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How the BDS movement convinced ‘Transparent’ creator Jill Soloway to shoot in L.A. instead of Israel

Sarah Schulman on

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.”

Alqasem is free — and her representatives Wasserman Schultz, Rubio, and Nelson can take no credit

Philip Weiss on
Non of Lara Alqasem's political representatives spoke up for her after Israel denied her entry to study at Hebrew University.

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 on fostering Jewish power, inoculating 5-year-olds for Israel, and preventing intermarriage

Philip Weiss on

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.

Detained by Israel for a week, with bedbugs, Florida student becomes a public-relations catastrophe

Philip Weiss on

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.

Ocasio-Cortez and other new Dems ‘need to be educated’ on Israel, says Rep. Eliot Engel

Philip Weiss on

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.”

Goldberg, reinvented, asks Clinton zero questions about Israel

Philip Weiss on

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.

I’d much prefer an honest Zionist to a ‘liberal’ one

Avigail Abarbanel on

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.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel was brought to you by Jeffrey Goldberg

Yakov Hirsch on

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.

Leading NY rabbi says opposition to Israel is ‘litmus test’ for Jews participating on left, and that’s anti-Semitic

Philip Weiss on

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.”

Provoked by BDS campaign, Trump administration says anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism

Philip Weiss and Donald Johnson on

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.

Nixon backpedals on letter saluting ‘courageous’ artists who boycotted ‘clearly illegal’ Israeli settlement

Philip Weiss on

“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.”

‘NYT’ reporter’s book on Israeli assassinations brims with jokes about killing Arabs

Philip Weiss on
Ronen Bergman and his new book, "Rise and Kill First".

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.

Adelson’s perfect little puppet ends all possibility of a Palestinian state

Philip Weiss on

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.

Synagogues celebrate Jewish festival of… AIPAC!

Philip Weiss on

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!

Obama’s foreign policy options were continually limited by Netanyahu and the lobby — Ben Rhodes

Philip Weiss on

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.

Young Jews disagreed with the JCC – and they called the cops on us

Esther Mack and Abby Weaver on

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.”

If there’s mansplaining and whitesplaining, then why not Ziosplaining? – on Yossi Klein Halevi’s Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor

Ilene Cohen on

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.