An interesting discussion piece by Shelley Berlowitz and Jochi Weil, two of the original Swiss signatories to the “Worldwide appeal by concerned Jewish men and women to the Israeli government”, launched in March.
Peter Beinart writes: “And oh yes, my fellow Jews, who are so thrilled to be locked arm in arm with the heirs of Pat Robertson and Father Coughlin against the Islamic threat. Evidently, it’s never crossed your mind that the religious hatred you have helped unleash could turn once again against us…”
Peter Beinart was in Israel following the publication of his explosive article, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment”, in June. Ofri Ilani reports in Haaretz: “The responses to the article demonstrated to Beinart the depth of the resentment against the Zionist establishment within the Jewish community. ‘There is a lot of anguish among American Jews, among liberal American Jews − but most American Jews are liberal,” he says in an interview conducted in Tel Aviv last week. “Many American Jews feel unhappy, uncomfortable with some of what they see Israel doing. They feel very upset about it, and they want the opportunity to express that. And they want to be able to do it without being told that they’re anti-Israel or self-hating Jews, or whatever. I think, particularly, for younger American Jews, that’s the case.’…”
Tony Lerman writes: “David Cameron’s description of Gaza as a “prison camp” and his strong condemnation of Israel over the Turkish Gaza flotilla has, predictably, angered some commentators and politicians and pleased others. But if those who attacked his words, like Stuart Polak, director of the Conservative Friends of Israel, believe they are reflecting popular opinion among British Jews, they are wrong—according to the latest survey evidence…”
Chris Spannos tells how a small community group in Woods Hole, Cape Cod started a weekly movie and discussion group in November 2008. Almost 60 films later it has been turfed ouf of its venue the old Woods Hold Firehouse. Why? On 4 June it screened ‘the award winning documentary “Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority.” It is a film by American brothers Sufyan and Abdallah Omeish that, as the movie’s own description says, “details life under Israeli military rule, the role of the United States in the conflict, and the major obstacles that stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace.”…’
“There is a paradox at the centre of Jewish life in modern Britain. On the one hand Jews are arguably the most successfully integrated ethnic minority in Britain today. On the other, they feel marginalized and – still – unwelcome. Drs. Kahn-Harris and Gidley offer us the first scholarly dissection of this paradox. Their conclusions – based on the exhaustive examination of written and oral sources – will surprise many. But these conclusions could also offer the blueprint for a renewed engagement between Britain’s Jews and the British state.” – Geoffrey Alderman
Tony Lerman, principal author of the 1997 Institute of Jewish Policy Research report in 1997, comments on the results of the new survey published last week.
A JPR press release says: “Jews in Britain strongly identify with and support Israel. They are ready to see Israel swap territory for peace and to talk with Hamas if it will advance the cause of peace. At the same time, they are concerned about Israel’s security, support the separation barrier/security fence and viewed the 2008/09 operation in Gaza as “a legitimate act of self-defence…”
“The Board of Deputies of British Jews” says Chair Vivian Wineman, ” is not a mouthpiece for the Israeli government to defend Israeli policy” – but reading his statement on the flotilla ‘episode’ you might be forgiven for thinking otherwise…
And Mick Davis, chairman of both the UJIA and the executive committee of the Jewish Leadership Council, has demanded a greater “collaboration” between Israel and diaspora Jews: “His words will be seen as a barely coded attack on Israel’s dismissal of diaspora views about the Middle East…”
June 10, 2010 by Peter Beinart
In 2003, several prominent Jewish philanthropists hired Republican pollster Frank Luntz to explain why American Jewish college students were not more vigorously rebutting campus criticism of Israel. In response, he unwittingly produced the most damning indictment of the organized American Jewish community that I have ever seen.
There will be a dignified demonstration of protest against Benny Begin, extreme right-winger and Minister in the Israeli government who has been invited by the Zionist Federation, JNF-UK and others to speak in Hendon to “celebrate” Jerusalem day. Not in our name, he’s not…
A group of official and private British-Jewish organisations have jointly invited ultra-right wing Israeli Minister Benny Begin to give the keynote address at “Yom Yerushalayim” celebrations in London on 11th May. These include the Jewish National Fund (JNF), the Zionist Federation (ZF), Hendon United Synagogue, Ner Israel Community, “One Jerusalem” and Likud-Herut UK…
Justice Goldstone writes: “It would have been hypocritical for me not to speak out about Israeli violations of international law simply because I am Jewish…”
Carol Strenger blogs in Haaretz: “Diaspora Jews around the world are realizing the time has come to reject the right’s dictate that being pro-Israel means that you need to support the policies of Israeli governments, no matter what they do…”
Jewish Voice for Peace honors the remarkable work of Howard Zinn. Penny Rosenwasser, former JVP board member, said: Our beloved Howard Zinn died yesterday of a heart attack in Los Angeles; he was 87. What a huge loss for us as Jews, as progressives, as human beings who care deeply about the world and the people in it [...]
New in paperback: “If Jewish adolescents got Marqusee’s book as a barmitzvah present, there might be a chance of avoiding the repetition of history’s mistakes.” – Michael Kustow, The Independent
Sociologist Keith Kahn-Harris writes: “The Board and other communal bodies need to find a way to ensure that voices from across the spectrum of opinions over Israel can enter into a dialogue. Rather than constantly seeking to present a united front that does not exist, the Board should transform itself into a space within which the full range of opinions about Israel can be heard and properly debated, rather than quashed…”
4 Dec: Stephen M. Walt writes: “There is an amazing story in Ha’aretz today on the “pro-Israel” litmus test that determines who is permitted to serve in the United States government…”
Under the heading “Israel critics pledge their backing for Goldstone” Leon Symons, reports in the Jewish Chronicle on the forthcoming full-page advert in the Times on Tuesday 2nd December
Will the Jewish Federation of San Francisco drive more people into the arms of BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanction)? Judith Butler, Ronnie Gilbert and Aurora Levins Morales respond Posted on November 16 2009 by Cecilie Surasky Here is an embarrassingly McCarthyite response to the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival’s decision to a) screen the film [...]