Author Archives: Sydney Levy

Hillel’s troubles

Hillel has trouble deciding whom to bring to speak at its campus events. It seems that trying to define one-self as pro-Israel is not as simple as one might think.

But for a pro-Israel organization, what are the boundaries? How critical can a speaker be of the Jewish state and still be consistent with Hillel’s mission?

Rabbi Howard Alpert, executive director of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, insisted that the lines are well-defined.

“While Hillel wants to promote dialogue among Jewish students who have different perspectives on Israel, we are unabashedly supportive of Israel.”

This quote refers to the controversy caused by Hillel-Philadelphia’s decision not to host a talk by Jeff Halper, the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. We would not want a Hillel audience to hear about the Palestinian house demolitions and house evictions taking place in Jerusalem this very month. That is out of bounds for Hillel. For the rest of you, please go here: http://enddemolitionsnow.org/.

Boycotting Halper is only half of the controversy, however. That very same week, Hillel-Philaldelphia invited to speak none other than Effi Eitam, a retired brigadier general and former Knesset member, notorious because of his racist statements. Eitam has called Palestinian citizens of Israel a “ticking bomb” and “a cancer”, and has stated on Israeli Army Radio that,

‘we cannot be with all these Arabs, we’ll have to expel the overwhelming majority of West Bank Arabs from here and remove Israeli Arabs from political system.’

Eitam denied ever calling for violence against Palestinians. Apparently the expulsions he recommends do not qualify as violence, but as a picnic in the park.

None of this worries Hillel.

The Jewish Exponent explains why:

Eitam is now an adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on infrastructure and energy issues, and has been chosen by the Jewish National Fund to represent Israel on American campuses. Alpert explained that while he encouraged students to challenge Eitam, “we are not going to reject spokespersons chosen by the government.”

JNF is an American organization that is not part of the Israeli government, but Alpert said that Eitam was representing Netanyahu’s government because of his current positi

Now you know how Hillel interprets its pro-Israel mandate. Any racist qualifies, as long as it gets the seal of approval from the Israeli government.

Given this standard, maybe Hillel should do a speaking tour for Yitzchak Shapira, the rabbi that wrote a long treatise stating that according to Jewish law it is permitted to kill non-Jews, and even babies. After all, Shapira’s yeshiva enjoys Israeli government’s funding. Hmmm… does this make him pro-Israel?

Only Hillel knows. Its idea of morality bends with the rhythm of the political currents in Israel. Had Eitam wanted to do his tour three years ago, Hillel would have probably refused, since at the time Israel’s Attorney General was threatening to press charges against Eitam because of anti-Arab statements.

But now that Eitam is an adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, what is Hillel to do?

Here’s Hillel’s description of Eitam at another talk, this time in Buffalo, NY:

Effie Eitam is an Israeli War Hero, a devout Jew and an unabashed supporter of the right of the Jewish people to their own homeland. He is a former leader of the National Religious Party and more recently the Ahi party, which became a part of Likud in 2009.

His bio goes on and on about how wonderful this man is. The closest you will get to any mention of his racism is this:

He presents a refreshingly different and candid insight into the problems and opportunities facing Israel.

Oy, Hillel!

– Sydney Levy

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Isi Leibler explains what he meant…

Here’s isi Leibler, now in Haaretz, all shocked that people are upset by his call to exorcise and excommunicate Jews that disagree with him. This is how he reports in Haaretz what he had previously said:

I observed that self loathing Jews are not a new phenomenon in Jewish history. During the Middle Ages, Jewish apostates were exploited by the church to promote the most obscene libels against their kinsman. That paved the way for subsequent pogroms and massacres. I noted that during that period, such renegades were excommunicated. To suggest as did Burston and Strenger that I seek to reintroduce “excommunication” to deal with “doves” or critics of Israeli policy is an unconscionable misrepresentation of what I wrote.

And this is how he said it in the Jerusalem Post:

The exploitation of Judge Goldstone’s Jewish background by our enemies intensifies our obligation to confront the enemy within – renegade Jews – including Israelis who stand at the vanguard of global efforts to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state. Such odious Jews can be traced back to apostates during the Middle Ages who fabricated blood libels and vile distortions of Jewish religious practice for Christian anti-Semites to incite hatred which culminated in massacres. It was in response to these renegades that the herem (excommunication) was introduced.

