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American Jews

  • Distorting the definition of antisemitism to shield Israel from all criticism

    The IHRA initially sought to combat racism against Jews and Holocaust denialism, but its definition of antisemitism serves as a tool to silence all criticism of Israel, making it harder to identify actual forms of anti-Jewish hatred. By Amos Goldberg and Raz Segal There is a growing tendency among both Jews and non-Jews to label those with whom they have profound political differences, especially on the subject of Israel-Palestine, as antisemitic. The accusation is a severe one: in most countries in the West, antisemitism is considered a taboo, and the identification of a person or organization with antisemitism often renders…

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  • Netanyahu's embrace of far-right leaders leaves Jews vulnerable to anti-Semitism

    By aligning himself with nationalist leaders who foster white supremacy, Netanyahu has abandoned world Jewry in a bid to bolster his own nationalist machinations. By Rachel Shenhav-Goldberg For some years now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been forming close diplomatic relations with far-right nationalist world leaders. This alignment might promote Netanyahu’s plan to strengthen Jewish nationalism in Israel, but it concomitantly weakens diaspora Jews and makes them more vulnerable to anti-Semitism and hate crimes in their own countries. [tmwinpost] Over the last five decades, anti-Semitism was in decline, particularly in the United States. Jews in the United States occupy…

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  • You have the power to stop apartheid: An open letter to AIPAC

    American Jews, who play such a central role in what happens in Israel, can put an end to the oppression of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line. But only if they tell Israelis that enough is enough. By Marzuq al-Halabi Dear AIPAC leaders, In one of his most famous poems, “Think of Others,” Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish asks the reader to keep the other in mind at all times. This, he writes, should apply whether we are preparing breakfast, paying our water bill, or declaring war. I wonder, then, whether you, as you take part in your annual conference next week think about us over…

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  • Forget about dialogue groups, it's time to switch to co-resistance

    The 'coexistence model' is outdated and misleading. Instead, a Palestinian and an Israeli activist talk about eliminating systems of oppression from the bottom up — together. By Renad Uri and Omri Evron As the dispossession of Palestine enters its eighth decade and Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian people its sixth, it is time to finally change the conversation. [tmwinpost] Many summer camps and youth leagues promote a dialogue of coexistence on Israel-Palestine. This model is also adhered to in U.S. diplomacy regarding the conflict post-Oslo. The assumption that coexistence can solve deep-rooted issues is misleading, though. It creates a false sense of…

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  • Women's March Jewish outreach director: 'Anti-Semitism can be unlearned'

    In her first interview since calls began for the Women's March leadership to resign amid allegations of anti-Semitism, Jewish director of communications Sophie Ellman-Golan speaks about confronting anti-Jewish prejudice within the movement, the attempts to delegitimize the organizers, and how the March is putting forth a more inclusive vision. After the mass shooting of 11 American Jews in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue on October 27, the first person who called Sophie Ellman-Golan — the communications director for the Women’s March — was Linda Sarsour, in tears. She asked Ellman-Golan, “What are we going to do?” and said her next call…

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  • Fed up with myths, these American Jews are challenging their Israel education

    They grew up on the myths of a heroic Jewish state, joined Zionist organizations, and learned the talking points. But something along the way made them question everything. By Tom Pessah Some of the strangest encounters I had in the years I spent living and studying in the United States were with American Jews. I often felt like I had been dropped into a musical, with people expecting me to fit the mythical image of how an Israeli was supposed to behave. The only problem: I had no idea what my lines were supposed to be. [tmwinpost] I was asked about my time in…

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  • Arming Jews hasn't saved us in the past. Why would it now?

    The massacre at the Pittsburgh synagogue last weekend has led many to return to an age-old question: should Jews be arming themselves in the face of violent anti-Semitism? By Roni Masel It didn’t take long for President Donald Trump to offer his two cents on the cause for the shooting at Tree of Life Congregation last Saturday, which left 11 people dead. Not long after news of the massacre broke, Trump said the following: [Gun laws have] little to do with it, […] If you take a look, if they had protection inside, the results would have been far better. This is a dispute that will…

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  • I wish we could mourn Pittsburgh as one Jewish people — but we can't

    I keep hoping that our Jewish leaders will take one moment to do what they say they are here to do: defend Jewish lives when we are under attack. But they haven’t. By Simone Zimmerman I want to mourn with my people. [tmwinpost] I want to mourn with all of my beloved Jewish people in Pittsburgh and around the world who are reeling from the sight of 11 Jews gunned down during Shabbat morning services. Eleven Jews who were beloved grandparents, friends, siblings, community members. The ones who always showed up to synagogue on time, and who lost their lives…

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  • Israel, the occupation is at the core of who you are

    If Jewish leaders and activists are going to speak up against Israel’s recent anti-democratic trends, they cannot remain silent on what has been corrupting its democracy for decades. By Nadav Bigelman It is not news to many Israelis that their government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, is pushing all those who do not align with his spirit of nationalism and racism to the margins of society. Ongoing legislation against the LGBTQ community, the Jewish Nation-State Law, and intense incitement against left-wing activists continue to degenerate Israel's delicate social fabric. Recent detainments of Jewish American public figures and activists at Ben Gurion Airport, including the journalist…

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  • Want to combat Israeli authoritarianism? Listen to Palestinians

    Jewish and international observers are constantly having to catch up to what Palestinians have always known about Israel. This needs to change. In his 1963 book The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin wrote a profound personal letter to his young nephew (also named James), in which he poignantly described the dehumanizing world that Black people must face in America: [tmwinpost] "You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity, and in as many ways as possible, that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence: you were expected to make peace…

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  • Welcome to Netanyahu's fortress state

    The detention and interrogation of high-profile figures such as Peter Beinart and Reza Aslan at Israeli entry points is forcing liberal American Jews to reckon with what Israel is becoming. Over the last month, the Israeli and international media reported several incidents involving Shin Bet agents at ports of entry to Israel detaining prominent Jewish Americans for lengthy, aggressive questioning about their political views. [tmwinpost] Meyer Koplow, chair of Brandeis University's Board of Trustees and a prominent donor to Israeli causes, was detained before his flight out of Ben Gurion Airport and questioned because security agents found in his suitcase a brochure about Palestine. Moriel Rothman-Zecher, an Israeli citizen who lives in…

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  • American Jewish anti-occupation advocacy needs to go global

    The Jewish community’s traditional unconditional support for Israel's occupation is rapidly changing. Now is the time to present an alternative to those who justify a violent military regime. By Frima (Merphie) Bubis Two months after the U.S. Embassy officially moved to Jerusalem, the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, hosted AIPAC, America’s largest pro-Israel lobby at an official event in the national palace. There, he called on his government to follow in the footsteps of President Trump and move the its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. AIPAC's presence at the event was no coincidence: the “pro-Israel” lobby, primarily known…

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  • 'For many young American Jews, the Trump-Bibi axis is the enemy'

    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…

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