In a book once regarded as heretical among American Jewry, The Tragedy of Zionism, Bernard Avishai explained more than 30 years ago that Zionism evolved from a Histadrut (trade union) movement, to statism that aspired to be Jewish and democratic, and from this statism to a new unabashedly undemocratic Zionism.
Category Archives: American Jewish Community
Don’t give the Trump administration any power to “lock them up,” J Street warns Congress about new “Israel Anti-Boycott Act,” while the ACLU warns that “simply requesting information about such boycotts” could expose a person to penalties.
Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim’s report at the Intercept on new legislation in the Congress that would criminalize support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Yes, criminalize. The bill is such a crude example of overreach by the Israel lobby that it is sure to backfire on its supporters as Greenwald and Grim’s report ricochets around the Democratic Party
After demonstrators torched two European embassies in Damascus in 2006 in rage over Muhammad cartoons in the western press, then-President George W. Bush told Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, “We need to cut their heads off,” she recalls at an American Jewish Committee conference. And she seems to approve of the idea.
Six months after I complained that wines labelled “Made in Israel” in Ontario stores were the products of illegal settlements, the Canadian food inspection agency ruled that the wines were falsely labeled and instructed the Ontario liquor board to cease imports of the wines. Within hours B’nai Brith Canada had posted it on its Facebook page, stating confidently that the outrageous directive would be quashed by day’s end. It soon was.
“If you can have equal rights for all your citizens as a Jewish state, then great, go for it, show us how.” — Leading Palestinian thinker Nadia Hijab dares Israel.
As Terry Gross’s interview with Muslim reformer Haroon Moghul on Fresh Air yesterday demonstrates, the mainstream media loves anti-Islamists and the war for the soul of Islam. But it maintains a blacklist of anti-Zionists and ignores the war for the soul of Judaism.
Whatever happened to the biblical command to bear witness? A dozen US rabbis are shocked by what they see in occupied Hebron, but they don’t want their names to appear in Haaretz lest their congregations back home get upset with them.
The double standard of American Jewish political power for Zionists: American Jews should back the Israeli occupation unquestioningly and fight the boycott movement against Israel over Palestinian human rights, but when it comes to freedom of Jewish worship in Jerusalem, US Jews should use that boycott power to bring the Netanyahu government to its knees.
Recent days have dashed any thought that Donald Trump would be neutral or an honest broker. Negotiator Jason Greenblatt spent all his time echoing the Israeli message about the conflict, while envoy Jared Kushner reportedly angered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by carrying Netanyahu’s talking points to Ramallah.
If Peace Now is so opposed to the Israeli occupation, why does it help pay the salary of a man who promotes it nonstop: Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents. Young Jews who are resisting the occupation would never do such a thing.
In a speech to visiting young Jews, Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel’s “hand is outstretched to peace,” but he twice makes a fist as he says it.
The 1967 war was not an existential crisis, Israeli scholar Guy Laron tells Wilson Center. “The Israeli general staff quietly knew that they’re going to win the war big.” And the CIA told LBJ the same thing: “If Israel is attacked, it will win in a week.”
Yakov Rabkin’s book “What Is Modern Israel?” is one of the most important critiques of Zionism ever published. Zionism is opposed to Jewish tradition and to liberalism, and it has fostered a deep sense of insecurity in Israeli Jews and made American Jewish leaders into “vassals” of Israel. Critics must overcome the “climate of intellectual terror” to condemn the Zionist ideology.
Among the general US population, the number of those “unreachable” by Israel is 9 percent, but among Jewish college students the number is much higher 13 percent. And that is a “national security issue” for Israel’s future, says Fern Oppenheim of the Brand Israel Group.
A new study by a Zionist organization brings the “devastating” news that young Americans are turning against Israel, including Jews, people of color, and Democrats. So why doesn’t the Democratic Party reflect these changes?
“Politically, ideologically and in some sense spiritually, I was born in June 1967,” Israeli settler and ambassador Dani Dayan tells a liberal Zionist gathering in New York, in yet another reflection of how rightwing ideology is ingrained in US Jewish life and in Israeli politics.
Speakers contradict one another at a Zionist conference on future of Israel in New York. Israeli ambassador says Jews have a right to the West Bank because “winner takes all,” while Israeli rabbi pleads with American Jews to stop backing up rightwingers in Israel.
Israelis live in fear of Palestinians, and speak of a hundred years war. These conditions have produced a militaristic majoritarian culture where everyone admires Trump and even leftwingers dismiss Palestinian human rights concerns. “They have plenty to eat.” Phil Weiss’s observations from a tour on the 50th anniversary of occupation.
“I have enormous respect for the Palestinian national movement,” says Israeli ambassador and settler, Dani Dayan. “I admire in some sense a movement that keeps its refugees for five generations in squalid camps in order to keep the flame alive. In some senses I envy that movement.”
Memoirs by American Jews reveal that the 1967 war revolutionized Jewish life: even leftwingers like Joel Kovel were initially swept up in the fear for Israel and excitement over its victory, but those fears helped produce the most powerful force in American Jewish life since: the neoconservatives who, inflamed by memories of the Holocaust, vowed to support Israel in the face of an indifferent world.
At Shavuot celebration at Tzedek in Chicago, Marc Ellis says Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust thinker who believed that Israel was the path to bring Jews out of suffering and towards redemption. Unfortunately there was no room for Palestinian suffering in that worldview.
Tony Judt’s disillusionment with Israel as an “anachronism” that “despised its neighbors” began when he volunteered during the Six Day War: “For the first time I met Israelis who were chauvinistic in every meaning of the word: anti-Arab in a sense bordering upon racism; quite undisturbed at the prospect of killing Arabs wherever possible.”
In a new collection called Kingdom of Olives and Ash that decries Israel’s 50 years of occupation, Michael Chabon documents the grinding humiliations and complete loss of freedom for Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, who must get permits just to travel a few miles.
Only a brave, progressive international movement can end the Israeli occupation, Bernie Sanders says, in a video on its 50th anniversary calling for “equality, security, democracy and justice.”