American Studies group receives renewed scrutiny over boycott of Israel

About a year after the American Studies Association’s (ASA) widely condemned vote to endorse a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, the organization’s policy on Israel is receiving renewed scrutiny over a practical application of that vote. The ASA’s 2014 annual meeting, to be held Nov. 6-9 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, has garnered criticism for a policy of excluding Israeli academics.

Posted on October 21, 2014 and filed under Israel, News, U.S..

Tight Senate race in Georgia garners national and Jewish communal attention

In Georgia, a state with a sizable Jewish voter block, the U.S. Senate race to fill the seat of the retiring Saxby Chambliss is attracting truckloads of cash from outside the state for advertising buys. “I think that voting in Georgia—not just Jewish voting but voting in Georgia—is likely to give us a glimpse of what the new demographic in the South is going to be like,” said Rabbi Jack Moline, director of the National Jewish Democratic Council.  

Posted on October 21, 2014 and filed under U.S., News, Features.

Israel’s emerging Muslim-majority ally

Amid growing defense, economic, and diplomatic ties, Israel sees the tremendous potential in its relationship with Azerbaijan. American supporters of Israel must do their part to reinforce that relationship. As has been discovered with Turkey, Muslim-majority allies don’t grow on trees, writes David Bernstein is the former executive director of The David Project and a former senior official at the American Jewish Committee.

Posted on October 21, 2014 and filed under U.S., Israel, Opinion.

Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: opera’s composer, librettist have broader Jewish problem

“The Death of Klinghoffer,” which debuted at New York's Metropolitan Opera on Oct. 20, is a vehicle for tendentious reiteration of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist slurs. But when considered together with two other collaborations between composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, the opera represents something more—an ongoing prejudicial obsession with Jews, writes Myron Kaplan, a senior research analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

Posted on October 21, 2014 and filed under Arts, Opinion, U.S..

Known for chemistry, Israeli Nobel laureate also champions tech entrepreneurship

Dan Shechtman, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and a candidate in last June’s Israeli presidential election, has long championed technological entrepreneurship and its potential to improve lives around the world. “In our world today, in the economic situation today, there are many disenchanted people because they can’t find a job. ... People need to think with an entrepreneurial mind,” Shechtman told JNS.org in an exclusive interview ahead of his latest technological entrepreneurship lecture, which came Oct. 20 at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science in the Chicago area.

Posted on October 20, 2014 and filed under Features, Israel.

Holy Texting! Does new app make smartphone use permissible on Shabbat?

Teens love texting. Cell phones don’t jive with Shabbat. The new "Shabbos App" app seeks to address this uniquely Jewish case of "unstoppable force meets immovable object." The app says it addresses challenges of Jewish law related to texting such as muktzah (the device has no use on Shabbat), mavir (turning the screen on and off may be considered making a fire), and koteiv (writing), among others. But Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews alike say the app is unlikely to catch on, in part because it goes against the "spirit" of Shabbat.

Posted on October 19, 2014 and filed under Features, Jewish Life, U.S..

With Armenian Orphan Rug, Obama stumbles again on genocide

After nearly a year of protests, the Obama administration has finally agreed to permit a rug connected to the Armenian genocide to be publicly displayed. While many believe the gesture marks the end of the long ordeal of the Armenian Orphan Rug, November's showcasing of the rug for six days in an exhibit about gifts to the White House is no victory. On the contrary, it is a defeat for everyone who cares about historical truth and everyone who seeks to learn the lessons of the past so that they will not be repeated, writes historian Rafael Medoff.

Posted on October 19, 2014 and filed under Opinion, U.S., World, Analysis.

Menschkins: The ‘Jew pill’

The 56th installment of Harvey Rachlin's new comic strip, "The Menschkins." See the color version above, and the black and white version below. Click here for an introduction to the series. Click here for more JNS.org coverage on Jewish arts.

Posted on October 19, 2014 and filed under Arts, Menschkins.

Jewish boycotts, then and now

A clash between anti-boycott activists and a group of Jewish studies professors, which has recently become the subject of much debate in the American Jewish community, is actually just the latest of many boycott-related controversies that have divided U.S. Jewry over the years, writes historian Rafael Medoff.

Posted on October 15, 2014 and filed under Israel, Analysis, Features, U.S., World.

Torah scroll for the U.S. military re-writes a legacy

JNS.org editor Jacob Kamaras reflects on his family's dedication of a Torah scroll for the United States military on Oct. 12. The new Torah—donated for the 50th yahrzeit of Jacob's grandfather of the same name, who was a U.S. Army veteran—represents the transformation of a legacy from absence to presence, Kamaras writes.

Posted on October 15, 2014 and filed under Opinion, U.S..

From opera house to House of Commons, Diaspora Jews are the target

It seems as if our declining western civilization can summon the courage to speak loudly on foreign policy only if the policy question involves our ally, Israel, supposedly punishing innocent Palestinians. But is this anti-Semitism? Yes, it is, writes JNS.org Shillman Analyst Ben Cohen.

Posted on October 15, 2014 and filed under Israel, Opinion, World.

Israeli defense minister reflects on Gaza, Abbas, and U.S.-Israel relations

In a wide-ranging interview with Israel Hayom, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon gives his thoughts on the summer war with Hamas, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and U.S.-Israel relations. “We have a lot of shared interests with the U.S., and that outweighs the disputes,” he says. “Certainly there are shared values on which the two countries are founded. The disputes stem from differences in attitudes and worldviews. Their perspective from there is different than our perspective from here. Disputes are allowed.”

Posted on October 15, 2014 and filed under Israel, News, U.S..

Opening the gates for Israel’s slain Olympians in Rio de Janeiro

The week of Yom Kippur, David Kirschtel learned of Ben Berger's death. Ben lived a long, good life punctuated by a singular, terrible tragedy—he outlived his son, David, who was one of 11 Israeli Olympians murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the horrific Munich Massacre of the 1972 Olympics. Kirschtel, the CEO of a JCC that launched a widely signed petition urging a moment of silence for the slain Israelis at the 2012 London Olympics, writes that his JCC will make another effort on behalf of the Munich victims’ families ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Posted on October 15, 2014 and filed under Opinion, Sports.

Are your state’s U.S. legislators speaking out against the Iranian and Palestinian threats?

When circulated in both houses of the U.S. Congress, letters articulating the pro-Israel narrative on issues such as the Iranian nuclear threat and Hamas terrorism garner broad bipartisan support. Yet that support isn’t unanimous. How are federal legislators from your state weighing in on foreign policy issues prioritized by the Jewish community? JNS.org provides a picture through an analysis of three recent legislative letters.

Posted on October 14, 2014 and filed under Israel, News, U.S..

Temple Mount tensions reach a boiling point during Sukkot

After the latest Islamic riots on the Temple Mount, Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch warned that further disturbances will prompt Muslims to be prohibited from entering the compound. Muslim violence at the Temple Mount has reached a boiling point over routine Jewish visits to the holy site during the holiday of Sukkot. “If the Jews cannot go up to the Mount, the Muslims will not go up to the Mount,” Aharonovitch said.

Posted on October 14, 2014 and filed under Israel, News.