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  • The untold story of Jewish anti-Zionists in Israel

    For nearly as long as Palestinians have resisted their displacement, small groups of Jews have joined them. Ran Greenstein's 'Zionism and Its Discontents' brings to life the complex, often contradictory story of those Israelis who saw Palestinian and Jewish liberation as one and the same.  Zionism and Its Discontents: A Century of Radical Dissent in Israel/Palestine (Pluto Press, 2014) Solidarity with Palestinians facing eviction, expulsion and home demolitions has been a cornerstone of radical left-wing Israeli activism over the past decade. The Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions raised international awareness of Israel’s ongoing forced displacement of Palestinians. Anarchists Against the Wall faced…

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  • Queer Jews should think again before celebrating Israel

    We were labeled homophobes and racists for disrupting a group of queer Jews at a pro-Israel parade this month. But as queer Jews ourselves, we could not stand aside while being used to distract from Israel's treatment of Palestinians. By Stephanie Skora Just under two weeks ago, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation, members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) staged six disruptions of the Celebrate Israel parade in New York City. There were several points of protest, including support among New York politicians and Jewish organizations for Israeli policies; the NYPD’s participation in the parade; and exchange programs between Israeli…

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  • Fight anti-Palestinianism as we would anti-Semitism

    While anti-Semitism is considered a serious moral failing in Western society today, anti-Palestinianism is not even recognized as a phenomenon worthy of being studied.  By Jeremiah Haber By “anti-Palestinianism” I understand prejudice against Palestinian Arabs based on perceived negative qualities of Palestinian cultural or natural identity. Views such as “Palestinian Arab culture is a culture of death and martyrdom,” “Palestinian Arabs hate Jews because of incitement,” “Palestinian labor is inferior” are examples of this prejudice. Attempts to justify these prejudices are inevitably based on selective data, generalization, and bias. [tmwinpost] By “anti-Semitism,” I understand prejudice against Jews based on perceived…

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  • A land without a people?: A visit to Russia's Jewish autonomous region

    A visit to Birobidzhan, where Jewish autonomy hasn't exactly worked out — and yet, the sign for Lenin Street is still written in Yiddish and public monuments commemorate Sholem Aleichem. By Yakov Rabkin Last summer, after three months of teaching in Japan, I decided to return home to Montreal via Birobidzhan, in Russia’s Far East. The Jewish Autonomous Region was getting ready to celebrate its 80th anniversary, and I easily found people to host me. Built by Jewish enthusiasts from a dozen countries including Argentina, Canada, France, the United States and British Palestine, Birobidzhan is conceptually akin to Israel, which also considers Jews as…

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  • Does Israel have a place in Jewish identity?

    The proposed 'Nation-State Law' and a wave of violence point to the urgency of questioning Israel's place in Jewish identity. Shlomo Sand's latest book, 'How I Stopped Being a Jew,' offers a starting point for such a discussion. When I left Palestine this summer, I was relieved to leave the Israeli flag behind. No more blue and white snapping at everyone who passes military checkpoints. No more Star of David standing high over the army bases. Saying goodbye to the Israeli flag, or so I thought, would also mean an end to my ambivalence about it. Upon seeing the flag,…

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  • Saying goodbye to Akiva Orr

    We have very few role models in the Israeli Left – few that we can follow their footsteps, few torches to light a dark and lonely path, few lights to pave the way. Aki was one of those, and now with him gone, the road seems a little darker. By Leehee Rothschild I’ve been sitting and staring at this photo for the past few minutes, trying to put together some words to go along with it. The sentence that keeps repeating in my mind is “This is exactly how I felt when Tanya [Reinhart] died.” I suppose it is quite an…

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  • Akiva Orr, co-founder of Israeli radical left Matzpen party, passes away