Sorry if you got us all confused, Mr. Leibler. This renegade Jew still reads the original paragraph as a call to excommunicate Judge Goldstone and other Jews that do not agree with your point of view.

Let’s try again, this time going forward, from the J Post to Haaretz.

Here’s Leibler in the Jerusalem Post:

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is currently riding a wave after his superb United Nations address. He should summon a global Jewish solidarity conference encompassing Jewish leaders, opinion makers, philanthropists and activists similar to that organized in 1989 under the auspices of then prime minister Yitzhak Shamir and then defense minister Yitzhak Rabin in order to demonstrate the unity of the Jewish people.

At a time when we desperately seek allies, in addition to encouraging millions of Jews in the Diaspora who remain committed to Israel to become more actively engaged in our struggle, such a gathering would also provide an opportunity to exorcise the renegades from our midst.

And here is his ‘clarification’ in Haaretz:

I have no doubt that had Rabin been alive, he too would have endeavored to “exorcise” (Thesaurus “disentangle” or “remove”) from the mainstream, those Israelis and Jews who actively seek to demonize the state, defame the IDF, lobby foreign governments against Israel or oppose a Jewish democratic state.

Isn’t nice and clever? Let me give you synonyms of ‘exorcise’ even as I talk about ‘demonizing’ the state. Very nice juxtaposition, Mr. Leibler.

Even with this neat clarification, some questions remain: Disentangle from where? Remove to where?

Lastly, this is how Mr. Leibler describes J Street (who by the way, should also be excommunicated, exorcised, disentangled, and removed):

J Street whose principal objective was to persuade their president to exercise “tough love” on Israel because they decided that the Jewish state needed to be treated like a parent who treats a drug addicted child.

If only that description of J Street were true!

Now, if Mr. Leibler does not believe that Israel should be treated like is a drug addicted child, he should — under risk of excommunication and exorcism — join the call to suspend, or at least condition, the 3 billion dollars a year that Israel receives, no strings attached. That’s quite a drug right there.

– Sydney Levy, renegade Jew

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment option for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile dysfunction and similar states when hard-on is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile dysfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such drug experience erectile disfunction. Such disease is best solved with professional help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common undesirable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this medicament is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

The poets get the last word

This blog has covered the controversy surrounding the disinvitation of poets Josh Healey and Kevin Coval from the J Street Conference. As you may recall, Josh and Kevin moved their performance to another venue instead.

I was planning to add to the blog an audio recording of the event, just so that people could hear for themselves what the controversy was all about. I am glad I did not. Why? In the meanwhile, Josh produced video recordings instead.

They are absolutely worth a watch. I did not arrive in time to DC to be at the original performance. I confess that watching the videos replenished my soul after a hard Congress Goldstone-bashing week.

Here’s how Josh described the value of Kevin’s poetry:

I know that listening to Kevin provokes a lot in me. Listening to Kevin … makes me want to speak, makes me want to yell, makes me want to cry. It brings out a lot. It brings out more than just reading the newspaper or just reading the BBC — and it brings it out in a way that hopefully we can see more, more in common with each other, more in common with each other’s humanity while recognizing that we are not all the same but we can have the same goals, so for me it is creating a space that is a safe space to maybe not leave the conversation in the same place that you started it.

After you watch these short videos, I hope you will agree that this applies to both Kevin and Josh.

First off, the context:

Josh’s poem that got Michael Goldfarb’s right-wing panties in a bunch:

Now Kevin:

The beginning of the Q&A, with Laila Al-Arian:

Closing thoughts:

If you want to watch more, go to http://joshhealey.org

If you want to read more from Kevin, here’s a start:

Since the Second Intifada I have thought, wrote, and spoke about these issues, but over the course of these last several weeks, I have arrived at a new beginning. Prior to now, I muddled this issue in complexity. But I have come to realize it is actually simple and clear. I am a Jewish-American man in solidarity with Palestinian people. I am in solidarity with Israeli and American and all people who work and risk their lives and livelihood for justice. I am not restricted to working within the confines of the Jewish-American community. Justice and the resistance to imperialism is a global, human concern for all people down to struggle. For Jews, yes, but not Jews alone. For Palestinians, yes, but not Palestinians alone.

OK, if you still you want to listen to the full audio (no video), here it is.

– Sydney Levy

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment variant for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile dysfunction and similar states when erection is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile malfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such drug experience erectile disfunction. Such disease is best solved with professional help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common objectionable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this medicament is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

I am not afraid of people discussing the Nakba. I am afraid of people not being allowed to discuss it.

