The Only Way U.S. Jews Can Celebrate Israel’s Independence Day With a Clear Conscience

Published on Haaretz

The breakdown of democratic norms you fear in Trump’s America is far more advanced in Israel. We Israelis need your vocal – and financial – support to confront a creeping autocracy

Over the past century, while millions of Jews were victimized by oppressive regimes, American Jews stayed safe and prospered. Thus American Jews know first-hand that only when minorities are shielded from the tyranny of the majority, only when society protects its most vulnerable members, including those seen as different and even despised by some other citizens, only then can democracy flourish.

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The Demagogue’s Defense: Trump-style, Netanyahu Attacks Law Enforcement, Invokes God as His Fanboy

Published on Haaretz

Netanyahu, the avowed atheist, now calls on God to help and defend him. But until that divine sign of favour is revealed, he’s going to use his bully pulpit to attack the rule of law – and the basic intelligence of every Israeli

Listening to Benjamin Netanyahu spin and spin induces nausea. How many hours did he and his spinmeisters work on the details of his live televised response to the indictment charges the Israeli police recommended Wednesday? He included all the top hits of his heroic past (his achievements on behalf of Israel’s security, the famous 1972 Sabena hijack rescue he participated in, his UN speeches, then security again, then the red phone – his 24 hour availability to deal with crises)?

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Let’s Talk About (Anything But) the Occupation

Published on Haaretz

Let’s enjoy our self-delusionary bubble. Let’s not talk about the regime of control we Jews have created to keep Palestinians off-balance and in fear.

Let’s talk about the Occupation.

Let’s open our eyes and look again at the daily brutality of the Occupation, and what it does to human beings living only a few miles from our homes, and what it does to ourselves.

No, let’s talk about how publicizing the daily travesties of the Occupation in the foreign press hurts Israel’s image abroad and feeds those seeking our destruction, and how we must punish any foreign government or Jew or Jewish organization that dares expose our dirty laundry in public.

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A Purim Who’s Who for 2017: Recasting the Jewish Holiday With Trump, Bannon and the Rest

Published on Haaretz

This year’s Purim casting is a bit sticky, imperfect and Oedipal, but some of the alignments are too perfect to ignore:

1. Ahasuerus obviously is Donald Trump, impulsive and imperious, distracted and dictatorial, famous for delegating his authority to evil counselors, having the annals of his own exploits read to him to help him fall asleep, and for making snap decisions about the lives and deaths of his subjects.

Ahasuerus controlled provinces from India to Ethiopia, and presumably has office towers and resorts in each one, and was famous for revelries that convened the empire’s glitterati and scribal paparazzi.

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How will America look after years of Trump and Bannon? See: Israel

Published on Haaretz

Liberal democratic values are under attack in both America and Israel. But in Israel, the assault’s already gone on for years, led by fanatics and unobstructed by a cowardly prime minister.

This week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Britain’s leader Theresa May to stop funding Breaking the Silence, an organization founded by serving officers in the Israeli army to speak out against the damage done to soldiers by forcing them to control the lives of Palestinians in the occupation. (Full disclosure: I work for the Moriah Fund, which has given annual grants to Breaking the Silence though the New Israel Fund for many years.) Netanyahu sees democratic dissent as more dangerous to Israel than a law justifying the theft of privately owned Palestinian land, a new low point in Israel legislative history.  Continue reading