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Diaspora

  • At 16, Israel promised me freedom. Why does it deny it to Ahed Tamimi?

    Looking at the images of Ahed in court, I know we can never truly be free as long as we deny another people their freedom. And I wonder what freedom actually means if it takes locking up people like Ahed to secure it. By Simone Zimmerman When I was 16, I joined Facebook. I spent a lot of time taking cute photos with my friends, and learned how to do neat things with my digital camera. I got in quite a good bit of trouble for making out with cute boys at my Jewish youth group and summer camp. One of…

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  • Conflating Zionism and Judaism leaves Jewish students exposed

    'Israelism' has replaced traditional Jewish identity, making it difficult for Jewish students to distinguish between divergent political views and attacks on their identities. By Yakov M. Rabkin It is no secret that young Jews often find it difficult to separate Zionism from the Jewish identity as it has been taught to them. Their identity is often centered on political support for the State of Israel, and they see advocacy for Israel — a special course in the curriculum of many private Jewish schools — as a key part of being Jewish. Leaving the protective bubble of Jewish day schools for…

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  • When heroes fall far from home

    Perhaps I expected some measure of defiance, for him to rage, as Dylan Thomas begged of his father, 'against the dying of the light.' But in the end, there was no rage left in my father, even as the core injustice of his life — that he could never return home — remained. When he first learned the word “Palestinian,” my younger brother used it to name all things broken or not quite right. It was an innocent association—learned, as all language is, by mapping sounds to things manifest. But in our diaspora home, Palestine was not a tactile place.…

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  • Meet the radical Israeli looking to lead Britain's Jewish students

    A radical, left-wing British-Israeli has shaken up the race for the next president of the U.K.'s Union of Jewish students, and drawn international media attention. Eran Cohen talks BDS, diasporism, and being wounded by unfriendly IDF fire. By Matan Kaminer The election campaign for president of the U.K.'s Union of Jewish Students is not the kind of story you'd expect to be picked up by the international media. But Eran Cohen, a British-Israeli and a radical leftist, is not your usual kind of candidate, and his campaign has generated headlines in Jewish outlets in the U.S. and Israel. [tmwinpost] With political…

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  • What we left behind in Egypt: Mizrahi thoughts on Israel

    Even when they had reached the borders of the Promised Land, after 40 years in the desert, all the Children of Israel wanted was to go back to Egypt. In Erez Biton's poem, the immigrant from Algeria and his son fail to build a home in Israel. Independence Day is also the tale of the rift in our identity, created by immigrating here. By Mati Shemoelof "And the children of Israel said unto them: ‘Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, when we did eat bread…

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  • The diaspora is an integral part of Hebrew literature

    There is a ceaseless movement of Israeli culture — and the diaspora experience is just waking up and testing its global limits. By Mati Shemoelof BERLIN — There is no such thing as “Hebrew literature written outside Israel” because the definition of “outside Israel” cannot address art in general or literature in particular. Literature is created in a space that is not a state or a country. The categorization of literature that is written outside or inside a country is problematic. As such, we should understand that Hebrew literature from the get-go belongs to every country in which there are writers…

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  • New Jewish network launches worldwide initiative against occupation

    Group seeks to 'reclaim Jewish identity,' raise a global Jewish voice to 'challenge Israel's destructive policies.' A new international network of Jewish groups and individuals committed to justice in Palestine released a statement over the weekend calling for an end to the killing and an end the occupation. The network, which first met over the summer and has yet to come up with a name, currently spans 16 countries — from Brazil, to Australia, to Switzerland and South Africa — and represents 15 organizations. According to the preface to their statement, the group seeks to "reclaim Jewish identity not as a…

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  • How one soccer match tells the entire Palestinian story

    On Friday morning, the Palestine national soccer team will face off against Jordan, a team with a majority of Palestinian players, in the Asian Cup. Whether they choose to or not, the 22 players on the field will tell the story of refugees, occupation, checkpoints and the connection between home and diaspora. Oh, and they'll also play soccer.  By Yonatan Mendel May 30, 2014 will go down as one of the biggest days in the history of Palestinian soccer. It happened far away from home, in Malé, the capital of Maldives. Palestine made it to the final round of the AFC…

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  • At the exiled Iranian Parliament in Berlin

    At the exiled Iranian parliament we convened at Café Kotti in Berlin, I look around at my new friends and ask myself: how can civilians destroy the walls the politicians have built with such a lack of imagination, courage, vision and basic human love? It’s not a theoretical question. We’re talking about our lives. By Mati Shemoelof (translated from Hebrew by Chana Morgenstern) During one of my special evenings in Berlin, I climbed over the wall separating Israel and Iran and opened a parliament for Iranian Mashhadi exiles with two other refugees. We sat at Café Kotti (the local Albi)…

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  • Hasidic music: Pushing the boundaries of the Israeli comfort zone

    Why don't most of Israelis know this music that has been passed down from generation to generation? How open are we to a culture that seems so far away from us, despite the fact that it is just across the street?  By Merav Livneh-Dill He dances like Madonna, dresses like Lady Gaga and has more glasses than Sir Elton John. He's Lipa Schmeltzer. Heard of him? Lipa is the outlier who proves the rule, and the rule is very simple: the non-Haredi public in Israel is almost entirely oblivious to the music that Haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) listen to, or as it is…

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  • Yearning for Iran: An elegy for my other homeland

    A homeland is not a piece of cultivated land, nor the object of a war for pride. Homeland is not nationalism. Love has no place where land is a tool for control. Homeland is an idea through which we mold our hopes and our most secret fears. It is an unconditional love. By Avraham H. Muthada I often find myself yearning for Iran. Despite the fact that my feet have never stepped there, my mouth has never tasted its water, my lips have not sipped from its goblet. There, in the diaspora, where the dream of the promised land still…

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  • WATCH: Israelis mock gov't ads to bring nationals back home

    Much attention in the last few days has been devoted to the public relations campaign led by the Israeli Ministry of Immigration ... that backfired. (Read about it here.) The plug was pulled on a series of controversial commercials that were viewed by many diaspora Jews (and in particular North American Jews) as offensive. +972 contributors weighed in on the debate. Among them was Mairav Zonszein, who noted that a connection to Israel is not something that one can switch on or off: The ones who feel rooted here (in Israel) cannot afford to refuse to call Israel home until…

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  • Israel cancels marriage ad after angry response from US Jews

    The Israeli government on Friday announced that it would cancel immediately a group of television commercials introduced and paid for by the Ministry of Immigration, after the Embassy in Washington received a number of angry comments from American Jews. Speaking on CNN, Israel's American-born Ambassador to Washington, noted: The Ministry of Immigration has been charged, in its mandate, to bring Israelis home, and has various funds to do so. And in this case, the campaign did not take into account sufficiently American Jewish sensitivities. We regret that. But still, we are committed to trying to bring Israelis back home and…

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