Category Archives:
American Jewish Community

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.

Eric Alterman wastes ten days in Israel

James North and Philip Weiss on
Eric Alterman

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.

Life as Israel’s hostage (or when will Palestinian dispossession be reckoned in the Diaspora?)

Abba Solomon on
American Jewish Committee ad against anti-semitism when actions are aimed at state of Israel

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.

Jewish entitlement, and Jewish populism

Philip Weiss on
Leon Wieseltier

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.

Elie Wiesel is Dead

Marc H. Ellis on
Elie Wiesel (Photo: AP/Bebeto Matthews)

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.”

As occupation enters its 50th year, draft Democratic platform won’t say the word

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz on
Hillary Clinton and Netanyahu

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.

‘NY Jewish Week’ speaks bluntly of ‘Israel firsters’ in US politics

Philip Weiss on
Gary Rosenblatt of the Jewish Week

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.

‘Washington Post’ publishes article by Jewish leader urging boycott of Israel

Philip Weiss on
Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace

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.