If you are like me, you are overwhelmed by the commentary and news on the US Presidential election, Jewish affairs in the United States, and events taking place in Israel. I read a great deal (usually between 5 and 7 AM)– and as a “service” to you, I offer the following 8 highlights of items I have read in the last week.
The first two are by Deborah Lipstadt and Tom Hayden respectively. They explain why they are supporting Hillary Clinton. I have known both for 35 and 25 years, respectively, and though I’m not surprised by Deborah’s position, I am by Tom’s – he explains why, though he respects Bernie, he must support Hillary.
The next piece (#3), by Uri Avnery, a 90+ veteran left-wing Israeli journalist and a guru to those of us who want his clear-headed thinking, explains why he likes the right-wing President of Israel Ruby Rivlin (my 2nd cousin once removed), and specifically, why he thinks there are possibilities in Ruby’s confederation idea embracing both a Jewish state and an Arab state.
Item #4 is about the Women of the Wall and a novel action planned for April 24 that will help keep the pressure on the government to stick to its agreement to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Southern Wall of the Kotel.
The remainder of the articles include a NY Times report on Joe Biden’s speech yesterday at the J Street National Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. , as well as two pieces by left-wing American and Israeli journalists (Peter Beinart and Chemi Shalev) on the controversy surrounding Simone Zimmerman, an outstanding young pro-Israel activist who was hired and then fired within two days by the Sanders Presidential campaign.
1) Why I’m for Hillary (and Not for Him), by Deborah Lipstadt, The Forward, April 17
2) I Used to Support Bernie, but Then I Changed My Mind – Tom Hayden, The Nation, April 12, 2016 – “I have a variety of concerns about both candidates’ campaigns. But I intend to vote for Hillary Clinton in the California primary for one fundamental reason.”
3) Squaring the Circle, by Uri Avnery, April 15, 2016 – Jewish Business News – “I like the President of the State of Israel, Reuven (“Rubi”) Rivlin. I like him very much…he is a very humane person. He is kind and unassuming. His family has been rooted in Palestine for many generations. He sees himself as the president of all Israelis, including the Arab citizens…This week, President Rivlin published a peace plan…based on a federation of two ‘entities’ – a Zionist-Jewish entity and an Arab-Palestinian one…In present-day Israel, ideas are frozen…a (con)federation can …allow both peoples to be free in their own states, with their own identities, national flags and anthems, governments and soccer teams, while at the same time saving the unity of the country and solving their joint problems in unity and close cooperation…”
4) Israel Public Radio Rejects Women of the Wall Ad, April 13, 2016 – Israel public radio rejected a Women of the Wall ad that included a woman chanting parts of the priestly blessing for being “controversial.” Read more here. http://forward.com/video/338622/israel-public-radio-rejects-women-of-the-wall-ad/#ixzz46D8Kqfvt
5) US feels ‘overwhelming frustration’ with Israeli government: Biden, The New York Times, April 19 – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Monday acknowledged ‘overwhelming frustration’ with the Israeli government and said the systemic expansion of Jewish settlements was moving Israel toward a dangerous ‘one-state reality’ and in the wrong direction.”
6) As Dems Push Boundaries of Israel Debate, J Street Exults, and Worries, Forward, Nathan Guttman, April 19 – “J Street was born just as Barack Obama took over the White House and has since positioned itself as a group willing to give the administration, as well as members of Congress and candidates, the backing they need in order to take positions on Israel that may be unpopular among the more established American Israel Public Affairs Committee. J Street, through its political action committee, endorsed candidates for the House and Senate willing to voice liberal views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and recently pushed back forcefully against AIPAC’s massive drive to defeat President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Now, the administration is returning the favor with a series of public gestures meant to send a clear signal to supporters of the lobby, and to AIPAC. President Obama invited a group of J Street student leaders to a meeting in the Oval Office on April 15. Then he sent Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry to deliver remarks at the group’s April 18 gala dinner. AIPAC, by contrast, got a detailed, and at times critical, speech by Biden, but no other senior administration officials.”
7) If You Lose Simone Zimmerman, You Lose the Best of Jewish Millennials, Peter Beinart, Haaretz, April 18 – “Simone Zimmerman cares about Israel. She cares about the Jewish people. She even cares about American Jewish organizations. And she believes there should be a space in those organizations for moral opposition to Israeli policies, the kind of moral opposition once offered by communal leaders like Nahum Goldmann, Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg and Rabbi Arthur Schindler. Treat people like her as the enemy and you make enemies of the best of the younger American Jewish generation. Exile those progressive young American Jews who genuinely care about the American Jewish community and watch who follows in their wake. I’m not worried about Simone Zimmerman. She’ll do fine. I’m worried about a community that punishes its children for challenging its lies.”
8) Sorry: As Presidential Contender, Sanders Was Right to Dismiss Simone Zimmerman, Chemi Shalev, Haaretz, April 18 – “Sometimes one suspects that mainstream Jewish leaders would prefer to see the many thousands of J Street supporters and other critics of the occupation get sucked in by BDS and turn into anti-Zionists. That would justify their pigheaded refusal to look at the Jewish community in the mirror and would leave the occupation-denying, Israel-is-always-right crowd of yesteryear in their splendid isolation. Nor does Zimmerman’s dismissal detract from the validity of her views on the occupation, on Netanyahu and on the Gaza war. These are shared by many thousands around the world, including, I assume, the vast majority of Sanders’ own supporters. Running for president, however, involves compromise, a concept that sometimes seems alien to many of Sanders’ and Zimmerman’s fans. To quote a famous Israeli slogan, they would rather be right than smart, but that’s not the way one wins the presidency.”