Category Archives:
American Jewish Community

Let’s talk about Russian influence

Philip Weiss on
Neera Tanden and Netanyahu at Center for American Progress

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager says the “hand of the Kremlin” has been working in US elections, but no one talks about the hand of Israel, which is on everything from pushing the Iraq war to censoring any reference to the “occupation” in the Democratic Party platform. The system is rigged by the Israel lobby, and everyone knows it, even if they can’t talk about it.

The politics of Jewish ethnocentrism

Yakov Hirsch on
Bret Stephens (Photo: Jason Smith)

How can Bret Stephens, who is so sensitive to any slight he perceives against Jews, use the phrase “disease of the Arab mind” when writing about an Egyptian Olympian, and hundreds of millions of other people, in the Wall Street Journal no less? The answer is that a group of ethnocentric spokesmen for the Jewish people, including Jeffrey Goldberg and Benjamin Netanyahu, exercise an Orwellian influence over what can and cannot be said out loud.

‘The Forward’ fails to find source of anti-semitism hoax that its reporter concocted (Updated)

Phan Nguyen on
"Pro-Palestinian Student Group Accused of Compiling List of Jewish Student Dorm Addresses"

The Jewish Daily Forward’s Laura E. Adkins reported Israeli Knesset Member Anat Berko as saying that Students for Justice in Palestine is “collecting information on where Jews live at New York University among others.” What Adkins fails to mention is that Berko’s claim likely originated from a hoax conceived by Adkins herself when she was a student at NYU.

Beinart calls anti-Zionists ‘revolutionaries’

Philip Weiss on
Journalist and author Peter Beinart. (Photo: Center for American Progress/Flickr)

Peter Beinart wrote a column for Haaretz last week in which he characterized anti-Zionists, along with the Black Lives Matter movement, as revolutionaries, warning that anti-Zionists want to upend the Israeli system. This is an important assertion, and needs to be addressed. Equal rights, and not Zionism, is the only sane political future in the 21st century. Changing the American Jewish mind is the most important step toward accomplishing this revolution bloodlessly.

White Jews and uppity blacks

Abba Solomon on
Keith P. Feldman's book, A Shadow Over Palestine

U.S. Jewish support for the civil rights struggle has sometimes been patronizing to blacks; and the growing identification of Jews with a state perceived as colonial and racist, Israel, has often strained the bonds of the relationship, as exemplified by the anger over the Black Lives Matter platform’s support for the Palestinian struggle.

Hundreds of Jews march for ‘Black Lives Matter’ in New York

Wilson Dizard on
Julia Carmel, back to police, is arrested ahead of April Baskin, in white top, and Jason Salmon, in white tshirt. Photo by Wilson Dizard

Led by Jews of color and their allies, and by the organization Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, nearly 300 marchers calling for greater police accountability wound their way through downtown New York on Thursday night, ending in the arrest of seven activists for civil disobedience.

Sanders-backed candidate in FL says Wasserman Schultz won’t ‘protect’ Israel

Philip Weiss on
Tim Canova

This is a bizarre political story that highlights the fact that older American Jews don’t want to hear One Bad Word about Israel: A progressive Democrat who has gotten Bernie Sanders’s endorsement in a challenge to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in an August 30 primary in Miami, is running to her right on Israel! Law […]

When the language of genocide offends us more than ghettoizing another people

Marc H. Ellis on
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, who responded to the Black Lives Matter platform by saying, "Anti-Israel rhetoric like that found in the Movement for Black Lives policy platform is especially troubling because it falsely suggests American Jews – both of color and white – must choose between their commitment to combatting racism in the United States and their Zionism."

Marc Ellis says that following the release of the Movement for Black Lives platform the Jewish establishments have taken out their chalkboard to lecture African Americans on their place in society and global discourse. The accusation, with a long tradition, is that African Americans should stick with Black issues – as defined by the Jewish establishment. Ellis doubts it will work this time. “The Movement for Black Lives has placed Jews on notice that we have arrived at the end of ethical Jewish history,” Ellis writes.

Jewish organizations’ response to Black Lives Matter platform demonstrates inability to engage with reality in Israel

Julia Carmel on
A member of the Adgluni family watching his house being demolished by Israeli authorities in Beit Hanina, East Jerusalem on January 27, 2014. (Photo: Activestills)

The Movement for Black Lives has been receiving both widespread praise and criticism over the content of their new platform, particularly in response to their use of the word “genocide” to describe the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians. Some of the movement’s critics, including some of the largest Jewish communal organizations in the United States, have even condemned The Movement for Black Lives’ language “in the strongest possible terms.” Their harsh responses are indicative of skewed priorities regarding the struggle for social justice, both in the U.S. and in Israel.

Former AIPAC official says Israel should get no US aid without ending ‘oppressive’ settlements

Philip Weiss on
New construction in the Ofra settlement (Photo: Philip Weiss)

The 50th anniversary of the occupation is freeing criticism. Greg Slabodkin, a former AIPAC official, comes for conditioning US aid to Israel on that country agreeing to freeze its illegal settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. He forthrightly says that Israel’s “oppressive and discriminatory settlement policies in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem continue unabated.”

The ‘New York Times’ is dead set on marginalizing Jewish anti-Zionism

Philip Weiss on
Hasia Diner

The New York Times has pointedly refused to cover an important and explosive news story, the rise of Jewish anti-Zionism. Its news columns characterize Palestinian solidarity activists as anti-Semites and it ignores leading voices, from Hasia Diner to Gideon Levy to Max Blumenthal, who are putting Zionism behind them.

On Jewishness and criticism of Israel

Joseph Grim Feinberg on
S. An-sky, May 1910. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Joseph Grim Feinberg reflects on Jewishness in contemporary political discourse: “Yes, I am troubled by persistent anti-Semitism in the world. But I am also troubled by the damage done to Jewishness when Jewish identity is collapsed into support for Israeli policy, and when accusations of anti-Semitism are wielded as a tool for silencing debate. What I found so compelling about Jewish history is the wealth of ideas that have emerged surrounding what Jewishness can be. That wealth is lost when name-calling replaces debate, and when a single, tendentious version of Jewishness renders itself impervious to criticism.”

‘Does he believe in a God’? — DNC leaders wanted to undermine Sanders

Philip Weiss on
Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Further evidence of role of Israel lobby in Democratic Party: DNC chair Wasserman Schultz found Bernie Sanders’s criticisms of Israel “disturbing,” while Hillary Clinton campaign sought to use his stance to “marginalize” him, according to DNC emails published by Wikileaks.

Hillary Clinton gains backing of neocon megadonor who funds Islamophobic groups

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz on
Seth Klarman

Hillary Clinton has gained the support of major neoconservative donor Seth Klarman. Klarman’s family foundation supports rightwing Zionist groups, including the David Project and the Israel Project, and has supported several Islamophobic groups, including one that “applauded” an Oklahoma law later struck down as unconstitutional, that would have discriminated against Muslim religious practices. A Democratic Party think tank has said that the organizations Klarman supports have put out “anti-Islam messages polluting our national discourse.”

‘Ex-Neocon’ — Scott McConnell looks back on 20 years of ideological tumult

Philip Weiss on
Scott McConnell

Reflecting on life after neoconservatism, Scott McConnell says he demonstrated against the Iraq war with Code Pink but that the alliance between national interest types and leftwingers may be coming apart because fears of another US war have ebbed and the two groups split over immigration and identity politics.