Category Archives:
American Jewish Community

Sabeel BDS conference pits local church against Jewish community leaders

Mark Braverman on
"A conference for a just peace." A photo posted by the Peace United Church of Christ, Santa Cruz on Facebook.

On April 29-30 Friends of Sabeel North America organized a highly successful conference in Santa Cruz CA, titled “Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions at the Crossroads of Campus, Church & Community.” Local rabbis and other leaders in the Jewish community, including the director of Santa Cruz Hillel, tried hard to shut it down, focusing on the Peace United Church of Christ that hosted the conference. The juggernaut of pressure, exerted not only on the conference organizers and local Christian clergy, but directly on the lay leaders of the UCC church to prevail on their pastor to block the conference as flagrantly anti-Semitic, included letters and opinion pieces in the local newspaper, The Sentinel. The conference went on, filling the large church with close to 400 attendees.

Don’t say the Z-word

Jonathan Ofir on
Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

The scandal over anti-Zionism in the Labour Party in Britain is an effort by atavistic Zionists to cast Zionism as Judaism and therefore all critiques of Zionism as anti-Jewish. We must fight this ideological sleight-of-hand.

‘NYT’ touts an Israel apologist’s book

Barbara Erickson on
Matti Friedman

Why is the New York Times touting Matti Friedman, who has said critics of Israel are anti-Semitic, as “temperate and careful” while ignoring authors such as Max Blumenthal, Ilan Pappe, and Anna Baltzer?

How Chris Van Hollen learned to love Israel

Philip Weiss on
Chris Van Hollen, declaring victory Tuesday

MD Rep. Chris Van Hollen got into office opposing the Iraq war and in 2006 said Israel’s disproportionate response in Lebanon was hurting the United States. Then AIPAC got him over its knee! And today Van Hollen is the Democratic Senate nominee for Maryland, with the Israel lobby’s support.

Donna Edwards’s campaign unsettles the Israel lobby inside the Democratic Party

Philip Weiss on
Donna Edwards

Liberals are snickering over the explosion of the Republican Party, but why they think the Democratic Party is so stable? It’s not. Everyone in the establishment is worrying what Bernie Sanders is going to do now. His populist base is bound to become more and more voluble in months to come, amplified by social media. And of course Palestine is helping to destabilize the Democratic power structure. These tensions are evident in the electrifying, seesaw race between two Democratic Maryland congresspeople, Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards, to win the Democratic nomination this Tuesday to the Senate to replace Barbara Mikulski.

The legacy of the Lesbian Feminist Seder for the Palestine solidarity movement

Brooke Lober on
A Lesbian Feminist Haggadah: Our 10th Seder, 1991 (Cover Art by Judith Masur)

The tradition of the social justice Passover, also called a “freedom seder” or “liberation seder,” has taken hold in grassroots social justice movement networks in the U.S. and beyond. In these movements, Jewish practice emerges as a liberatory spiritual and political force, and becomes intertwined with other traditions that are relevant to communities organized around struggles for justice and freedom—including justice in Palestine, an aspect of social justice seders that has become increasingly popular over the last 25 years.

Jewish anti-occupation activists arrested blocking ADL offices during Passover protest

Wilson Dizard on
Police bring an IfNotNow protester from the lobby of the offices of the Anti Defamation League in New York. (Photo: Wilson Dizard)

Birthright got what it wanted — American Jews who care about Israel. Encouraging young American Jews to take an interest in the affairs of the Jewish state brought 17 of them on Tuesday to walk into the lobby of the Anti-Defamation League’s offices in New York City, prepare a seder on the marble floor, start dancing and singing Hebrew songs of resistance and solidarity and then calmly, still singing, feel a police officer cinch flex cuffs around their wrists and lead them back outside, take down their names — a permanent arrest record for criminal trespass — and take them to jail.

Clinton will hold fundraiser in Tel Aviv

Philip Weiss on
Saban and Clinton, on an earlier occasion

Bernie Sanders’s stand in favor of Palestinian human rights appears to have hurt him slightly in NY city Tuesday as he lost NY state primary. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has gotten huge new donations from Katzenberg, Spielberg and Saban, all Israel supporters.

Obama’s November surprise

Philip Weiss on
Morton Halperin, chairman of J Street

The dream of liberal Zionists at J Street is that in the lame duck period of his presidency, President Obama will bring resolutions to the UN Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements and set out the parameters of a two-state solution. Do you believe it?

Clinton propagates false understanding of Camp David

Dorgham Abusalim on
Rob Malley, senior adviser at the White House on Middle East and counter-ISIL campaign

During a performance of Israeli right wing talking points in Thursday night’s debate in New York, Hillary Clinton’s response on Camp David summit simply fell short of being true.