Category Archives:
American Jewish Community

Israel’s Dead Soul: Steven Salaita’s critical scholarship explains his dismissal from the University of Illinois

David Green on
Steven Salaita speaking at the University of Illinois, September 9, 2014. (Photo: Facebook)

Steven Salaita’s book “Israel’s Dead Soul” (2011) merits serious attention and ultimately effusive praise. It contains five critical essays that not only offer brilliant insight into the cultural and ideological practices of Zionism in both Israel and the United States, but implicitly explain why his conscientious efforts would be denigrated and rejected by the ostensibly liberal aspects of this culture at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

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.

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.

David Brooks’s son joining Israel army is an ‘extreme case’ — NYT public editor

Philip Weiss on
David Brooks, courtesy of Josh Haner, NYT

Margaret Sullivan, the public editor of the NYT, says that the NYT should disclose the fact that neoconservative columnist David Brooks’s son joined the Israeli army because he’s involved “in a serious international conflict.” Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor, says the Times doesn’t need to disclose the fact.

Food writer Melissa Clark on being Jewish

Philip Weiss on
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Melissa Clark is a foodwriting star. She’s at the New York Times and has authored many cookbooks. She was on Leonard Lopate’s show on WNYC the other day to talk about her favorite cookbooks, described herself as an American who loves many world cuisines, Indian, French, Mexican, regional American cooking. She was asked about Irma Rombauer’s classic, Joy

Stop the Yom Kippur prayers if they don’t make sense in the Gaza rubble

Marc H. Ellis on
Abdul Rahman describes destruction in Beit Hanoun, photo by Max Blumenthal

Devastation as far as the eye can see is our Yom Kippur geography. If a closing prayer is a must, chant the Amidah. The Shema. Anything that comes to mind. With a caveat. Stop the prayers if they don’t make sense in the Gaza rubble. If a prayer doesn’t make sense when the names of the murdered are read, call up another prayer. This goes for any comments that are made as well. If they make sense in the presence of the Gazan dead. Otherwise be silent

Read the genocidal sermon a notable Atlanta rabbi gave this Rosh Hashanah

Adam Horowitz on
Rabbi Shalom Lewis of Congregation Etz Chaim in Marietta, Ga on Aug. 12, 2009. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Last Thursday Rabbi Shalom Lewis of Congregation Etz Chaim outside Atlanta gave what can only be understood as a call to genocide in his Rosh Hashanah sermon to welcome in the Jewish new year. The sermon calls for a war on Islam and Muslims worldwide. Lewis says a “holy crusade” against Islam is needed to”exterminate it utterly and absolutely.” Lewis is no fringe figure. He has served this popular suburban congregation for nearly 40 years and was given a commendation by the US Congress

Can Schumer evolve? Finally, some pressure

Philip Weiss on
Schumer, official portrait

Did Chuck Schumer just say, ‘My opinions on Palestine are evolving’? That is the aim of a new campaign aimed at the senator’s assertion that he is Israel’s guardian in the U.S. It’s time to talk about Israeli human rights violations. Demo on Monday at his NY offic

Liberal Zionist group Zonszein once worked for paints her as a ‘radical’ because she likes democracy

Philip Weiss on
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Two days ago I noted the intense backlash from Israeli leaders toward Mairav Zonszein’s op-ed in the New York Times, “How Israel Silences Dissent.” In that piece, Zonszein said she would rather be out of the Jewish Israeli family than be part of the “exclusivist ethno-religious nationalism” that increasingly dominates that society. The piece continues to

Burke and Lincoln would have hated the special relationship

Philip Weiss on
David Brooks

Glenn Greenwald’s latest revelation, that three former Treasury officials are involved in a neoconservative Zionist lobbying outfit, combined with David Brooks’s apparent belief that he’s an Israeli parent, shows how commingled the Israel interest is in our political culture, the type of sinister influence Lincoln and Burke both warned their democracies against

Schumer is obnoxious

Philip Weiss on
Schumer

From the New York Times August 19th, just brought to my attention, an article on declining bipartisanship even inside the Senate dining room. Reported by Ashley Parker. Nice work Ashley, getting the word bellow in there. This was about the time Israel was slaughtering civilians in Gaza: One morning last month [July], Senator Mitch McConnell,

US elites are vulnerable to donor pressure on Israel question

Philip Weiss on
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From Steven Salaita’s firing at the University of Illinois, to Bruce Shipman’s being forced out at Yale, to Michelle Nunn’s positioning in the Georgia Senate race, to rabbis refusing to criticize Israel, pro-Israel donors play a significant role in the U.S. discourse on Israel/Palestine. Here are several stories that underline the importance of pro-Israel money and show that elites are particularly vulnerable to donor pressure. These same elites are crucial to the lobby because Israel has lost the grass-roots. In fact, there is now a battle raging inside elite opinion

No Surprise Dep’t: David Brooks’s son is in Israeli army

Philip Weiss on
David Brooks

From the Jewish Journal two days ago. “David Brooks’ son is in the Israeli army. Does it matter?” One of the more interesting nuggets buried in a long, Hebrew-language interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks in the recent Ha’aretz magazine is the revelation, toward the very end, that Brooks’s oldest son serves in

Goldberg tries to police view that Israel’s actions fuel anti-Semitism

Philip Weiss on
2012_Russia_KenRoth

Two weeks after a Yale chaplain lost his job for saying that Gaza has fostered anti-Semitism in Europe, Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch refers to “anti-Semitism that flared in Europe in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza war,” and is slapped by Jeffrey Goldberg for doing so. But Israel itself has promoted the confusion of Zionism with Judaism.

Naive? At a Jewish spiritual retreat center, I insist on talking about Gaza

Lynne Lopez-Salzedo on
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“It sounds to me like you’d prefer Palestinians not to exist,” I said between sessions at the Jewish retreat center. “I wouldn’t go as far as genocide,” he said. “Almost, but not quite.” And he smiled.The ideological merger between Judaism and Zionism has given rise to an American form of idolatry that one rejects at one’s own peril. A vicious hasbara indoctrination had overtaken these people’s minds and shuttered their ability to think

Rabbi in Ohio U. controversy leads group that denies there’s an occupation

Philip Weiss on
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Rabbi Danielle Leshaw has called on Ohio U. student leader Megan Marzec to resign because her action for Palestine allegedly made Jewish students feel “unsafe.” But Leshaw is administrator of a pro-Israel group that in its logo denies the existence of Palestine or an occupation.

On the use of provocative analogies (Nazism, fascism)

Jerome Slater on
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Soon after Israel’s sweeping victory in the 1967 war with Egypt and Syria, it became clear that rather than returning the territory it conquered, Israel intended to occupy the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and much of the Golan Heights. Foreseeing where occupation might lead, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, one of Israel’s most prominent and acclaimed public