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  • Before Zionism: The shared life of Jews and Palestinians

    Before the advent of Zionism and Arab nationalism, Jews and Palestinians lived in peace in the holy land. Menachem Klein's new book maps out an oft-forgotten history of Israel/Palestine, and offers some guidance on how we may go back to that time. By Noam Rotem Menachem Klein's book, Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron, is a depressing one. Originally released in English, the book — which is being published in Hebrew  — paints a picture of a shared life between Palestinians and Jews at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th…

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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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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, chapter 12: Never be Royals?

    When the going gets tough, the only way to move forward is to think differently. Following the disheartening drive from the South, the Lorde tribute project picks a new direction. Part 12 of 15. To read the rest of the series, click here. Friday was the last day of the rainy spell. The brave editor of this series, Mike Schaeffer Omer-Man, and Emily, his human rights lawyer wife, had us over for a hummus brunch in Jaffa. Beyond their apartment's large French windows were the comely, winter-gray Mediterranean and something even grayer: a concrete ruin, an abandoned high rise that used…

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  • A land without a people?: A visit to Russia's Jewish autonomous region

    A visit to Birobidzhan, where Jewish autonomy hasn't exactly worked out — and yet, the sign for Lenin Street is still written in Yiddish and public monuments commemorate Sholem Aleichem. By Yakov Rabkin Last summer, after three months of teaching in Japan, I decided to return home to Montreal via Birobidzhan, in Russia’s Far East. The Jewish Autonomous Region was getting ready to celebrate its 80th anniversary, and I easily found people to host me. Built by Jewish enthusiasts from a dozen countries including Argentina, Canada, France, the United States and British Palestine, Birobidzhan is conceptually akin to Israel, which also considers Jews as…

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  • Mizrahi culture was suppressed, Ashkenazi culture is simply forgotten

    Since the founding of the State of Israel, the Ashkenazi elite has suppressed the Mizrahi culture Jews from Arab countries brought with them. But almost without us noticing, those who led the Zionist project also erased whatever was left of the Ashkenazi traditions from Eastern Europe. By Edan Ring Family Day was no different from any other holiday. On this day, too, we received an assignment from our daughter's kindergarten teacher. Only this time, we were slightly embarrassed. As part of the Family Day (formerly known as the Israeli version of Mother's Day) celebrations, the kindergarten hosted a big meal,…

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  • Remember the Jewish Labor Bund?

    The Bund was a Jewish socialist, revolutionary party in Eastern Europe dedicated to class struggle. It is all but forgotten in modern day Israel, but a few members are still around to tell the story.  By Alon Aviram A piano played and a middle-aged woman stood in the middle of the room singing classical Yiddish songs to an attentive, seated audience of 30 or so old men and women. Every so often the music was interrupted by a hoarse laugh or some remark blurted out in Yiddish by a member of the audience. Heavy red velvet curtains blocked out the…

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