Philip Weiss

AIPAC Alternative?

Tapping into the restlessness among young left-wing Jews might be a place to start. “I meet these kids all the time on campuses all over the country,” says author Ali Abunimah. “This generation of young Jews is not as tied to the romantic Exodus story of their parents. They want a free and open debate about the rights and wrongs of supporting a country that privileges people based on arbitrary characteristics.” “The danger for AIPAC is that once Humpty Dumpty drops off the wall, you can’t put him together again,” says Abunimah. “And what is keeping the debate from happening now is political brute force. That’s what we see in the Obama case.” 

I Witnessed the Israel Lobby in Action

A few weeks back at Columbia, I watched with amazement as the former Israeli soldier Yehuda Shaul, who started the group Breaking the Silence, gave his presentation on the horrors of the occupation to about 75 students in a darkened hall. My amazement had to do with the fact that Shaul’s visit was sponsored by a largely-Jewish group at Columbia - Pro-Israel Progressives - and was attended by members of the Hillel chapter at the school. Kudos to them. After Shaul’s speech, representing “my comrades and not just myself,” he was bombarded by hostile questions from Israel supporters in the audience. 

Ali Abunimah on One State in Israel/Palestine

I caught Ali Abunimah, the Palestinian/American activist and author of a new book calling for a single Arab and Jewish state in Palestine, at Columbia the other night. Myself, I’m sympathetic to Abunimah’s vision, but I don’t know enough to be sure. One thing I am sure about is his presence: he’s idealistic. He may be a naive and deluded dreamer, fine, but his vibe is, he’s a dreamer, and visionary. Embracing Zionism these days isn’t any fun. Of course it’s true that Zionism was a place of dreams in decades past, but it seems like a lot of the dream has collapsed into a colonialist blind alley. 

Rachel Corrie Died In Palestine Rubble, But Her Issue Lives

“Rachel Corrie represented the finest tradition of nonviolent peacemaking,” said Rachael Kamel of the Jewish Mobilization for a Just Peace, in Philadelphia. “An investigation is needed not only to clarify the circumstances of her death, but also to help Congress and the American public understand more fully the violence carried out every day in the occupied territories. “Rachel Corrie is a hero,” said Washington-based Charles Lenchner, president of Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel. “These international volunteers represent the best of what American values are all about—Martin Luther King-style action.” Philip Weiss of the New York Observer examines growing sympathies among American Jewish groups with the goals of Americans like Rachel Corrie.