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UC Berkeley

  • How a Jewish Agency fellow becomes a one-state activist

    When Gila Hashkes arrived at UC Berkeley as a Jewish Agency Israel Fellow, she felt like she was jumping into the heart of pro-Palestinian activism. Her job was to organize Jewish students on campus, strengthen their connection to Israel and give them tools to justify its policies. But after a year-long journey of digging deeper into the conflict, being pushed by both her Jewish and Palestinian peers and glimpsing the ‘mentality of fear’ that grips the American Jewish community, she had an awakening of sorts, moved back to Jerusalem and now works for equal rights for all. Tom Pessah sits…

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  • A house divided: Campus divestment reveals cracks within the American Jewish establishment

    How can a community which so highly regards deliberation and dissent demand such unwavering unity on what is, perhaps, American Jewry’s most controversial issue? By Roi Bachmutsky Uproar recently broke out regarding world-renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking’s recent decision to cancel his headline appearance at the fifth annual Facing Tomorrow Presidential Conference hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres. Gil Troy penned an opinion piece in response, in which he argued that by boycotting the conference, “[Hawking] suggested that the dynamics of the conflict are mutually exclusive… to prove he is pro-Palestinian he had to act anti-Israeli.” My Facebook newsfeed is often filled…

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  • Is an attack on Israel an attack on individual Jewish identity?

    A report by a University of California advisory council threatens to limit free speech on its campuses by determining that dissent of Israel can amount to an attack on one's personal identification with the state.  By Tom Pessah In February of this year three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were jailed after they performed a song in a Moscow cathedral, calling on the Virgin Mary to “throw Putin out.” The performance was condemned by the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, who felt he was “under attack by persecutors” and called the song “blasphemy.” Charged with “hooliganism…

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