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…Read More... | 9 Comments
New feature: A selection of Larry Derfner's sociopolitical outbursts on Facebook (and one email) for the week ending Saturday, April 5. WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR US LATELY? FB reaction to commenter who asks, “What have the Palestinians done to advance peace recently?" (Sunday, March 30): Close, daily security cooperation with the IDF and Shin Bet for 10 full years. They've arrested thousands of Hamasniks. It's a key reason why terror is so low, and the only reason why you don't see massive anti-Israeli demonstrations. Palestinian forces are policing the Palestinian population areas - the cities, the villages, the…Read More... | 46 Comments
Well-intentioned American Jewish liberals backing this latest U.S.-led peace process appear to be riding for a fall. What is J Street going to say if, after urging American Jews to support the Kerry peace mission, that mission wins the support of the right-wing Netanyahu government – but not that of the Palestinians, who view it as the terms of their surrender? And what will J Street say if Western liberal opinion, and even much of Israeli liberal opinion, decides that the Palestinians are right? This is a question that J Street and all American Jewish liberals supporting U.S. Secretary of…Read More... | 11 Comments
According to reports, the secretary of state has accepted Netanyahu’s demand that Israel be recognized as a 'Jewish state.' I added an important update to this post, see below. Haaretz's Barak Ravid reported Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is demanding that Arab leaders pressure the Palestinians to recognize Israel as "a Jewish State,” or at least not protest if he can get Abbas to agree to such terms. This is yet another confirmation that the Obama administration has accepted the new demand posed by Netanyahu, and that it is intended to be a part of its proposal for a…Read More... | 32 Comments
The former Shas chairman was one of the most vocal opponents of African refugees in Israel. But after Yishai was replaced, the party's attitudes may have changed. +972 speaks to Shas MK Yitzhak Vaknin. By Aaron Magid Just over a year ago, then Shas chairman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai declared that until he could deport African asylum seekers, he would “lock them up to make their lives miserable.” In a different interview he claimed that most of the Africans in Israel are Muslims, exclaiming, “[they] think that the country doesn’t belong to us, the white man.” But a year…Read More...
The Left is mobilizing around the process while ignoring troubling signs: the dangerous dynamic of the Oslo/Camp David period is already here. On Wednesday night, as members of the Israeli Knesset were getting ready to vote on a package of amendments that could push the Palestinian parties out of the Israeli parliament, political activists were conducting last-ditch efforts to persuade coalition members who previously opposed the bill to actually vote against it. Only one did, former Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, who called the new legislation what it is: not an attempt to improve government procedures, but part of a dangerous…Read More... | 13 Comments
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... | 27 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
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A look into the daily life of African refugees living in an 'open' detention center.
Kerry's peace process
Full coverage, commentary and analysis of the latest round of peace talks.
Plan to displace Bedouin
Will tens of thousands of Israeli citizens be evicted from their homes?
A series of striking infographics.
- MOST READMOST COMMENTED24 HOURS|WEEK|MONTH
Look at what the #IDF installed atop the separation wall in #Bethlehem http://t.co/IbuSwHy0RD, by @Ha_Matar http://t.co/2LUgseQVxx
On the arbitrary and absurd laws that prevent Palestinian citizens from reaching the Arab world http://t.co/UY4JkTMPFt
'Beirut’s part in developing our cultural and political identity is far greater and deeper than that of Tel Aviv' http://t.co/UY4JkTMPFt
'When Majd Kayyal traveled to Beirut, he was fulfilling the right of every Palestinian citizen of Israel' http://t.co/UY4JkTMPFt
How one Palestinian citizen challenged Israel's 'enemy state' policy http://t.co/UY4JkTMPFt
Have you checked out @activestills' photos of the week yet? You really should: http://t.co/cW5r17y7FE http://t.co/GdEdFp1dQj
Israeli army installs new remote-controlled weapon atop separation wall http://t.co/IbuSwHy0RD, by @Ha_Matar http://t.co/BM09V3lxsm