Bulletin: Israel and International Relations

Articles

 

Reviews

Report

Thesis

Advertisements

Bulletin: Cyberworlds – Cybersecurity and Social Media

Articles

 

Reviews

Theses

Events

 

ToC: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (May 2016): Israel’s Influence: Good or Bad for America?

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
May 2016
Israel’s Influence: Good or Bad for America?

wrmea052016

ON THE COVER: Haaretz columnist and keynote speaker Gideon Levy addresses the conference, “Israel’s Influence: Good or Bad for America?”

5 Introduction

6 Welcoming Remarks Dale Sprusansky

7 PANEL 1: Israel’s Influence on Congress and Government Agencies — Moderator Grant F. Smith

7 Ten Ways the Israel Lobby “Moves” America — Grant F. Smith

11 Did Israel Steal U.S. Weapons-Grade Uranium and Did It Have Help From U.S. Citizens? — Dr. Roger Mattson

15 How Congress Shapes Middle East Policy, and How the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Shapes Congress — Prof. Kirk J. Beattie

20 Questions & Answers

22 KEYNOTE ADDRESS: What I Would Tell a Visiting Congressional Delegation — Gideon Levy

27 Questions & Answers

30 PANEL 2: Israel’s Influence on U.S. Foreign Policy — Moderator Dale Sprusansky

30 A Diplomatic and Military Perspective — Col. Lawrence Wilkerson

35 American Neoconservatives: A History and Overview — Jim Lobe

39 Israel and Foreign Policy Issues in the Presidential Campaign — Justin Raimondo

42 Questions & Answers

44 PANEL 3: Responding to Israel’s Influence on Campus and in Court — Moderator Janet McMahon

44 The Birth of Palestine Solidarity Activism at George Mason University — Tareq Radi

49 Concerted Attempts to Silence Criticism of Israel in the U.S. — Maria LaHood

53 Why We’re Suing the U.S. Treasury Department — Susan Abulhawa

57 Holding Israel Accountable for the Gaza Flotilla Raid — Huwaida Arraf

62 KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Voices Prohibited by Mainstream Media and Its Role Spreading Islamophobia — Rula Jebreal

66 PANEL 4: Israel’s Influence on Mainstream Media — Moderator Delinda Hanley

66 Mainstream Media Coverage of Israel and Palestine — Philip Weiss

70 “Valentino’s Ghost: Why We Hate Arabs” — Catherine Jordan

72 Questions & Answers

74 CLOSING REMARKS

75 CONCLUSION

78 ELECTION WATCH: Party Loyalty, Party Schmoyalty — Israel Comes First — Janet McMahon

79 Pro-Israel PAC Contributions to 2016 Congressional Candidates — Compiled by Hugh Galford

New Article: Harari, Performing the Un-Chosen Israeli Body

Harari, Dror. “Performing the Un-Chosen Israeli Body: Nataly Zukerman’s Haguf Ha’acher.” TDR 60.1 (2016): 157-64.
 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/DRAM_a_00530
 
Abstract

Nataly Zukerman “comes out” in this autobiographical performance piece, exposing to the public eye the “invisibility” of her limp; an invisibility imposed on her by a society that insists on downplaying her disability in an attempt to normalize her. Her “other body” is set against not only the universally fabricated image of the privileged able body but also, quite specifically, the idealized, physically fit, heroic Israeli body.

 

 

 

New Publication: The Battle over Legitimacy; 2014 Protective Edge and International Law

New Issue of Terror and Democracy (27, January 2016), by the Israel Democracy Institute:

This issue focuses on the analysis of an incident around the investigation of an Israeli soldier in Britain on suspicion of involvement with war crimes during Operation “Protective Edge”. This manifestation of a growing phenomenon, whereby information on IDF soldiers is gathered for the purpose of pressing charges against them in foreign countries. Against the background of this phenomenon, you can read Prof. Amichai Cohen’s article on the employment of the universal jurisdiction principle against Israel, and an article by Dr. Moran Yarchi (IDI and the IDC) on the role of this event in the ongoing battle over the image of Operation “Protective Edge”.

