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.”
Category Archives: American Jewish Community
Democrats can’t oppose occupation and settlements in the Democratic platform “because Sheldon Adelson will come out against us,” Clintonites told Sanders rep James Zogby, Zogby related in Philadelphia today. He also said that Democrats support the use of boycott against Israel to end settlements overwhelmingly, by 47-14.
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 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.”
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.
The Iran deal is still assailed by US hardliners, who don’t even hide their efforts: Adam Szubin, Obama’s under secretary of the treasury for Iranian sanctions, parrots Netanyahu’s claim that Iran is the biggest sponsor of terror in the world and speaks at neoconservative thinktanks without any consequences.
After 10 days in his beloved Israel, Eric Alterman diminishes the crisis: he leaves out ‘fascism’ charges made by leading politicians and only notices Palestinian attacks on Israelis, not the other way round.
In a Facebook video, NY Times editors James Bennet and Jodi Rudoren speak of all the “American” pressures on reporting from Jerusalem without ever saying the word “Jewish.” That would be too honest. And these are people who will tell Americans about the Israel lobby?
A gushing interview of Netanyahu in the New York Times repairs a relationship hurt 3 years ago by the Times publishing gossip about his wife; but it is a serious dereliction in its refusal to raise Israeli officials’ charges that the government is fascistic.
The Democratic Party platform committee voted down an amendment opposing “settlements” and “occupation” in Palestine, as the Clinton establishment elicited the largest boos of the day in Orlando. Bernie Sanders surrogate Cornel West ascribed the vote to racism.
An Israeli leader once promised the UN that the existence of so many “Jewish hostages throughout the world” would be a guarantee of the good behavior of the “Jewish” state towards Arabs. As it turned out, Israel has caused Diaspora Jews to be responsible for its conduct, and Jewish organizations deny that responsibility by playing the anti-Semitism card.
Last week’s Aspen Ideas Festival often seemed like a rightwing Jewish event and it reeked of entitlement. Leon Wieseltier of the Atlantic joked that eventually “there won’t be any goyim” on the Supreme Court. The Jewish and pro-Israel character of the establishment was on display, even if no one wants to talk about it.
Hillary Clinton’s deal with the devil: she thinks that by crushing the progressive wing that supports Palestinian rights, and smearing Max Blumenthal as “hateful” for his smart criticisms of Elie Wiesel, she will gain the Israel lobby and neoconservatives’ support, which is vital for a win in November.
Marc Ellis reflects on the flawed witness of Elie Wiesel. Ellis says Wiesel was deeply corrupted by his use of the Holocaust he suffered so deeply from, but he was hardly alone: “Elie Wiesel was hardly alone in becoming so stuck in Holocaust suffering that he failed to realize or care about what Jewish power was and is doing to the Palestinian people. We, the Jewish people, averted our eyes. We, the Jewish people, became corrupted through our use of unjust power against others.”
The report is that Bernie Sanders just won a string of concessions from the Hillary Clinton camp on the 2016 party platform. Wall Street reform, banking reform, regulations on hedge funds, criminal justice reform, greater opposition to the death penalty, and let’s fight for a $15 minimum wage. Sanders is “winning some big victories,” says Greg Sargent in the Washington Post, but guess what’s not in the concessions? Where are Clinton’s redlines? You guessed it. Vox says the sticking points are Trans Pacific Partnership, stronger measures to slow global warming, and Israel Palestine.
It’s about time American Jews talked about the problem of dual loyalty inherent in Zionism; and a pro-Israel publication, the Jewish Week, encouraged that discussion by running a column on how “Israel Firsters,” those who vote on the basis of what is best for Israel, are approaching this election.
Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren says the Congress would expel a member for doing what Knesset member Hanin Zoabi did yesterday; but the historian has his facts wrong. Congress has only expelled 5 members, none for dissent.
What does Hillary Clinton mean by taking the Israel relationship to the “next level”? Maybe what Robert Danin, former State Department official at Harvard, says: a formal treaty between the countries, and do it fast, because young people and Democrats have lost their romance about Israel. (Don’t they have a good reason?)
Hillary Clinton is gaining the support of the neoconservative establishment. Alan Dershowitz is for her “muscular foreign policy.” Robert Kagan is holding a fundraiser for her. And even possible veep-nominee Sen. Elizabeth Warren emerges as a “surprising Israel hawk,” says the Forward.
Netanyahu’s only goal is to control the news cycle and the New York Times gave him two solid victories last week by playing up a misstatement by Palestinian president Abbas in Brussels. And the construction of Abbas’s line as anti-Semitic reflects the power in our discourse of a tribal Jewish fantasy: non-Jews are always thinking anti-Jewish thoughts.
Cynthia Ozick has expressed racist views of Palestinians loving hatred more than bread — “they have reared children unlike any other children, removed from ordinary norms and behaviors” — but extolling the novelist at 88 in the NY Times Magazine Giles Harvey does her a great blessing, by leaving ’em out!
NY Gov Andrew Cuomo’s glaring overreach in his executive order against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) continues to pay off, with the Washington Post publishing an article by Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace, explaining how she supports BDS as a Jew because only outside pressure will get Israel to change.