Category Archives:
American Jewish Community

Support for Israel in the U.S. Jewish community continues to erode

Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark and Donna Nevel on
Part of the Jewish Voice for Peace delegation at the 221st Presbyterian General Assembly in Detroit who worked in solidarity with Presbyterian groups on divestment from companies profiting off the Israeli occupation.

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.”

US Jewish voters have more favorable feelings about Netanyahu than Obama

Philip Weiss on
Obama in 2012

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 offers a reminder that the ‘ongoing Nakba’ implicates many of us in Israel’s history

Liz Rose on
Ilan Pappe

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.”

J Street’s progressive illusion

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

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.

UCLA Hillel partners with PR firm to fight BDS movement

Alex Kane on
Hillel logo

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.

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
birthrightlogo

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

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
slTdnV_C

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