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J-street

  • 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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  • Can J Street coherently fight both boycott and occupation?

    After J Street U students were attacked at an anti-BDS conference this week, the lobby might want to reconsider the effectiveness of seeking common ground with extremists. Things got ugly at an anti-BDS conference at the United Nations this week when participants turned on a group of liberal university students in attendance. [tmwinpost] The conference, organized by the Israeli mission to the U.N., brought together many of the usual suspects working to counter the effects of the growing boycott movement. Students representing the university arm of J Street, the “pro-Israel, pro-peace lobby,” attracted the ire of the conference when they rose…

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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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  • Did AIPAC help fund an Islamophobic group's attack-ad on J Street?

    If an AIPAC spinoff did, in fact, help fund an attack on J Street it suggests the powerful lobby feels increasingly threatened by the upstart progressive Jewish group. By Eli Clifton The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is going to have a challenging time at its annual policy conference this weekend persuading attendees and those watching at home that it has healed the partisan rift it opened by investing millions of dollars in opposing the Iran nuclear deal. Following Trump’s election, partisanship in Washington had reached an all-time high, making AIPAC’s role in currying bipartisan support for new Iran…

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  • A Palestinian woman finds hope in American Jewish resistance

    At the progressive Jewish conference of the year, a Palestinian politician wins rousing applause and a former U.S. presidential candidate talks of the injustices caused by the founding of the State of Israel — both seeds of hope for someone who wakes up every day to news of home demolitions and land grabs. Several days ago I returned from 10 days of traveling in the United States. Throughout my stay I met many Jews, some more progressive and liberal than others. I met Americans of Palestinian, Syrian, Iraqi, and Moroccan origin. My journey through Trumpland came to an end with the…

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  • WATCH: Trump Israel envoy praises Israeli leftists — for sending kids to the army

    'I don’t feel the same way about the Israeli Left as I do about the American Left, because the Israeli Left deeply, deeply care about their country,' Trump's nominee for ambassador to Israel is recorded saying. Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next American ambassador to Israel has come under intense criticism for, among other things, saying the Jewish American pro-peace lobby J Street is “far worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.” [tmwinpost] But the contempt that Friedman, Trump’s former bankruptcy lawyer with no diplomatic credentials, feels for American leftists…

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  • Could a Palestinian politician best represent American Jewish values?

    Progressive American Jews may be willing to stand alongside American Muslims, but are they ready to demonstrate the same solidarity for Arab citizens of Israel? Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List, is a test case for where 'pro-peace' Jews draw the line. Progressive American Jews have had a hard time in recent years finding an Israeli political movement they can truly stand behind. As long as there was a peace process, it was fairly easy for a “pro-peace” supporter to know whom to back. Without a peace process, without even the prospect of a peace process, the main metric…

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  • 'I'm part of a dying breed that believes in two states'

    The election of Donald Trump has emboldened fears that the two-state solution will officially be tossed into the dustbin of history. But J Street President Jeremy Ben Ami is undeterred, steadfast in his belief that two states is the only solution.+972 Magazine speaks to him at the annual J Street conference about the rise of Steve Bannon, the possibility of a regional plan for peace, and why he thinks Palestinian citizens of Israel do not form a 'natural alliance' with his organization's constituency. Under the dark cloud of Israeli and American leaders who appear united in their disinterest in a…

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  • Trump is the president settlers could only dream of

    Although U.S. policy toward Israeli settlements has fluctuated over time, successive American officials have consistently taken a dim view of the settlement movement. Trump and his advisors may change all that very soon. By Derek Davison Although President-elect Donald Trump and his foreign policy team are only beginning to develop their agenda for his coming administration, his surprising election on Tuesday may already be having an impact on Israel’s West Bank settlement policy. On Thursday, Jason Greenblatt, co-chairman of the Trump campaign’s Israel Advisory Committee, told Israel’s Army Radio that “it is certainly not Mr. Trump’s view that settlement activities should…

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  • ‘There’s a vicious fight in our community’: Simone Zimmerman talks Bernie for the first time

    By Isaac Luria Simone Zimmerman has become an inspiring figure for American Jewish progressives in recent months — and a boogey-woman for the Right. When the Bernie Sanders campaign fired her over a Facebook post — in which she used some “colorful language” to describe the Israeli prime minister — she became one of this campaign season’s proxy battles in the ongoing Jewish argument over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We sat down with Simone earlier this month for her first interview since being fired from the campaign, where she reveals exactly what took place inside the campaign, the right-wing attack that targeted…

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  • What critics of Bernie Sanders' Jewish liaison are missing

    Simone Zimmerman's appointment is great news for mainstream American Jews who are desperate for a real conversation on Israel/Palestine. Over the past few days, it has been difficult to watch the American Jewish establishment's attacks on my friend, Simone Zimmerman. Just three days ago Simone was appointed the Jewish outreach coordinator for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. Within hours of the announcement came a torrent of vicious attacks, both against her as well as the Sanders campaign for having the gall to appoint a critic of Israeli settlements and policies in the occupied territories. (Update: Just hours after publishing this post,…

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  • Time to break the silence: An open letter to American Jews

    The American Jewish establishment, from the Federations to synagogues, must take a look in the mirror and decide whether this is the Israel it identifies with. If it isn't, it should speak up. Urgently.  Dear American Jewish community, I should start off with a full disclosure: I am only tangentially a part of you. I have been living in Israel for the past five years, and before that I was an Israeli-American living in the Bay Area (with a brief stint in Los Angeles), where us Israelis viewed ourselves as a semi-autonomous cultural group. For the most part, we were not…

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  • Overcoming Jewish America's Israel fantasy

    The idea of Israel has long been an integral part of Jewish-American identity. But with a generational change among American Jews and increasingly stark political differences with Israel's leadership, could this be the dawn of a new era?  Last summer Michael Oren, who served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 2009-13, blithely offended virtually the entire policy, journalism and government elite in New York City and Washington, D.C. with a series of accusations directed at President Obama and liberal Jewish Americans. In a nutshell, Oren accused Obama of deliberately sabotaging relations with Israel in order to achieve the goals…

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