Category Archives:
US Politics

J Street’s progressive illusion

Marc H. Ellis on
J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami speaking at the group's conference in 2012. (Photo: J Street)

Are there any in more active complicity in the destruction of Palestine than Palestine’s well-wishers? J Street’s October 28 statement is the latest example of a “pro-peace” organization that is doing nothing to advance an end to the conflict in Israel/Palestine.

Another New York Times’ reporter’s son is in the Israeli army

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz on
Israeli army unit posted to Facebook page by Isabel Kershner's son. (Photo: Facebook)

Yet another reporter for the New York Times has a son in the Israeli Defense Forces. Isabel Kershner, a correspondent in the newspaper’s Jerusalem bureau, says that her son is in training in the army. This is the third time in recent years that a writer who covers the conflict for America’s leading newspaper has a son serving in an army that is regularly accused of human rights abuses. On each of those occasions, an outside publication has disclosed the army servic

UCLA Hillel partners with PR firm to fight BDS movement

Alex Kane on
Hillel logo

A California Hillel chapter has partnered with a D.C.-linked public relations firm to fight the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, according to leaked emails obtained by Mondoweiss. The PR firm 30 Point Strategies has discussed how to combat BDS at the University of California, Los Angeles campus with Hillel staffers there. 30 Point staffers have advised UCLA’s Hillel to stay largely silent in the event of a student government resolution that recommends divestment from Israeli military-linked corporations. The revelation that a Hillel chapter has turned to a professional public relations firm shows that UCLA Hillel is stepping up its work to fight BDS on campus.

Israel and Palestine is not about Jews vs. Palestinians

Samantha Brotman on
Screen-Shot-2014-07-21-at-13-30-42

Samantha Brotman shares her remarks from an event called “Zionism & The New McCarthyism: A Conversation with Bruce Robbins” that took place in Champaign-Urbana. It was a canceled University of Illinois event that was rescheduled as an independent event, without university support. Bruce Robbins’s short documentary, Some of My Best Friends are Zionists, interviews influential Jews such as Judith Butler and Tony Kushner who discuss the repression of anti-Zionist viewpoints. His talk addressed the rise of a “new McCarthyism” on college campuses which threatens to shut down criticism of Israel in the guise of “civility.” Brotman was a respondent along with Jodi Byrd (Professor in American Indian Studies) and Bruce Levine (Professor of History).

An open letter to Birthright participants past, present, and future

Hannah Friedstein on
birthrightlogo

Hannah Friedstein writes a primer on Birthright to demystify its themes and its objectives based on her experience in the program. Her goal is that Birthright participants gain a new and critical perspective on the program which she believes is anything but neutra

A Yom Kippur epiphany

Liz Rose on
Rabbi Brant Rosen

Growing up an ardent Zionist, Liz Rose says Judaism “became synonymous with Jewish nationalism.” Now she’s struggled to separate the religion and the ideology. At Yom Kippur she had a breakthrough, remembering Palestin

NYT takes on Europe’s recognition of a Palestinian state

Allison Deger on
(Screenshot: NYTimes.com)

The question of Palestine, or rather the question of Palestinian statehood is plaguing the Israeli government and now the pages of the New York Times. In a round table of op-eds Nadia Hijab, Avital Leibovich, Efraim Halevy, Nathan Thrall, Caroline B. Glick, Richard Ottaway, and Omar Barghouti, weigh in on the domino effect of declarations of sovereignty over the occupied territories from the past mont

Israel’s Dead Soul: Steven Salaita’s critical scholarship explains his dismissal from the University of Illinois

David Green on
Steven Salaita speaking at the University of Illinois, September 9, 2014. (Photo: Facebook)

Steven Salaita’s book “Israel’s Dead Soul” (2011) merits serious attention and ultimately effusive praise. It contains five critical essays that not only offer brilliant insight into the cultural and ideological practices of Zionism in both Israel and the United States, but implicitly explain why his conscientious efforts would be denigrated and rejected by the ostensibly liberal aspects of this culture at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

The Center for Jewish Life is stifling free speech at Princeton University

Max Weiss on
The Center for Jewish Life at Princeton University.

Professor Max Weiss says a member of the Jewish Agency vetoed his invitation to speak on a panel about Gaza at Princeton University. He writes, “Apparently this preemptive act of exclusion was carried out on entirely political grounds. This strikes me as an attempt to stifle the exchange of views on an important, if contentious, issue of concern to many in the Princeton University community — an egregious violation of our community’s values.”

From Schindler to Gaza– two evenings at the Lensic theater

Tanya Taylor Rubinstein on
Liam Neeson in Schindler's List

Oskar Schindler’s redemptive life is a legacy, an invitation to all of us to move past our self centered concerns and figure out how we can contribute to the saving of innocent lives. Today it tells us to throw our energy into supporting the people of Palestin

Islamophobia, liberalism and the dangers of Interfaith ignorance

David Shasha on
Bill Maher

The bitterly contentious exchange involving New Atheists Sam Harris and Bill Maher teaming up against actor Ben Affleck on the matter of Islam shows us quite explicitly the dangerous pitfalls of Interfaith Dialogue and its fatally flawed process. Harris and the other New Atheists, following the lead of the Interfaith Dialogue movement, militantly isolate religion from its contexts. Instead, our understanding of religion needs to take into account the history, culture, and politics that has impacted its development