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American Jews

  • 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. By Joshua Leifer 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…

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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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  • The 'Jewish tent' just became even smaller

    The defunding of an Israel program with a progressive, human rights framework is an affront to all progressive Jews around the world. By Rebecca Arian Last week, the Jewish Agency announced it would be cutting funding to Achvat Amim (“Solidarity of Nations”), a program offering participants the opportunity to live in Israel and volunteer with organizations dedicated to fostering human rights and coexistence. The Jewish Agency’s decision resulted from participants’ protest activity in Palestinian areas in the West Bank earlier this year. This move is just one of countless examples of mainstream Jewish institutions setting the parameters of the Jewish tent,…

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  • In Trump's America, the rabbinic voice is needed more than ever

    President Trump’s comments regarding the Charlottesville violence revealed the yawning moral vacuum in the White House. Now is the time for rabbis to work tirelessly to bring peace, unity, and justice to all people in the United States. By Itamar Haritan Salem Pearce, a rabbinical student and senior organizer with T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, remembers where she was when she first heard President Trump defend white supremacists. She was still in Charlottesville, recovering at a local café after supporting counter protesters alongside clergy of all faiths. Earlier she had watched people being carried away on stretchers after a…

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  • 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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