DC Metro. Like Moriel Rothman, I was deeply disturbed by Cast Lead, which had defined my time in Israel. I felt strongly that an American initiative would be needed for the bloodshed to stop, and I also felt that, for better or worse, that initiative would have to be midwifed by the American Jewish community – the only American voting bloc with the credibility to speak about Israel, the political power to make a difference, and the generally liberal…Read More... | 11 Comments
"It's much easier to sit at home and lob criticism through blogs and tweets, and post that this isn't changing the world overnight. But political change happens one step at a time...If you're sitting on the sidelines critiquing the runners, I have no respect for you. Get in the race, show you can run it faster, show you can get to the finish line, prove you have better ideas." -J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami Flush from the success of its third annual conference, J Street stands at tough crossroads. Its first two years of heady success as the receptacle…Read More... | 13 Comments
By Moriel Rothman I have attended all three J Street conferences since the organization formed in 2008 with the dual objectives of pushing the US government to take an active role in bringing about a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and changing the discourse within the mainstream American Jewish community to one that is more open, critical, value-driven and, yes, left-wing. J Street was the only major Jewish organization I knew of willing to criticize the insanity of that "war" and of other Israeli policies. Following J Street’s first conference in October of 2009, I decided to throw my…Read More... | 11 Comments
By Dr. Naftali Kaminski Dear friends, I was among the founding members of the J Street Chapter of Pittsburgh. I attended the two previous conferences and was very active in organizing and initiating events. Over the last year, I gradually grew disillusioned and a few months ago I decided not to continue my activism with J Street. I never thought of addressing this publicly but several exchanges with friends and supporters of J Street made me aware that I am not alone in my disillusionment, that others shared my concerns and doubts but were reluctant to comment publicly out of a concern…Read More... | 26 Comments
I write a lot about the term "pro-Israel," since it is a highly-charged and problematic term used often with impunity. Regardless of what I think it means, it is clear that it is a subjective term that is often attempted to be passed off as an objective one. Even just saying that a working definition of "pro-Israel" is support for the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state is unclear and debatable and thus demands qualification. So it is important to be critical of its usage and continue to ask the questions: what does it mean to support Israel?…Read More... | 14 Comments
I gotta hand it to Bibi. Seriously, the guy’s a magician. Today, in what has been coined the most important summit between Netanyahu and Obama since they both took office, the most important issue will not be discussed. Instead of talking about how to end a 45-year-old unnecessary occupation, these dimwits are going to discuss an unnecessary war. Instead of talking about what America and Israel could - and should - do to stop a massacre (some already using the word “genocide”) taking place in Syria as they speak, these losers are going to talk about a massacre that doesn’t…Read More... | 20 Comments
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert - who was in power during the 2008-2009 military onslaught on Gaza, and who has been indicted on various corruption charges - is to provide the keynote address at the 3rd annual J Street Conference in Washington, D.C. at the end of March. It's not surprising that Ehud Olmert has been selected to give the keynote address at the upcoming J Street conference, since the lobby's entire mission and raison d'etre hangs on a two-state solution - and Olmert is the bona fide two-state solution guy, branded as having offered Palestinians more in negotiations than any other Israeli…Read More... | 23 Comments
This letter is to you. You know who you are, but I can’t say your names. You don’t want to say what you think in public, in the United States of America, home of free speech. You are an American Jew, you are liberal, you believe in universal equality, minority, human and civil rights. You support those principles with your voices, your money and definitely your vote - except when it comes to Israel. After two weeks in America visiting family (particularly, my new nephew) and friends, two observations struck me powerfully. First, the understanding that Israel is committing terrible…Read More... | 61 Comments
The isolation of J Street and other Jewish groups that are critical of Israeli policies is evidence of a growing moral crisis in the American Jewish community This post was updated. A couple of years ago, while spending some time in the States, I was invited to a dinner at a Jewish friend's home. "Just one thing," my friend, a smart liberal lefty, said. "Don't mention Israel by the table. The inevitable argument will ruin the evening." This, and a few similar experiences, led me to offer my editors in Haaretz a story about the Jewish community's "Israel problem," i.e.,…Read More... | 12 Comments
My colleague Noam heavily castigated J Street’s announcement that it would oppose the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN in a few weeks. He qualified this by saying that he isn’t entirely convinced of the statehood plan itself; but saw political and moral failings in J Street’s position nonetheless. I, on the other hand, am not convinced of J Street’s opposition, but I respect the logic and the legitimacy of the approach. My main reservations are emotional: the Palestinians need and deserve a state, with all the problems it will face, and I want the world to be swept…Read More... | 11 Comments
J Street, the pro-peace Jewish lobbying group, has decided to join the US Administration in opposing the Palestinian's bid for statehood at the UN. JTA reports: "We believe that everything J Street stands for and what we do needs to promote the two-state solution and not just two states," Jeremy Ben-Ami, the director of the dovish pro-Israel group, told JTA on Wednesday. Palestinian statehood should come about through negotiations with Israel and not unilaterally, he said. Ben-Ami said the group backs Obama administration plans to veto any U.N. Security Council resolution that would establish such a state and has urged…Read More... | 46 Comments
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Reports, maps, infographics and other documents on human rights and democracy.
Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
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