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
All over the news last week, the term "pro-Israel" was ringing in my proverbial ears. The "pro-Israel" lobby had its "pro-Israel" conference, which was attended by "pro-Israel" congressmen and hosted speeches by several "pro-Israel" Republican presidential candidates - and of course President Obama himself, who defended his "pro-Israel" presidency. There were reportedly 13,000 people at the annual AIPAC Conference, all boasting their "pro-Israel" credentials, which means defending the righteousness of Israel and cheering the loudest for military action in Iran. As Gary Kamiya wrote on Slate: This is Washington’s annual pro-Israel orgy, in which politicians from both parties vie with…Read More... | 44 Comments
I wrote a piece in Haaretz yesterday entitled "The downside of unbridled support for Israel" (see below) disputing the claims that "Israel firster" is an antisemitic term, to which journalist Eli Lake commented in a tweet that it "has nothing to do with Israelis. They should stay out of it." Well, first of all, I am also American, so his argument has no legs. But second and more importantly, as an Israeli citizen who lives here, of course I have a say in how this country is talked about and leveraged in American foreign policy. Hell, if Israel and the US…Read More... | 35 Comments
As part of its bid to counter Republican attacks on its "pro-Israel" record, the Obama Administration has publicized its first campaign video directly addressing its treatment of Israel entitled: "America and Israel: An Unbreakable Bond." The fact that the Obama Administration feels it must recruit the Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Israeli Ambassador -- all of whom are responsible for the continued policy of discrimination, occupation, inequality and deceitful rhetoric that directly contradict stated American positions -- to vouch for him is nauseating and infuriating. Why do they need this video anyway? After all, most American Jews - even those…Read More... | 7 Comments
The New York Times reported on Friday that US Vice President Joe Biden is doing a round of events in the Jewish community in order to "reassure Jewish voters" of Obama's loyalty to Israel (as if there should be any doubt, especially following the UN General Assembly). It is no secret that the Obama Administration is concerned over losing Jewish voters in the 2012 elections, and indeed newspapers have been filled with reports of waning Jewish support for Obama (although an American Jewish Committee poll found that overall, American Jews would still vote overwhelmingly for Obama). What struck me as…Read More...
I gotta hand it to J Street for the video they just disseminated as part of its new campaign encouraging its younger constituency to "have the (Israel) talk at home." It's pretty funny, I must admit. The acting is superb. And to be honest, I wish conversations in my family would go that smoothly. But of course, it is quite sad that the message is simply that the US should actively broker a two-state solution, something the Obama Administration has been failing miserably at doing. If J Street wants the US to push Israel to a two-state solution, why does…Read More... | 14 Comments
In a hearing called by the committee for Immigration Absorption and Diaspora Affairs on Wednesday to discuss the “breaking of norms regarding the relation of Diaspora Jewish communities to Israeli governments,” the 3-year old progressive American Jewish lobby J Street was probed and vilified as an anti-Zionist organization whose love for Israel is conditional and thus disqualifies it from being “pro-Israel.” Committee head MK Danny Danon (Likud) asserted his dislike for J Street due to its actions “against Israel” and expressed disapproval of the five members of parliament who attended its annual conference in Washington, DC last month. He screened…Read More... | 27 Comments
There was something slightly frustrating about the J Street conference. At times, participants seemed to be discussing the same old problems, wondering why the same old solutions haven’t worked, while talking about them in the same old terms. Meanwhile, the Middle East is undergoing enormous changes with every new minute. Old policies have become slogans, drained of meaning by failure. We need an arsenal of new ideas; empty rhetoric is a liability that must be exposed. You can’t take aim at the future with a cartridge full of blanks. Take one example: “the peace process.” At the conference, the columnist…Read More... | 35 Comments
Haaretz published an article today about a Jewish Voice for Peace member being threatened for her involvement in the organization. A cursory look at the headline and sub-headline reveals the newspaper's normative stance regarding JVP and its acquiescence to polarizing labels. Headline: Jewish Voice for Peace chief threatened over pro-Palestinian campaign So Haaretz has decided their campaign is "pro-Palestinian", whatever that means. Sub-headline: Estee Chandler, who heads anti-Israel organization, found a poster of her picture, her workplace, other personal details and names of her relatives at her West Coast home. Now Haaretz has also decided the organization itself is "anti-Israel,"…Read More... | 17 Comments
J Street was in the headlines recently for two incidents that reporters are deeming to be indicative of the self-declared "pro-Israel pro-peace" lobby's inability to gain acceptance in the mainstream American Jewish establishment. The first incident was Congressman (Jewish and democratic) Gary Ackerman's public disassociation with J Street over its urging the US not to veto a UN security council resolution calling for a halt to settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The second was the announcement that a J Street U trip to Israel through Birthright was a no-go. J Street U, the student arm of J Street,…Read More... | 2 Comments
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Last Metro to Taksim
Yuval Ben-Ami reports from Istanbul.
Reports, maps, infographics and other documents on human rights and democracy.
Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
A series of striking infographics.
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Is a binational identity possible in Israel? http://t.co/yFmq5vBPGV
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VID: Former female Israeli soldiers break their silence http://t.co/2H7V47Cj9I by @MairavZ
Israeli MK's 'sexy' pose goes viral on Facebook http://t.co/vktM2Rk4OH by @AmiKaufman
The soldiers' stories that Israel lacks the courage to hear http://t.co/rlleFPDVVq By Larry Derfner, cc @ShovrimShtika