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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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  • No, criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism

    In fact, it could be the best thing a Jew can do these days. The Jerusalem Post has published an op-ed titled, "Yes, all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic!" As any philosophy student can recognize, it's one of those arguments that makes the entire debate meaningless - if something is everything then it's also nothing - but the piece is worth reading (and responding to) nonetheless. The author captures – unintentionally – the zeitgeist in Israeli politics, and also in large parts of the Jewish world. Both have ceased to differentiate between diplomacy, politics, and anti-Semitism as a special form…

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  • An essential sense of urgency: On Peter Beinart's 'The Crisis of Zionism'

    "The Crisis of Zionism," appears to be a book about politics, history and ideology, but in fact it is a research into identity; the identity of a community and the identity of the author. It is a book about the construction, the de-construction and the effort to reconstruct an identity; it sheds light on forgotten historical political facts, while leaving out others; it invents a new narrative, but is by no means false, since such is the nature of all identity projects. In his groundbreaking work, "Imagined Communities," Benedict Andersen quotes French author Ernest Renan: "The essence of a nation…

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  • Do Muslims and Jews have equal freedom of religion under Israel's rule?

    After a group of settlers attacked a mosque in one of the villages of Ramallah in the West Bank, the Israeli army put checkpoints at the entrances of the closest settlement and checked the identity of every person going in or out of the settlement. On grounds of fear of escalation the police in Jerusalem decided to allow Jewish worshipers entrance to the Western wall only for those above fifty years of age. Many Jewish leaders protested the actions of the police especially as the closure of the Western Wall coincides with the Jewish high holidays. The police pointed out…

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  • What about the Jews on the US boat to Gaza?

    For Jews on board the US boat to Gaza, the Audacity of Hope, their decision to sail to Gaza was a concrete action marking their divergence from mainstream American Jewish allegiance of the Israeli policies. Jewish presence in the flotilla represents growing dissatisfaction among American Jews with Israel’s incessant willingness to monopolize modern Jewish identity. Over the past two weeks, American activists aboard the US boat to Gaza, dubbed the Audacity of Hope, have been engaged in nonviolence training, holding preparation meetings and speaking to the media about their mission to Gaza. Yesterday, their mission officially ended. The Greek government…

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  • A Palestinian call to engage with the 'Jewish question'

    By Marzouq El-Halabi | Translation from Arabic to Hebrew: Nadav Franckovich, from Hebrew to English: Dimi Reider The Palestinian discourse must  leave denial behind and engage seriously with the Jewish and Zionist questions. No more talk of the victorious and the defeated, victims and victimisers, but a new narrative shared by both sides of the conflict. Much of the discourse around the Palestinian question is characterised by ignoring the Jewish question. This trend is noticeable in a number of central Palestinian positions, which exempt their holders from this burdensome complexity, and postpone having to deal with it. The strategy of ignoring…

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  • Is the settlement boycott misdirected?

    On the surface, the settlement boycott seems to be a wise 'middle way' for Jews that are critical of Israeli policy yet unwilling to join a Palestinian-led nonviolent initiative. However, it's a step that might prove to be counter-productive The Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) of Israel continues to be one of the most controversial issues regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a remarkably short time, the call has achieved numerous successes including the divestment of major European companies such Duestche Bahn in Israeli business deals, the support of international artists such as Roger Waters and the end…

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  • The Pale of Settlement: Disapora victimhood examined

    Israelis like to argue that that atrocities done by Jews cannot be compared to atrocities done to Jews, because the Diaspora Jews were innocent victims, and the victims of Israeli Jews today are not. But is this the case, and just how morally wholesome is the argument? by Shalom Boguslavsky | Translation: Rechavia Berman An old Jewish joke tells of Moishele, who was forced into serving in the Czar's army during the Russo-Turkish war. His weeping mother packs his bags, makes sure to put some extra sweaters and, and while going through other such yiddishe mamme fuss, dispenses some advice:…

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