This afternoon, the Doctoral Students Council of the City University of New York (CUNY) will once again consider a hateful resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The resolution’s backers claim they are promoting justice and human rights, that they are seeking sovereignty and freedom for the Palestinian people, that they are trying to end the “occupation.” Nothing could be further from the truth, writes Jacob Baime, executive director of the Israel on Campus Coalition.
It’s increasingly clear that the mood among the world’s democracies on the Palestinian statehood issue is shifting. The view that Israel must be cajoled and bullied into giving Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas what he wants at the U.N. is spreading, and that could turn out to be just as dangerous as a Hamas missile campaign from the Gaza Strip, writes JNS.org Shillman Analyst Ben Cohen.
In stark contrast to its Holocaust past, Poland now experiences far less anti-Semitism than the typical European country and is home to a burgeoning Jewish community. At the same time, young non-Jewish Poles are increasingly curious about Jews and Judaism. Recognizing that this environment was fertile ground for a museum highlighting the history of Polish Jewry, a group of Warsaw-based organizers invited scholars and cultural activists in New York to help promote the museum concept and identify funding sources for what two decades later became the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which opens its core exhibition Oct. 28. “We place the Holocaust within the 1,000-year history of Polish Jews, not a 1,000-year history of anti-Semitism,” says Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, the core exhibition's program director.
Going into a World War II film, audiences expect to see 70-year-old battle scenes play out on the big screen, in sometimes gory detail. The war in David Ayer’s latest film, “Fury,” is no different. The blistering motion picture is masculine, unflinching, and uncomfortable to watch at times—in line with the nature of war. But what detracts from the film is its focus on just a small part of the larger picture of World War II, most notably its omission of the brunt of the Holocaust, writes reviewer Jason Stack.
The so-called “alphabet soup” of American Jewish organizations covers seemingly every communal concern and interest group. Yet despite their direct connection with the Jewish homeland and firsthand knowledge of issues prioritized by American Jews, Israelis living in the U.S. have historically been both neglected and unorganized. Working to change that trend is the fast-growing Israeli-American Council (IAC), which was founded in Los Angeles in 2007 and started expanding nationally in 2013. This year, IAC’s programming has reached more than 100,000 of the estimated 500,000-800,000 Israeli Americans. From Nov. 7-9, the organization will hold its inaugural national conference in Washington, DC.
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.
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.
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.
“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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
This time of year, when a massive amount of Americans flock to department stores to purchase presents in time for Christmas, Hanukkah means Jews don’t hesitate to also get in on the action. For holiday shopping enthusiasts of all faiths, JNS.org presents product recommendations on higher and lower price ends from major retail brands, so that you can treat your loved one or friend with a great present.
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.