As liberal Zionism finds itself in the middle of its latest battle for survival, J Street reconsiders forbidden alliances and what it means to be ‘pro-Israel.’ By Soleiman Moustafa Sitting on every seat in the massive auditorium hosting the opening session of J Street’s 5th annual conference last month was a bookmark emblazoned with the a map and the motto “know your boundaries.” The "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobbying organization designed a map of Israel with both Palestinian territories partitioned out in green, with Syria's Golan Heights included in Israel’s boundaries without caveat. Looking up, the auditorium was enveloped in a comforting blue-and-white glow, invoking Israel’s national colors, the American and Israeli flags standing proud at center…Read More... | 43 Comments
Something indeed changed in the Israel-U.S. relationship, the question is what actions will the U.S. take and how Netanyahu reacts — from the Security Council to Gaza. I just got back from the annual J Street conference. The atmosphere was very different from the 2013 conference. Back then it was all about the Kerry mission. This year, talk of peace was replaced by a certain state of shock from Netanyahu’s victory at the polls. Most of the conference participants get their information about those elections from the American media, which was in turn fed by the Israeli media, which presented…Read More... | 8 Comments
For years there have been calls for on-the-ground opposition to the occupation. Now there are a growing number of Jewish platforms — and voices — seeking to make it happen. By A. Daniel Roth The way the world is talking about the Israeli occupation is changing. Alongside that change, opportunity is knocking for those of us standing in opposition: calls for diaspora Jews to be present on the ground in Israel and Palestine are increasing. An important shift is beginning to take place — right now. [tmwinpost] The writing is on the wall. Since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected,…Read More... | 15 Comments
Notes from the J Street conference. Since Netanyahu's resounding election win last week, there's been a deluge of coverage in the American media of a deepening disillusionment among U.S. Jews over Israel. Whether in the New York Times, the Associated Press, or Bloomberg, the thesis is more or less what you'd expect: Netanyahu rode to victory on a wave of racism, a rejection of peace with the Palestinians, and unprecedented disrespect for his number one patron, Barack Obama. These tactics fly in the face of a largely liberal community comprised of reliably Democratic voters. That rift was represented this weekend in Washington, where…Read More... | 9 Comments
Speaking at the 2015 J Street Conference in Washington D.C. on Sunday, +972 co-founder and writer Noam Sheizaf participated in a plenary panel called "Does Liberal Zionism Have a Future?" Sheizaf called out both the conference and liberal American Jewry for the lack of discussion about the latest Gaza war. (Watch the full panel here.) Later in the discussion, Sheizaf explained the dichotomy between liberalism and Zionism as it manifests itself in Israel, concluding that talk of diplomatic solutions must be preceded by a real civil rights movement.Read More... | 9 Comments
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...
OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTERSubmit
Full coverage of the BDS movement, international pressure on Israel to end the occupation.
The Beaten Path
Travel writer and tour guide Yuval Ben-Ami deconstructs the Holy Land's tourist trail.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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