American Jewry

Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel: Something’s missing


With Holocaust Remembrance Day upon us once again in Israel, I thought I would republish a piece I wrote two years ago. I’ve decided not to make any changes because, unfortunately, not much has changed and the spirit of the piece remains true to the day.

As a second-generation survivor of the Holocaust, Yom HaSho’ah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) has always been of great importance to me; its lessons were etched into my conscience from the earliest times in my childhood memories. The words, “never again” represent the values I was most deeply instilled with. However, those very values, which I once thought were universal, appear to be lost on so many. Perhaps my understanding of the values and memories of the Holocaust differ from others’; never again, not to anyone, ever.

As a child, I received the same Holocaust education as most other Jews. I heard first-hand memories from my grandmother and less so from my mother – both survivors of Nazi death camps. I went on to hear nearly identical stories in Holocaust museums all over the world, one such museum even has an exhibit specifically about my mother. Over several years, I helped my grandmother put her story onto paper and video so they would not be lost once she left this world. The value of those stories remain close to my heart and (more…)

An ambivalent rejection of BDS


The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign launched in 2005 has an uncomfortable appeal to many who accept that the occupation of Palestinian lands and people must come to an end but find themselves disillusioned by the lack of any meaningful progress. One aspect of the BDS movement, however, makes it absolutely impossible for two-state advocates to support. This deal-killer, all-too-often left out of the discussion, is the BDS movement’s absolute demand for a Palestinian right of return outside the framework of negotiations (which would see millions of Palestinian refugees settled in Israel, upsetting the delicate balance that allows it to be both Jewish and democratic).

Unfortunately, BDS’s supporters, and even its detractors, tend to discuss the movement’s tactics in far greater detail than they do its goals and their implications, which can lead well-intentioned people to support a cause that contradicts their own beliefs. A recent slew of articles on +972mag have discussed the merits of BDS in the framework of its effectiveness without bringing up the movement’s goals. But to present only a partial view, is to create a fallacious discussion. (more…)

Nov 13: Weekend Reading


The New York Times ran an editorial on Friday calling out Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for deciding that “his hard-line coalition is more important than working with President Obama to craft a peace deal,” and acting as if the new Republican House majority means he will enjoy American support “no matter what he does.” The Times editorial concluded by calling on Bibi to “stop playing games, reinstate the moratorium, get back to negotiations and engage seriously in a peace deal.”


Young California Jew Matthew Taylor discussed the tensions between the aging American Jewish establishment and younger Jewish voices calling for just Israeli policies in an Haaretz Op-ed on Friday. Taylor was one of the hecklers attacked and thrown out of the  North American Jewish Federations General Assembly last week after interrupting Netanyahu’s speech with shouts of “The occupation delegitimizes Israel” and “The settlements betray Jewish values.” Lamenting how critics of Israeli policies are dismissed as “delegitimizers” sans any calm discussion on the merits of the criticism, Taylor recalled a Ghandi quote: “First they ignore you, then they (more…)

J Street: An Open Letter by Michael Omer-Man


Originally published by

After the Gaza Flotilla tragedy, American-Israeli Michael Omer-Man wrote the following letter to a friend in the U.S. who expressed concern about publicly criticizing Israeli policy.

I have not lived in The States for a handful of years now, so I’m no longer completely confident in my ability to gauge the direction of American or American-Jewish political leanings. I can, however, give an Israeli perspective.

In the past few years, I have seen a slow – but very significant – shift to the right in the Israeli public’s political inclinations. Before I get into the implications of that, I find it necessary to explain a thing or two about the Israeli right that most Americans fail to grasp. The Right in Israel is much further right than most American Jews are able to comprehend. They outright reject the two-state paradigm for peace and see no need to come to an agreement with the Palestinians at all. The idea of human rights doesn’t apply to non-Jews for them. I cannot tell you how disturbed I was to be invited to join several facebook groups in the past week, some of which (more…)

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