I have written a response to a rabbinic colleague whose child is a supporter of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and who, I believe, has set aside moral standards when evaluating Jewish organizations in their relationship with Zionism and the State of Israel.
To read my blog at the Times of Israel, go to https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/a-response-to-the-parent-of-a-jvp-child
It is clear from the statement and video (see link) that “Jewish Voice for Peace” (JVP) is an anti-Zionist and anti-Israel group that distorts Israel’s history to justify its antipathy to Zionism and Israel, attacks Israel’s mission as a Jewish and democratic state, and chooses facts selectively while providing no historical or political context to its assertions.
…. JVP is not only anti-Zionist and anti-Israel, but because it denies the right of the Jewish people to a state of our own, it qualifies as anti-Jewish.
For the full statement see my blog at the Times of Israel – https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/why-jewish-voice-for-peace-is-anti-jewish/
This is an important perspective for American Jews vis a vis BDS.
Jeremy Ben-Ami is the founder and President of J Street, the largest Jewish PAC in the United States.
“Like the vast majority of American Jews, I oppose the BDS movement, as does J Street, the organization I lead. And I believe that our overwrought communal response to BDS is doing far more damage to American Jews and to Israel’s reputation than the movement itself could ever hope to do. This obsession is harming Jewish institutions and eroding important relationships with other communities, particularly communities of color. It is undermining our core values and distracting from far more important challenges — both in Israel and at home. It is creating an atmosphere of paranoia and censorship….While the Jewish community continues to pour staggering resources into the BDS fight, we have neglected far more urgent challenges. It is the current Israeli government’s continued creeping annexation of the occupied West Bank, not BDS, which seriously threatens Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people. It is the rise of white supremacism and authoritarian nationalism, not BDS, which seriously threatens the future of American democracy and American Jews. We can’t let the bogeyman of BDS undermine our community’s true ideals and interests. We have to end this obsession — and turn our attention and resources to the fights that truly matter for our country, Israel and the Jewish people.”
See entire article here – https://bit.ly/2FMlAo2
With the announcement this past week by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that elections will be held on April 9 for a new Knesset, I hope that the words by Tamir Pardo, a former head of the Mossad (Israeli’s intelligence services), will be uppermost in the minds of a majority of Israelis when they cast their votes. He said:
“Israel has one existential threat. It is a ticking time bomb … Israel must deal with the demographic reality and [decide] which state we want to be. Life with alternative facts harbors a disaster for the Zionist vision. The key to saving the state requires brave leadership.”
The alternative facts he warns against is a one-state solution as the answer to Israel’s Palestinian conflict. But a one-state solution will compromise Israel as both a Jewish and a democratic state that the founding generation envisioned. The only credible alternative is a negotiated end-of-conflict two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Note: For those following the news in Israel since the Prime Minister called for new elections (scheduled for April 9), the jockeying of position among potential candidates and their parties, the creation of new political parties, the hardball politics that’s even tougher than in the United States, AG Avichai Mandelblit’s long-awaited report of Netanyahu’s alleged corruption charges could have a significant impact on the political fortunes of the PM. Though some observers believe Bibi will be elected Prime Minister regardless of whether the AG indicts him on alleged corruption charges (as has been recommended by the Israeli police after a very long investigation), they also don’t believe that an indicted PM can remain in office over the long term. If he is convicted, Bibi’s fate could be similar to that of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who went to prison for corruption while he served as Mayor of Jerusalem.
See https://bit.ly/2GTCzai for the article itself. For those who don’t subscribe to Haaretz, here is the piece that appeared in today’s Haaretz by Revital Hovel.
“Avichai Mendelblit to announce whether Netanyahu will be indicted in three cases before April 9 election, source says
Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is expected to make a decision on whether to charge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the three criminal investigations pending against the prime minister before the April 9 Knesset elections and will announce his decision next month, a source close to Mendelblit has told Haaretz.
The attorney general himself declined to comment on when he would make a decision, saying: “It’s no secret that we’re trying to work as quickly as possible.” But he added that the decision would “in no way [come] at the expense of professionalism.”
Amid speculation as to how the decision might affect the election, and criticism from Netanyahu, who said he would not resign if summoned for a pre-indictment hearing, the attorney general has received backing from senior Justice Ministry officials and from his own predecessors in his efforts to make a decision before the election.
These backers said they believe it is Mendelblit’s obligation to made the decision public before the election. Mendelblit added that there was “nothing to prevent” the prime minister from serving in office prior to a pre-indictment hearing if it is decided to file charges against Netanyahu. For his part, late last month, Netanyahu, said: “It’s inconceivable that a hearing against me will be launched before the election and it will end after it.”
One of the cases against the prime minister, dubbed Case 1000, involves allegations that the prime minister accepted gifts from wealthy business figures in violation of the law.
A second case, Case 2000, centers on discussions between the prime minister and Arnon Mozes, the publisher of the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, allegedly involving favorable news coverage for the prime minister in exchange for government policies benefitting Yedioth.
The third case, Case 4000, involves allegations that Netanyahu provided regulatory concessions to the controlling shareholder at the time of the Bezeq telecommunications firm in exchange for favorable coverage from Bezeq’s news website, Walla. The prime minister denies any wrongdoing in the cases.
Mendelblit began marathon meetings on the cases about two weeks ago. Deliberations on Case 1000 took two weeks and have concluded. On Sunday discussions are expected to begin on Case 2000, to be followed by Case 4000. In Case 1000, Mendelblit is reportedly inclined to indict the prime minister for fraud and breach of trust.