In the “credit where credit is due” department, I was very impressed by Hagai El- Ad, who was representing the Association of Civil Rights in Israel on the J Street Conference panel about the New Israel Fund. He provided what I believe was the only mention of the Nakba [Catastrophe] at the J Street conference, in the context of the Nakba Law, which he opposed in powerful, articulate language. This law, covered here on Muzzlewatch, was originally intended to criminalize with up to three years in prison anyone who dared commemorate the Nakba. The new version was ‘softened’ to bar the Israeli government from providing funding to activities that deny Israel’s definition as a Jewish or democratic state — in essence sanctioning a government boycott of Nakba-related cultural and educational activities.

El Ad opposed this law not just on behalf of the 20% of Israel’s population who is Palestinian, but referred to the Nakba as part of the history of the entire country. El Ad said “I am not afraid of people discussing the Nakba. I am afraid of people not being allowed to discuss it.”

This is a reminder of the stake we all have in opposing muzzling: the threat posed to everyone by those who would suppress or even criminalize criticism. All the more reason to use the privilege we have here to raise our voices as loudly and effectively as we can.

– Jesse Bacon

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment variant for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile dysfunction and similar states when hard-on is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile dysfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such drug experience erectile dysfunction. Such disease is best solved with vocational help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common objectionable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this cure is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

The Anathema is now the Mainstream

In another, more tolerant world, Muzzlewatch bloggers would have had a space on the J Street panel titled Shifting the Conversation: Jewish Community Dynamics and Israel, which was really a discussion of the muzzling phenomenon in Jewish institutions. In our absence, it was instead “insiders” sharing their experience of being on the receiving end of right-wing attacks for allowing any semblance of debate on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. This was fascinating, and led to some of the most truthful moments of the J Street conference.

The moderator Hannah Rosenthal seemed to come down firmly in favor of “multitasking” a domestic and international agenda, drawing on her experience working at the Jewish Public Affairs Council. She had the funniest muzzling anecdote: being asked to cancel her own birthday party by the Jewish Federation because it featured an introduction to J Street. Her reaction: “You’re not invited!” She then raised a question that J Street would do well to take to heart, how Jewish organizations could have better spent the hours discussing who not to invite or include to their events.

Rabbi Peter Knobel was the first speaker, a pulpit rabbi just down the road in Evanston, IL from Muzzlewatch hero Rabbi Brant Rosen. He was also past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He made the correct connections, from McCarthyism to the treatment of early peace group Breira, to clergy who lost their jobs for supporting the civil rights movement. It was so powerful to me to hear causes now beloved by liberal Jews in the same sentence as critical stands on Israel. He also uttered the title quote (the anathema is now mainstream), capturing what is exciting about the present moment, and what gives me hope for the future. Rabbi Knobel also reminded me how history can turn by pointing out that his congregation was founded by a rabbi fired for espousing Zionism, when that was a taboo belief in Jewish communities. This legacy led him to basically have tenure, indeed when he was “outed” (his word) by a congregant for going to J Street. The conservative group who discussed “what was to be done” found that indeed the answer was nothing. He concluded by reminding us that the rule on Jewish rebuke, or “tochecha” is for you to frame things in a way that they can be heard.

Daniel Sokatch lamented not being able to cancel people’s birthdays now that he was no longer a Federation president. He quoted the slogan “Think Yiddish, Dress British” as a lesson for clothing one’s authentic thoughts in acceptable garb. His first experience with muzzling came as founder of the Progressive Jewish Alliance, when he wrote an Op-Ed for the Los Angeles Times calling for recognition of the Armenian genocide, contrary to the lobbying position of the Jewish community leaders seeking to curry favor with Israel’s ally Turkey. He was told by the leader of one such organization “We are the foreign ministry of the Jewish people.” Sokatch’s response: “I didn’t vote for you.” Sokatch then added that the Jewish community is even less hospitable to dissent now, attributing this to the economic collapse and Madoff, as well as the strains placed on the relationship between U.S. Jews and Israelis because of their differing takes on Obama. He pointed out a split in Israeli politics as well, with Ambassador Oren only sending an observer to J Street, while Israel’s president and opposition leader send approving letters. These tensions have allowed a “terrified minority” of conservatives to dominate a moderate majority. He retold a meeting with a group of rabbis who all felt powerless to speak about Israel’s actions because of this minority, whom Sokatch appropriately compared to people who believe Saddam caused 9/11. He listed other examples of muzzling, Kesher Enoshi students at UC Berkeley and the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, though he didn’t mention the cause of that. He concluded with his own invitation to J Street, when he still headed the San Franicisco Jewish Federation. Apparently he was the only federation head to accept. It seemed commonsense to him; he had attended AIPAC dinners even though it was not his cup of tea, why wouldn’t he come to J Street? He lost a million-dollar donor, though two million-dollar donors threatened to withdraw funds if he didn’t go! He finally heard from another federation head who was willing to write a supportive op-ed, but not to attend J Street with him, and then as he put it, the New Israel Fund — his current employer — called. It is interesting that Sokatch chose to highlight the reaction over his decision to go to J Street over the intense backlash around the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, which many months after the last film was shown still has the Jewish Bay Area community reeling. Then again, the panel seemed to emphasized stories with a happy ending, where muzzling was overcome: Sokatch and Knobel did come to J STreet.

