Ambassador Oren Gets it Right on "Pro-Israel" (LFriedman at The Daily Beast)

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Thank you, Ambassador Oren.  On Sunday you told an audience in Detroit what "pro-Israel" means.

You said that "The person who is pro-Israel recalls what Jewish life was like without a Jewish state and works to ensure that there always will be a Jewish state." Someone who "knows that there is a place at our table for divergent views. But irrespective of politics... asks, 'how can I contribute to Israel, how can I enrich it and be enriched by it...?'"  Someone who "appreciates the immense threats the people of Israel face every day" and "understands the threats to Israel of not achieving peace but also understands the threat to Israel of making a peace that will quickly unravel..."
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Peace Now's Lawyer on Israel's Illegal Outpost Policy

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The Israeli Supreme Court handed another ruling, on May 7th, blasting the Israeli government's position on illegal West Bank "outposts, built on land privately owned by Palestinians. Peace Now's lawyer, Michael Sfard.

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A Balance of Interests: Reading Hamas (LFriedman at The Forward)

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The Forward's interview with Mousa Abu Marzook highlights some fundamental truths about peacemaking: You make peace with your enemies, not your friends; you make peace not to be nice, but because it is in your self-interest; real peace must reflect a balance of interests, not an imbalance of power, and security arrangements, not trust, will be the foundation of any peace treaty.

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'Crying terrorism': Israel's political use cheapens the term (LFriedman at +972)

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In characterizing all non-violent Palestinian measures as terrorism, Israel insults the memory of victims of real acts of terror.

Yesterday was Yom Hazikaron, Israeli Remembrance Day. Every year on this day Israelis stop to remember their fellow citizens who have given their lives for the sake of Israel, whether in wars or at the hands of terrorists.



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When She's Sixty-four?

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As the Master of Ceremonies at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl announced the end of Yom HaZikaron, Israel's solemn Memorial Day, and ushered in Yom Ha'Atzma'ut, Independence Day, millions of Israelis, having just ended a day of remembrance and mourning for the fallen, are sweeping the streets to celebrate their country's 64th birthday.

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Lara Friedman at the Daily Beast: Israel's Less-Than-Resilient Democracy

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According to the latest article by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, Israeli democracy is "more robust and effervescent than ever."  Reading his lengthy piece, a variation on Queen Gertrude's quip comes to mind: "The Ambassador doth protest too much, methinks."

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Op-Ed: Stop the excuses, boycott the settlements

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Peter Beinart's recent New York Times article advocating a settlement boycott has sparked a spectacular public display of Jewish angst. Apparently for many who view themselves as the judges, advocates and juries of what is "kosher" progressive Jewish activism, his suggestion is beyond the pale.

They agree that settlements are a problem, even a shonda, but boycott fellow Jews? Heaven forbid. And even if it weren't Jewishly distasteful, it wouldn't work anyway, so don't go there.
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Zionism, Meet Feminism

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Letty Cottin Pogrebin is a board member and past president of Americans for Peace Now.  (originally published in Peter Beinart's ZION SQUARE blog on The Daily Beast, February 14, 2012).

In Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf wrote, "As a woman my country is the whole world."  I used to believe this; I thought divisions of nation, race, class, and faith could be trumped by a universalist vision of gender equality, justice, and peace.

Then came the UN's Decade for Women. In 1975, its first international conference famously produced the "Zionism is racism" resolution.  Five years later, when the second conference saw virulent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric, threats, and violence, I asked myself, why am I working to liberate women if they're going to turn around and  attack Jews?
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Don't Prove Walt and Mearsheimer Right

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A recent Saturday Night Live episode opened with a sketch that said a lot about America's views on war with Iran. In the sketch, Andy Samberg, playing Rick Santorum, tells the audience that the coming presidential campaign is about two things: "One, making the family once again the center of our nation's public policy, and two, starting a war with Iran, as a favor to Israel, whether Israel asks us to or not." Samberg forgot to add: "and whether or not it's actually good for the U.S., Israel or the Jews."
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Will Nonviolent Protest Spark a 'Palestinian Spring'?

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It is a now famous story: A young Arab man, fed up with the injustices of life under a military regime, decides he's had enough. By demonstrating his readiness to die to protest these injustices, the man powerfully asserts his own humanity and that of millions of his compatriots. His dramatic display of self-sacrifice inspires millions and his name becomes known across the Middle East and beyond.
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