Words of the Week

“At many American universities, mine included, it is now normal for student organizations to freely call Israel an imperialist power and an outpost of white colonialism with little pushback or discussion — never mind that more than half of Israel’s population consists of Israeli Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, and that the country boasts a 20 percent Arab minority. The word ‘apartheid’ is thrown around without hesitation. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is repeatedly dragged into discussions ranging anywhere from L.G.B.T.Q. equality (where to mention Israel’s vastly better record on gay rights compared with that of any other country in the Middle East is branded ‘pinkwashing’), to health care to criminal justice reform.”

Source: Blake Flayton, “On the Frontlines of Progressive Anti-Semitism” (The New York Times)

12 Jewish Books on My Radar for Fall 2019

Something that I quickly came to love about French culture was its emphasis on the literary rentrée, the post-summer “return” of focus on an outpouring of newly published books. In that spirit, this post highlights a number of Jewish books that are already on my radar for the fall season. Brief notes on each after the jump.

Covers of the 12 books decribed here.

Words of the Week

One of my guiding principles in life is to catch as many of Yossi Klein Halevi’s books, articles, and presentations as possible. (A secondary principle: to do what I can to get others to do the same.)

Here’s a new presentation, delivered yesterday in Washington at the Anti-Defamation League’s National Leadership Summit. (more…)

Words of the Week

“There are myriad ways that universities can encourage activism and debate around the conflict without hurting Jews on campus. Invite speakers from across the spectrum to debate, and bring in new viewpoints that may be unfamiliar to both sides, like Mizrahi and Ethiopian Israelis or Palestinians fighting for human rights in Gaza. Have Israeli-Palestinian conflict week and invite a variety of perspectives for learning and conversation. There should be cultural events for Israel, Palestinians, and any other group that cares to sponsor them without protests. Let there be celebrations of culture, debates over policy, and activism on all sides. But no student should be made to feel unsafe or unwell on campus, especially not in the name of inclusivity or academic freedom.”

Source: Carly Pildis, “Enough Is Enough” (Tablet)

Words of the Week

“When I see that dual-loyalty charge coming from a congresswoman who first signaled opposition to B.D.S. and then support for it, when I see it coming from a congresswoman who has never been to Israel, when I see it coming from a congresswoman who, to my knowledge, has never criticized the Palestinian leadership for its corruption and failure — time and again — to seize on peace overtures from Israeli leaders who, unlike Netanyahu, actually wanted to forge a two-state solution, when I see it coming from a congresswoman who seems to be obsessed with Israel’s misdeeds as the biggest problem in the Middle East — not Iran’s effective occupation of four Arab capitals, its support for ethnic cleansing and the use of poison gas in Syria and its crushing of Lebanese democracy — it makes me suspicious of her motives.”

Source: Tom Friedman, “Ilhan Omar, Aipac and Me” (The New York Times)

Words of the Week

“Omar is not the only one for whom some clarity would have been useful before she chose to take to Twitter without the requisite historical depth and sensitivity. The entire episode demonstrates that some clarity around issues of anti-Semitism, Israel, public discourse, and why public policy looks like it does is sorely lacking across the board. Between the defense of anti-Semitic comments as simply questioning Israel, the insistence that Omar must be intentionally dog whistling, the allegations that the big bad Israel lobby is shutting down discourse, and the arguments over who gets to define anti-Semitism and what constitutes an acceptable form of Judaism, the only thing that seems clear is that many people aren’t clear on how to talk about these issues.”

Michael Koplow, “Ilhan Omar and the Power of Clarity” (Israel Policy Forum)