הקרב על הלגיטימציה: מלחמת התדמית הממושכת של מבצע “צוק איתן”

ד”ר מורן ירחי

מבצע “צוק איתן” הסתיים בקיץ 2014, אך הקרב על הלגיטימציה שלו עדיין חי וקיים, כפי שניתן היה ללמוד מחקירתו בבריטניה של קצין מילואים אשר לחם במבצע. מאמר זה בוחן את העמדה לפיה מאבקים צבאיים כיום אינם מוגבלים למלחמה צבאית אלא הם כוללים מאבק על התודעה, ומכאן כל מדינות לנהל את מאבקן גם בזירות הלחימה הנוספות, ובראשן בחזית התדמיתית.

המשפט הפלילי הבינלאומי והעמדה לדין של ישראלים

פרופ’ עמיחי כהן

מאז ראשית המאה הנוכחית אנו עדים לניסיונות שונים להפעיל סמכות שיפוט בינלאומית נגד אזרחים ישראלים, שפעלו במסגרת העימותים בין ישראל לשכנותיה. על רקע חקירתו של חייל ישראל בבריטניה ביחס למבצע “צוק איתן”, סוקר מאמר זה את האופן בו ניתן לעשות שימוש נגד ישראלים במנגנון הסמכות האוניברסלית או בסמכות בית הדין הפלילי הבינלאומי.

New Article: Sachs, Why Israel Waits. Anti-Solutionism as a Strategy

Sachs, Natan. “Why Israel Waits. Anti-Solutionism as a Strategy.” Foreign Affairs 94.6 (Nov/Dec 2015): 74-82.

 

URL: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/israel/2015-10-20/why-israel-waits

 

Extract

In the absence of a final-status agreement in the near or medium term, banishing anti-Israeli and anti-Palestinian incitement from public rhetoric will also become more important. During negotiations for peace in previous years, Israel’s demands for a halt to such talk among the Palestinians often seemed like a play for time. But today, with so much time likely to pass before peace is reached, calls for violence from either side can have a pernicious effect well beyond their apparent scope by encouraging terrorist attacks against both Israelis and Palestinians.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders are unlikely to take serious interim steps toward peace in the near term. Yet the conflict has had many ups and downs over the years, and there will be opportunities for creative policy before long. And because a full resolution is not likely soon, it is all the more important in the meantime that Israel, the Palestinians, and the United States devise coherent policies that are at once realistic about the immediate future and consistently committed to longer-term objectives.

Israel’s anti-solutionism is not absurd, especially in the context of the country’s current geopolitical situation. Yet Israeli leaders can nevertheless be blind to the long-term effects of their actions, and there is much that could be done to improve them. For the Israeli-Palestinian issue, as for many others, 
it is in the pragmatic middle ground between cynicism and idealism that the best policies can be found.

 

 

New Article: Leifer, Toward a Post-Zionist Left

Leifer, Joshua. “Toward a Post-Zionist Left”. Dissent 62.4 (2015): 102-104.

 

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/dissent/v062/62.4.leifer.html/

 
Abstract

Liberal Zionists position themselves as a third way between the two poles of right-wing religious Zionism and left-wing anti-Zionism, and as the most vocal supporters of the two-state solution. However, in the years since Yitzhak Rabin’s murder, and especially since the collapse of the Oslo Accords and the Second Intifada, the two-state solution increasingly appears dead beyond resurrection. The numbers of settlers and settlements continue to grow; there are now more than half a million Jewish settlers living over the Green Line. The Israeli public is more right-wing than it has ever been, and so is its government.

 

 

 

New Article: Linfield, Is a Left Zionism Possible?

Linfield, Susie. “Is a Left Zionism Possible?”. Dissent 62.4 (2015): 98-101.

 

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/dissent/v062/62.4.linfield.html/

 
Abstract

The very posing of this question is profoundly dispiriting. It shows how bad (that is, not left-wing) the political situation of contemporary Israel is; how radically the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has deteriorated; and how historically ignorant and blindly anti-Israeli today’s American left is. The short answer is: yes, of course. Zionism has been Leninist, socialdemocratic, liberal, secular, pacifist, anti-imperialist, proletarian, even, until this became impossible, binational. It has also been militaristic, authoritarian, bourgeois, racist, religious, messianic, imperialist, and neofascist.