A more conservative speaker, Shula Bahat, concluded the program by mostly using her time to give her opinions about how no one should put pressure on Israel because look what happened when the US made them allow Hamas take part in elections. She didn’t seem to have any actual experiences of muzzling, and was probably just included for added credibility as a former American Jewish Committee Executive Director. Oddly enough, she did say she allowed young people in her organization freedom to say whatever they wanted, regardless of messaging guidelines. Was this a reaction to the Jerusalem Post article claiming that J Street University had dropped the pro-Israel slogan? The point was later clarified by J Street:

The student groups don’t need to say they are explicitly pro-Israel so long as their programming and outreach operate from the premise that the Jewish state has a right to exist as a Jewish state,” says Jessica Rosenblum, a J Street spokesperson.

While the examples of muzzling were extremely illuminating and candid, it was left to friend of JVP, rabbinical student Alana Alpert to call the speakers out on the implications of their statements. She asked why when J Street was trying to encourage open discussion, they insisted that everyone preface their statements with: “My grandfather planted orange groves, I speak fluent Hebrew, etc.” She could play that game, but why should she have to? In a sign of how much her question exposed the contradictions of the conference, the moderator could only respond that “you have to choose your battles.” Apparently encouraging real debate is not a battle worth fighting. But I am optimistic that Alana Alpert represents the real future of the movement, whether or not J Street is able to “shift” in response.

– Jesse Bacon

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment variation for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile dysfunction and similar states when erection is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile malfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such preparation experience erectile malfunction. Such disease is best solved with professional help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common undesirable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this medicament is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

Doing the math at J Street: Nine is more than four

The most difficult moment for me at the J Street came this morning. I was listening to a panel called Messaging Pro-Israel Pro-Peace.

Jim Gerstein, the first panelist presented good polling data about the attitude of American Jews towards Israel and the US role in the region. Lots of good numbers here, the kind of numbers that AIPAC prefers to ignore.

The survey shows that 7 out of 10 American Jews support US policies that help Israelis and Palestinians resolve their conflict–and this includes the US publicly disagreeing with both sides as well as exerting pressure on both sides (in other words, disagreeing also with Israel and exerting pressure also on Israel).

You can find all the survey info here:
http://www.jstreet.org/page/media-advisory-new-survey-american-jewish-community

Matt Dorf, the next panelist talked about communications and messaging: what we say matters a lot, he said.

Keep this in mind as we move to the third panelist, Dr. Calvin Goldscheider. Here comes demography to help us say what we need to say about being pro-Israel pro-peace.

Dr. Goldscheider did a rapid survey in no more than a few minutes about the changing ratio of Jews to Arabs in what is now Israel. In a few seconds, we heard about the role of Jewish immigration, the Russians (not all of them are Jewish), the temporary workers from Asia (now numbering a quarter of a million) so and so forth. Not a word about the Nakba, isn’t that a bit odd?

But let’s focus on the present. The question on the table, Is there a demographic threat?

The good news, says Dr. Goldscheider, is that in the context of the State of Israel, Arab minorities present no demographic threat unless we include the occupied territories and give the inhabitants there equal rights. Inclusion without equal rights leads to the end of democracy. Inclusion with equal rights leads to the end of the Jewish majority in the state. And that is why a two-state solution is a must: to preserve Jewish democracy.

