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July 2009

‘Rachel’ showing marks ‘major shift’ in U.S. Jewish attitudes to Israel

Philip Weiss on

This is a video from the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival a week ago, of Dr. Michael Harris, a Bay Area pediatrician and Israel lobbyist, attacking the film "Rachel," thereby providing necessary  "context" to the documentary before it was aired at the festival. The video is remarkable for how much contumely, flak and ridicule Harris […]

Define ‘success’ (in the era of the Israel lobby)

Philip Weiss on

"’The Case for Israel’ is indispensable reading for those of us who are deeply disturbed by the rise of anti-Semitism in American society, even on college campuses." –Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Chairman, Department of African and African-American Studies at Harvard (hat tip Ami Eden, JTA) From Beyond Chutzpah, by Norman Finkelstein: "The point, of course, […]

I thought Sacha Baron Cohen was brave, turns out he’s just a neocon weenie

Philip Weiss on

I did a post two weeks back saying that "Bruno" contains a glimpse of a refugee camp in Lebanon. I was wrong. For his meeting with a former "terrorist," The Guardian reports, Sacha Baron Cohen just went to the West Bank and interviewed a Fateh guy who works for an NGO, and then misrepresented him […]

Israeli left begins to fight the settlers – in the US

Adam Horowitz on

Israeli peace organizations are taking the lead on a campaign that should really be coming from Jewish organizations in the US – cutting off the funding for the settlements coming from the US. The Jerusalem Post reports that Gush Shalom is evidently taking up the cause partly in response to the Israeli government’s attempts to cut off European funding to Israeli peace organizations. One of the early targets of the campaign is going to be Shuva Israel which looks to be an evangelical Christian organization that supports Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Interestingly the campaign is going to move on to hit some cornerstones Jewish philanthropy including Nefesh B’Nefesh, the Jewish National Fund and the World Zionist Organization.

Terry Gross walks on by torment of ‘Munich’ in Bana interview

Susie Kneedler on

I have NPR’s "Fresh Air" on as I work: an interview with actor Eric Bana. Host Terry Gross played that bitter scene in Munich, in which the Bana Mossad agent anti-hero Avner, expresses his disgust at his butchery, "I killed seven men."  Avner soon asks in despair, "Did we accomplish anything at all?,"  then, later, […]

definitely not good for the Jews

Philip Weiss on

NYPost on that giant NJ indictment that includes several rabbis, and international trafficking in kidneys coming thru Israel: Israel Dwek — the father of Solomon "Shlomo" Dwek, who helped the feds nail three New Jersey mayors and several rabbis in Brooklyn last week — plans to sit shiva for his son because he is so […]

Stories from Gaza

Antony Loewenstein on

The Western view of Gaza is of a desperate and violent place. Terrorism, extremism, Jew-hatred and poverty merge to create a dangerous brew. The Hamas-controlled territory poses a supposedly existential threat to Israel (and Jews everywhere.) But this is only one side of the besieged Strip. And much of it is blatantly untrue. This video […]

Milosevic, Putin, Ahmadinejad, Kirchick

Adam Horowitz on

The Democracy in America blog over at the has one the best comments on Jamie Kirchick’s smear of Max Blumenthal and Jewish critics of Israel yet (with a great post title to boot) – Efforts to win support for right-wing Israeli policies are inevitably going to spin off accusations, like Mr Kirchik’s, that Jews […]

Seham: ‘social conservatism in Gaza is a result of violent occupation’

Today in Palestine on

Last night Phil Weiss did a post on his observations of women’s roles in Gaza. Seham, a young Californian of Palestinian ancestry and a regular contributor here, had this response: This didn’t make me cringe like I thought it would, just once when you said, "I think the pro-Palestinian movement has to come to terms […]

Israel’s supporters unwilling to wrestle with Einstein’s change of heart towards Zionism

Adam Horowitz on

People are starting to to take notice of Fred Jerome’s new book, Einstein on Israel and Zionism. I reviewed the book here a couple months ago, but now it has gotten the attention of David Billet at The New Republic and Adam Kirsch at Tablet. Both are apparently Zionists, and both seem unwilling to grapple with the important issues the book raises.

