Category Archives: American Jewish Community

Resurrecting Passover?

Jews need Passover today like Christians need salvation – to be diverted from the injustice we are enabling. Has Passover become a faux prophetic trope to banish the unstable Jewish prophetic?

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine | 35 Comments

Cornell student government puts the kibosh on divestment debate

The Cornell student government last week voted to table a resolution calling for divestment from companies profiting off the Israeli occupation. Students in favor of divestment reacted in anger at the decision to table the vote.

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

Handling holy hypocrisy at holiday season

If Passover cannot really be celebrated without Palestinians being free – and since Palestinian freedom isn’t on the immediate or even long-range horizon and ironically Passover has become a time for punishing Palestinians for asserting their right to be free – should we suspend our celebration of Passover?

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine | 13 Comments

Passover for Palestine

The Passover experience for Jews has been distorted beyond recognition. While the New York Times debates whether mobile phones should be used to enhance the Passover experience, it ignores the obvious question: How can Jews celebrate Passover when we are oppressing another people? The plaintive cry – “Next year in Jerusalem” – has already occurred. The results are devastating for Palestinians. In the long run, are they less disastrous for Jews?

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine | 17 Comments

New book explores intersection of Islamophobia and support for Israel

Elly Bulkin and Donna Nevel have a new book out that explores the intersection of Islamophobia and Israel—and the ways that the U.S. “war on terror” impacts both.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics, War on Terror | 5 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

‘The Shondes’ singer Louisa Solomon endorsed BDS, so– DC JCC cancels her band’s gig

Brooklyn rock group The Shondes, whose critically-acclaimed 2013 album “The Garden” was praised by mainstream and Jewish press alike, were scheduled to headline the Washington Jewish Music Festival on June 2, but the DC Jewish Community Center (DC JCC) has now reneged on their invitation, citing lead singer Louisa Solomon’s past comments on Israel, specifically her support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement.

Posted in American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 11 Comments

Liberal schizophrenia and moral myopia: On Ari Shavit’s ‘My Promised Land’

Haaretz columnist and author Ari Shavit has gone all in on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” And if you read his new book My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, you’ll understand why. Shavit is a devoted proponent of liberal Zionism, an ideology that pushes a peace agreement to save Israel’s Jewish character in the face of what they call “demographic threats.”

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Media, US Politics | 38 Comments

Loyola student government president vetoes divestment resolution

Two votes in a row calling for divestment were not enough to convince the Loyola student government president to let the measure stand. Pedro Guerrero, the president of the Loyola United Student Government Association, vetoed a resolution calling on the school to divestment from corporations involved with the Israeli occupation. The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at the school said Guerrero had “caved” under pressure.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 38 Comments

BDS’ big night: Loyola student government passes divestment, U. Mich votes it down

Debate on divestment and Israel exploded on college campuses last night. For the second time in two weeks, Loyola University’s student government voted to call on their school to divest from corporations involved in the Israeli occupation. But in the vote that captured the most attention, the University of Michigan’s student government voted down a call for divestment. Still, students in support of the resolution said it was a victory to spark a campus-wide debate on the occupation and Palestine.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged , , , , | 149 Comments

Northeastern University Israel advocates applaud suspension of SJP chapter

Campus Israel advocates at Northeastern University (NEU) are showing full-throated support for the school’s suspension of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) over mock eviction notices. A letter published by Huskies for Israel, a campus pro-Israel group, applauded the school’s decision. Two members of the group have received training from right-wing Israel lobby groups. And Israel lobbyists that have long targeted Northeastern–like the anti-Muslim activist Charles Jacobs–also lauded the suspension of SJP.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 12 Comments

Scarlett Johansson parrots SodaStream CEO in attack on Oxfam

SodaStream starlet Scarlett Johansson parrots company’s CEO in accusing Oxfam of funding the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Media, US Politics | 14 Comments

Journalist David Sheen delivers blistering indictment on Israel’s racist war on African migrants

The Israeli journalist David Sheen has brought the reality of Israel’s war on African migrants to American audiences over the past three weeks. The details he presents are downright devastating, documenting how a state founded to protect refugees has become a state systematically targeting refugees for indefinite imprisonment and deportation. As Sheen notes, at the root of these policies is the driving ethos in Israel of maintaining Jewish supremacy in the face of so-called demographic threats, whether they be Palestinian or African.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Middle East, US Politics | Tagged | 55 Comments

J Street cheerleading for Kerry features Congressman warning Palestinians will demand the vote if two states fails

J Street is going all in for Secretary of State John Kerry’s quest to broker a two-state solution. Last night, the liberal Zionist group held their latest town hall gathering in New York City to amplify calls for a two-state solution. The event featured Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and former Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon, among others. Nadler told the crowd there would be no Palestinian right of return, but that settlers who wanted to stay in a state of Palestine should be able too–a revealing double standard.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 45 Comments

Grindr in Hebron: A dispatch from the last debate

Max Blumenthal recounts a recent event at Boston University where Blumenthal and Sa’ed Atshan debated Richard Landes and Simon Deng.

