There have always been undercurrents of dissent within American Jewry when it comes to Israel. After all, it was progressive Jewish Americans, radicalized by the New Left of the 1960s, who became the avant-garde of the American Jewish Left, demanding that the Israeli government enter into talks with the PLO decades before it became Israeli policy. It was radical American Jews who, just a decade after protesting the Vietnam War, began demonstrating outside Israeli embassies and consulates during the First Lebanon War. Decades later, we tend to hear a great deal about the changing relationship between American Jews and Israel, whether…Read More... | 8 Comments
Why would American Jews be any less repulsed by the ultra-nationalist tendencies rampant in Israel than they are by those taking hold in America? By Sarah Stern The Jewish day school in Rockville, MD where I spent six years as a student received a bomb threat this week. There have been over 100 threats like this at Jewish institutions across the United States since January. When I was nudged and shown an article during a conference panel this weekend, however, the news hardly made me flinch. It had not jarred me, I realized, because I recently moved back from Jerusalem,…Read More... | 28 Comments
Progressive American Jews may be willing to stand alongside American Muslims, but are they ready to demonstrate the same solidarity for Arab citizens of Israel? Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List, is a test case for where 'pro-peace' Jews draw the line. Progressive American Jews have had a hard time in recent years finding an Israeli political movement they can truly stand behind. As long as there was a peace process, it was fairly easy for a “pro-peace” supporter to know whom to back. Without a peace process, without even the prospect of a peace process, the main metric…Read More... | 27 Comments
When Israel backs an American regime that threatens our liberty as humans and our safety as Jews, the claim that Zionism protects Jews no longer holds. By Ben Lorber For most American Jews, Donald Trump's regime has ushered in the most profound and destabilizing existential crisis since the Holocaust. We watch in horror as President Trump launches a full-frontal assault on the institutions, and the very principles, of the liberal democracy upon which we have built our lives for generations. We stand aghast as his administration tramples the civil liberties of our Muslim, immigrant and refugee neighbors, and we brace…Read More... | 10 Comments
Those who dismiss the struggle at the Western Wall because it ignores Palestinians should recognize how important the Kotel is to American Jews. Their struggle for justice might start at the Western Wall, but it doesn't necessarily end there. By Rachel Canar Something unprecedented happened in Jerusalem on Wednesday. More than 200 people, including 12 rabbis — leaders of the Reform, Conservative and Masorti movements — held a major Jewish protest against the status quo in Israel. It wasn’t about the occupation; it was about the rights of Jews of all streams to pray in their respective traditions at the Western Wall,…Read More... | 45 Comments
Clinton campaign chairman Podesta writes to his daughter that Haim Saban and Danny Abraham ‘would not be with her if she wasn’t totally committed to Israeli security.’ By Eli Clifton In a hacked email released by WikiLeaks on Wednesday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, answered an innocent question from his daughter with a revealing answer about what motivates two of Clinton’s biggest supporters to stand by her candidacy: Israel. On May 12, 2015, Podesta’s daughter, Megan Rouse, wrote: I’ve heard a concern from some folks who care deeply about Israel that Hillary will be the president “most unfriendly to Israel in our history,…Read More...
By Isaac Luria Simone Zimmerman has become an inspiring figure for American Jewish progressives in recent months — and a boogey-woman for the Right. When the Bernie Sanders campaign fired her over a Facebook post — in which she used some “colorful language” to describe the Israeli prime minister — she became one of this campaign season’s proxy battles in the ongoing Jewish argument over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We sat down with Simone earlier this month for her first interview since being fired from the campaign, where she reveals exactly what took place inside the campaign, the right-wing attack that targeted…Read More... | 11 Comments
As much as it chagrins the likes of Elliott Abrams, the increasing difficulty they are having with defending Israel’s policies is due to the policies they are working to defend. The longer the occupation continues, the less support it will find among Jews in the United States. By Mitchell Plitnick Over the past few years, there has been a good deal of consternation in Israel and in the American Jewish community about the relationship between the two. That concern has grown as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu consistently works to please his right flank with ever more controversial statements and…Read More...
Despite years of Jewish education, much of which focused on Israel, this young American Zionist was still ignorant of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. By David Sarna Galdi The Israeli occupation of the West Bank will mark its 50-year anniversary next year. For five decades, since 1967, that occupation has been a central theme in any discussion of Israel’s politics, history, current events and obviously, conflict with the Palestinians — except, apparently, if you’re young and Jewish in America. [tmwinpost] While recently reading a critique of the absence of any discussion of the occupation (or any criticism of Israel,…Read More... | 7 Comments
American Jews have long overwhelmingly supported an end to the occupation, but increasingly, we are building an organized critical mass who are also willing to push our institutions and politicians in the same direction. IfNotNow takes its Passover message of liberation to Hillel and AIPAC. By Leanne Gale We gathered early in the morning, before the work day began. By the time I arrived at our meeting place, there were leaders milling about in neon vests to assist with logistics. There were megaphones. There were posters. I remarked to a friend, “This feels like trip day at my Jewish summer…Read More... | 8 Comments
The Jewish American establishment clearly cannot handle an Arab non-Zionist with the chutzpah to assert his right to be treated respectfully and equally in his own country. Ayman Odeh's decision to visit the United States and meet with Jewish community leaders cannot have been an easy one. The burden of scrutiny has been heavy indeed, from all sides. His own constituents, the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, were ambivalent at best about what many perceived as a mission that would either be co-opted to soften the perception of Israel's policies toward its Arab citizens, or twisted to undermine both Odeh and…Read More... | 34 Comments
The nuclear deal sets back any Iranian military nuclear program by at least 10 years, and does so without sparking a regional war. That, by itself, makes the deal the best option available. One of the easiest things to forget when discussing the Iran deal is just how inevitable and nearby war seemed for so long. It seems like just yesterday that the news was dominated with headlines like: “Will this be the year that Israel goes to war with Iran?”; “How Israel's War With Iran Will Be Fought”; “Israel 'prepared for 30-day war with Iran'”; “Pentagon predicts Israel will…Read More... | 2 Comments
A recent feature on Israeli television attempted to cast Jewish-American BDS and anti-occupation activists as self-hating Jews. As anti-Semites. How dare you! By David Harris-Gershon A reporter from Israel's Channel 2, Danny Kushmaro, recently visited Boston on a mission to find American Jews who support BDS and actively oppose Israel's occupation. One of the key interviews in his resulting item was with Alice Rothschild. In the interview, in lieu of asking questions, he made accusations with statements such as: "You want to boycott me, as a citizen of Israel, and boycott my country." [tmwinpost] "This is coming out of a desire to move…Read More... | 12 Comments
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