In 1987, my Jewish day school wanted me to experience what it means to be Israeli, to appreciate the labor of the Zionist pioneers who had returned home after 2,000 years in exile to till the soil and live under the perpetual threat of violent Arabs out to destroy our Holy Land. So I spent a summer working on a kibbutz, planting trees and enduring a week of “gadna” army training.
Member Writings and Interviews
Ben-Dror Yemini has devoted a lot of his time as a journalist, first for Maariv and now for Yedioth Ahronoth, to refuting what he regards as false allegations against the Jewish state made by NGOs, academics, and the media. In 2014 he summed up his widely ramified defense of his country in a book entitled Industry of Lies, which the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy has now published in an English translation. It is a book that combines the passionate advocacy of the opinion pages with considerable research. Although it does not cover the last four years, it remains an important resource for those who wish to combat, or merely understand, the calumnies aimed at Israel.
In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Michelle Goldberg argues that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism, and that American Jews need not fear the recent influx of some vocal critics of Israel into the halls of congress.
In 2012, the University Chicago released a Statement on Principles of Free Expression, which is an antidote to activist demands that institutions of higher learning disinvite, shut down, or shout down invited campus speakers like Heather Mac Donald, a wrong-thinker on Black Lives Matter, or Christina Hoff Sommers, a wrong-thinker on feminism.
Donna Shalala, 77, is no stranger to politics or the relationship between the United States and Israel. She served as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton, where she traveled to Israel and helped researchers there obtain grants from the National Institutes of Health, in addition to assisting with other initiatives inside the Jewish state.
In recent years the world has witnessed an increase in efforts to delegitimize Israel and Israelis. Much has been and will yet be written on the manifestations of the global BDS movement, as the challenge is growing and complex. Much of the writing was or will be drafted by faculty members who became “experts” on the subject, oftentimes unintentionally, as they were standing against the tide. Over time they became aware that, unfortunately, they were not alone. They describe, in all too many examples, how Anti-Zionism and Anti-Israelism appear on campus, and how this phenomenon might be addressed. The phenomenon is developing in tandem with worldwide trends of populism, extremism (of both the Right and Left), Anti-Semitism and more, with American parallels. While anti-Israel sentiment is clearly also fed by events taking place in Israel, developments on the local level, on each college campus, are equally as significant.
Calls on Congress to combat anti-Semitism and racism are well-taken. The massacre at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue where 12 congregantswere murdered at the hands of a Neo-Nazi white supremacist was a horrific act of evil.Though still on the fringe of society, members of white supremacist groups pose a significant danger to blacks and to Jews.
However, there is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which targets Israel as an illegitimate state. Many see this movement as being fundamentally anti-Semitic since Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. Of concern now is that two supporters of the BDS movement have been elected to Congress.
The faculty of Pitzer College, a small elite California school, has turned a critical eye toward the college’s study abroad programs. That makes sense. After all, they’ve got one in China where, according to the State Department, the government restricts “political and social discourse at colleges, universities, and research institutes.” Academic subjects “deemed politically sensitive,” such as civil rights, are “off limits.” I mean, Chinese President Xi Jinping wants to turn the academy into a “stronghold that adheres to party leadership.” That doesn’t sound very Pitzer at all!
The advance copies of Deborah Lipstadt’s new book, “Antisemitism Here and Now,” display a cover photo of a white supremacist carrying a tiki torch.
But that iconic image of the August 2017 white power rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, could now be replaced by another one: Police tape cordoning off the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh. Or perhaps the row of cut-out stars displaying the names of that massacre’s 11 victims.
After the horrific murders in Squirrel Hill many of us continue to experience the pangs of loss, shock and disbelief, and incredible sadness. We struggle to make sense of the loss of innocent Jewish lives in modern-day America — an America, that for many of us, is believed to be an exception to the Jewish experience. Yet, even here, a place in which Jews have integrated fully at all levels of society we can no longer ignore, that despite our many triumphs, we, Jews, remain both the ger and the toshav, the stranger as well as the native.