“I recognize that there are those people, on the right and on the left, for whom their relationship to Israel is not just a moral imperative but an exclusive imperative; and for whom, therefore, common cause with an opponent issue entails transgressing an impassable line. I respect this position, especially in its self-awareness of its hierarchy of moral choices. But I also believe it is a tragic position to take in a political moment that requires of us commitments to more than one moral imperative; and also because I wonder whether our willingness to work with outspoken critics of Israel right now, when we agree on many other issues, may in fact enable us to manage those tensions with those critics more effectively in the long run. I think a David Ben-Gurion-like position is a perfectly tenable moral position that balances multiple moral imperatives: We fight for our moral values in American political life as though there was no disagreement with our allies on these issues on Israel, and we fight on Israel with critics of Israel as though there was no domestic agenda. The existence of multiple moral frameworks with which to view the world is not a sign of confusion; it is a sign of sophistication and strength.”
Food for thought (for me, at any rate.)
Source: Yehuda Kurtzer, “Linda Sarsour and American Jewish Politics” (Jewish Journal)
“Because there is no sense in not recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel unless one does not accept Israel itself, every discussion of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem must begin with the United States saying that the right place for the embassy is Jerusalem. In fact, the U.S. Congress did just that in 1995 when it passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, declaring it strange that the United States ‘maintains its embassy in the functioning capital of every country except in the case of our democratic friend and strategic ally, the State of Israel.’ Only then, having settled this, should the United States delve into the question of whether now is the right time to move. Alas, administration after administration has chosen to use a ‘waiver’ and postpone the relocation.
So, is now the time? We can make a list of whys and why nots.”
Source: Shmuel Rosner, “Is It Time to Move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem” (Moment magazine)
“For progressively minded Zionists, our love for Israel is not the same as blanket support for every policy of Israel’s government. There are times — be it on matters of religious pluralism or, in the case of the last few weeks, the settlements — when American Jews believe that the present policies of the Israeli government run counter to the long-term interests of Israel. For those of us American Jews invested in the American-Israel relationship, America’s recent abstention at the United Nations was deeply problematic — an untrue and hypocritical condemnation of Israel as the primary obstacle to peace while Aleppo burns, Libya unravels, Iran and Russia destabilize their neighbors and, most significantly, a Palestinian leadership that has yet to perform the basic act of recognizing Israel’s right to exist. And yet, there remains the simple reality that the settlements are an obstacle to a two-state solution.”
Source: Elliot Cosgrove, “Why Liberalism Vs. Zionism Is a False Choice” (The Jewish Week)
“A worldview. A narrative. A frame. Whatever you call it, when it comes to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, The New York Times clearly seeks to steer readers toward the view that the Palestinians are, more or less, ‘just victims.’ And the necessary inverse is that Israel is, more or less, just a victimizer.
This narrative requires the newspaper to obsessively focus on the Israeli occupation, Israeli settlements, and Israeli right-wing ideologues as the explanation for the conflict in general and Palestinian attacks on Jews in particular. It must also downplay the role Palestinian hate speech, incitement to violence, and rejectionism has played in the conflict. Apparently, it also requires the newspaper to dismiss the Jewish connection to any part of the West Bank. Continue reading ›
For the past five years, I’ve found it useful (and kind of fun) to look back on “my year in Jewish books.” So, borrowing some of the same introductory wording, I’m going to attempt to do something similar for 2016.
Reviewing my reading for 2016 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that, again, I do not and would not ever limit my reading to “Jewish books” exclusively. (By the way, in case you haven’t heard me say this before, I define “Jewish books” in the simplest terms as books with substantive Jewish content. In my view, non-Jewish authors can write “Jewish books.” And Jewish authors can write books that don’t strike me as overtly Jewish.)
But this year, as usual, I did read quite a few books that fall within the “Jewish book” category. And, as an advocate for Jewish literature, I’m proud of that.
Below, you will find these books presented in the order in which I read them (most recent first). I have also disclosed how I obtained each book: P (purchase), R (complimentary review copy), L (library), G (gift), or FTB (for books I’ve read in manuscript prior to their release from Fig Tree Books in my job as FTB media editor OR as part of the ongoing series of spotlights posts on past winners of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award). Continue reading ›
“But the secretary and his president long ago lost much of the Israeli public, even many of the settlement critics, by underestimating the depth of Palestinian opposition to the very fact of the Jewish state’s existence. The president and his secretary have underestimated, too, the consequent scarring — physical and psychological — that the Israeli public has accumulated over decades of war, terrorism, and demonization as the Palestinians and those who championed their cause have sought Israel’s obliteration. Continue reading ›