‘Times’ misses a Jewish angle. Why?

Philip Weiss on

Weird that the NY Times does a long piece from Moscow about a 400-acre outdoor flea market that has been shut down lately because of alleged health code violations, though more likely for the market’s owner’s political/cultural battle with Vladimir Putin–  The trouble in this case was that the market’s owner, Telman Ismailov, who had […]

Would you buy a used car from this man?

Jeffrey Blankfort on

Shas is an important part of Netanyahu’s coalition, representing the religious nationalist right. The spiritual leader of Shas is Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, pictured in his colorful outfit. From Ynet‘s report on Rabbi Yosef’s weekly sermon Saturday night, in which he said that Obama is turning Israelis into "slaves" by attempting to impose a settlement freeze […]

This Week, I Will Mourn Twice

Rob Browne on

Wednesday evening begins Tisha B’Av, or the Ninth Day of the Hebrew Calender month of Av. This is the saddest day of the year in the Jewish religion. On this day, the First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E., and the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E..

Many Jewish sages stated that the Temples were destroyed because of sinat hinam, or causeless hatred. Their lack of concern and compassion led to a destructive disunity among the Jewish people. So along with many other Jews, I will communally mourn tomorrow night to reflect on the tragic events of my people, as well as the tragedies that have occurred and continue to occur to all peoples.

The second reason I will mourn is more personal. On Sunday, my 18 year old cousin will leave American and move to Israel (make aliyah). After a three month stay at a kibbutz acclimating into her new nation, she will be joining the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

It’s a children’s crusade (against Obama)

Philip Weiss on

"Closed military zone" that includes outpost (photo: Joseph Dana) From Haaretz: Some 200 people, mostly children, arrived near the West Bank town of Tul Karm on Monday to establish a new illegal outpost. The Israel Defense Forces did not stop them or interfere. The outpost, Tzur Ya, is one of 11 set up Monday and […]

Obama = Ahmadinejad? Pleease!

Philip Weiss on

The rightward shift in Israel is affecting the American Jewish community. Dana Goldstein at The American Prospect puts her foot down here, rejecting Israeli Aluf Benn’s op-ed in yesterday’s Times that urges Obama to truckle to Israeli opinion. She seizes on a crucial point: Benn engages in some anti-Obama scare-mongering himself, suggesting that the American […]

‘Commentary’ pulls attack on Max Blumenthal. Why?

Philip Weiss on

We’ve gone after Jamie Kirchick here before. He writes about Israel/Palestine for Marty Peretz at the New Republic, and is his master’s voice on the issue. Lately he went off on Max Blumenthal’s important Feeling the Hate video at the Commentary blog. Here’s the link. You now get a 404 message, page not found at […]

Some reflections on women’s roles in Gaza

Philip Weiss on

I spent a good deal of my trip to Gaza in mental confusion over what I was seeing of women’s roles. The gender dynamics made me uncomfortable, but I wasn’t sure where to come down, or if I had a right to do so. I’ve been thinking about the issue since I’ve gotten back and […]

posts I won’t be reading, dept.

Jeffrey Blankfort on

"Kristallnacht in the Grocery Aisle"— at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival Watch site, apparently based on an episode at a Trader Joe’s. How do they come up with all these "watch" sites. Who pays for ’em? (h/t to Jeff Blankfort)

Israeli right welcomes US envoys with racist rally

Joseph Dana and Mairav Zonszein on

A rally was held this evening protesting the arrival of the US envoys in Israel. Members of National Union, Likud and Israel Beiteinu led the crowd, which included Kahanists wearing t-shirts saying “Kahane was right,” referring to Meir Kahane’s ideology of violence against all who stand in the way of the constant expansion of Jewish territory.

The people that attended the rally think that occupying another people and chanting racist slurs at the first black president of the United States (who was elected by a majority of American Jews who support him) is their expression of freedom and democracy. As a humanist and a pragmatist, it can feel very uneasy and unsafe in this country. (VIDEO)