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American Jewish Community

Trump has the Jewish establishment at each other’s throats (and that’s a good thing)

Philip Weiss on

American liberal Zionists and rightwing Zionists wrote opposing letters to Trump this week over Netanyahu’s plans to annex West Bank settlements. The open squabbling is a result of Trump’s extreme support for Israel and also the 52-year-long occupation, which has at last brought a crisis to the Jewish establishment’s consensus, that to be Jewish means to support Israel.

Why is this Seder different from all other Seders?

Ira Glunts on

A plan for an alternative Passover seder which is a reaction to the Israeli occupation and the Jewish religious rites deployed in its support: Ira Glunts’s Seder lo b’seder: the seder that skips the traditional seder, and supports BDS.

What motivates criticism of Israel by diaspora Jews? An interview with Bonnie Honig

Bruce Robbins on
Bonnie Honig

What motivates the criticism of Israel by Jews in the diaspora? Bruce Robbins talks with Bonnie Honig, one of the most insightful and original political theorists of her generation, who argues by targeting the Jewish diaspora in order to manufacture uncritical solidarity, Israel created, paradoxically, a sense of obligation to criticize Israel.

‘Things could move very quickly’ — Dems are now the anti-annexation party, taking on Netanyahu and Pompeo

Philip Weiss on
Trump signs at Likud/Netanyahu victory party, April 9-10, 2019. Tweeted by Donald Trump.

Since Netanyahu’s reelection, mainstream Democrats have taken up ardent opposition to his plan to annex parts of West Bank. Sec’y of State Mike Pompeo won’t say what Trump will do, but MD’s Chris Van Hollen dares to imagine one state with equal rights: “Would you agree that in a one state solution Palestinians should have full and equal political and legal rights with other citizens of that state?”

Liberal Zionists must drop the Zionism if they really want to build an Arab-Jewish political partnership

Philip Weiss on
Liberal Zionists discuss Israeli election, on April 10. From left to right, Yael Patir of J Street Israel, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami, and Israeli journalist/pollster Dahlia Scheindlin.

The Jewish left in Israel “received the fewest votes that it’s ever received and shows real signs of potentially going extinct,” says Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street. While other liberal Zionists call for leadership to build a liberal partnership with Palestinian voters. There is only one way to do so. Liberal Zionists must drop the Zionism, which is obnoxious to Palestinians, based on 100 years of exposure to the ideology.

Trump brags he blew off calls from world leaders to give Adelsons the greatest gift: Jerusalem

Philip Weiss on
Sheldon Adelson at the RJC, from Amichai Stein's twitter feed. April 6, 2019.

Before Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017, he says he got calls from “presidents, dictators, prime minister, kings, queens– everybody” and didn’t take the calls. Similar pressure kept previous presidents from making the move, he told the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas yesterday, but moving the embassy made his biggest donors, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, very happy.

Amos Oz’s daughter offers ‘the best possible justification of Zionism’ at DC memorial

Philip Weiss on
Fania Oz-Salzberger at her father's memorial in Washington, March 31. Temple Sinai, Washington. Photo taken from J Street's twitter feed.

The late Israeli author Amos Oz thought that Palestinians who wanted to return to the homes their grandparents were forced to flee in Israel suffered from a disease called “Reconstritis,” as did settlers who sought a biblical transformation of the West Bank. At a Washington memorial service for the author, his daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger cited the malady in extolling Zionism as a force that saved millions of Jewish lives.

‘Stop lying to young Jews’ — IfNotNow blocks Birthright office in NYC

Philip Weiss on

Police arrested 15 members of IfNotNow outside Birthright HQ in NY today after 100s of Jews demonstrated against the organization’s propaganda tours of Israel. Protester Yonah said that when he asked questions about Palestinians on his trip, his tour guide sat him down and said, “If you keep pulling this shit, I’m going to have to report you.” Yonah was “terrified” and shut up.

