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American Jews

  • 40 days and 40 nights: Building a new reality in Sumud Freedom Camp

    For 40 days and 40 nights, Palestinians, diaspora Jews, and Israeli activists learned to speak a new language of nonviolence, empathy, and steadfastness as we put our bodies on the line to protect Sumud Freedom Camp. By Sophie Schor Plato is famous for his allegory of a cave. In it, he employs a metaphor that if you were born in a cave and lived in a cave your entire life, captive and unable to turn your head, only seeing shadows cast on the stone wall, you would know no other reality than that. But if you were to leave the cave and walk…

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  • U.S. Jews can’t expect Israel to be liberal only where they want it to

    Liberal American Jewry is up in arms after the Israeli government nixed a deal to allow men and women to pray together at Judaism's holiest site. But if American Jews want their interests in Israel safeguarded, they must rid themselves of the fantasy of a nonexistent Jewish pluralism. The Netanyahu government created an uproar across the Jewish world on Sunday by rolling back an agreement to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall where men and women could pray together. The compromise would also have brought representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements into a committee meant to manage that space. [tmwinpost] That arrangement…

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  • The Israeli Left can learn a thing or two from American Jews

    Where was the Israeli Left when the army tore down a joint Palestinian-Jewish protest camp, or when the police broke the arm of a Jewish American activist in Jerusalem? By Amitai Ben-Abba Freedom Camp in Sarura, South Hebron Hills. On May 29, large army and Border Police forces raided the little that was left in Sarura after the previous raid the week before. They confiscated mattresses, a generator cable, a car belonging to Fadel Aamer (one of the landowners), two tents, food, and water bottles. They also detained three Palestinian activists, one of them Aamer's son, confiscated their phones and destroyed their…

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  • Diaspora Jews must place our bodies on the line

    As internationals and Jews, we are unjustly privileged — and therefore obligated to take part in nonviolent direct action in support of the Palestinian struggle for freedom. By Leanne Gale My first protest in the West Bank was in 2012. On the advice of a college professor, I went to a demonstration in Susya, a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills. The village was then, as now, under threat of demolition. [tmwinpost] When we arrived, along with a few other American students affiliated with J Street U, there were already around 700 Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals present. The children of…

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  • American Jews, which side are you on?

    Rather than sit uncomfortably within the tired anti- or pro-Israel paradigm, we are building a reality in which American Jews who disagree with the occupation can take comfort in their Jewish identity. By Shira Yudkin Tiffany Rows of police demarcated the sides outside the annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington D.C. Two human chains of protestors in matching t-shirts bound themselves together to the doorways to the Washington Convention Center. Beyond them were barricades and a sea of mostly young, largely unaffiliated Jews, cheering on the action in Hebrew. [tmwinpost] These were not your average AIPAC protesters. While the Jewish community has been puzzling over the…

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  • American Jews must resist Trump and the occupation at the same time

    Can American Jews’ relationship to Israel accommodate the truth that Palestinians deserve the same freedom and dignity that we want for ourselves as Jews and for our Muslim, immigrant, black and brown neighbors here in the United States? By Emily Mayer There is currently a surge of activism churning through the American Jewish community. Since Trump’s election in November, American Jews have been taking action against a president who received only 24 percent of their votes, the second-smallest proportion of any religious or racial demographic in the country, after African Americans. [tmwinpost] Last month, 20 rabbis were arrested protesting the…

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  • Netanyahu’s Alt-Zionism has no need for American Jews

    Instead of firmly speaking out against the more than 190 anti-Semitic threats and attacks over the past few weeks, Netanyahu has decided to throw the American Jewish community under the bus of right-wing Israeli fanaticism. By David Sarna Galdi Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week told a delegation led by Reform Movement head Rabbi Rick Jacobs what it wanted to hear — that he was attuned to their concerns. But Netanyahu’s shocking silence during the recent wave of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States was far louder than his words. Netanyahu, who just a couple of years ago declared that…

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  • Israel's travel ban strikes Liberal Zionism at its core

    Israel’s new anti-BDS law is antagonizing some of the state’s most loyal supporters, rewriting a decades-old relationship. Israel ramped up its fight against the global boycott movement last week, when the Knesset passed its own travel ban: a new law barring entry to any non-citizen or non–permanent resident who has publicly called for or pledged to support a boycott of Israel — or its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. How this new approach will play out politically — whether it will energize the BDS movement or scare off potential supporters — remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: the new…

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  • Trump is pushing American Jews away from Israel — and that's a good thing

    Now that the U.S. is being faced with a racist Trump regime, American Jews are being reminded of their own history of oppression, forcing them to make a choice: which side are we on when it comes to Israel? By Michael Sidman Blind support for Israel has kept American Jews from supporting Palestinian liberation for too long – but the Trump administration, in one of its accidental silver linings, has finally created the perfect incubator to bring American Jews and Palestinians together. For decades American Jews, guided in no small part by mainstream Jewish organizations, have actively and vocally lent their support to far-right…

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  • Israel passes 'dissenter ban' barring entry to boycott advocates

    It's impossible to predict how and against whom the new law will be applied, but the message it sends is clear: if your politics don't toe the Israeli government line, you won't be allowed in. Even if your opposition is entirely non-violent. As Donald Trump signed a revised travel ban against nationals of six Muslim countries and many refugees, Israel's Knesset passed a law that bars giving temporary visas or residency to any non-Israeli citizen who has publicly called for or pledged to participate in a boycott of Israel. [tmwinpost] The way the law is worded makes its possible application very…

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  • Two fathers, Palestinian and Jewish, find hope in solidarity

    When I first got the news that he had won, the first people I checked on were my Muslim mother and my son. But then I wrote my friend, Brad Brooks-Rubin. [tmwinpost] The connection wasn't coincidental. When my son was born, Brad was the first to visit him. A year later, I bought a life-sized playhouse and leaned it against the plastic siding of our rented home, just outside of Washington, DC. When my son was skeptical about his new toy, Brad crawled in first, wedged his head through the tiny window, and looked my toddler dead in the eye.…

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  • It's time for American Jewish institutions to embrace dissent

    In the age of Trump, American Jewish institutions need to include the majority of U.S. Jews who rejected his divisive rhetoric and give a platform to dissenting voices — whether they are speaking out against U.S. or Israeli government policy. By Ben Pakman The Jewish American people are entering what promises to be a tumultuous time under the Trump presidency. Our morals and resolve are being tested and, fairly or not, the rest of the world is observing us under a microscope. [tmwinpost] The most prominent American Jews — Trump cohorts like David Friedman (recently appointed as U.S. ambassador to Israel),…

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  • Welcome to the Jewish American dissonance

    American Jews view a Muslim ban as a threat to the ideals they cherish, yet they also believe that too many Muslims in Israel is a direct threat to the Jewish people. In early December, just a month after the election of Donald Trump, American alt-right leader Richard Spencer sat down for an interview with Al Jazeera. Speaking to Kristen Saloomey, Spencer, who brought his white supremacist views along as he was catapulted into spotlight over the past year, railed against the "great erasure" of the "white world," diversity, and the underrepresentation of American whites in corporate America, among other things. Spencer…

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