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 98 Comments

Battle over Maryland’s anti-boycott Israel bill heats up

Maryland legislators heard testimony on Israeli human rights abuses and the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement last week at two separate hearings on a bill that would prohibit spending public funds on academic groups in favor of boycott. Some Israel advocates testified in favor of the bill by calling BDS anti-Semitic. The legislation has split the Israel lobby, though, with some groups arguing the effort will backfire by bringing attention to boycotters. Meanwhile, civil liberties and Palestine solidarity groups continue to mobilize to kill the bill.

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

On American Zionist Education: An excerpt from ‘The Politics of Teaching Palestine to Americans’

An excerpt from Marcy Jane Knopf-Newman’s book The Politics of Teaching Palestine to Americans which shows that Zionism is relatively new to Hebrew school programs. Its explicit inclusion into curricular materials was principally a post-1967 development.

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine, Nakba | 10 Comments

Anti-Defamation League exploits fear of Muslims to undermine anti-gay bill

The Anti-Defamation League’s latest dance with Islamophobia emerged in Arizona in the midst of a debate on a bill enshrining the rights of business owners to deny service to gays and lesbians. The ADL used specter of Muslims using the legislation to discriminate against non-Muslims to help kill the legislation.

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine, US Politics, War on Terror | Tagged | 26 Comments

‘Safe Hillel’ Exposed: Undermining open dialogue in the Jewish community

Boston University has recently become the headquarters for a new reactionary movement called “Safe Hillel,” which seeks to push back against the growing Open Hillel movement. Their stated goal is to “ensure that Hillel remains a safe place for Jews of all backgrounds to practice Judaism and a safe place for those that support Israel.”

Posted in American Jewish Community | 39 Comments

Meet the Jewish students who are taking on the Jewish establishment

Phil Weiss talks with several of the young Jews who are part of the historic Open Hillel movement that is determined to break down the doors on the official Jewish conversation about Israel. The movement has now won over two college chapters with a call to reject redlines that bar the participation of those who seek to “delegitimize” the Jewish state. And there are signs that Hillel International is respectful of the movement, which could become a wave. Above, Henry Rosen, Vassar freshman and member of the Jewish Union.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 60 Comments

A month later, de Blasio’s AIPAC declaration continues to roil New York

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s speech to the Israel lobby group AIPAC has stirred up a hornet’s nest. 700 people organized by Jews Say No! slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s speech in a letter delivered yesterday: AIPAC is a “right-wing organization that strong-arms elected and other government officials to support brutal Israeli government policies” that no progressive should support. And on his MSNBC show Chris Hayes questioned de Blasio’s declaration. While the progressive congregation B’nai Jeshurun is said to have divided over the matter.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 21 Comments

Influential Jewish group pushes New York bill aimed at Israel boycott

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) helped draft the New York legislation aimed at academic organizations that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, the Jewish Daily Forward reported on Friday. While the legislation was withdrawn from the New York Assembly last week, an amended version is back, and the JCRC is strategizing on how to pass it. The JCRC’s involvement in drafting the bill is the latest demonstration of their clout in the state. They are the go-to address for legislators looking to display their pro-Israel bonafides, and have forged close relationships with powerful officials. Above, New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver speaks at a JCRC organized rally in 2009.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 24 Comments

Revealed: Right-wing group StandWithUs’ strategy to combat Israel Apartheid Week

StandWithUs, the right-wing pro-Israel group, is gearing up to combat the annual “Israel Apartheid Week” on college campuses. A document Mondoweiss obtained reveals details of the strategy StandWithUs, which works closely with the Israeli government, plans to employ at university campuses. The document offers grants of $200 to pro-Israel groups and suggests holding events like a “Hummus Not Hamas” party.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, US Politics | Tagged | 150 Comments

Shaking up Zionism: A review of ‘Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study Guide’

A reivew of Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study Guide, published by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 44 Comments

Open Letter from NY Jews to Mayor de Blasio: ‘AIPAC does not speak for us’

The backlash against New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s secret AIPAC speech continues. A politically diverse group of high-profile New York Jews have issued an open letter to the mayor taking him to task for the speech saying, “AIPAC speaks for Israel’s hard-line government and its right-wing supporters, and for them alone; it does not speak for us.”

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, US Politics | 28 Comments