News and Politics

A Green Gevalt: Nigel Savage and David Weisberg on the Hazon/Freedman merger and the Jewish environmental movement

December 6, 2012

On December 3, 2012, two of the Jewish world’s leading environmental organizations announced their merger. Zeek’s Jay Michaelson sat down with Nigel Savage, founder of Hazon, and David Weisberg, executive director of Isabella Freedman, for a in-depth conversation about what it all means.

The Nexus of Spirituality and Politics, or, Mitt Romney vs. Exodus 22

October 30, 2012

Are we helping one another too much, or too little? Should government basically leave us alone, or do each of us owe the weaker among us a duty, with government being the all-too-imperfect means of fulfilling it? My claim is that the answers to these political questions are not political at all – but ethical, and, for wont of a better word, spiritual.

What is the Jewish Social Justice Agenda?

February 18, 2012

We must expand what is meant by “Jewish issues” beyond Israel and antisemitism. At a recent White House event in Washington DC, dozens of Jewish leaders talked about what that broader agenda should be. Here are some of them.

Toward a Jewish Housing Initiative

February 7, 2012

In the wake of the housing crisis, the Jewish community, while expressing a new commitment to social justice, needs to commit itself to more than advocacy.

Why Climate Change is Bad for the Jews

February 7, 2012

Climate change will be a disaster for Israel: a 4-8% drop in precipitation and increased extreme climate events. But conservatives in the U.S. continue to obstruct any progress on this issue. In this way, Israel’s purported friends in America are damaging its long-term economic and political future

Birthright's Israel: The Political Bias of the Jewish Community’s Favorite Program

November 28, 2011

Birthright Israel is training right-wing activists, not informed and engaged American Jews. After seeing Israel on my own, it became clear that Birthright was not just guilty of failing to provide differing perspectives on Israel’s current situation, but was bending over backwards in order to ensure that we never saw a balanced picture of Israel.

Gilat Shalit is home, and my son is going off to war

November 10, 2011

If you can understand why Gilad’s parents pushed for this swap, you can understand why I don’t want my son to serve in combat. It’s not rational. It’s not about my left wing political opinions or the fact that I am not a native Israeli. It’s because I am a mother. I am simply doing my job.

Gold is not G!d: Kol Nidre at Occupy Wall Street

October 10, 2011

This sermon was given at Occupy Wall Street on Friday Night, and ‘amplified’ by the human microphone to between 700-1000 people.

Marc Gafni Abuses Again -- and We Share Responsibility

September 21, 2011

I am raising my voice to my fellow Jews that we have been silent about this man for too long, and now our silence has led to yet more abuse. In this season of repentance, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

Conservative Money and Jewish Studies: Investigating the Tikvah Fund

September 6, 2011

A hundred-million-dollar right-wing Jewish foundation is attempting to change the political face of Jewish studies and the Jewish press. Zachary Braiterman, Associate Professor of Religion at Syracuse University, investigates.

Call Jewish Fundamentalism What It Is

August 7, 2011

Why, when it comes to Jewish Fundamentalists, are we afraid to use the term, and tend to think of Hasidim as cuddly-cute characters from Fiddler on the Roof or The Chosen?

An Orthodox Jewish Case for Marriage Equality

June 24, 2011

Now that there are churches and synagogues that perform and hold sacred same-sex vows, the state cannot choose to reject these marriages any more than it can reject marriages that I, as an Orthodox rabbi, would not perform because one partner is a Jew and another a Christian.

"We Are Not Like Them": Itamar Massacre Activates A Dangerous Israeli-Jewish Ethnocentrism

March 23, 2011

“Let us not forget who we are dealing with. During a new moon, or when a crow’s dropping hit a howling jackal… the wild beast…sets off to stalk its prey.” Who said this? Not Osama Bin Laden. Not Khadafi. It was Gilad Sharon, speaking about the Palestinian people.

Analyzing Palestinian Ramallah Protests after Mubarak's Ouster

February 15, 2011

A bird’s eye view of Palestinian protests in Ramallah in the wake of Mubarak’s ouster; thanks to Ramallah Reflections which allowed us to reprint this essay.

What the Palestine Papers Mean

January 24, 2011

On January 23, Al Jazeera released the “Palestine Papers,” 1600 internal documents from Israel-Palestine peace negotiations. The documents show that it was Israel that was no partner for peace–and that the US failed to act as an honest broker.

Unite, Confuse and Inspire: A Response to the Rise of Racism in Israel

December 28, 2010

Over 53% of Israelis believe the state should encourage Arabs to leave the country. A snapshot of racism in Israel, and a list of concrete steps to stop its rise.

Bowling in Ramallah

December 6, 2010

Does economic growth in Ramallah mean economic peace for Israel/Palestine?

Three Israels: Why We Can't Talk about BDS

November 30, 2010

Despite Theodor Herzl’s dream, Israel is not simply a state like any other state. There are three Israels: the State of Israel (a “state like any other state”), Israel/Palestine, and the Jewish State. Which state(s) shape our understanding of Israel determines our views of the BDS movement.

Which Campaign to Wage?

November 29, 2010

Is the new anti-BDS campaign (called the Israel Action Network) really serving Israel’s best interests?

The Moral Argument Against BDS

November 29, 2010

Responding to the New Israel Fund’s recent article in Zeek, Balanson from the NGO Monitor argues for even stronger measures against the BDS movement.

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