Jewish Identity

How many times have I heard Israelis try to shut down their critics with an argument that preserves for Israelis the right to criticize Israel? The argument is of the following general form: “until you’ve lived in Israel, you can’t criticize it”. Another permutation is that you can’t criticize Israel unless you’ve served (read: been […]

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I can appreciate that arguments for cultural boycott might require a little more intellectual sophistication and awareness than, say, being (verbally) against Jewish-only colonies on stolen land. Every self-identified Jewish or Israeli “liberal” loves to blame the settlers for everything (when they aren’t trying to blame Hamas), but the notion of boycotting cultural icons seems […]

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Israelis love to think about themselves as little ‘d’ democrats, but they have a very peculiar way of understanding democratic principles. A new poll released today by the Israel Democracy Institute brings into full, awkward view the contradictory, mutually inconsistent definitions of democracy that cohabit the Israeli psyche. First the (semi) flattering news. 51% of […]

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There are seven reasons why Ari Shavit’s seven reasons to recognize Israel as a Jewish state form the primary basis for conflict rather than offer any solution. Here I address his hyper-nationalistic detritus one point at a time. An (Exclusivist) National Home The first argument he makes is that “the supreme goal of Zionism is […]

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The big story at the moment is the forthcoming law that would require all non-Jews, who want to become Israeli citizens, to make a loyalty oath to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic” state. Although revealing in the insecurity of identity and purpose that motivates it, it really is just one more law (among at […]

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This is not a current event, but then again the Israeli effort to erase Palestinians from history and contemporary life make the article forever relevant. According to a doctoral dissertation prepared at Ben-Gurion University using Israeli government archives, Israel “plundered and destroyed” 27,000 Palestinian books as part of its effort to “Judaize the country,” which […]

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Israel’s leaders are tripping over themselves to pay respects to the recently deceased Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu and thereby earn themselves some street cred with Israel’s religious ultra-nationalists. A Biography of Support for Terrorism and War Crimes Eliyahu was the “spiritual leader of the national religious movement in Israel” who served previously as the Sephardic chief […]

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The Freedom Flotilla has inspired some rabid and quite insane responses from my countrypeople and co-religionists.  The following videos/articles don’t need a lot of extra commentary.  I just wanted to put together some examples of the type of reactions one sees coming out of Israel and the Jewish community.  This is, in my view, the […]

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Where to begin? Regular readers of this blog will undoubtedly know about the severe problem of Israeli racism against Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular. But this story leaves even me incredulous. After Ali Abunimah posted a wonderfully sarcastic comment to his Twitter feed (@avinunu) about how much settlers love to hear about the […]

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File this under profiles in Israeli racism, part 279. The Israeli women’s organization, Women to Women, published a report in December 2008 about the widespread use of Depo Provera in the Ethiopian community. Ethiopians comprise just two percent of Israel’s population, yet account for 57% of users of the birth control drug. According to the […]

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