Monthly Archives: April 2016


MakePeaceThe Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony, which has been held on the eve of Memorial Day for the last eleven consecutive years, comes to remind us that war is not an act of fate but one of human choice.

This ceremony is the largest annual event held by the Combatants for Peace movement. On this particularly difficult day we call upon both sides to acknowledge the pain and the aspirations of those living on the other side of the fence and for each of us to strive to prevent the next war. Perhaps during next year’s Memorial Day, additional losses will not have to reckoned with. At the ceremony, Israeli and Palestinian bereaved families speak about their personal pain. read more

THE MATINÉE IDOL—By Martha Nemes Fried

I have always been an avid theatergoer. Klári, one of my friends at lycée, and I went to the theater every Saturday afternoon from the time we were fourteen years old. Fortunately, my mother considered the viewing of a play a culturally enriching experience and approved my regular attendance. I became infatuated with a matinée idol by the time I was fifteen. Had my mother known about my crush on an actor she would have responded with extreme distress and grounded me for at least a month. For a while I was content with worshiping the object of my infatuation from my orchestra seat, but after a couple of months this became less than satisfactory and my mind was busily at work hatching a variety of plans to secure a personal encounter. read more

The Spectrum: There is no one Judaism, no one Zionism—by Adam E. Chanes

not one
not one

Unshackle NU and Northwestern Divest inappropriately provided wholesale definitions of Jewish and Zionist identities in their letter to North by Northwestern last quarter. By asserting that Judaism is “a religious identity” and that Zionism is merely a “political identity,” the two campaigns inexcusably lay a claim on the identities of others. They cannot accept that Judaism is not always “religious.” They do not appreciate that a Zionist identity is, for many like myself, an entirely religious experience deeply rooted in Torah thought and practice, a way I serve God. And they don’t allow a Zionist like me to fight Israeli racism and express solidarity against institutional anti-blackness. read more

We Stand With Simone–by Open Hillel

Open Hillel
Open Hillel

Open Hillel is saddened to hear that the Sanders campaign has bowed to pressure from organizations that suppress discourse on Israel and has suspended Simone Zimmerman from her position as Jewish Outreach Coordinator.

Simone is an accomplished and committed organizer and longtime Open Hillel supporter who has demonstrated her dedication to both the Jewish community and to social justice issues more broadly.

The Sanders campaign clearly understood her to be highly qualified for this position; yet they caved to pressure from Abe Foxman, former head of the AntiDefamation League; the World Jewish Congress; and relentless badgering from the rightwing press. These individuals’ and organizations’ efforts to discredit Simone mirror the sort of McCarthyism that “mainstream” American Jewish organizations consistently display in working to silence critics of Israeli policy and supporters of Palestinian human rights. read more


Herzl on his way to Palestine 1898
Herzl on his way
to Palestine 1898

There is increasing debate about the nature and legitimacy of Zionism and the State of Israel. It is a sign of our times that the approach is often zero sum: either Zionism and Israel are A-OK and any criticism is forbidden or both the movement and state are wholly illegitimate and any regard for either is deplored.

We can do better than this. Like most things in life, these matters involve nuance and require analysis and understanding. Politics sometimes requires careful thought, not just sloganeering or frantic advocacy. In a careful – in fact, pained – spirit I offer the following. read more

“We Did Not Know” is Not an Option—by Ayala Emmett

Amos Gvirtz & his friend Aziz of El Araqib village
Amos Gvirtz &
his friend Aziz
of El Araqib village*

All over the world we hear a familiar denial  of oppression and atrocities in the form of “We did not know.”  The phrase is privileged citizens’ easy way out when their governments repress minorities and deny them human rights. Examples abound in despotic regimes as well as in democracies. In all cases favored citizens who use the phrase are participants in the repression by claiming ignorance of its existence.

In democracies like the United States and Israel denials of repression by privileged citizens are the more egregious for the obvious reason of greater freedoms. read more

Why Is Goldman Sachs Funding the Settlers of Hebron?—by Maya Haber

palestinian-lady-attacked-by-israeli-jewish-settlersEven though the firm’s Charitable Gift Fund consistently gives to right-wing Israeli groups or their U.S. fronts, the Hebron aid is a standout, as the showcase city for the worst of the Israeli occupation

In 2012 the Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund granted $18,000 to one of the most violent and discriminatory communities in the West Bank – the Jewish community in Hebron. Hebron is a perpetual nightmare. About 700 Jews live in tiny fortified urban settlements at the center of a city inhabited by 180,000 Palestinians. read more

A Republican Nightmare: A Bush Legacy and Trump is the Heir–by Ayala Emmett

Bush's Heir
Bush’s Heir

In the days when George W Bush was president, Republicans were embarrassed by his poor use of language. The president often spoke as though English was a foreign language. Critics used to say that President Bush could hardly connect sentences. We all know, however, that he went to the best schools that money and family connections could buy.  Yet, he uttered each sentence with great confidence as we watched it take off, a word-balloon floating into thin air refusing to be part of a coherent paragraph. read more

MÉSALLIANCE –by Martha Nemes Fried

My paternal uncle, Aaron, was a figure of mystery, a man I knew only through a photograph in his officer’s uniform. I knew little else about him until one day, when I was ten years old; my father received a letter from his widow Helen. After he finished reading it he told us that Uncle Aaron had left a wife and three children when he died in the war. They lived in Miskolc, a city on the banks of the Bodva River. My parents had met four years after Aaron’s death. By the time my father courted my mother, he had stopped speaking of his late brother. read more

A Watershed Moment for the IDF –by Tomer Persico

images-44Prime Minister Netanyahu’s phone call to the father of the Hebron soldier-executioner  who killed a neutralized Palestinian in Hebron last week is indeed a terrible political low blow. His act is blatant interference by the political leadership in military affairs and meddling in the judicial process. His phone call not only disregards appropriate rules of governance, it also undermines the IDF’s ethical code and its moral standards. It is important to remember that this is a case of a soldier who arrived on the scene ten minutes after an attack, and according to witnesses, said that he was going to kill the terrorist because “he deserves to die.” On pictures taken at the time he was seen aiming at the head of the terrorist from a distance of two meters and then shooting even though the person had been on the ground and was not a threat. read more