….Over the past two decades, a few hundred asylum seekers fleeing war and persecution in the DRC have come to Israel. Immediately upon their arrival most filed requests for political asylum, but the Ministry of Interior affairs has never reviewed them. Nevertheless, to Israel’s credit, for more than 15 years Israel has carried out a policy of group protection for the Congolese who reside in Israel legally and have been given the chance to rebuild their lives.
However, on November 7, 2018 without any change in conditions in the DRC, the Ministry of Interior placed a notice on its website that it intends to withdraw group protection from the Congolese community. The decision was based on a secret assessment drawn up by the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs that they deliberately kept from the public and which stands in contradiction to reports from reliable sources and by the international press that conditions remain dire in the Congo. Nothing there has changed.
For the complete story, please click onto my blog at the Times of Israel:
I write to address directly the constant sniping from pro-Israel right-wing rabbis and activists who repeatedly criticize J Street without knowledge of the facts of J Street’s record of statements and actions. These loud voices represent a minority in the American Jewish community. They serve to intimidate, drown out, and silence other voices willing to defend J Street’s position that a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the only path to sustain Israel’s democracy and Jewish character and to Palestinian national aspirations.
See entire article on my blog at the Times of Israel – https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/in-defense-of-j-street-why-knowing-the-facts-might-change-your-mind/
Note #1: Whenever I post an article from Haaretz, as I do below, I urge you to take up a subscription. Haaretz is the NY Times of Israel with a liberal editorial policy and journalists you can trust.
Note #2: This piece is for Israel political watchers. Bibi’s announcement of new elections scheduled for April 9, 2019 has forced political parties and individuals such as former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz to get prepared for primary campaigns and new alignments.
Note #3: Why did Bibi call elections early (they were scheduled for November, 2019)? Why not wait? There are four reasons:
- Attorney General Mandelblit’s investigation of Netanyahu on bribery and fraud charges would be delayed to avoid the AG being accused of some “dark state” effort to sway the election against Bibi. Bibi’s announcement of new elections now delays Mandelblit’s indictments to be dealt with after a new government is to be formed, assuming Netanyahu as Prime Minister;
- The opposition is in disarray and without a clear leader. Benny Gantz is the most popular Israeli after Bibi, and announcing elections now makes it more difficult for Gantz to organize his own political party and campaign;
- Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan (“The Deal of the Century”) would likely cause problems for Bibi in his coalition and fracture his government giving Naftali Bennett’s Bayit HaYehudi party an advantage. Announcing elections now necessarily delays Trump’s announcement of a Middle East Peace deal until a new government is formed, again assuming Netanyahu becomes Prime Minister;
- The Economy has been good, but dark clouds are forming internationally that may affect Israel’s economy and present Bibi with problems.
Here is the article from Haaretz:
Former IDF chief Benny Gantz – who is reportedly still weighing his options – could potentially sway the vote, according to the polls, but Likud would still stay in the lead.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party is expected to receive the most votes in Israel’s upcoming election, according to polls published by three main television stations on Tuesday.
The results came a day after the government announced the election will be held early, on April 9. Similar results in April would most likely ensure Netanyahu another term as prime minister.
The News Company, Channel 10 News and public broadcaster Kan all put Likud at anywhere between 27 and 31 out of 120 Knesset seats, compared to the 30 seats it currently holds.
According to the News Company poll, however, 52 percent of Israelis do not want to see Netanyahu carry on to another term. Only 37 percent of respondents to the Kan poll said Netanyahu is the best candidate for prime minister.
Former army chief Benny Gantz, who is reportedly still weighing his options, could potentially sway the vote, according to the polls, but Likud would still stay in the lead.
If Gantz headed a new party, he would win over 16 seats, according to the News Company poll. The Channel 10 poll set the amount at 15, while Kan projected 10 seats.
The News Company poll put a Gantz-Zionist Union joint list at 25 seats. If Gantz would join forces with Yair Lapid‘s Yesh Atid, however, the two would receive 26 seats, according to the Channel 10 poll, which may put them at close competition with Likud.
Yesh Atid sans Gantz would get between 11 and 13 seats. The party currently holds 11 Knesset seats. Opposition party Zionist Union, currently at 24 seats, crashed in the polls to only nine to 11 seats.
Among coalition parties, right-wing Habayit Hayehudi, headed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, was predicted to receive nine to 12 seats, up from its current eight. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon‘s Kulanu is down from its current 10 seats to five to seven. Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman‘s Yisrael Beiteinu, which quit the coalition but not the Knesset and still holds five seats, would win anything between four and seven seats.
Orli Levi-Abekasis, who was elected into the Knesset on a Yisrael Beiteinu ticket but resigned from Lieberman’s party and established an independent one, Gesher, is predicted to get four to six seats.
Left-wing opposition party Meretz, which currently holds five seats, is expected to regain some of its power, with polls predicting five to seven seats.
Taglit-Birthright is, arguably, the most successful project since the establishment of the State of Israel in creating positive emotional bonds between young Diaspora Jewish adults and the State of Israel. However, as this article in “The Forward” reveals, the refusal of the leadership of Taglit-Birthright to educate its participants about the deleterious impact of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank on Israelis and Palestinians alike and Birthright’s refusal to allow open discussion and debate is having a deleterious effect on the Taglit-Birthright brand.
One has to worry that the historically positive impact of Taglit-Birthright on young Diaspora Jews may change due to the refusal of the Taglit-Birthright funders to address the existential threat that the occupation poses to the democratic and Jewish State of Israel.
See article by Ari Feldman of The Forward: https://forward.com/news/israel/416486/birthright-blasted-by-activists-for-new-ban-on-criticizing-israel-while/