Category Archives:
American Jewish Community

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

J Street can’t tie Israel’s latest ‘illegal land grab’ to cutting US aid

Philip Weiss on
J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami speaking at the group's conference in 2012. (Photo: J Street)

Jeremy Ben-Ami of the liberal Zionist group J Street says that the latest Israeli settlement “landgrab” should be the “straw that broke the camel’s back in Washington.” Like maybe the U.S. should stop giving money to the settler state? Nope. The US should undertake a “thorough review” of its policy on Israeli settlements

‘The Hill’ is to the left of the ‘New York Review of Books’

Philip Weiss on
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When was the last time The New York Review of Books ran a piece by a Palestinian? Lots of Israeli writers, including lately Assaf Sharon, who ignores the BDS movement and advocates for democracy in Israel and Palestine, when saying the Israel’s choice is between the extreme right and the two-state solution. An inherently conservative piece. The Hill actually tries to publish Palestinian opinion

Gaza ‘fractured’ Rabbi Rosen’s spiritual home

Marc H. Ellis on
Rabbi Brant Rosen

Is the professional rabbinate’s role to reconcile Jews to violence in Israel and the U.S. Marc Ellis reflects on the post-mortems in the Jewish press describing the split in Brant Rosen’s Chicago-area Reconstructionist synagogue between left and right on Israel that broke out over the Gaza slaughter

Joan Rivers’s Palestinian finale

Philip Weiss on
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Joan Rivers is being remembered for crossing lines others respected. Sadly, her finale during the Gaza massacre of this summer were rants against Palestinians that political people are not likely to forget.

Brant Rosen’s prophetic voice elevated him beyond the rabbinic politics of our day

Marc H. Ellis on
Rabbi Brant Rosen

Marc Ellis writes: “Reading Rabbi Rosen’s letter of resignation and the Tribune article I can’t help but think of the Biblical saga. Out of the blue the prophets arise, are shot down, then reappear. It hasn’t changed much in thousands of years. The prophetic is too deeply ingrained in Jewish life to pass quietly into our newly embraced colonial night. Apparently, synagogues are not for prophets. Those who practice the prophetic and attend synagogue, should take note. Your expulsion is inevitable.”

Rabbi Brant Rosen steps down from Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue saying his activism on Israel/Palestine has been ‘lightning rod for division’

Marc H. Ellis on
Rabbi Brant Rosen

The Jewish Reconstruction Synagogue in Evanston, Illinois is looking for a new rabbi. Rabbi Brant Rosen is moving on. In a letter to the congregation Rosen wrote: “it has become clear that my [Israel/Palestine] activism has become a lightning rod for division at JRC. This crisis has taken an increasingly emotional toll on our community – and it has taken a considerable toll on my own well being as well. Given the current environment in our congregation, I believe my decision to resign is the healthiest one for all concerned.”

Alvin Rosenfeld’s Holocaust complaint

Marc H. Ellis on
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Alvin Rosenfeld accuses anti-Zionist Jews of being “Jew-haters.” Isn’t he showing some ageism when he seeks to discredit Hedy Epstein by citing her age, 90, as alleged evidence against her rationality? Marc Ellis at Mondo

Richard Cohen says he married Israel and has been faithful during ups and downs

Philip Weiss on
Richard Cohen

Longtime Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen has a book coming out in two weeks called Israel: Is It Good for the Jews? a question that Cohen answers in the affirmative. From his publisher, Simon and Schuster: A very personal journey through Jewish history (and Cohen’s own), and a passionate defense of Israel’s legitimacy.Richard Cohen’s book is

Elizabeth Warren says killing Palestinian civilians is ‘the last thing Israel wants’

Philip Weiss on
Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Ten days ago Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders yelled at constituents to “shut up” and threatened to call the police when they got angry at him over his stance in support of Israeli massacres. Well, at least Sanders abstained on the vote to give Israel another $225 million during the Gaza onslaught. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren supported that funding, and when she also got it from constituents last week she just mouthed Israel’s talking points in response.

Yale Protestant chaplain says Americans must curb Israel so as to curb anti-Semitism

Philip Weiss on
Bruce Shipman, Chaplain - Episcopal Church at Yale

Everyone is talking about this. Last week the New York Times ran an op-ed by Deborah Lipstadt saying that anti-Semitism is returning to Europe in ways reminiscent of the Nazi era, in which Lipstadt blurred the line between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, citing protests of Israel’s slaughter in Gaza. Well, the Times has now run a

‘New Yorker’ limits its expose of Israel lobby to AIPAC

Philip Weiss on
New Yorker writer Connie Bruck and her husband former Congressman Mel Levine. (Photo: Amanda Edwards/ Getty Images)

Connie Bruck has a big piece on AIPAC in the New Yorker that includes some good Capitol Hill reporting on AIPAC’s corrupting influence over the Congress. Friends are passing the piece along to me as an expose, and several are thrilled by it. The article is titled, “Are American Jews Turning Against AIPAC?” and suggests that AIPAC

Leading Jewish organization celebrates Israeli settlement products

Philip Weiss on
B'nai B'rith

Adam sent me this photo today from a doctor’s waiting room. The article is all about wine from the Judean Hills around Jerusalem. At least one of the vineyards is in the West Bank, in the illegal settlement of Psagot (and others vaguely alluded to are in the Golan); but the article doesn’t refer to

Gaza goyim jailbreak

Philip Weiss on
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Last weekend I joined my wife’s extended family on a mountain lake; and every time Gaza came up, my ears pricked up. For instance, someone grabbed The New York Times business section with Bloomberg’s picture on the front and said “What’s Bloomberg up to?” and someone else said snarkily, “Going to Israel.” The article was

Salaita’s hire set off fundraising alarm at U of Illinois, per emails to chancellor

Philip Weiss on
Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise (Photo: L. Brian Stauffer)

Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jascik today reports a disturbing development in the Steven Salaita firing case at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Phyllis Wise, the university’s chancellor, was lobbied by 70 pro-Israel folks, including donors, who were upset by Salaita’s comments on twitter about Gaza. The school’s fundraisers were alarmed and sought a meeting with

‘NO DISCUSSION of Gaza’ — new Zionist etiquette

Philip Weiss on
Susan Talve, one of the rabbis who invited congregants to the Muslim-Jewish gathering without political conversation

It’s been observed that people are avoiding the Gaza conversation because they are afraid that the dinner party will explode. I’ve seen it in my friends, walking on eggshells for fear that an Israel supporter will get upset. “[M]any of my Jewish friends cannot debate this… without extreme emotional investment in it, and that’s a very hard