Sunday night demonstration in NY was a time to reclaim Judaism from the crotchety bastards who have taken up space at the head of the dinner table for too long, plugging their ears with their fingers and yelling “self-hating Jew” at any critic of Israel until they ended up so out of touch that they thought it was okay to give a guy like Steve Bannon a pass.
Pro-Israel activists at a NY synagogue say that 10 percent of Americans love Israel, another 10 percent don’t, and the 80 percent in the middle can be reached via progressive messaging aimed at stopping BDS. But the Jewish participation in the ’60s civil rights movement is not going to thrill young people today.
A pro-Israel “gathering of influencers” known as the Beyond Conference took place in The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College last Friday on a beautiful New York afternoon. The purpose of the conference – which promoted itself with the tagline “Inspiration. Innovation. Israel.”– was to promote Israel, particularly its booming high-tech sector, which raised a record $4.4 billion in 2015. But as Rob Bryan writes, beneath the rote platitudes of the presentations lied a more sinister motive – whitewashing Israeli apartheid with a tech-friendly veneer.
Storytelling and poetical language may be the best way to change US attitudes on Palestine, as a panel of contributors to the collection Extreme Rendition featuring Zia Jaffrey, Sinan Antoon and Teju Cole at New School last week got a welcome reception from packed crowd
Nabil Alreaa, co-director of the Jenin Freedom Theatre production of The Siege, said there had been an oral agreement between the Palestinian company and the Public Theater in New York to stage the play this May, but Public backed out at the last minute when a contract was to be signed, forcing the Jenin company to cancel its American tour.
“I just want to know what right you think you have to smear me as an anti-Semite and as a self-hating Jew,” Rob Bryan challenges an anti-BDS gathering in the New York synagogue where he was bar mitzvah’d
Rob Bryan reports from a New York City event for Steven Salaita’s new book “Uncivil Rites: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom” where the author expressed his unwavering solidarity with the activists fighting to end Israeli apartheid in the face of formidable barriers including restrictions on speech and the attempted blacklist of anti-Zionists.
Speaking at Cardozo Law School, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked dispensed with “Jewish values”. Liberty, nonviolence, justice – to her and the Jewish Home party, all can be readily sacrificed to the overarching mission of ethnic and religious homogeneity.
Rob Bryan writes, “If I had to point to the exact moment at which Peter Beinart lost last week’s debate with Yousef Munayyer, it was when he uttered the two words “Nakba museum.” Speaking to a packed crowd at the New York City office of the New America Foundation, Beinart lamented the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of indigenous Palestinians in 1948 as an “enormous historical tragedy” before offering a solution that sums up his brand of liberal Zionism: “I believe there should be a Nakba museum inside Israel.” Though he went on to advocate for “some right of return,” the damage had already been done. Could there be a better symbol for the toothless sentimentalism of liberal Zionism than this imagined “Nakba museum” – a museum that as Munayyer later pointed out, most Palestinian refugees would be unable to visit?”