 

 

 

New Article: Rosenberg, Is Israel Good for the Diaspora?

Rosenberg, Göran. “Is Israel Good for the Diaspora? Jewish Quarterly 62.2 (2015): 28-34.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0449010X.2015.1051705

 

Excerpt

So, where does the Jewish Diaspora go from here? On the one hand, I believe we might expect a further widening of the gap between Zion in its present-day nationalistic manifestation, and the Jewish Diaspora as a manifestation of religious pluralism and spiritual universalism. The Jewish Diaspora will then increasingly evolve into exilic community like most others, held together by a common ancestry and history, nourished by a common fear of antisemitism and a common affinity with a not-so-common nation-state.
On the other hand, we might expect—or in my case at least hope for—a revival of that strand of Judaism that Marcus Ehrenpreis was dreaming of in March of 1945, reconnecting in new ways and under wholly new circumstances, to the spiritual heritage of the Jewish Diaspora, to make the texts and tenets of Judaism known and relevant to new generations of Jews and non-Jews alike, to make the Jewish Diaspora into something more than a passive affiliate to Zion. This is to say, to find a new path for Judaism between Zion and Diaspora. A modest attempt is actually being made in Sweden, of all places, where in 2000, The European Institute for Jewish Studies, Paideia, was founded with support from the Swedish government. At Paideia, some twenty students from all over Europe—Jews and non-Jews alike—spend a year of study in close and critical contact with Jewish texts and text traditions (full disclosure, I am a proud board member). This is how Paideia has formulated its mission:

Dedicated to the revival of Jewish culture in Europe, Paideia educates leaders for Europe—academicians, artists and community activists—towards fluency in the Jewish textual sources that have served as the wellsprings of Jewish civilization. In renewing interpretation of Jewish text, Paideia is reviving a European Jewish voice long silenced by Communism and post-Holocaust trauma—a voice that can contribute to a culturally rich and pluralistic Europe
It is perhaps no coincidence that in 2011, a link was established between Paideia and the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien in Heidelberg, creating a joint Master’s program in Jewish Civilizations, contributing “towards a European Jewish culture that is a dynamic, open and inclusive learning community, in conversation both with the Jewish textual sources and with society.”

 

New Article: Brown | Lia van Leer: Founder of Jerusalem Film Festival and Israel’s Cinematheques

Brown, Hannah. “Lia van Leer: Founder of Jerusalem Film Festival and Israel’s Cinematheques.” Jewish Quarterly 62.2 (2015): 88-90.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0449010X.2015.1051735

 

Excerpt

Lia van Leer founded the cinematheques in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, art-house cinemas based on the model of the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris. Van Leer also created the Israel Film Archive, which houses more than 30,000 prints of movies from around the world, as well as more than 20,000 videos and DVDs—among them virtually all movies made in Israel.
In addition, she founded the Jerusalem Film Festival, in 1984, which presents hundreds of movies from around the world, as well as showcasing the newest Israeli films.

 

New Article: Shindler, Disagreeing with Israel: A British and American History

Shindler, Colin. “Family Politics. Disagreeing with Israel: A British and American History.” Jewish Quarterly 62.2 (2015): 48-51.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0449010X.2015.1051707

 

