The best way to object to Netanyahu, his Congress speech and his policies, is to ignore him. Since the Netanyahu Congress speech episode began last month, the press, and specifically foreign press, has been flooded with items on the Israeli prime minister. Not a day has gone by without a headline about Netanyahu's lavish spending, incompetence regarding the housing crisis, his assault on media and academics, and of course his incitement against centrist political rivals. Netanyahu has redefined the phrase, "bad publicity is good publicity," since none of this appears to be hurting Netanyahu in the least at home. As Gershom…Read More... | 16 Comments
Amid the Gaza war this summer a group of young American Jews formed a new group, 'If Not Now, When?', which aims to challenge the American Jewish establishment's unquestioning support for the occupation. +972 sits down with one of its founding members to find out who the group is and what they hope to accomplish. By Tom Pessah For decades, American Jewry has been dominated by its own “one percent” – a small group of donors and unelected executives who lead organizations like the Jewish Federations of North America, AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League and Hillel International. Recent surveys have shown…Read More... | 54 Comments
Opposing Israeli settlements is not necessarily a vote for Palestine. The British Parliament's non-binding, purely symbolic vote to recognize the "State of Palestine" on Monday was not as significant as the debate that preceded the vote (read the full transcript here). Several media outlets noted conservative MP Richard Ottaway's speech, a longtime Israel supporter who expressed genuine indignation with its latest announcement of more settlements as the reason behind his yes vote. As John Cassidy at The New Yorker put it, "for any true friend of Israel, Ottaway’s words will be hard to ignore." In fact, Ottoway sounded more like a spouse who has suddenly discovered…Read More... | 22 Comments
What would happen if Israeli progressives and their supporters demanded an end to the military court system, or called for freedom of movement for Palestinians? The answer: a lot. The two-state solution has long been transformed from a means (to solving the problem of the occupation) to an end. As I wrote here in the past, this change has had severe consequences as far as the Israeli political opposition is concerned. Those range from a de-facto acceptance of the status quo to a political alliance with the Right and support for all the latest rounds of violence. The excuses are always…Read More... | 37 Comments
A former J Street leader explains why he became a supporter of BDS. By Seth Morrison Many of us have friends or family who suffer from addiction, and all too often it is only when we cut them off and stop enabling their negative behavior that things can actually change. It is that model of tough love that led me to become a BDS supporter. Unfortunately the Middle East peace talks started with the best of intentions by President Obama and Secretary Kerry are dead – a victim of Israel’s unfettered development of illegal settlements and Netanyahu’s decision to go…Read More... | 30 Comments
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…Read More... | 7 Comments
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…Read More... | 53 Comments
The Conference of Presidents, a U.S. group comprised of 51 national Jewish organizations, voted earlier this week against admitting the dovish J Street into its ranks. Now, says Dahlia Scheindlin, is the time for American Jews to walk away. There is something that troubles me while observing current events, forming my political opinions and appropriate responses: it is so easy to judge history and see how things went wrong, but so easy to not to see what is going deeply, terribly wrong in the present. It is so hard to be clear minded and step outside what we take for granted,…Read More...
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...
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