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American jewish community

  • The lie at the heart of the Jewish American consensus

    By choosing to engage on specific issues of Israeli policy while ignoring the fate of Palestinians, the Jewish American establishment has effectively sided with perpetuating the occupation. For years, the Jewish American establishment has been able to convince the world, and itself, that it does not directly meddle in internal Israeli affairs — a declaration most commonly used to justify not commenting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But if anyone still has any faith in that notion, the volatile events of the past week should put it to bed. [tmwinpost] The outcry from across the Jewish American political spectrum was nearly universal. Prime Minister Netanyahu…

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  • Jewish activists arrested for protesting New York pro-Israel parade

    New York's annual, lavishly-funded Celebrate Israel parade was interrupted by scores of American Jewish activists, several of whom were arrested in the process. Seven Jewish protesters were arrested in New York on Sunday afternoon as over 100 activists disrupted the annual Celebrate Israel parade. The event, which sees thousands of participants march down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue accompanied by elected officials such as Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, has received nearly $800,000 in funding from the Israeli government over the last seven years. [tmwinpost] The counter-demonstrations were held by Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow, who blocked the progress of…

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  • A litmus test for the American Jewish left

    I hesitate to critique BDS, but there is still something in the campaign that troubles me — a sense that some on the left are inadvertently using boycott as a tool with which to sort through, measure, and reject other progressive voices. By Penina Eilberg-Schwartz Palestinians living in Israel are all too familiar with litmus tests, most of which boil down to the question of Israel’s “right to exist.” In its politics, most brazenly suggested in the 2014 nation-state bill which suggested to define Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, Israel demands that Palestinians in Israel both recognize…

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  • 'As U.S. Jews, we need to figure out what leverage we have in ending the occupation'

    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…

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  • Now is the time for American Jews to speak up on Israel

    As an Israeli in the U.S. I learned that criticizing Israel is not an option for many American Jews. But there is a legitimate way to criticize Israeli policy, and if you care about someone or something you won't let it go astray. By Abraham Gutman We were sitting in front of a lagoon at the top of a volcano in Costa Rica. We were happy to get some rest after the three-hour hike, and took a short swim in the freezing water. With us was a group of tourists along with a local guide. There was a Dutch man,…

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  • No, Abe Foxman, America is not out to get the Jews

    The U.S. Jewish establishment is starting to say publicly that anti-Semitism is the reason Jonathan Pollard is still in prison. This is sickening slander that reflects a deep-seated psychological problem.   Abraham Foxman, long-time leader of the Anti-Defamation League, capo di tutti capi of the Israel lobby, scourge of all scourges of anti-Semitism (real or imagined), the U.S. Jewish establishment’s chief of language police, the J. Edgar Hoover of American Jewish macherdom, has flipped out completely this time. Earlier this month he said publicly that Jonathan Pollard’s continued incarceration for spying, now going on 29 years, is a “vendetta” against…

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  • When it comes to Israel, the political is personal: Review of 'Crisis of Zionism'

    The author of a new book describing a crisis in Zionism may not be telling us anything we didn't already know - but in tracing his own personal journey of his anguished relationship to Israel, Peter Beinart has touched a nerve no one in the American Jewish community can ignore.  At a recent lecture in New York City about his new book The Crisis of Zionism, Peter Beinart was asked, among other things, what all the fuss  – and specifically the vituperative fuss -  about him and the subject of his writing. Indeed, the month of March was Beinart-madness, as…

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  • Jewish Student Union in Berkeley boycotts J Street

    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.,…

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  • Don't blame Obama for impasse on Palestine

    Obama decided there is no point in wasting his time and political resources on Palestine, and he is right. He can't change Israeli society; no foreign intervention can do that Obama's stance regarding the recognition of the Palestinian state, and his strident pro-Israeli tone before the UN have been variously explained as symptoms of the power of the Jewish voters/donors/lobby, or of America's declining stature and influence in the world (ignoring recent progress on Libya, Al Qaeda and Iraq). But there is a much simpler explanation. Obama has reverted to the default (i.e. staunchly sympathetic towards Israel) US position, because…

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  • Let's not talk about it: US Jews' problem discussing Israel

    My piece on last weekend's Haaretz Magazine, and some other thoughts on the issue While visiting New York last year, I got into a long political conversation with a friend, after which he invited me to dinner at his house. "But you must promise me we won't discuss Israel," he warned me. "It might ruin the evening." About the same time, a friend wanted to introduce me to her new Jewish-American partner. "The one thing we can't talk about is Israel," I was told. I wasn't the last time I heard such comments. In other cases, I saw people get…

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