Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Panel on BDS, in a synagogue.

Dear readers,
The Mondoweiss piece was planned to be sent out a while ago. Because of technical difficulties it has not happened until now.
Which might be for the best, since as of yesterday a youtube video of the event described in the piece by Philip Weiss (and commented on by Ofer and myself) became available. A link for it is enclosed below.


The relationship between American Jews and Israel is complex. On the one hand, numerous members of the former group tend to regard support of Israel as a major constituent of their Jewish identity (perhaps even the glue that holds them together), and Israelis as their Protégés. On the other hand, Israelis are also perceived as those proud sabras who have shaken off the chains of diaspora. Therefore, when Israelis address a Jewish community abroad (a tribal gathering of sorts), and testify about Israel's violations of human rights , it can be expected that the audience will be attentive towards their message.

At a recent discussion of the 'boycott Israel' question in New York, Israeli activist and lecturer Dr. Dalit Baum, and Israeli filmmaker Udi Aloni had the opportunity to stand in front of hundreds of concerned Jews, and tell them in no uncertain terms that Israel is inflicting hell on innocent civilians on a regular basis. In the following piece, journalist Phil Weiss, who has strong convictions on the issue, relays his thoughts about the event.

This event, the first in a NYC synagogue to discuss Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), and if not the first of its kind in the US, was probably one of the first to bring up this issue from a viewpoint of people who support it (to varying degrees) in such a setting.

With Jewish Federation money going to shore up opposition to open discussion of BDS - except for the purpose of tearing it down - there are certainly hurdles to overcome before such events are seen in many other places, within Jewish communities.

Still, serious cracks are showing up in the cement walls of ignorance and prejudice most US Jewish organizations and communities are wrapped in. If we learned anything from the Arab Spring, it's the fact that what seems insurmountable one day, might crumble to the ground when we least expect it. This should give us some hope, and keep us at work.

Racheli Gai and Ofer Neiman.


To watch/listen go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f23XhXICJQg&feature=share.

Jewish Peace News editors:
Joel Beinin
Racheli Gai
Rela Mazali
Sarah Anne Minkin
Ofer Neiman
Lincoln Z. Shlensky
Rebecca Vilkomerson
Alistair Welchman
Jewish Peace News archive and blog: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com
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