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J-street

  • For J Street, holding Israel accountable is still a step too far

    J Street's 2019 conference heralded a new willingness to tie military aid to Israel to its human rights record. But the organization was quick to reaffirm a status quo of unconditional aid — despite ongoing abuses. What at first looked like a sea change on the horizon has turned out to be much less. One week after Democratic presidential candidates discussed conditioning U.S. military aid to Israel at J Street’s national conference in Washington, the liberal pro-Israel group makes clear that it continues to support unconditional aid, despite ongoing Israeli human rights abuses and settlement expansion. [tmwinpost] A statement issued Monday…

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  • J Street conference confronts America's 'blank check' to Israel

    WASHINGTON — In the shadow of the World Series, the reported killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the one-year anniversary of the Tree of Life Massacre in Pittsburgh, 4,000 people gathered in the U.S. capital for J Street’s eighth annual conference, titled “Rise to the Moment.” In some ways, J Street did just that. The conference was dominated by the message that the U.S. government should no longer provide — as the organization's president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, put it — a “blank check” to Israel. “It is important for the U.S. to take a very close look at whether or not our…

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  • In these dark times, young American Jews are a ray of hope

    The recent campaigns taking aim at Birthright and the American political establishment are more than symbolic — they are sowing the seeds of a powerful resistance movement against Israel's occupation. By Oren Kroll-Zeldin Passover is a celebration of freedom, justice, and liberation. In Hebrew it is referred to as zman heruteynu, the season of our freedom. As I reflected during my Passover seder this year on what it means for Jews today to be free, I thought back to an oft-cited quotation from Jewish American poet and social activist Emma Lazarus that says: “Until we are all free, we are none…

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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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  • 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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