I announce landmarks every 100 yards, but the news from the Jewish Federations' General Assembly in New Orleans, captured on the amazing video above, is a big one. Several young Jews calling themselves proud Jews took Palestinian solidarity into the Jewish family with an explosive disruption of rightwinger Netanyahu's speech. These Jews were brave and surely inspired by the countless brave Palestinians who have taken far greater risks in the occupied territories. But they said, this is our place to voice our anger, an official Jewish space. We are part of the Jewish community. And the official community responded with rage and violence and incoherence.
These young people are liberators. The Jewish family will never be the same; the fight has begun inside the family and begun openly at last. Now Netanyahu, whose coalition included fascistic elements, has finally been called out to his face inside the Israel lobby, by angry young Jews, as their parents' generation swallowed his ethnic cleansing and landgrabbing.
Last year at J Street, the Palestinian solidarity types were quiet. Rabbi Eric Yoffie attacked noble Richard Goldstone in a keynote speech and some people booed but they swallowed it. The panels were all Zionist. Jonathan Chait attacked this website twice during a panel with Matt Yglesias, and I said nothing about it. Passive. I thought, what is my place here, am I a real Jew?
Two years ago I went to an all-night Nakba seder on Market Street in Philadelphia and at 1 in the morning a lot of young Jews did a workshop on their relationships to their families, how out they are with their parents. There was a lot of soulsearching, including by yours truly, but it wasn't like we were doing it at our families' seders, no we were gathering among ourselves. For years I was afraid of my mother's best friend, who made aliyah to Israel 40 years ago. I never came out to her. She's a Holocaust survivor, I was afraid to declare. She had power over me. I said to myself, If I were on some panel and she walked in the back of the room, I'd go silent. Well this summer I wrote her a letter and then had a conversation with her. Not a very good conversation, but now she knows. She yelled at me, but now she knows.
This is happening all over. There are non-Zionists inside the tent-- the JCC is Manhattan is hosting Gideon Levy next week as part of its "Other Israel" festival, and Tablet says that "many" Jews are for a binational state. These Jews are going to make a revolution in Jewish attitudes; and first they must take on their elders.