Excerpt

The BDS mantra appeals to those who vehemently oppose the occupation. Yet what is the meaning of their doctrine of anti-normalisation? Some will see this as a necessary pressure to force Israel to the negotiating table and relinquish territory. Others understand anti-normalisation in terms of delegitimisation—rooting out a poisonous Zionist weed growing on Arab land. Netanyahu’s policies and the acquiescence of many British Jews therefore suit the latter. If a new Rabin were to arise, and sign a fair agreement with the Palestinians, this would produce such political fissures that the BDS movement would be consigned to an irrelevant limbo once more. Like many a Jewish leader in the UK, the advocates of BDS fear a different narrative that draws confused Jews away from their orbit.
The ripples of this situation will continue to be felt in the UK, the US, and the wider Diaspora for the foreseeable future. Jewish organisations will continue to be seen as merely appendages to the official view, despite the inner turmoil of many a Jewish leader. Public relations in Britain will be a welcome diversion from public reality in Israel. Howard Jacobson’s “ashamed Jews” and the US equivalent will continue to verbally flagellate themselves in public. The traditional approach of debate, discussion and dissension will not disappear. But it will take a period of calm, and a disappearance of provocative acts in the Middle East, to allow the peace camps in both Israel and Palestine to once more gain the upper hand from the reactionaries in progressive clothing. Only then will British Jews, American Jews, and all Diaspora Jews, have a genuine role to play in securing a just peace.

 

Photo essay: Levac, Eye on Israel

Levac, Alex. “Eye on Israel.” Jewish Quarterly 62.2 (2015): 18-23.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0449010X.2015.1051695

 

Excerpt

Photography is supposed to be an international language. But is it really so? My photography is extremely culture-related. Since it’s concerned with human situations, mostly, it could be misunderstood, even meaningless, to people outside Israel. Understanding culture is easier for a native.
I photograph in Israel, for the Israeli viewer. It is not that I am aware of it all the time – but it is always there, in the back of my mind. It’s the way I see. I’m directing the sharpness and irony at us, Israelis.

 
 
 
 

New Article: Lehrer, Conversations with Steiner and Yehoshua, on Jews, Jewishness and Israel

Lehrer, Natasha. “Baggage Carousel: Conversations with George Steiner and A.B. Yehoshua, on Jews, Jewishness and Israel.” Jewish Quarterly 62.2 (2015): 11-14.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0449010X.2015.1051709

 

Excerpt

Steiner has met with a huge amount of hostility (misplaced, in my opinion) throughout his career for his vocal opposition to Zionism and his criticism of Israel, but when we meet he strikes me as more melancholy than fierce on the subject. “When Israel is in danger,” he says, “we all become Zionists. Temporary, honorary Zionists. That, I can fully understand. They are, after all, our brothers and sisters. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with them. And it does not mean that I feel I should go … . Many years ago, I was offered one or two major posts in Israel, and I had to think about it. Yes, I had a little Hebrew from my bar mitzvah, but I did not continue with Hebrew; I plunged into Greek and Latin, the other road. Perhaps that was a great mistake. If I had learned Hebrew properly, maybe I could have contributed to making Israel a more liberal, a more humane place. But I have forfeited that chance, and I have no right to criticise where I am not prepared to take the risks and to contribute. And the risks are of course enormous in Israel. But that does not mean one has to agree with their policy.”

[…]

Yehoshua has been widely, and erroneously, quoted as telling the AJC audience that Judaism outside Israel has no future. “The Diaspora has been around for over 2,500 years, and there is no reason that it shouldn’t last for another 2,500 years. I believe that just as there will be settlers in space and on Mars, there will also be Jewish communities who will still sing ‘next year in Jerusalem’. I am not as certain, I am sad to say, that the state of Israel will last another hundred years, if she doesn’t find a reasonable modus vivendi with her neighbours in general, and the Palestinians in particular.”

 
 
 
 

New Article: Brody, The Dispute over the 2010 Safed Ban on Selling Land to Israeli Arabs

Brody, Shlomo M. “When Political Ideology Meets Jewish Law: The Dispute over the 2010 Safed Ban on Selling Land to Israeli Arabs.” En Route, Journal of the Aspen Center for Social Values (March 2015): 18-21.

 

URL: http://www.theaspencenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/March-2015.pdf (pages 18-21 on PDF file)

 

Excerpt

More fundamental critiques, with which I identify, came from other segments of the religious Zionist camp. Rabbi Hayim Druckman, head of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva, contended that one may prohibit real estate deals with “enemies of the state.” Yet it remains unacceptable to issue a blanket prohibition against all Gentiles, including many loyal citizens, such as college students, IDF veterans, and health care providers.

Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein of Yeshivat Har Etzion launched a more trenchant critique, contending that the Safed rabbis had greatly oversimplifed Jewish law. It remains unquestionable, he noted, that there is a halakhic basis for prohibiting the sale of land to Gentiles within Israel. Yet, as we saw, a few figures limited the prohibition to the seven Canaanite nations, while many other scholars applied different dispensations to the rule, including a strong albeit not exclusive tradition – originating with the medieval school of the Tosafists – that severely narrowed this and similar laws. ese points and others were made years earlier by Rabbi Hayim David HaLevi in sweeping essays that presented a Jewish legal stance in tune with democratic values (Aseh Lekha Rav 4:1, 8:68, 9:30).

In short, genuine political problems may exist in various parts of the country. But the solutions lie in education and political wisdom, not in overreaching legal statements that distort – and disgrace – Jewish law and its adherents.

 

Opinions: Lehman, Establishing an Integrated Community and School in Israel

What is the mission and vision for a Jewish day school that can unite a population with a wide variety of Jewish beliefs, affiliations and practices? Ayelet Lehman provides perspective by describing how this challenge has played out at an intentionally pluralistic school in Israel.

URL: http://www.ravsak.org/news/882/279/Establishing-an-Integrated-Community-and-School-in-Israel-A-Continuing-Challenge/

 

Excerpt

It is important to understand that unlike other schools in Israel, which are established through the education system and the local authority, the Keshet School in Mazkeret Batya was established by a group of parents in order to realize their social-educational goals. Even so, some of the teachers who joined the school were not familiar with the vision of Keshet, its teaching philosophy and educational practices. For this reason, two years after the establishment of the school, various stakeholders undertook a structured process of forming a school vision. The process was led by the school administration, with staff and parents participating.

The implementation of the Keshet School vision was led by staff members together with the parents. The challenge now was to translate the vision into a practical program for all ages. For example, the meeting group (secular) discussed the definition of secular identity that is a mix of Jewish, Israeli and universal components. If so, what is the ratio we expect between those components? To what cultural legacy do we want to expose our children? To what extent will the school focus on Jewish laws and customs? What principles will guide the teaching and learning in this group? During the discussion diverse voices emerged, some focusing on social values, others putting emphasis on experiential learning, some emphasizing critical thinking, learning through asking questions, and examining dilemmas.

Who will teach the complex subjects? It became necessary to find teachers who are familiar with the material, whose worldview is pluralistic, who consider the two identity groups as equals, who are able to accept feelings, attitudes and behaviors different from their own, and who will protect every child’s right to express his or her opinion, even if it contradicts the worldview of another.

Opinions: Magid, Pluralism, Ethos, Creativity and Israel

Shaul Magid responds to Daniel Lehmann’s essay, “Beyond Continuity, Identity, and Literacy” on Jewish education, highlighting the role of Israel in Jewish Education in America today.

 

URL: http://www.ravsak.org/news/891/279/Pluralism-Ethos-Creativity-and-Israel/

 

 

Excerpt

The question of Israel is indeed a vexing one. Many of us who remember Israel before 1967 and who were raised on Leon Uris’ Exodus and Otto Preminger’s film version of that mythic novel must remember that our students only know a much complex Israel, more Western, economically stable, and also mired in managing a 45 year occupation. Many students may ask why Israel should be important at all, or why they should learn about Israel when Israelis learn almost nothing about the contemporary diaspora. Many will argue that Israel does not embody the democratic values they learned were sacred in America.

I think the question “why Israel?” should be an operative one in Jewish education today. We may take that for granted but they may not. Their experience is very different than ours. Assuming Israel is or should be a central part of American Jewish identity formation is more indoctrination than education, at least along the lines Lehmann suggests. Can Jewish education in American today have room for Jewish non-Zionism or even anti-Zionism? If not, why not? I think the Israel curriculum in American Jewish education is in dire need of reformation. It rests on a foundation that is simply outdated and does not speak to the reality of Israel today. The question “How do we teach Israel as a centerpiece of Jewish identity?” should include, in my view, the question “Why teach Israel as a centerpiece of Jewish identity?” allowing for contesting viewpoints and arguments.