Roger Cohen argues in the New York Times that the right of return is code for pushing Jews into the sea. Joseph Levine issues a challenge to Cohen and other liberal Zionists: “It’s time to stop the scare tactics, stop using loaded language about “destruction” and “throwing into the sea” and face the consequences: either defend liberal democracy consistently or admit that one is willing to sacrifice it for ethnic nationalism.”
Category Archives: American Jewish Community
Natalie Portman’s refusal to attend the Israeli Genesis Prize ceremony is a blow to Israeli pride. But her statements of support for Israel reflect liberal Zionist convictions. Will she go further with her critique?
Leanne Gale, a Yale law student, came out of the heart of the Jewish community to all-but support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) at the J Street conference. She said BDS is the most important nonviolent Palestinian movement in the world, that anti-Zionism is a living tradition in the Jewish community as a response to anti-Semitism, and that Jews should not seek to marginalize or suppress or seek an alternative to BDS, but should engage it in an effort to make Israel a liberal democracy.
Liberal pro-Israel conference in DC featured hawkish statements on Syria. Susan Rice said Trump should have been “demonstrably unpredictable” with Assad to gain advantage. “For all our handwringing about President Trump’s temperament, he could have played those concerns to our advantage.” While Nancy Soderberg, a Clinton security aide running for Congress, said Trump had handed Syria to Iran “on a silver platter.”
The shame of the Jewish establishment: Rep. Jan Schakowsky says she never used the word “occupation” before last year, while Jeremy Burton of a leading Boston Jewish organization brags of a policy of refusing to debate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), even with other Jews. These people have their heads in the sand (or worse) and young Jews want none of it.
Alan Dershowitz has become an advocate for Donald Trump on the airwaves at a time when the president has few legal chums. And Israel’s interests are close behind. Dersh is a conduit to Israeli PM Netanyahu, and the EPA set up a research agreement with an Israeli water company of which Dersh is a board member– at the prodding of Trump donor Sheldon Adelson.
Liberal Zionist Michael Koplow has condemned Israeli actions at the Gaza fence but called on the left for “balance” in acknowledging the terrorist threat to Israel in the protests. Robert Herbst says the power differential is so unbalanced in Palestine that it is unfair to state “that 30,000 unarmed protesters cannot march and expect to return home alive and uninjured unless they are prepared to take on the impossible task of identifying and removing the few ‘troublemakers’ who may also show up.”
A mental health professional in Gaza once said, “We live in a cage, you can see that plainly. But the Israelis, they have a cage in their mind. They are more imprisoned than we are.” Jews need to deal with their historical trauma, in order to stop massacring Palestinians.
The silence of Jeffrey Goldberg, Bill Kristol, and Jennifer Rubin over Israel’s indefensible slaughter of Palestinian protesters on March 30, and the outspokenness against the atrocity of Bernie Sanders, David Rothkopf, Ayman Mohyeldin, and Chris Hayes, shows that the center has at last shifted in US discourse. American Jews have had it holding the bag for Israeli massacres.
Learning of 18 Palestinians killed over the Passover holiday gutted Robert Herbst. He felt shame. But when he looked around, he could only find a scant few voices also condemning the shooting of the demonstrators at the border with Gaza. The indifference struct him as an act that could be worse than pulling the trigger on one of those sniper guns.
The battle over Israel that has roiled the Labour Party in Britain is going to come to the Democratic Party here before long. And Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss of the New York Times are all set for it, smearing critics of Israel as anti-Semites. Stephens goes after John Mearsheimer, Weiss after Jean-Luc Melenchon. The Times is a vital political ally for Israel.
Adam Bulmash sees modern day Pharaohs all around him. In ICE deportations, contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, the coming border wall with Mexico and even the White House. But it’s not all bleak, there are sign of Moses huddling people for their liberation from the DREAMers to Standing Rock.
Chuck Schumer, Ron Lauder, and David Harris all seem terrified of what young non-Zionist Jews will do to undermine the work of the Israel lobby. They characterize the young as an existential threat to Israel. These young Jews are exercising the same generational power as the high school gun-control movement and #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow does not mention Palestinians in his very political Freedom Seder, he says, because he was focused on the “big empire,” the United States, not the “little empire,” Israel. But he said that many Jews are guilty of idolatry in their inability to criticize Israel.
The simple truth about John Bolton’s appointment to national security adviser is that the Republicans need Sheldon Adelson’s money in order to be competitive in the coming midterms, and John Bolton is a tool of Sheldon Adelson. And Adelson cares about one thing, Israel. But only alternative media will connect these rather obvious dots.
After Jewish leader Ron Lauder wrote an op-ed in the New York Times saying Israeli settlement policy and “semi-theocratic” leadership are delegitimizing the country and fostering the assimilation of young American Jews, he was confronted in Jerusalem by rightwing minister Naftali Bennett. “What are you doing? What are you doing, Man?” the 45-year-old said condescendingly to the 74-year-old.
Bay Area activist Alice Diane Kisch pans Senator Kamala Harris over her AIPAC speech: “Your support for Israel is the diametric opposite of a path to peace in the Middle East. I am so sorry that you are not the politician that I was hoping you’d be.”
Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin says that Trump is especially threatening to Jews with his “blood and soil” ethno-nationalism. He reminds her of Hitler. “The Germans thought that they could use Hitler as well. We’ll control him. He’ll get us what we want. The other stuff he’s not serious about.”
Ronald Lauder, a stalwart of the Israel lobby as head of the World Jewish Congress, has published a landmark essay in the New York Times attacking Israel’s settlement program and intolerant political culture as threats to its existence, and to Jews worldwide. The tide is turning against Israel.
“The greatest threat to Israel in the short term is Iran, we know that. That’s why I opposed the agreement, because Iran is such a danger,” Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer told the the Council of Jewish Organizations of Brooklyn yesterday. He also said he met for an hour alone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the greatest long term threat to the Jewish state: young Americans’ “support for Israel is declining, in every part of the country.”
In a sign of growing establishment distrust of the Israel lobby group AIPAC, several writers liken it to the NRA, and the Washington Post publishes an important article by Doug Rossinow saying that the lobby originated in American Jews rallying to promote Israeli “lies” about “awful knowledge”: the massacre of more than 60 Palestinians in Qibya in the West Bank in 1953.
Pro-Israel activism gave journalist Bari Weiss quite a career. As a youth she bagged one Zionist fellowship after another, leading to opinion editing at The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times in her early 30s. Which is no surprise, given the Times’s employment of several pro-Israel columnists.
Neoconservative godfather Paul Singer explains why he gives to pro-Israel causes: “Israel may be the only insurance policy all Jews, everywhere, can rely upon for …safety.” He echoes Daniel Gordis and Roger Cohen, who say Jewish sovereignty has transformed Jews from victims to historical agents. An important argument. Is it right?
It used to be that Jews were cosmopolitan, people of the world. But now the organized community is as provincial as can be, focused on the Jewish nation of Israel. This is the deepest divide in Jewish life, between the Schumers and the Feinsteins, those who think what is good for the Jews and those who think of what is good for the world.
California Senator Kamala Harris spoke at AIPAC this year for the second year running, in an indication that she intends to cultivate elites and alienate the leftwing base for political ambition. She bragged to the Israel lobby about helping to build forests on Palestinian lands. “As a child, I never sold Girl Scout cookies, I went around with a [Jewish National Fund] box collecting funds to plant trees in Israel.”