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Words of the Week

“We condemn unequivocally President Abbas’ recent statements rejecting the Jewish people’s connections with Israel, denying the legitimacy of a Jewish State of Israel, and promulgating conspiracy theories about the creation of the State of Israel. We condemn as well the Palestinian Central Committee’s affirmation of his views and its call to break relations with Israel. Such statements and actions undercut possibilities for a peace process that alone holds the path to a viable and independent Palestinian state. While the on-the-ground ramifications of these statements are still unclear, there is no doubt that these statements risk a new and very dangerous escalation of tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

We continue to believe that the only future for a Jewish democratic State of Israel is to end its rule over millions of Palestinians. We urge responsible forces in the Palestinian community, Israel, the U.S. and international community, who remain committed to a two-state solution, to do everything feasible to restart movement in that direction.”

Source: Statement from URJ President Rick Jacobs.

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety. Continue reading ›

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My Year in Jewish Books

StarFor the past six 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 2017.

Reviewing my reading for 2017 (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 [or otherwise borrowed]), G (gift). Continue reading ›

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Words of the Week

“The sheer bluntness of far-right anti-Semitism makes it easier to identify and stigmatize as beyond the pale; individuals like David Duke and the hosts of the “Daily Shoah” podcast make no pretense of residing within the mainstream of American political debate. But the humanist appeals of the far left, whose every libel against the Jewish state is paired with a righteous invocation of ‘justice’ for the Palestinian people, invariably trigger repetitive and esoteric debates over whether this or that article, allusion, allegory, statement, policy, or political initiative is anti-Semitic or just critical of Israel. What this difference in self-definition means is that there is rarely, if ever, any argument about the substantive nature of right-wing anti-Semitism (despicable, reprehensible, wicked, choose your adjective), while the very existence of left-wing anti-Semitism is widely doubted and almost always indignantly denied by those accused of practicing it.”

Source: Jamie Kirchick, “The New Jew Hatred: Right and Left” (Commentary)

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Words of the Week

“The aforementioned invitation arrived several moments later, to myself and other editors at Tablet, strongly suggesting that it had more to do with stanching the bleeding of a public relations problem that seriously resolving a brutal moral error. Even more insulting and infuriating is the fact that the invitation suggests that the New School sees this as a matter of balancing out two equally legitimate sides, each with its own point of view.”

Source: Liel Leibovitz (Tablet)

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Words of the Week

“The Balfour Declaration sought to restore a Jewish homeland while respecting the interests of the non-Jews who share this land. Thirty years later, the UN set out a specific framework for achieving this. This was not acceptable to the Arabs of Palestine and those who spoke for them at the time, since their desire for a first-ever Palestinian state was outweighed by their hostility to the notion of a revived Jewish state alongside them. And it is all too evidently not acceptable to the Palestinian leadership now.

In declaring diplomatic and legal war on the Balfour Declaration, Palestinian leaders are telling the world — to their and our enduring misfortune — that nothing has changed in 100 years, that their opposition to our state in any borders remains greater than their desire for their own independent entity. A century later, they are affirming that their refusal to share any part of this land with the Jewish people remains absolute.”

Source: David Horovitz, Times of Israel

P.S. The My Machberet blog will be on a brief break for the next several days, so you won’t receive the usual pre-Shabbat post on Friday. Thanks for your patience—and see you again next week!

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