Demotion of NY pol who slurred Palestinians is a wakeup call for Democrats nationwide

Philip Weiss on
Kalman Yeger. (Photo: New York City Council)

Anti-Palestinian racism is at last moving the needle in US politics. The demotion by leadership of NY City Councilman Kalman Yeger for his anti-Palestinian comments this week sends a message to the Democratic Party nationwide, that the profound political shifts that the left is generating on a host of issues, from sexual harassment to economic inequity, will include Palestine, too.

Cory Booker says there’s no ‘greater moral vandalism’ than abandoning Israel (and he’ll cut off his hand first)

Philip Weiss on

Cory Booker’s secret speech to AIPAC is so fulsome it’s hard to believe. Booker would cut off his right hand before abandoning Israel. There is no “greater moral vandalism” than seeking to divide the US and Israel. Booker lobbied black congresspeople not to boycott Netanyahu’s 2015 speech because we need to show a “united front” with Israel. And Donald Trump is endangering Israel’s security in Syria.

Israel’s Palestinian problem and the Diaspora’s Israel problem

Abba Solomon on

American Jewish organizations cultivated Zionism as a bulwark of Jewish identity and against assimilation, but the success of the indoctrination has created problems for American Jews. “Public antipathy toward Israel would all too likely spill over into hostility toward American Jews,” the American Jewish Committee warned in 1953.

‘New York Times’ reports that Jewish donors shape Democrats’ regressive position on Israel

Philip Weiss on

This weekend the New York Times breaks one of the biggest taboos, describing the responsibility of Jewish donors for the Democratic Party’s slavish support for Israel. Nathan Thrall’s groundbreaking piece says in essence that it really is about the Benjamins, as Rep. Ilhan Omar said. The donor class of the party is overwhelmingly Jewish, and Jews are still largely wed to Zionism.

Democratic leaders’ use of AIPAC to bash Omar and ignore Netanyahu just gave progressive Dems a giant boost

Philip Weiss on

The big story coming out of AIPAC is every one in the Democratic leadership dumping all over the first term Muslim congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, while having nothing to say about Benjamin Netanyahu. In the process they have clearly damaged their own standing inside the progressive wing of the party, including among liberal Zionist advocates. When House Majority leader Steny Hoyer said Omar should accuse him of dual loyalty for his support for Israel, he seemed to confirm what she had said.

De Blasio speech at AIPAC is a monument of progressive Democratic racism against Palestinians

Philip Weiss on
NY Mayor Bill de Blasio addresses AIPAC policy conference, March 25, 2019. Screenshot from AIPAC livestream.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio gave the “simple, clear, progressive case for the state of Israel” at AIPAC this morning. He touched again and again on the Jewish history of persecution and “exclusion” and “expulsion” and never acknowledged that 750,000 Palestinians had been expelled from their lands at the birth of Israel in 1947-49. As such, his speech was a monument of Democratic denial of the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe. 

‘Intense hatred of Israel is moving from margins to center of US politics’ — Howard Kohr of AIPAC

Philip Weiss on

The AIPAC policy conference in Washington began Sunday on a defensive note, with the Israel lobby organization’s chief executive saying that Israel’s friends face a terrible new challenge: taking on “the scurrilous charge of dual loyalty” and declaring “The intense hatred of Israel is now creeping from the margins to the center of our politics.” 

‘Sanders smashes the Israel status quo,’ his new ad boasts

Philip Weiss on

A new Bernie Sanders ad highlights his criticism of Israel. Just as Sanders spoke out against South African apartheid ahead of others, says activist Shaun King, “today he speaks out against apartheid-like conditions in Palestine even though it’s not popular.” The progressive base wants that message.

ADL’s Greenblatt says ‘murdering people in a mosque’ has never happened before

Philip Weiss on

Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL will always cut Zionists a break on the standards he applies to others. Today he said of New Zealand mosque killings, “This act of violence really doesn’t have a precedent as far as we know, murdering people in a mosque.” He conveniently forgot the slaughter of 29 Muslims in Palestine by a Jewish settler in 1994.