Category Archives:
US Politics

Israel and Palestine is not about Jews vs. Palestinians

Samantha Brotman on
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Samantha Brotman shares her remarks from an event called “Zionism & The New McCarthyism: A Conversation with Bruce Robbins” that took place in Champaign-Urbana. It was a canceled University of Illinois event that was rescheduled as an independent event, without university support. Bruce Robbins’s short documentary, Some of My Best Friends are Zionists, interviews influential Jews such as Judith Butler and Tony Kushner who discuss the repression of anti-Zionist viewpoints. His talk addressed the rise of a “new McCarthyism” on college campuses which threatens to shut down criticism of Israel in the guise of “civility.” Brotman was a respondent along with Jodi Byrd (Professor in American Indian Studies) and Bruce Levine (Professor of History).

An open letter to Birthright participants past, present, and future

Hannah Friedstein on
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Hannah Friedstein writes a primer on Birthright to demystify its themes and its objectives based on her experience in the program. Her goal is that Birthright participants gain a new and critical perspective on the program which she believes is anything but neutra

Allegations of anti-Semitism used to cover up anti-Palestinian hate crime in Brooklyn

Ben Norton on
Lawyer Lamis Deek, flanked by Nerdeen Kiswani to her right, says that Kiswani was the victim of a hate crime at the Barclays Center. (Photo: ELI ROSENBERG/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

On the evening of October 7, after a basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Israeli team Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Palestinian-American Nerdeen Kiswani was attacked by a group of Maccabi Electra fans. The 20-year-old Hunter College student was punched in the stomach, and a Palestinian flag was torn from her hands. Among her attackers was Leonard Petlakh, a professor of Jewish history at her own school. After he and his accomplices assaulted the young Palestinian woman, Petlakh later told police that he himself was allegedly assaulted in a hate crime. He falsely accused 25-year-old journalist and Palestinian solidarity organizer Shawn Carrié of punching him for being Jewish.

A Yom Kippur epiphany

Liz Rose on
Rabbi Brant Rosen

Growing up an ardent Zionist, Liz Rose says Judaism “became synonymous with Jewish nationalism.” Now she’s struggled to separate the religion and the ideology. At Yom Kippur she had a breakthrough, remembering Palestin

The ice floe

Philip Weiss on
Gal (l) is out of uniform for her meeting at the wall with Rezan, from My So-Called Enemy

A liberal NY Jewish community sees a film on a dialogue project between Israelis and Palestinians and thinks that’s the answer to the conflict. Hapless in the Hudson Valley

NYT takes on Europe’s recognition of a Palestinian state

Allison Deger on
(Screenshot: NYTimes.com)

The question of Palestine, or rather the question of Palestinian statehood is plaguing the Israeli government and now the pages of the New York Times. In a round table of op-eds Nadia Hijab, Avital Leibovich, Efraim Halevy, Nathan Thrall, Caroline B. Glick, Richard Ottaway, and Omar Barghouti, weigh in on the domino effect of declarations of sovereignty over the occupied territories from the past mont

The Center for Jewish Life is stifling free speech at Princeton University

Max Weiss on
The Center for Jewish Life at Princeton University.

Professor Max Weiss says a member of the Jewish Agency vetoed his invitation to speak on a panel about Gaza at Princeton University. He writes, “Apparently this preemptive act of exclusion was carried out on entirely political grounds. This strikes me as an attempt to stifle the exchange of views on an important, if contentious, issue of concern to many in the Princeton University community — an egregious violation of our community’s values.”

From Schindler to Gaza– two evenings at the Lensic theater

Tanya Taylor Rubinstein on
Liam Neeson in Schindler's List

Oskar Schindler’s redemptive life is a legacy, an invitation to all of us to move past our self centered concerns and figure out how we can contribute to the saving of innocent lives. Today it tells us to throw our energy into supporting the people of Palestin

How ‘Open Hillel’ created a new community by challenging the Jewish establishment

Alex Kane on
(Photo: Gili Getz/ Open Hillel Facebook)

Hundreds of young Jews from around the country converged on Harvard over the weekend for the Open Hillel conference. The event succeeded in creating a space where open dissent on Israel is welcomed and where conversation and debate is the norm. At the heart of the Open Hillel network is a conviction that Hillel should be a place that welcomes all Jews–not just those who follow the establishment line on Israel.

Deconstructing John Kerry’s address to the Gaza Donors Conference

Marc H. Ellis on
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during the Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo, Egypt, Oct. 12, 2014. (Photo: AP)

John Kerry’s address to the Gaza Donors Conference in Cairo on Sunday was remarkably vacant, if not disingenuous. Reading through Kerry’s address paragraph by paragraph is an exercise in futility. Yet the political ramifications are extreme. Everyone knows that after the Gaza war a profound reckoning is needed. Yet John Kerry – and the Gaza Donors Conference – isn’t even clos

Put a spike in the wheel of injustice

Marc H. Ellis on
St. Andrews Church, Jerusalem

Is it time to pay up for what has become all too easy verbiage as the people of Gaza were slaughtered? Marc Ellis reflects on the prophetic message of minister Loren McGrail, who quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer on opposing fascism

Following shocking sermon, Atlanta JVP calls on area rabbis to challenge racism in Jewish community

Jewish Voice for Peace - Atlanta on
Rabbi Shalom Lewis of Congregation Etz Chaim in Marietta, Ga on Aug. 12, 2009. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Read a letter the Atlanta chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace sent to Atlanta area Rabbis, the Atlanta Jewish Federation, and the board of trustees of Congregation Etz Chaim calling on them to repudiate Rabbi Lewis’s shocking Rosh Hashanah sermon and to take a stand against anti-Muslim and anti-Arab racism in their synagogues and organizations.