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Larry Derfner

  • Rattling the Gilded Cage: An Interview with Larry Derfner

    “No Country for Jewish Liberals,” by Larry Derfner, Just World Books, 260 pp., $26.95 Moving to Israel was an experiment of sorts for Larry Derfner. As a journalist, it was an attempt to advance his career. More significantly, at least with the benefit of hindsight, it was an attempt to reconcile the intoxicating appeal of muscular nationalism with the liberal values he absorbed in his Los Angeles home and by coming of age in the Vietnam-era anti-war movement. It was easier to be liberal in the United States because the real-world consequences of dovish policies rarely put you at personal…

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  • Stop blaming Mizrahim for everything wrong in Israel

    Despite what many commentators would have you think, Israeli elections were not decided by racism among Israel's Mizrahi population. By Leeor Ohayon Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election is largely credited to votes from the Mizrahi periphery, but to credit the Mizrahi periphery alone would be naïve. The Likud party, after all, is an Ashkenazi one at heart, with Ashkenazi supporters. The magnitude of Netanyahu’s win, as a result of his “gevalt campaign,” (a desperation blitz) actually came from the Ashkenazi Right — Jewish Home voters sacrificed their party to save Netanyahu. In a recent article, Larry Derfner condemned “poor” Mizrahi Israelis for…

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  • Settlers accuse 'Haaretz' of calling for violence against them

    Fallout from Amira Hass’s article on Palestinian stone-throwing shows that as far as Israelis are concerned, any and every form of resistance against the occupation is illegitimate. The Yesha Council – the regional council for West Bank settlements, which operates also as the settlers’ political and lobbying arm – filed a complaint with the Jerusalem Police against the Haaretz daily newspaper and its reporter in the occupied territories, Amira Hass. Hass this morning published a piece discussing the logic of stone-throwing and persecution in the occupied territories. Quotes: Throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule. Throwing stones…

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  • In Jewish tradition, Dershowitz hunting down 'heretical' Jews

    Harvard Professor Alan Dershowtiz has made a name for himself by hunting down those Jews he believes are beyond the pale of what is admissible in discourse about Israel and trying to 'excommunicate' them. His latest target: MJ Rosenberg of Media Matters. By Jeremiah Haber Theater J, which operates out of the DC Jewish Community Center, is currently producing David Ives’ play,  New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza. This is a reimagining and dramatization of Spinoza’s interrogation for which there are no records. Over four hundred years later, we still don’t know why Spinoza was “excommunicated,” or to be…

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  • Jerusalem Post fires Larry Derfner over blog post

    The Jerusalem Post fired its last prominent progressive columnist over a controversial blog post, without even offering him the possibility to apologise; meanwhile, its ultra-right writers enjoy complete unaccountability. This is a watershed moment for the once-respectable publication. News came in earlier today that the Jerusalem Post fired Larry Derfner, its last remaining prominent progressive columnist, over a post Larry wrote on his private blog, Israel Reconsidered (proper disclosure: I joined him as a co-author on the blog a few months ago). In the post, Larry expressed the not uncommon observation that the root cause of Palestinian political violence was…

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  • Mobocracy at Ben-Gurion Airport

    Journalist Larry Derfner came to Tel Aviv airport to cover the arrival of international activists. Once in the reception hall, a small Israeli mob turned on him. In a matter of seconds, he found himself in a police van by Larry Derfner Anybody who believes the platitude that the people want peace, it’s just the leaders who want war, should have been at Ben-Gurion Airport today. It’s a good thing those Free Palestine activists got arrested; otherwise, the little mob that formed spontaneously would have punched them up pretty good. Only minutes after I got to the Arrivals hall, a…

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  • Marking the field: Non-Zionism

    (Cross-posted with Israel Reconsidered) I begin my series of debates with Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner. Larry defines himself as a member of the Zionist Left; I do not. In this post I attempt to explain why I would also not describe myself as anti-Zionist - and how anti-Zionism alone cannot be expected to overcome the Zionist insistence on uncontested Jewish-Israeli-only hegemony over Israel-Palestine. Larry first proposed we take on some significant and pressing current issue, like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. While such matters need to and will be addressed in our future debates, I thought it would be…

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  • Joining Larry Derfner on "Israel Reconsidered"

    As of this week, I'll be joining Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner on the debating blog "Israel Reconsidered". Larry has opened the blog as a discussion platform between himself and Richard Silverstein, but Richard has recently left the project; he explains his reasons here. When Larry contacted me last week and asked if I knew someone who'd be willing to replace Richard, or perhaps would consider joining myself, I was more than happy to jump on the opportunity. Apart from the thrill of working with Larry - a columnist whom I've been reading with tremendous enjoyment and appreciation for many…

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