The Palestinians are of course non-players in this Jewish democratic drama. At most, they are a threat just for being there. At best, they are a minority that we must keep under demographic control.

Oh, but the Palestinians are playing their part well. You see, in the 1960′s Palestinians had an average of nine children per family. Now they only have four. (Phew).

Four children is a lot, but nine is a lot more, explains the kind demographer in case we cold not do the math. Audience laughs.

Now, I am Jewish and I am also a Latino man living in California–a state where we have a pluralistic demographic composition: not one group, not even non-Latino whites, amount to 50% of the population. If I were to hear white people bemoaning the demographic threat that the rise of people of color in the state represents, I would call it like it is, and that is racism, pure and simple. I have no use for the phrase demographic threat. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth and a sharp pain in my gut.

What we say matters a lot; that’s what we were told in this workshop. If we need to use racism to message ourselves as Pro-Israel pro-peace, there is something very wrong here.

Is this the best J Street can come up with?

To be clear, I am not talking now about one-state, two-states, or three. I am talking about saying dayenu to this demographic threat mentality. I am talking about understanding fully and completely that you cannot save Israel’s democracy one bit when you celebrate the fact that 20% of its citizens has an increasingly lower birth rate (yeay!) so that their proportion in the population will not grow (double yeay!). If this is what you believe, don’t waste your time on avoiding the threat; you’ve lost the democratic values a long time ago.

My only consolation is that at least I can bring these issues to the public’s attention — even to the attention of the J Street conference participants.

Were I to be in Israel this very week, I would be furiously fighting against a bill advancing in the Knesset that would bar the Israeli government from providing funding to activities that deny Israel’s definition as a Jewish or democratic state.

– Sydney Levy

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment option for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile dysfunction and similar states when erection is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile malfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such drug experience erectile disfunction. Such disease is best solved with occupational help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common undesirable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this preparation is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

Bridging the gap with honesty and transparency

In an earlier post, I referred to a J Street workshop that sought to bridge the gap between Jewish social justice work and Israel/Palestine advocacy.

The gap is real. Take Jacob Feinspan, of Jews United for Justice. His organization works on a range of important local issues, including the challenges facing day laborers. He asked whether there was a litmus test for Jewish organizations: Does Israel have to be at the top of our agenda? He did not think so. He further asked a question that remained unanswered, why don’t we have a reverse panel?, a panel about why J Street is not engaged in domestic social justice work.

Elissa Barrett, of the Progressive Jewish Alliance, drew inspiration from the prophetic tradition to make others uncomfortable and make ourselves uncomfortable. At the same time, she said that during the Gaza attack, the PJA issued a statement that was the source of much debate internally: how far do we go?. Two thirds of the conversation is about whether to have the conversation.

Alana Alpert, a rabbinical student, talked about the moral crisis that we face, and asked,
Is there any issue more important for American Jews to engage in than Israel/Palestine?
Her answer to her fellow panelists: To evade responsibility by claiming a domestic agenda–that’s a false dichotomy.

Alana urged Jewish organizations to be more honest and transparent: If you are not doing Israel/Palestine work, why not? Is it really because you are solely focusing on domestic issues or is it because of funding concerns?

Elissa acknowledged that PJA has lost funders because of its positions on Israel. She added,

“We are afraid to be attacked because we are attacked. A line in the sand is there, and if you step across it, you will be crushed.”

Susan Adelman, a founding member of PJA, drew an analogy to the ACLU’s defense of the Nazi march in Skokie, IL. The ACLU lost thousands of members because of its position, and yet they stuck to its principles. She then asked, How can we not speak about human rights violations in the occupied territories?

A member of the audience talked about the current and possibly growing backlash against anti-occupation activism, and then she asked, Which side will the progressive Jews be on?

The next made-up controversy or orchestrated smear campaign will surely be reported in Muzzlewatch. And when things will get heated, I hope that we will be able to report that the majority of progressive Jews stood with us.

– Sydney Levy

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment variant for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile disfunction and similar states when erection is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile dysfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such drug experience erectile dysfunction. Such disease is best solved with professional help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common objectionable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this cure is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

Will J Street be the new gateway drug?

