McCarthyism is alive and the battle is on inside the Jewish community: The Washington DC Jewish Community Center has come down squarely against free speech, firing longtime theater director Ari Roth because he staged works that focused on the Nakba, the dispossession of Palestinians during Israel’s creation in 1948. The Jewish community is going to have to decide — Are you for free speech or donor-controlled speech?
Category Archives: American Jewish Community
Hold Jewish institutions accountable, Jewish Voice for Peace declares in a moving Hanukkah message that shows Jews how to celebrate tradition in the wake of the Gaza slaughter.
Obama hired Clinton as sec’y of state in 2009 because he “needed someone to lend him credibility with the Israeli government and its American defenders,’ and reached out to Malcolm Hoenlein to make the hire, NYT reveals, openly acknowledging power of Israel lobby in presidential politics
Steven Salaita’s rude tweets served to change American society on the Gaza onslaught, which should have provoked moral outrage but did not, says UMass philosophy prof Joseph Levine
In recent days, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has offered herself as the great progressive hope of the Democratic Party but remains silence on the Israeli occupation. Well, here’s some encouragement to Warren to move left on the question. Shibley Telhami reports Democratic Party politicians are out of touch with their grass roots on Israel/Palestine. Women, African-Americans, Hispanics and young Dems all want the U.S. to show less favoritism to Israel than it does now.
“Israel exceptionalism” and the “vengeance of the Jewish establishment” stops liberal Jews who protest police killings in the U.S. from saying a word against the occupation in Palestine, Shaul Magid writes at Tikkun
A group of 20 Zionist scholars has come out for “personal sanctions” against four right-wing Israeli figures, including finance minister Naftali Bennett, in order to end the Israeli occupation and forestall the BDS movement
Israeli ambassador to Europe: “The Jewish people.. will never ever forget that you failed us in the 1940s… And you are failing us again today.” Rep. Steve Israel calls this “honest.”
Omar Barghouti and Shlomo Sand both argue that Israel’s discrimination against its Palestinian citizens is toxic and offensive — long before it even considered the latest legislation, to declare the country the nation state of the Jewish people.
Peter Beinart says the left ignores nationalism in supporting a one state solution. Rebecca Vilkomerson says it is one state, and we have to imagine a future of coexistence and equal rights. A highlight of the Open Hillel conference in October.
Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark and Donna Nevel write: “As the discourse changes and unquestioning Jewish support for Israel continues to erode – both for its policies and for its status as an ethnocratic state– there’s reason for optimism. But the ongoing work of Jewish groups standing with, and participating in the growing call for BDS and other efforts to achieve justice, equality, and human rights for the Palestinian people, as well as for a US foreign policy committed to these principles, remains more important and more challenging than ever.”
J Street published a poll of 800 Jewish voters on November 4 that is scary. When asked to “rate your feelings,” warm versus cold, they favor Benjamin Netanyahu by 53-24 percent but fewer warm up to Obama– 48-44. Notice the unfavorables for Obama are nearly twice Netanyahu’s. Hillary Clinton they favor, 61-31. And only Sheldon Adelson is […]
Ilan Pappe’s October 25 lecture in Chicago, “The Ongoing Nakba,” promoting his new book, The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge, emphasized two things that stood out to me in particular: Israel’s importing of European pine trees and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Though these issues are not new to the discourse on Palestine, Pappe reminds his audience that the land is as alive as the indigenous people who inhabited it. The mind, body, and spirit of both land and people are still victims to Israel’s current goal of de-Arabizing Palestine, “which has gotten worse for the Palestinians every year since 1882.”
Are there any in more active complicity in the destruction of Palestine than Palestine’s well-wishers? J Street’s October 28 statement is the latest example of a “pro-peace” organization that is doing nothing to advance an end to the conflict in Israel/Palestine.
A California Hillel chapter has partnered with a D.C.-linked public relations firm to fight the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, according to leaked emails obtained by Mondoweiss. The PR firm 30 Point Strategies has discussed how to combat BDS at the University of California, Los Angeles campus with Hillel staffers there. 30 Point staffers have advised UCLA’s Hillel to stay largely silent in the event of a student government resolution that recommends divestment from Israeli military-linked corporations. The revelation that a Hillel chapter has turned to a professional public relations firm shows that UCLA Hillel is stepping up its work to fight BDS on campus.
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).
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 neutral.
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 Palestine
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
“Another Jew!” Speakers at a Klinghoffer rally single out Peter Gelb, James Levine, and Alice Goodman and other Jews as Jews who are supporting anti-Semitism.
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.
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.