Category Archives:
American Jewish Community

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

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

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

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,