Sarah Schulman writes, “Jill Soloway’s new book, She Wants It, opens the doors to the backstory of how a BDS campaign influenced Transparent, ie US corporate television, for the first time. And while Jill and I have completely different lenses and focuses and details, we agree on the key facts: Transparent was profoundly affected by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement due to Jill’s willingness to talk, listen, and rethink.”
Category Archives: American Jewish Community
Israel’s Supreme Court said Lara Alqasem, the 22-year-old Palestinian-American student detained for 15 days at Ben Gurion airport, is free to enter the country and pursue studies. Though championed by J Street and Americans for Peace Now, Alqasem got no public support from her representatives, Florida Senators Nelson and Rubio, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents says there’s only one way to counter negative media about Israel swaying Jewish youth: “Inoculate” Jews in kindergarten about everything good Israel does. And wait till you hear about his program for Israel to host a “World Jewish Singles” event to bring Jews from around the world to Israel to meet and mate.
Several Democratic candidates this fall — Andrew Gillum in Florida, Scott Wallace in Pennsylvania, Ben Jealous in Maryland, Beto O’Rourke in Texas, and Ted Deutch in Florida — have issued statements against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel, as Republicans try to make Israel a political issue in the fall races.
Spending a week in Ben-Gurion airport under a deportation order has surely been uncomfortable for 22-year-old American student Lara Alqasem, but the detention has done a great deal to advertise the Israeli government’s intolerance of criticism. NYT conservatives Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss plead with Israel to release her lest the case alienate American Jews; while an Israeli government minister says Alqasem can come in if she renounces her earlier ideas.
NY Congressman Eliot Engel told an AIPAC audience last night that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three other progressive Democrats who may enter Congress “need to be educated” to support Israel. The event came on the heels of a New York Times article on the new wave of progressive Democrats who have “dared to breach what has been an almost inviolable orthodoxy in both political parties, strong support for Israel.”
Jeffrey Goldberg used to quiz our leaders about Israel as a representative of the Jewish establishment. But he had nearly 40 minutes with Hillary Clinton and never mentioned that parochial subject. The Atlantic editor understands, the brand is toxic.
Nobel laureate biologist George Smith has repeatedly been smeared for his anti-Zionist views, characterized as a bully, a heckler, and a hater akin to David Duke. If we know anything from his considerable efforts to criticize Zionism, Smith will not rest on his laurels.
In the last year, Israel’s supporters in the U.S. have been making frank appeals to Jewish money and power as weapons to fight Israel’s delegitimization from the left. Josh Block of the Israel Project says there are “billions… at rest in our community” that can be used to invest in media properties and make them tribunes for Israel.
Avigail Abarbanel calls on liberal Zionists such as Rabbi Daniel Zemel to stop pretending to be nice and say clearly and unequivocally that they believe that the Jewish people have more right to survive than the Palestinian people, that Zionist forces were justified to kick 750,000 Palestinians out of their homes to create Israel.
Rabbi Daniel Zemel of a Reform temple in Washington, D.C., says that Jewish “anti-Israelists” are scorning their “birthright” because of Israel’s rightwing practices. And Dana Milbank in the Washington Post warns that Israel’s future is at risk because the Jewish community here is dividing over support for it.
On Yom Kippur, Marc Ellis reflects that the historical damage done to Palestinians and the occupation of Palestine itself is permanent, making it difficult to read Jewish theologians who were optimistic about Israel as at best simplistic. It is becoming more and more difficult to read hopeful interpretations of Jewish life and Israel.
Financier Seth Klarman has long given to rightwing pro-Israel causes, but NYT’s Bari Weiss doesn’t mention Israel in an article on Klarman turning on the Republican Party and Trump. A pro-Israel advocate herself, she’s protecting the Israel lobby from scrutiny.
