Ben Cohen
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Ah, the devious Benjamin Netanyahu! Just when we are on the cusp of a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations, Israel’s slippery prime minister introduces a potential deal-breaker, in the form of insisting that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. more
#Rethink2014 is one of the more creative Twitter hashtags I’ve recently encountered. Launched by students opposing the hatefest otherwise known as “Israeli Apartheid Week” (IAW), the hashtag is designed for incorporation into tweets that explain why this ghastly annual event is a series of calumnies and lies from beginning to end. more
That there is widespread anxiety over the Obama administration’s Middle East policies is hardly a secret. It is not the so-called “Israel Lobby” that is the ultimate authority for Washington’s stance in the region, it is presidents and their appointees who make policies. And under Obama, the U.S. has pushed policies that directly clash with the long-established positions of pro-Israel groups. more
Since its founding in 2008, J Street, the liberal Jewish advocacy group, has expended a great deal of energy trying to convince American Jews that it is a credible and more ethical alternative to traditional pro-Israel organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). more
One of the oft-repeated criticisms of the movement to boycott Israel is that it portrays the Middle East’s only healthy democracy as the ultimate rogue state, ignoring at the same time those authoritarian regimes that violate the most basic human rights on a daily basis. Frankly, that’s why I’m pleased that the boycott I’m writing about here has nothing to do with Israel, the Palestinians, or the Middle East in general. more
Nobody does double standards quite like the Europeans. Where the Middle East is concerned, there are two complementary messages coming out of the European Union at the moment. The first proclaims that Israel is a legitimate target for boycotts and divestment for as long as the “occupation” continues — and here, “occupation” principally refers to the West Bank and the eastern half of Jerusalem, feebly eliding the fact that the Palestinian leadership, through its insistence on the so-called “right of return,” regards the entire territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan as “occupied.” As for the second message, that can be neatly summarized in a potential advertising slogan: Iran is open for business! more
Here are three disturbing memes about Jews and Israel that I’ve noticed in three separate-but-related news stories. 1. ‘You’re ungrateful.’ Here’s State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf responding to remarks by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon regarding Secretary of State John Kerry: “We find the remarks of the defense minister to be offensive and inappropriate … given all that the United States has done to support Israel’s security needs and will continue to do.” more
Israel ended 2013 in much the same way as previous years: facing a surge of terrorist activity from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. more
On a virtual stroll through the website of the “U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel” — a deeply unpleasant experience — I came across an article that drew an analogy I hadn’t encountered before. Intellectually ludicrous and morally ugly, the writer compared the situation of Aida, a Palestinian refugee camp near Bethlehem, with the bombing by the German Luftwaffe of the Basque city of Guernica in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. The Aida camp is not the most luxurious place on earth, yet it is far from being the worst. more
In the litany of complaints offered up by Jewish opponents of the State of Israel, two themes are most common. Firstly, they like to claim that their critiques of the Jewish state are “muzzled” by Jewish establishment leaders and organizations. (“Jewish Voice for Peace,” an anti-Zionist group based in the Bay Area with an amusingly kumbaya name, even has a blog dedicated to exposing such intrigues, entitled “Muzzlewatch.”) Secondly, they are fond of pointing out that political debate among progressives in Israel is freer and more open than in the stodgy, cautious circles of American Jewry. more
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