Words of the Week

“Rabbi Held and other Jewish leaders involved in the protests fittingly cited the Torah, and its insistence on equality, for their actions. ‘Do not stand idly by while the blood of your neighbor is shed,’ the passage from Leviticus (19:6), was noted in Rabbi Ayelet Cohen’s opinion essay on the Garner death and its aftermath. She also quoted Leviticus 24:22: ‘There shall be one law for all of you.'”
–Source: Editorial (The Jewish Week)

“The issues here in New York and across America are great. I bless you, and ask you to bless me that we meet the challenge of our community, inspired by the glorious and holy words of the Torah, tzedek tzedek tirdof. (Deuteronomy 16:20) This does not only mean ‘justice, justice you shall pursue’ but even more importantly, ‘justice you shall justly pursue.'”
–Source: Rabbi Avi Weiss, “Eric Garner, Jacob and Esau: The Ethics of Confrontation” (The Jewish Week)

“While Open Hillel’s stated aims are open dialogue and inclusiveness—worthy goals—the organization in actuality has something else in mind. The people who claim that Open Hillel’s main objective is to garner support for the BDS movement may not realize just how right they are.”
–Source: Holly Bicerano, “Standing Athwart Lies: Why I Left Open Hillel” (The Times of Israel)

“We need you to keep the faith, and become the advocates that Israel deserves and we and the Jewish people need.”
–Source: Rabbi John Rosove, “An Open Letter to Young American Jewish Liberals About Israel” (more…)

Words of the Week

“If you were truly concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people there would be one, just one, resolution to address the thousands of Palestinians killed in Syria. And if you were so truly concerned about the Palestinians there would be at least one resolution to denounce the treatment of Palestinians in Lebanese refugee camps.”
–Ambassador Ron Prosor, Address to the United Nations General Assembly on the Question of Palestine

“‘Broadly speaking, most New York Jewish intellectuals tend to be anti-Israel, and I disagree with a lot of my friends on this,’ [playwright Kenneth Lonergan] said. ‘Someone asked me recently if I was pro-Israel. I said, “Well I’m not pro-Hamas!” The standard comment is, yes we know they’re terrible, the Islamic extremists and anti-Israel factions in the Middle East, but—and then they go on about how horrible Israel is.’ He said he felt that this common posture was a sort of liberal racism, ‘where you have an overly benevolent and understanding position toward non-white cultures that behave just as appallingly as white cultures that you are very quick to jump on and condemn. That’s a very common feature of the atmosphere I grew up in. It accounts for quite a lot of the strange bias that you hear in left-wing circles and it fits the pattern just as well as the clearly racist xenophobia that you hear in right wing circles.'”
–Kenneth Lonergan, quoted in Tablet magazine.

“What is certain is that, for Jews who make their lives in intellectual and academic circles, the growing prevalence of anti-Israel discourse is making things very uncomfortable.”
–Adam Kirsch, “The Great Jewish American Liberal Academic Anti-Anti-Zionist Freak-Out” (Tablet magazine)

Words of the Week

“So, my dear friends with flowers in your hands, yes let’s convene another peace gathering and I will be there with bells on. But before that let us be discerning and draw clear lines. All is not a wash of oneness, equivalencies, equalities. There are cancers that can not be cured by chanting. Conflicts that can not be quashed through diplomacy. Aggressive medicine can sometimes be the most compassionate treatment for the disease.”
Source: Chaya Lester, “Feeling ‘Peaced Off'” (Hevria)

“If you’ve decided to turn the American campus into a war front, well, à la guerre comme à la guerre. Expect to take casualties.”
Source: Martin Kramer, “Hero’s Welcome for Hater of Israel at MESA” (The Sandbox)

Words of the Week

“There’s something else that bothers me about the binary formulation that Zionism = particularism and Diaspora = universalism. It doesn’t take into account the attachment Jews feel for one another and the need for community — even, dare I say it, that squishy word ‘peoplehood’ — that undergirds a Jew’s sense of being in the world.

Such attachment doesn’t have to take the form of Adelson’s crass particularism and unthinking solidarity. But it does require liberals to do something that many of us obviously find difficult: To privilege our own. To be able to say that Jewish tradition is special, that Jews should feel a responsibility to one another that does not negate our responsibility to the wider world but sometimes preempts it.”

Source: Jane Eisner, “Is Exile Good for the Jews” (The Forward)

Words of the Week

“Missing from these earnest and well-intentioned pieces, however, was any acknowledgment of the role the media themselves have played in creating the conditions under which anti-Semitism flourishes. The media do not grasp, the media refuse to see, the relation between the biased and hostile coverage of Israel they produce every day and the anti-Semitism on which they report.”
–Matthew Continetti, “Anti-Semitism: Now They Notice” (Commentary)

“Support for equal pay, or health care reform, or union rights, or abortion rights, or anti-discrimination laws, or protecting the environment, or the idea that corporations should pay their fair share of taxes—none of these are enough of a basis anymore for your liberalism. What now defines American Jews—and only American Jews—as liberals is whether they back the administration on Israel. If you don’t think Netanyahu is not just an opportunistic politician but also the devil; if you don’t see Mahmoud Abbas as a man singlemindedly committed to peace; if you don’t agree that John Kerry is doing God’s work bringing Israelis and Palestinians together; if you don’t think the leaders of Hamas are people who can be reasoned with—and even if you agree with all of the above but are perhaps a little unsure about the wisdom or the necessity of ever-closer U.S. ties with the Mullahs in Tehran—then you should accept that you aren’t a liberal anymore.”
–Tablet Staff, “American Jews Don’t Have to Choose Between Liberalism and Israel”

“Indeed, as Cary Nelson correctly points out in his introduction, boycotting Israel as a solid manifestation of detesting its very existence has become arguably the single most potent marker of being of the left today. He quotes one of the global left’s most cherished gurus, the Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo, who states the obvious that, ‘by now, anti-Zionism is synonymous with leftist world politics.’ Even if one is explicitly and actively anti-racist and anti-sexist, opposed to oppression, favours economic equality, fights for workers rights, actively supports the LGBT community, advocates strict gun control, stands for ecological reforms; one will be at best a very suspect, indeed even an unwelcome, member of what constitutes today’s left and being progressive without having decidedly and explicitly anti-Zionist views.”
–Andrei S. Markovits, “Book Review: The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel” (Fathom)