The Jewish tribalist culture that sees Jews as heirs to a sacred macho victimhood and Israelis militarism as the answer was promoted by Jeffrey Goldberg, the leading American Jewish journalist. It created Netanyahu’s Israel, which Goldberg and his friends are now trying to flee as they try to take on Trump.
In a sermon decrying anti-Semitism, Central Synagogue rabbi Angela Buchdahl calls out the left for demonizing Israel by demanding that young Jews renounce Zionism in order to take part in social justice causes. But Israel is a liberal ideal, she says, “Jews have always been at the forefront against oppression.” And Israels killings of unarmed Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border is “complicated.”
The Department of Education’s new anti-Semitism standard that bars calling Israel a racist endeavor shows the sheer arrogance of the Trump-Netanyahu axis. They are going for broke. And the liberals who obsess about Putin’s supposed control seem unable to spot which groups really have influence on Trump.
“My signing the letter had nothing to do with the appropriateness or inappropriateness of their performing there,” Cynthia Nixon says of 2010 letter supporting Israeli artists boycotting Ariel settlement. She misrepresents the letter, which describes Ariel as “clearly illegal” by all standards of international law and calls the artists “courageous” in the face of “wrongful acts,” concluding, “We stand with them.”
If the Oslo peace process between Israel and Palestine had succeeded, Donald Trump would not have been elected, says the eminent Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar. He surely imagines a scenario in which neoconservatives did not push the Iraq war, which helped Trump defeat Clinton in 2016.
NY State Democratic Party mailer smearing Gov. Cuomo’s challenger Cynthia Nixon as an antisemite cites a real difference between the two, Nixon has backed boycott of a West Bank settlement, while Cuomo has been outspoken against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, BDS campaign.
Ronen Bergman’s pageturner on the history of Israeli assassinations, Rise and Kill First, revels in the jokes the killers make about their targets. “That man died of natural causes by swallowing a pillow.” “No dog, no rabies.” “Someone who deserves his ticket on the train to elimination.” The language is morally degrading and serves to justify killing Arabs, who are voiceless in the book.
Everything that Trump is doing in Israel/Palestine, from moving the embassy to telling Palestinians to accept Jordanian sovereignty, is in line with the agenda of his biggest backer, billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who thinks Palestinians don’t exist and they should never have a state. The pattern is clear. But the press ignores the story.
Support for the Israeli government no matter what still defines the official American Jewish community. Just look at this long list of rabbis celebrating AIPAC, the Israel lobby group, from their altars, despite AIPAC’s support for the Iraq war and fierce opposition to the Iran deal. AIPAC might as well be a Jewish holiday!
In his memoir The World As It Is, Ben Rhodes documents that Netanyahu and his American friends had access to President Obama at every turn. Rahm Emanuel nicknamed Rhodes “Hamas” for advocating for Palestinians, and after Netanyahu humiliated Obama in the Oval Office lecture of 2011, Rhodes had to call “leading Jewish donors” to assure them Obama still supported Israel.
This April, the Durham, NC City Council unanimously passed a policy that made it the first city to bar its police from engaging in international military-style training. This past Sunday, the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill hosted an event called “Durham City Council Statement Singling out Israel: Jewish Community Responses” which ignored Jewish support for the policy and when Esther Mack and Abby Weaver tried to share their perspective they were removed by police. Mack and Weaver write, “Cops may have removed us from the Jewish Community Center, but we cannot be removed from the Jewish community. Whether our community leaders are ready to acknowledge and accept us is up to them.”
Ilene Cohen defines ‘Ziosplaining’ as “the efforts of Zionists of so-called moderate stripe, who are endlessly pained by reality, to explain to Palestinians (and the world) that they have no choice but to support the Israeli occupation of Palestine.” She says the latest effort in the genre is Yossi Klein Halevi’s Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor. “That neighbor, by the way, is the author’s imaginary neighbor—the only one possible for such an exercise, because few and far between would be the Palestinians who wouldn’t gag at this patronizing effort to have their situation ‘explained’ to them,” Cohen writes.