Culture Wars: Hamilton Cast Fires First Shot in Conflict Israel Knows Only Too Well

Published on Haaretz
Donald Trump should take a look at Israeli minister Miri Regev to see how to really threaten artists and dictate a national cultural agenda
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The power – and profitability – of the musical Hamilton results from the perfect meeting up of subject, artistic excellence and clever and fortuitous marketing and timing. In finding a new musical language to tell the story of America’s Founding Fathers, focusing on the one non-white non-landowning man among them, Alexander Hamilton, it is a production with even greater timeliness and resonance as the age of Donald Trump begins.
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Cancel Citizenship? Yet Another Nail in the Coffin of Israel’s Beleaguered Democracy

Published on Haaretz

Once again, the Israeli government is putting the left on the defensive by questioning the legitimacy of a citizen’s right to speak out against the occupation. That’s been Netanyahu’s strategy all along.

It should be obvious to every thinking citizen in Israel that Likud chair David Bitan’s call to strip the citizenship of Hagai El-Ad, the director of B’Tselem, is a far greater threat to Israel and Israel’s increasingly beleaguered democracy, than El-Ad’s decision to speak the truth about Israel’s ongoing occupation and settlement enterprise at the United Nations. (Full disclosure, the foundation that I represent, the Moriah Fund, supports B’Tselem with annual grants.) Continue reading

In Israel Too, Young Black Men Face Police Racism and Brutality

Published on Haaretz

Israel’s police force’s record of brutality and over-policing against Israelis of Ethiopian descent mean, just like their peers in the U.S., young black Israelis are growing up in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

Here is a section from a story written by an 11-year-old Israeli student of Ethiopian descent for an elementary school writing competition this spring. It is based on his personal experience:

The fat policeman said, “I think they came to break into a house here, because they’re Ethiopian criminals and we have to take them in for questioning and knock them around.” All the way to the police station we begged them to let us call our parents but they wouldn’t.

They took us to the interrogation room, where they hit us until we would tell them what we were “really” doing in that [wealthy] neighborhood. Every time, we told them the same thing –  that we were running, we got tired, and sat down to rest on the bench. And every time, we were kicked or slapped again.

In the end, we despaired and refused to speak. Finally, the policemen got sick of us and let us go, warning us if we came with a kilometer of that neighborhood it would be the end of us.

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The Obama Doctrine and How America Is Disengaging From Israel

Published on Haaretz

Forget the candidates’ AIPAC love-in. With the possible exception of Hillary Clinton, they’re all in basic agreement with Obama: pulling back from the Middle East is crucial for America’s future.

The Obama Doctrine, Jeffrey Goldberg’s remarkably candid delineation of the reasoning behind President Obama’s major foreign policy decisions in the April issue of The Atlantic, should be required reading for all Israelis and supporters of Israel.

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Trump Will Bring the Jews – Even Bernie’s – Home to Hillary

Published on Haaretz

Fearful of selling out, Sanders’ young, progressive and universalist Jewish supporters won’t go canvassing for Hillary; they may even be considering not voting at all. But Trump will change all that.

In a U.S. presidential election campaign season in which particularistic Jewish concerns have been almost invisible, American Jews are united – at least for the moment – in their almost universal revulsion at the thought of a Donald Trump presidency. If he is not toppled from within the Republican party, the outcome of Trump’s success coupled with Bernie Sander’s eventual surrender will likely to drive two groups of American Jewish voters – despairing Republicans and disappointed young progressives – into the arms of liberal mainstream Democrats in supporting Hillary Clinton.

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