“Machberet” is the Hebrew word for notebook. Since it’s also (appropriately) one of the very first words I learned in my first Hebrew school in Brooklyn (and, I confess, one of the few conversational Hebrew words I still remember), I’ve chosen it to title this blog, where I offer write-ups on Jewish news (especially of the literary sort) and occasional commentary.
“During my time in Israel, I landed an internship with an Israeli non-profit that provided support services for foreign reporters based in Israel. For the most part, my job was to accompany members of the press on field tours, getting perspectives on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. I found to my surprise that much of the foreign press was ignorant and quite lazy in their reporting. They often had a less than limited understanding of the region, its history, and its politics. They tended to write stories that fit the preconceptions of their editors and producers. For the most part, this narrative consisted of the idea that Israelis are bad and Palestinians are good.”
Source: Zenobia Ravji, “Yes, Many Journalists Choose Sides in a Conflict—and Often for the Worst Reasons” (The Tower)
“The bottom line is that it’s time for all rational progressive people, LGBT or not, Jewish or not, to stop giving credibility to these accusations of ‘pinkwashing.'”
Source: Arthur Slepian, “How ‘Pinkwashing’ Has Become an Authoritarian Creed of Intimidation” (Haaretz)
“I share the outrage of Jews and Zionists who recognize how antisemitism has infiltrated the academy and progressive politics in multiple and worrying ways. Even though these activists may vigorously deny the label of antisemitism, at the very least they benefit from deeply ingrained antisemitic attitudes that assume Jews (or the Jew-writ-large of the State of Israel) are inherently powerful, wealthy, aggressive, shadowy, clannish, and untrustworthy. With little of the intellectual honesty and empathy they claim to embody, many anti-Israel activists advance their cause with the aid of these dangerous tropes, and have enjoyed unparalleled success in singling out Israel for rebuke as a result. As a consequence, not only are Israelis dehumanized in deeply repulsive ways by a supposedly humane academy/progressive political class, but BDS activism in the far left has become one of the most effective vehicles for reifying and spreading calumnies and discrimination against Jews. This state of affairs has already led to violence against Jewish students on campus and the exclusion of valuable Jewish voices in progressive causes that have no clear, obvious link to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As a Jew, a Zionist, a progressive, a professor, and a campus rabbi, I am deeply worried about these trends and what they mean for my students.”
Source: Rabbi Rachel Isaacs, Jewish Waterville