Elul, the Jewish month leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, is a time of reflection, soul-searching, and repentance. Even before we reach the holy days designated for new beginnings and atonement, Jews prepare to undertake tshuva, asking forgiveness both from our peers and from God. Each day in Elul, except for shabbat, we blow the shofar to awaken our slumbering consciences and reach out to God, who is held to be remarkably close and receptive to prayers during these weeks of spiritual preparation.
When you crusade with the claim that Israel does no wrong, you drive students into the arms of the BDS movement.
As a young Jew, I owe gratitude to many donors. As a graduate of Jewish day school, participant in multiple Jewish summer camps, Hebrew school teacher, and member of two wonderful Jewish communities at home and at college, I have many of generous donors to thank for the wonderful Jewish education and experiences I have had the privilege to receive. These donors enabled me to lead an enriching and meaningful Jewish life from kindergarten to college, and every single one deserves my deep gratitude.
So I hope that these donors will not take offense when I ask: Do you know what you’re paying for? For many donors, the results of their funding are clear and tangible; they can see the wing of a synagogue they funded, or receive numbers of how many people were helped by their generosity. But many other Jewish donors fund programs and organizations whose labors they will never be able to experience first-hand or quantify. Some of the most controversial of these funding recipients are organizations tasked with the elusive goal of “defending Israel on campus.” It’s not as easy to quantify how many students these groups help, or quite how effective they are in counteracting the menace of BDS on campus.
Topics for debate: Amb. David Friedman's settlement condolence call, continued uproar over Israel's Nation-State Law particularly from the Druze community, poet Dareen Tartour and (in)equality of Israel's treatment of incitement, and President Trump's offer to meet Iranian leaders without preconditions.
Guests appearing with Debra Shushan (APN Director of Policy and Government Relations): Vivian Bercovici (former Canadian ambassador to Israel) and Aaron Klein (Breitbart).
Israel’s new Nation-State Law is not only anti-democratic. It is also anti-peace. It hinders not only peace between Jews and non-Jews in Israel, but it also severely hampers prospects for future peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors.
Instead of echoing Israel’s Declaration of Independence by championing the pursuit of peace as a Jewish value of the Jewish state, the Nation-State Law asserts an aggressive, uncompromising, zero-sum attitude toward Israel’s relations with the Palestinians. The law’s exclusionary content and tone is directed at non-Jewish citizens of the state, but is understandably perceived by non-Israeli Palestinians as well as a law that as excludes them from a relationship based on equality with Israel.
Those who suggest a dead-on-arrival U.S. peace plan will be simply thrown into the dustbin of history and will have no long-term consequences are dangerously wrong. A defective plan could have catastrophic consequence.
An impending U.S. diplomatic initiative to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict used to make big headlines. Now, the Trump administration says its on the verge of issuing an "ultimate deal" plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - and hardly anyone seems to care.
Should we care? Absolutely. Not because the plan has a serious chance to succeed. It doesn’t. But because of the potentially catastrophic repercussions that a severely flawed plan would have.
What we know so far about this administration’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian question does not bode well for an effective peace plan.
In West Bank, 99.7% of Public Land Grants by Israel Go to Settlers In West Bank, 99.7% of Public Land Grants by Israel Go to Settlers
By Isabel Kershner
July 17, 2018
JERUSALEM — Over five decades in control of the West Bank, Israel has marked out hundreds of thousands of acres as public land, and it has allocated almost half of them for use.
But only 400 of those acres — 0.24 percent of the total allocated so far — have been earmarked for the use of Palestinians, according to official data obtained recently by an anti-settlement group after a freedom of information request. Palestinians make up about 88 percent of the West Bank’s population.
By Elana Kravitz, APN intern
When you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the first thing that comes to mind usually isn’t soccer. But this week, a soccer game in Israel became a highly symbolic political pawn used by the Palestinians, and specifically the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, against Israel.
The match, scheduled for Saturday in Jerusalem, was intended to be a “friendly” warm-up game between the Argentine and Israeli national teams before the World Cup next week. Palestine Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub pressured Argentina to back out of the match, even going so far as to encourage Palestinians to “burn their Messi [jerseys] and pictures and renounce him.” In the wake of this encouragement, Argentine soccer players, especially Messi, received numerous threats, leading the team to pull out of the match citing concerns about safety.
The Israeli government is on a reckless mission to extend permanently its control over the West Bank by annexing by force all or parts of the occupied territory. Developments over the past year, facilitated by the permissive attitude of the Trump Administration, are particularly alarming.
While proposals for annexation of all or part of the West Bank had previously been confined to the extreme right-wing fringe of the Israeli political spectrum, members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party are now submitting such bills to the Knesset. In December 2017, Likud incorporated into its party platform a resolution that would effectively extend Israeli sovereignty over West Bank settlements. And at the direction of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home Party, the government is moving to apply Israeli laws in the West Bank – to Israeli settlers only.
Along with many other U.S. Jews, I wanted to feel pride at the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. But amid the carnage in Gaza, I felt nausea
Debra Shushan | May 16, 2018 |
For Jews around the world, the opening of the U.S. embassy to Israel in Jerusalem should have been an occasion for jubilation and pride. And while for some it was, many of the rest of us watched the ceremony feeling a combination of nausea and cognitive dissonance.
There were at least three reasons to feel ill.
The first and most obvious is that the ceremony took place yesterday against the backdrop of carnage in Gaza.
While American and Israeli officials congratulated themselves in Jerusalem, denizens of the open-air prison which Israel continues to occupy (through its control of air, sea, and land routes out of Gaza and even of its population registry) were being shot to death by the dozens.
The White House says it wants to help Gaza. So it punitively cuts aid to desperate Gazans, adopts one-sided policies in Israel's favor – then blames the Palestinians for 'politicizing' humanitarian assistance.
Two conferences held last week underlined the Trump Administration’s combination of bad faith and ineptitude in addressing Gaza’s severe humanitarian crisis.
The first one, convened by the White House, was dubbed a "brainstorming session" on Gaza by Trump’s special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt. At the outset, Greenblatt enjoined participants to "leave all politics at the door" in order to help Gaza.