Author Archives: Donna Nevel

The heart of the problem with Israel: The mass expulsion of the Palestinian people

Central to the achievement of the “Zionist dream” is the notion that Jewish lives matter more than Arab lives. And isn’t that what we are seeing today? If Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian lives, doesn’t the brutal violence we see so casually inflicted on the people of Gaza by the Israeli government follow from that history?

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 27 Comments

Why the ‘Forward’s’ support for SodaStream is antithetical to progressive values

The Jewish Daily Forward’s coverage of the Scarlett Johansson-SodaStream affair betrayed Jewish and progressive values, write activists Donna Nevel and Rebecca Vilkomerson. It was deeply dissapointing hat the Forward’s coverage of this issue was inaccurate, sloppy, and unprincipled.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel/Palestine, Media, US Politics | 9 Comments

Attacks on BDS sharpen as it gains traction in the Jewish community

Liberal Zionists have likened BDS to the Ku Klux Klan and said it has no place in the Jewish community. But it has a toehold there, and boycott is gaining support even from liberal Zionists

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 51 Comments

Making visible the Nakba: a US education project

In the U.S. and the American Jewish community, the story of the Nakba is often disregarded, focusing, instead, on the creation of Israel as a safe haven for Jews, without acknowledging the dispossession of the Palestinian people that began with the founding of the state. — Donna Nevel on the Nakba Education Project

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 6 Comments

The Jewish establishment refused to embrace Mandela in 1990

In the aftermath of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, he was greeted by throngs of New Yorkers. But not by the Jewish establishment. Why? Because the leader who sat in jail for 27 years for fighting apartheid was not an acceptable Zionist.

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 3 Comments

Israeli right wants to muzzle discussion of the Nakba and Palestinian history

The Israeli right continues to try to halt discussion of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Most recently, Al Jazeera reports that right wing groups have tried to censor schoolbooks and silence organizations that make visible to the Israeli public the Nakba.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine, Nakba, US Politics | 5 Comments

How pro-Israel forces drove two virulent anti-Muslim campaigns

In smear campaigns waged in the last decade, right-wing Islamophobes used Israel as a cudgel to attack the legitimacy of a Boston mosque and Brooklyn school. Those campaigns illustrate how, when Israel enters the equation, many Jewish groups, public figures, and institutions (including those that claim to oppose Islamophobia) take positions based on their implacable commitment to Israeli policies.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics, War on Terror | Tagged | 7 Comments

Objectifying Palestinians in Beinart’s ‘American Jewish Cocoon’ essay

Peter Beinart’s recent New York Review of Books piece, “The American Jewish Cocoon,” makes an important point about the Jewish community’s lack of understanding of Palestinians. However, while it initially reads as a progressive call for deeper understanding, at its core it continues to reflect many of the damaging assumptions of the mainstream Jewish community that he claims to assail.

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine, Media, US Politics | 8 Comments

A Jewish New Year call for justice for the Muslim community


In a statement timed for the Jewish New Year, the Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition re-commits itself to being an ally and partner with the Muslim community and all communities challenging Islamophobia, racism, and injustice.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, US Politics, War on Terror | 7 Comments

What’s in a tweet? Islamophobe Emerson brings frivolous lawsuit over a joke

Steven Emerson, an anti-Muslim ideologue, is currently suing Cyrus McGoldrick, an American Muslim community organizer and human rights activist, over a sarcastic tweet that McGoldrick sent to two friends. No “reasonable person,” McGoldrick’s lawyers maintain, “could have understood that joke as stating an actual fact about Emerson,” which is fundamental to a “viable libel claim.” Even a loyal supporter of Emerson has publicly acknowledged that the tweet was a joke. Emerson is part of a network of Islamophobes that is well-funded, connected to right-wing Israeli politics, and an integral part of the U.S. “war on terror.”

Posted in Israel/Palestine, War on Terror | 11 Comments

In ’90, the Jewish establishment refused to embrace Mandela– and failed to represent the community

The Jewish establishment refused to embrace Nelson Mandela on his visit to NY 23 years ago because he had not come out in favor of Israel. This led progressive Jews, who felt unrepresented by the establishment, to form Jews for Racial and Economic Justice

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 7 Comments

A tale of two rabbis

One NY rabbi could hear the questions, but another barred them from his synagogue: Is Israel—or can it be—a democracy? Is there—or can there be—equality in Israel? Can a Jewish state be democratic?

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 7 Comments

ADL’s pro-Israel mindset leads it to perpetuate anti-Muslim worldview

The Anti-Defamation League, which is supposedly committed to civil liberties for minorities, has failed to criticize the NY Police Department for its surveillance of Muslims

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 11 Comments

BDS is a necessary, ethical response to a brutal occupation worsened by 20 years of Oslo

Open up genuine discussions in the Jewish communities about the occupation, the wall, and the right of return. Stop the tactics of calling one’s opponents anti-Semitic or claiming that they advocate the “elimination of Israel”

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 13 Comments

Anti-Muslim bigotry is being funded by the Israel-right-or-wrong crowd

Mainstream media accounts of Islamophobic speech fail to make the connection the bigotry and the support it is getting inside the hard right Zionist camp

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 11 Comments

How the Jewish establishment’s litmus test on Israel fuels anti-Muslim bigotry

The separation of the world into “good Muslims” and “bad Muslims” is integral to U.S. foreign policy, which encompasses the “special” relationship between the U.S. and Israel and the “war on terror.” Within the mainstream Jewish community, the litmus test separating “good” and “bad” Muslims relates most often to Israel.

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 17 Comments

JFREJ has taken strong stand against the occupation

After Phil Weiss wrote about Occupy Wall Street and faulted Jews for Economic and Racial Justice (JFREJ) for not focusing on the Palestinian issue, Donna Nevel sent him the following note. She gave us permission to publish it. I was … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 21 Comments

Why it is important for Jews to discuss the cultural boycott of Israel

A Jewish journalist recently asked me whether having a panel of Jews about the cultural boycott of Israel (see flyer below) privileges Jewish voices over those of Palestinians. This is a serious question deserving of serious consideration. Of course we … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 15 Comments

We may have lost the Almontaser battle, but we built a respectful coalition across ethnic/religious lines to counter racism

Monthly Review has published two pieces on the Khalil Gibran International Academy affair in New York. One is by the school’s former principal, Debbie Almontaser, and there is a companion piece by Donna Nevel. Go to Monthly Review to read … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 1 Comment

Then the Greek policeman told the Palestinian refugee to go home

Donna Nevel was part of the media team for the US boat to Gaza. At Monthly Review she tells the story of meeting two passengers on the boat, Missy Lane, 32, and Max Suchan, 22, during the Greek uprisings early … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 1 Comment

At your seder, salute a Jewish truth-teller

Dear Friends and Family, I wanted to offer the following possible addition (or some variation thereof) to your Passover seder if you are having one. Warmly, Donna During this Passover Seder, we lift our glasses to a Jewish hero of … Continue reading

Posted in Gaza, US Politics | 32 Comments