    Akiva Orr, an activist and writer, who helped form the Israeli anti-Zionist socialist party 'Matzpen,' passed away this week. His ideas, which can be viewed in the documentary on the history of Matzpen (below), challenged Israeli society and influenced generations of activists.  This post has been updated and expanded. Akiva Orr, author, co-founder of the Israeli anti-Zionist socialist political party, ‘Matzpen,’ and one of the most well-known figures in Israel's radical left, passed away this weekend. Matzpen was a radical and controversial political party that opposed Zionism as a colonialist movement and called for an alliance between Israelis and Palestinians. The…

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  • On anti-normalization, dialogue and activism – a response

    "Those who reject dialogue as a means of ending occupation are alienating even the most sympathetic activists by positing replacement of one monumental injustice - occupation oppression and dispossession - with another: envisaging the disappearance of most Israelis from the region." An argument for why the Palestinian struggle could benefit from a new approach to dialogue. By A.M. Poppy On 10 September 2012, Noam Sheizaf wrote here that his experience with the anti-normalization debate shows “the futility of any form of ‘dialogue’ at this point in time. As long as the political issue remains unsolved, such contacts make both sides more…

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  • Anti-Zionist Neturei Karta are no friend of the Palestinian national struggle

    Neturei Karta, a small ultra-Orthodox sect that rejects the existence of a Jewish national movement, is embraced by Palestinians because of its opposition to Zionism. However, its radical approach does not serve Palestinians in their national struggle. By Eldad Levy Throughout the last round of violence in Gaza and the south of Israel, Facebook was flooded with Palestinian and Israeli support campaigns. The campaign of Neturei Karta, the most famous Hassidic sect that opposes Zionism, was among the most interesting ones. Facebook users often share pictures of Neturei Karta in their traditional black clothing, often wearing a keffiyeh decorated with Palestinian…

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  • Palestinian activists disavow former Israeli Jew for anti-Semitism

    The US Palestinian Community Network and Electronic Intifada are circulating this public letter, which is not only about Gilad Atzmon - the former Israeli turned conspiracy-theorist and anti-Semite - but more importantly, makes the distinction between criticism of Zionism and relations with Jews and the Jewish people. I am not endorsing everything in this text, but it is definitely worth reading and relating to. We reaffirm that there is no room in this historic and foundational analysis of our struggle for any attacks on our Jewish allies, Jews, or Judaism; nor denying the Holocaust; nor allying in any way shape or form…

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  • The worst defense of Zionism in history

    An op-ed on Ynet, Israel's most popular news site, explains how to address anti-Zionism: Zionism will only cease being demonized in the politically correct corners of the West once our schools and film industry cease to demonize colonialism. The politically correct depiction of the colonialist as a racist and covetous brute must give space to the majority of well-meaning administrators that helped build roads, schools, and hospitals for the natives. It must be shown that colonialists administered law and justice far more fairly than most pre-colonial chieftains or post-colonial despots.

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  • +972 readers weigh in on Zionism debate

    A critique of an article by a noted liberal Zionist leads to an interesting debate about Zionism. In the polarized world of debate about Israel/Palestine, certain terms have acquired such strong connotations that an honest and factual discussion of important issues is almost at a standstill. From the family dinner table to college campus throughout the world, terms like “BDS,” “anti-Zionist” and “liberal Zionist” have become virtual conversation stoppers - depending on the circle. Yesterday, I wrote a strongly worded critique of Bernard Avishai’s new piece on the Palestinian Right of Return (RoR), which appears in this month’s edition of…

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  • Does "Delegitimization" mean "treason" in Israel?

    By Roi Maor and Dahlia Scheindlin As part of our interest in making order out of the “delegitimization” debate, we have decided to analyze some of the vocal or prominent thinking on the issue. Following Roi's post, we hope this will become a series in which we address the charges that critics of Israel are actually seeking to delegitimize the existence of the state. We try to understand when the charges are legitimate; or if (as we fear happens often) they are used as political cover for deflecting critique of Israel. We begin with the much acclaimed report written by…

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