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Author Topic: The Jewish Divide on Israel
robbie_dee
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Babbler # 195

posted 26 June 2004 06:04 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"The Jewish Divide on Israel: A growing grassroots movement has challenged the artificial AIPAC consensus,"
by Esther Kaplan (The Nation, July 12, 2004)

quote:
News and commentary circulated by the two camps, even regarding the same events, bear almost no relation to each other. In late May, as the Israeli army's Operation Rainbow crested in Gaza, ISM e-mails included an eyewitness account of Israeli soldiers shooting tear gas at children and a graphic description of tanks firing shells into a peaceful demonstration in Rafah. E-mails from the Conference of Presidents, on the other hand, told of tunnels used by Palestinians to smuggle weapons and a Jewish settler whose wife and four daughters were killed by terrorists. In the eyes of peaceniks, such as Anita Altman, a Jewish communal professional in New York City, mainstream Jewish institutions are concerned so exclusively with Israeli security that "we've lost the capacity to recognize the other and to acknowledge Palestinans' humanity." In the eyes of establishment Jewish leaders, such as Ernest Weiner, director of the American Jewish Committee's San Francisco chapter, the doves, by concerning themselves primarily with the rights of Palestinians under occupation, have become "nothing more than a mouthpiece of the Arabs." One of these camps has positioned itself as the legitimate voice of American Jews, and has the ear of both parties in Washington; the other, the anti-occupation majority, is being quashed.

Charney Bromberg, executive director of the peace and civil rights organization Meretz USA, an affiliate of Israel's left-wing Meretz Party, calls this phenomenon "the Israeli disease," in which a handful of far-right ideologues dictate policy for the moderate masses; he warns that it has now taken root in American Jewish politics. Palestinian suicide bombers and the war on terror, he argues, have increased the right's leverage. "You get this sense in the Jewish community that we're under siege and anyone who challenges the consensus is a traitor who has to be purged," Bromberg says. "The right has the capacity to instantly inflate any expression of civil discourse, doubt or questioning into an act of disloyalty." Historian Michael Staub, author of Torn at the Roots: The Crisis of Jewish Liberalism in Postwar America, says this split in the Jewish community between an institutional mainstream and a liberal/left alternative dates to the early 1970s, when young Jews, who disproportionately populated the New Left, challenged the major Jewish organizations over Vietnam, urban poverty and assimilation. The difference, says Staub, is that then, when dissidents picketed a synagogue or stormed a meeting of the Jewish Federation, the mainstream leadership scrambled to set up meetings. Now, with dissent centered around Israel, mainstream communal leaders attack anti-occupation protesters as self-hating Jews or take steps to shut them out of the debate entirely. "There is a silencing going on at the local level by American Jewish institutions that is very unhealthy," says Brit Tzedek's Freedman.


[ 26 June 2004: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lord Palmerston
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posted 27 June 2004 12:46 AM      Profile for Lord Palmerston     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Now I have to become a Nation subscriber to read their stuff? Forget that.

A lot of North American Jews - probably around half - aren't even affiliated with the Jewish community anymore.

Certainly the Jewish Left has been marginalized over the past fifty years or so. Leftist Jews have long been an embarrasment to Jewish elites. The line about "self-hating Jews" and so is nothing new.


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Lord Palmerston
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posted 27 June 2004 12:52 AM      Profile for Lord Palmerston     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I should say a lot of the "doves" that are being (negatively) referred to are hardly progressive or pro-Palestinian at all but merely supporter of Labor as opposed to Likud.
From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
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Babbler # 195

posted 27 June 2004 01:18 AM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Now I have to become a Nation subscriber to read their stuff? Forget that.

Crap. That sucks. I am a Nation subscriber, but I thought this was part of the free content. Sorry about that.

The gist, anyway, was that a particular cadre of right-wing Zionists have monopolized the position of the "Jewish voice" in American politics, forcing political candidates of all stripes to kowtow to whatever repressive act Sharon's government does. But in fact there was a separate and vibrant tradition of Jewish dissent, rooted in concern for the Palestinian people and the struggles for peace and social justice. The article shows how their voices are being marginalized both inside and outside the Jewish community.

The article didn't say anything revolutionary, or at least anything I hadn't heard before. But it was well argued and provided good history and context. Maybe it will be republished somewhere for free. (Or you could subscribe. It's a good magazine.)

[ 27 June 2004: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lord Palmerston
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posted 27 June 2004 01:25 AM      Profile for Lord Palmerston     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I used to read The Nation pretty often, but I found it to lost its independent progressive voice and become a partisan Democrat rag during the 2000 election.

It's true in Canada as well that the Jewish community leadership while generally in the Liberal Party camp, backs the most reactionary elements of Israeli policy while claiming to speak for the Jewish people as a whole.


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
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Babbler # 195

posted 01 July 2004 12:01 AM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Bump. The Nation has apparently moved this article into its free content. So my link above should work now. If it doesn't try this one:

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040712&s=kaplan

[ 01 July 2004: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged

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