Category Archives:
US Politics

With ‘anger grounded in law,’ Muslim group sues US gov’t over arbitrary ‘terror watchlist’

Annie Robbins on

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a lawsuit against the US government yesterday (pdf) on behalf of several Muslim-Americans challenging the legality of government policy regarding the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), also known as the “Terrorist Watchlist” of “known or suspected terrorists,” arguing that they have been wrongly ensnared in a federal system that is free

Top legal scholars decry ‘chilling’ effect of dehiring scholar Salaita

Corey Robin on

Editor’s note: The following piece about reactions in the academic world to the dehiring of Steven Salaita over his criticism of Israel is a combination of two posts on Corey Robin’s blog.  Scholars from law schools at Columbia, Cornell, Berkeley, Georgetown, and other universities have come out with a very strong letter condemning the decision

Israel and its advocates have a new target in sight: Head of UN inquiry William Schabas

Alex Kane on

A permanent cease fire with Palestinian fighters has yet to be signed, but Israel and its supporters have already begun to pivot to their next adversary: the United Nations Human Rights Council. It’s Goldstone Redux and Israel’s supporters are coming out swinging. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has already issued the following ad going after William Schabas, a

Question for the American Jewish Establishment: Where does Zionism end and Judaism begin?

Zachary J. Foster on

It has happened again.  The rift between America’s Jewish Establishment and young, liberal-minded Jews has widened in the wake of the Gaza War.  Synagogues, Jewish Federations, Jewish Community Councils, Rabbinical Boards and all three major Jewish movements (Orthodox, Conservative and Reform) from Detroit and Cleveland to New York and Miami have thrown their unconditional support

Blaming the Victims: A night with AIPAC in St. Louis and protesters in Ferguson

Michael Berg on

Background: On July 21, during the question and answer portion of a St. Louis Jewish Federation community briefing, I was screamed at, then grabbed by security guards, for having introduced countervailing thoughts to a very one sided conversation. Then on July 29 four members of St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) interrupted Consul General of Israel to

How to respond to thoughtful people who can’t help saying ‘but Hamas’

Donna Nevel on

In conversations about Gaza, I have heard many thoughtful people in the Jewish community lament the loss of Palestinian lives in Gaza but then say, “But Hamas…,” as if that were the heart of the problem. I’d like to suggest that, when we have these conversations about Hamas and Israel’s current bombing campaign, we begin

New J Street platform parrots Likud as membership continues to shift left

Ron Smith on

Recently, J Street send out a message to its members, claiming that it had created a new platform that would better address the concerns of its members. For some time, J Street’s open secret is that its members tend to be far to the left of the political spectrum from the leadership. In the wake

On the Frontiers of a Divided World: Reflections after the 2014 Helix Project

Mandy Cohen on

Last month I was in Warsaw. I was on my way home to L.A. after two weeks traveling with the Helix Project through places that Yiddish-speaking Jews once called Líta (Lithuania). Jews from this area are called Litvaks (Lithuanians), they have distinctive dialects of Yiddish, and a reputation as intellectuals, given that Líta was the home of the greatest yeshivas in

Hundreds of scholars say they won’t engage with University of Illinois unless decision to block Salaita is reversed

Corey Robin on

In the last 24 hours, sociologists and scholars of composition and rhetoric have organized two new statements of refusal regarding the Steven Salaita affair. 1. The sociology statement reads as follows: Dear Chancellor Wise: We are members of Sociology departments from around the world who write, regretfully, to inform you that we will not engage

Embedded deception in the BBC’s coverage of Israel’s onslaught

Emile Badarin on

In the Middle East, people used to say “the BBC says” to adduce truth to their claims. Those days are now gone. For the majority of people in the Middle East, the BBC is now seen as parroting the official Israeli narrative in their conflict with the Palestinians. The BBC’s reporting style, the structure of the

Rania Masri gives Barack Obama a lesson on the meaning of ‘barbaric’

Annie Robbins on

Thousands of people from Austin and the surrounding region attended a rally and march protesting Israel’s assault on Gaza, joining the millions protesting around the world. Though for the most part, Austin’s protest on August 2 went unreported. And video from that rally, of a thunderous speech by Dr. Rania Masri chastising President Obama over

When the smoke clears in Gaza

Robin D. G. Kelley on

“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians” –Nelson Mandela Israel’s illegal, genocidal war on the people of Gaza has the characteristics of a massive tsunami. Waged with even greater ferocity than Operation Cast Lead or any other assault since the Nakba of 1948 or the 1967 War, its

Despite potential groundswell, Congress reluctant to recognize Palestinian rights

Sam Knight on

If the polls are to be believed, the days of unconditional US support for Israel are numbered. Younger American voters are increasingly blaming the IDF for the wanton havoc it wreaks in occupied Palestine. Those who have, for years, considered Palestinians to be their equals are probably wondering what took so long for this oft ahead-of-the-curve

Jodi Rudoren and Abe Foxman mull over ‘the Arabs’ owning New York hotel

David Samel on

Let me offer a ridiculous fantasy.  The NY Times hires an Arab-American as its Jerusalem Bureau Chief.  The reporter’s spouse produces and publicly posts a video in which the reporter is seen having a personal, non-professional meal with a high official of a prominent Arab-American organization, an individual who has repeatedly expressed strong pro-Palestinian, even

Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren dropped as CNN ‘analyst’

Alex Kane on

CNN has changed former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren’s title from “analyst” to “ambassador” when he appears as a guest on the network. Sources knowledgable of the situation told me that the move comes after internal dissent within CNN that Oren’s classification as an “analyst” was not suitable. CNN spokesperson Edie Emery confirmed

Conflict Resolution 101: Talk to Hamas

Medea Benjamin on

The world awaits with bated breath to see if the interim truce negotiated by US Secretary of State John Kerry will lead to a long-term ceasefire. But if US mediation is to be sincere and effective, the American government needs to take Hamas off its terrorist list and allow Hamas to be fully represented at

Israel shells another UN school– and even the US is ‘appalled’

Annie Robbins on

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream As scenes of carnage fill the screen with news of another grotesque Israeli attack on a UN school this morning the thought crossed my mind, “This could not be, so soon after, it must be old footage.” But no, it is all too real and has happened again. Ten

Cease-fire breaks down: Israeli shelling kills 50 after reported capture of soldier

Alex Kane on

The cease-fire that was supposed to go into effect this morning in Gaza has completely broken down. There are conflicting reports as to who was the first who broke it: Israel or Palestinian militants, who are said to have captured a soldier. The U.S. and Israel are blaming Hamas, though the militant group pointed the finger

The JDL gains influence in Canada as Jewish community moves to the right

Yves Engler on

From a left-wing community once at the forefront of struggles against racism, unconditional support for Israel has turned a significant proportion of Toronto Jews into promoters of hatred against “Arabs” and into allies of right wing, bigoted, homophobic Christian Bible literalists. During 15 years of activism in Montréal, Ottawa and Vancouver I haven’t seen anything