Will J Street be the new gateway drug? The thought has been running through my head ever since I heard Alana Alpert talking at a panel in the J Street conference examining the divide between the Jewish social justice activism and Israel/Palestine work. The panel dealt with the difficulties that organizations such as the Progressive Jewish Alliance and Jews United for Justice have in moving beyond a domestic social justice agenda and addressing the Israeli occupation. Facing the gap between Jewish activism on domestic issues versus Israel/Palestine, Alana asked whether Jewish social justice organizing was the gateway drug to deal with the Middle East.

The thought has been dancing in my head throughout the whole day, only now taking it one step forward: Will J Street be the new gateway drug that will move liberal Jewish activists who are pro-Israel pro-peace into being progressive Jewish activists fully pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian?

This is not just an academic play of words. We are talking about having an agenda that focuses on what’s good for both sides, not just for the love of Israel.

I confess that the J Street’s conference urgency to reach a two-state solution — although I am yet to hear the word viable attached to the Palestinian state — seems to be motivated more by the upcoming facts on the ground (demographic changes that put in peril the concept of a Jewish majority) than by the current facts on the ground (settlements and the rest of the occupation infrastructure).

Will J Street be the gateway drug that moves activists from the demographic head-count into the field of universal justice and human rights? Only time will tell. But the conference certainly offered some signs for hope. Every item that was not in the agenda — BDS, Zionism, Jewish state — came up for discussion one way or another because it was brought up from the floor. These questions have no easy answers, but time and again they will pop up until they are considered with the seriousness they deserve.

– Sydney Levy

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Not to be taken literally

I attended what turned out to be the replacement for J street’s disinvited poet panel. Ari Roth from Theater J — who supported the poets by coming out to their reading yesterday at BusBoys & Poets — used the beginning of his time to alert people to the panel that was and delivered a passionate defense of poets from a literary perspective.

Ari urged not taking the words literally and pointed out that one “doesn’t look to poets for rational discourse.” He defended the “right to conjoin symbols,” and asked if “a wonky convention like J Street is comfortable with metaphor.” He dismissed any suggestion that anyone was calling for a boycott of J Street, creating a “truly J Street dialectic: pro-conference and pro-poetry (a play of words on J Street’s tag line, pro-Israel, pro-peace), which led to applause.

He posed two possibilities: we are either entering a “new age of censoriousness” or an “excitement moment,” and noted what great plays have been performed at Theater J, including “Seven Jewish Children,” and a play featuring both Rachel Corrie and Daniel Pearl. All in all, it was a hopeful moment for both art and the conference, whatever the larger moment we live in.

– Jesse Bacon

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J Street welcomes you

(Follow JVP’s Twitter feed at the J Street conference at http://twitter.com/jvplive )

The J Street Conference opened yesterday, with over 1,000 people at the table.

The first plenary session was hosted by Jeremy Ben-Ami (J Street) and Daniel Sokatch (New Israel Fund). Jeremy started by reading letters of support from Israeli President Shimon Peres and Israeli opposition leader, Tsipi Livni — a tacit response to the Israeli Ambassador to the US, who had decided to boycott the conference; apparently the Ambassador only goes to AIPAC dinners and the like.

Jeremy and Daniel have both been the target of attacks from the right: Jeremy at J Street and Daniel at his previous post at the San Francisco Federation. In Daniel’s case:

Sokatch found himself smack in the middle of a melee over San Francisco’s Jewish film festival when its organizers decided to screen a film about Rachel Corrie, the pro-Palestinian activist who was killed when she lay down in front of an Israeli bulldozer about to raze Palestinian homes, and invite Corrie’s mother to speak at the event without presenting other viewpoints. That was not Sokatch’s doing and he publicly criticized the decision to invite only Corrie’s mother to speak (a pro-Israel speaker was added later). But the backlash fell squarely on his shoulders.

More recently, Sokatch irked some leaders of the San Francisco community when he agreed to speak at the annual conference of J Street, a new organization that has lobbied for U.S pressure on Israel (and the Palestinians) and criticized Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

It should come as no surprise then, that when they both spoke publicly yesterday, they seemed to have been borrowing a page from Muzzlewatch. Jeremy talked about widening the tent, about respect and tolerance for others. He welcomed everyone to the conference.

(Everyone, except for disinvited poets Josh Healey and Kevin Coval)

Daniel looked at the audience and added, We are not the margins of our community, we are the mainstream… Nobody has a monopoly of what it means to be pro-Israel.

Jeremy affirmed that the creation of a Palestinian state is a core pro-Israel position.

It was a good opening night. The question remains whether those that are both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian will fit into this wider tent.

– Sydney Levy

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