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American Jews

  • 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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  • 'You never told me': Confronting American Jewish myths about Israel

    A group of young American Jews are challenging the the institutionalized myths they were taught about the Jewish state in classrooms, youth group trips, and summer camps.  By Emma Goldberg U.S. anti-occupation movement IfNotNow released its “Liberation Syllabus” last week. Crowd-sourced from teachers, students, journalists, and rabbis, the syllabus offers a collection of resources — from picture books to nonfiction, cookbooks to podcasts — that Jewish institutions can integrate into their curricula to offer more balanced and just lessons about the occupation. [tmwinpost] The syllabus is part of IfNotNow’s “You Never Told Me” campaign, in which alumni of Jewish summer camps,…

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  • Dozens of American Jews arrested protesting Gaza violence

    From Boston to San Francisco, young activists from IfNotNow demonstrate outside the offices of prominent Jewish institutions and senators, demanding they condemn Israel's violence against Gaza protesters. Thirty-seven American Jews were arrested across the United States last week in a series of actions outside the offices of major Jewish institutions and elected officials to protest the ongoing violence against Palestinians at the Israel-Gaza border. [tmwinpost] The actions, organized by the Jewish-American group IfNotNow, took place in Boston, New York, Twin Cities, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and Washington DC, where young Jews demanded statements condemning Israeli violence against the unarmed protesters taking part in the "Great…

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  • For Gaza youth, IDF testimonies feel more like confessions

    Palestinian youth respond to a play based on testimonies by Israeli soldiers, which portrays the brutality of the occupation from the point of view of the occupiers. By Pam Bailey The video above is a production called "It's What We Do: A Play About the Occupation.” Although it is a drama, the soldiers' reflections in the play are taken verbatim from actual testimonies of soldiers from Breaking the Silence, whose vivid memories continue to haunt them. [tmwinpost] The play’s target audience was Jewish Americans, but several Palestinians from Gaza, ‘We Are Not Numbers’ writers who have themselves been the "targets" of…

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  • How to deal with modern anti-Semitism? The Jewish Left is leading the way

    For too long, the Right has claimed a monopoly on fighting antisemitism, especially when it relates to Israel. It's been a fraught year for the American Jewish Left. Anti-Semitism continues to be stoked by the president and his inner and outer circles; the institutional Jewish community is openly courting anti-Semites; and verbal and legislative assaults from the Israeli and American right on 'traitorous' Jewish anti-occupation and BDS advocates continue to rack up. Meanwhile, Congress recently hosted a debate about anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses, largely geared toward making criticism of Israel a part of Title VI's definition of anti-Semitism. [tmwinpost] Moreover, a number…

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  • American Jews have the power to oppose Israel's gov't. Will they use it?

    Jewish American leaders are slowly beginning to understand just how vast the gap is between their values and those represented by the Israeli government. Princeton University Hillel sparked controversy earlier this week after announcing it would indefinitely postpone a scheduled speech by Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely. The decision came after protests by students from the Alliance of Jewish Progressives and other groups, who claimed that Hillel had scheduled Hotovely’s speech without bringing it before the Israel Advisory Committee, an internal committee that vets Israel-related events and enforces Hillel’s “Israel Policy.” [tmwinpost] As the students highlighted in their letter to…

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  • Jewish students feel unsafe on campus? A new study says otherwise

    A new study published by Stanford University reveals that Jewish students feel safer on university campuses when they refuse to conflate their Jewish identities with unequivocal support for the State of Israel. By Oren Kroll-Zeldin In recent years numerous studies have created the impression that university campuses across the United States are a hotbed of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment. These studies describe Jewish student experiences on campus, painting an alarming portrait of a politically unsafe climate for Jewish students who are ill equipped to deal with these challenges. [tmwinpost] A new study published by Stanford University Graduate School of Education contests these…

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