Photograph from The Forward
I’ve heard teachers or administrators say at assemblies things like “you don’t belong in America,” “Israel is your country” and “the IDF are your soldiers…
HaTikvah was sung more often than the Pledge of Allegiance or the Star Spangled Banner. Israeli national holidays are taught with a reverence that outstrips what is accorded to religious or American ones…
Anyone who has witnessed daily life at a Jewish day school and thinks that accusations of dual loyalty are anti-Semitic is either spiteful or idiotic…
by Anonymous, reposted from Forward*
A recent survey by the Anti-Defamation League found that nearly a quarter of Americans believe American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States. Based on my experience teaching at half a dozen Jewish day schools over the past twelve years, I am shocked that the figure is so low.
Imagine being a non-Jewish employee at one of these schools in New York City, maybe a security guard or a special-education teacher’s aide. You walk into the building and see Israeli flags hanging all over the place. Lessons are delivered in Hebrew — often at the obvious expense of student comprehension. Children sing HaTikvah in the morning with enforced gusto. Israeli soldiers regularly address the student body. Children wear kippot and hoodies emblazoned with the logo of the Israel Defense Forces.
Zionism is messaged in these schools as the most essential attribute of our students’ identity. It’s a huge problem.
I’ve heard teachers or administrators say at assemblies things like “you don’t belong in America,” “Israel is your country” and “the IDF are your soldiers.” When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the United States Congress in opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, against the wishes of President Obama, the high school where I was working cancelled classes to watch “our Prime Minister.” That’s a real quote.
In the six schools at which I have taught, HaTikvah was sung more often than the Pledge of Allegiance or the Star Spangled Banner. Israeli national holidays are taught with a reverence or solemnity that outstrips what is accorded to religious or American ones. Veteran’s Day was never discussed, but Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, had special projects and assemblies. Many of these schools receive grants from the Avi Chai Foundation, which requires recipients to declare that they “seek to instill in our students an attachment to the State of Israel and its people.”
Are we really to blame non-Jewish staff if they leave campuses thinking that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States? Perhaps we tell ourselves that they just don’t understand the incredible, mystical, nuance that underpins the relationship between Judaism and Zionism. That while it sometimes looks like we’re supporting a foreign government, it’s really about our hopes, dreams and historical identity.
But that’s not what I’ve experienced. The jingoism around Israel and its military goes beyond any possible doctrinal link between Judaism and Zionism. There is no similar enthusiasm for the Torah in these schools. On the contrary, there was an understanding at all the schools in which I have taught that we don’t push religion, that we must teach about religion in a detached way. So while we may teach what the Torah says, we are pretty much forbidden from actually saying the key point — that “as Jews we have to do what the Torah says.” It’s like a very lame, extremely limited, comparative religion class. But when discussing Israel and Zionism, there is rarely room for leniency, disagreement, or apathy.
Many Jewish leaders were outraged last summer when President Trump suggested that Jews who vote for Democrats showed “great disloyalty”, presumably to Israel, raising an old anti-Semitic trope about American Jews’ fealty to the United States. But anyone who has witnessed daily life at a Jewish day school and thinks that accusations of dual loyalty are anti-Semitic is either spiteful or idiotic.
Of course, some saw this coming. After the founding of the state of Israel, the 1950 Blaustein-Ben Gurion agreement demanded that Israel not claim the loyalty of Diaspora Jews since such loyalty would jeopardize the Diaspora communities.
Now, more than 70 years into Israel’s existence, we are at a disadvantage regarding old questions of loyalty. The question is whether we are being wise in how we combat these suspicions. If our loyalty really is — as it must be — to the United States, then it is time to think about how we show it. We’re really not being at all clear about it in our Jewish day schools. Until this is addressed in a meaningful way, we are in no position to feign shock at how it is perceived.
*The Forward published this article anonymously to protect the author, who currently teaches at a New York day school, from repercussions at work.
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The Political Lynching of Marc Lamont Hill: What You’re Not Being Told
Renegade Editor’s Note: Marc Lamont Hill and his supporters are definitely not going to stand up for the rights of White people, who are being targeted for genocide and ethnic cleansing by the same forces who are oppressing the Palestinians. Instead they will constantly equate jewish supremacism with apartheid, to make Israel just seem like an extension of “White supremacy.” However, this piece does go to show what we already know, that both sides of the political spectrum are completely controlled by powerful jewish interests who demand complete obedience.
By Whitney Webb
(MPN) — After his UN Speech marking the International Day of Solidarity with Palestine last week was twisted so as to smear him as an anti-Semite, Marc Lamont Hill was subjected to a “political lynching” that saw him fired from his role as a political commentator on CNN and will now see Temple University — his other employer — investigate whether and how to reprimand him for his statements.
During his speech, Hill had called for solidarity with Palestinians and drew on the history of African Americans’ struggle against slavery and apartheid in the United States as an inspiration for the solidarity. Hill then noted that “if we are to operate in true solidarity with Palestinian people, we must allow the Palestinian people the same range of opportunity and political possibility” that were afforded African Americans, including “self-defense” and other tactics that do not fit neatly with “non-violence.”
However, the part of Hill’s speech that has been deemed the most controversial was his concluding call for a “a free Palestine from the river to the sea,” which recognizes the reality that the area historically known as Palestine is, in fact, not free, as Palestinians in the territory are currently under siege from a decade-long blockade, under military occupation, or under an apartheid legal system. Yet Hill’s detractors have directed their outrage at that single line, twisting it to mean the destruction or “genocide” of the Israeli state, while also failing to recognize the genocide of Palestinians that accompanied the creation of the state of Israel in the first place.
Since he was dismissed from his role at CNN, many of the same voices that pressured the news organization to fire Hill are now pushing for Temple University to do the same. On Tuesday, Temple University’s newspaper — The Temple News — published a story reporting that the university is set to “investigate” Hill and is determining whether he can be “reprimanded” by the university for the statements that he had made at the United Nations. The university had previously stood by Hill. Notably, many of the strongest voices that have been calling for Hill to be fired first from CNN and now from Temple University have close ties to the Israeli government, top U.S. Israel lobby organizations, or pro-Israel stalwarts with ties to the U.S. political establishment.
Trouble at Temple
Last Friday, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article in which it noted that one of the people pushing for Hill to be fired from Temple University was Leonard Barrack, who was described as a “Temple trustee and major donor to the university.” Barrack, who is also a Temple alumnus and former finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), was quoted as saying that “He [Hill] called for the destruction of the State of Israel in code words. I am very upset about it. I think it was anti-Semitic.”
However, the article fails to note that Leonard Barrack is also former president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia,which regularly hosts events in Philadelphia with American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), arguably the most influential Israel lobby group in the U.S., and StandWithUs, an Israel lobby group whose activities on U.S. college campuses were exposed in a recently leaked documentary.
Even though the article mentions the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia immediately below where it quotes Barrack, it does not mention this connection between the two nor does it note that the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia or the Israel lobby groups it collaborates with promote Israeli colonialism, the apartheid system imposed on Palestinians by the Israeli state ,and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from historical Palestine.
Barrack, given that he is a Temple trustee as well as a major donor who is also politically influential, clearly made his outrage heard, as evidenced by recent statements from the chairman of Temple’s board of trustees, Patrick O’Connor, who told the Inquirer, “the board’s not happy. The administration’s not happy. People wanted to fire him right away. We’re going to look at what remedies we have.” Both O’Connor and Barrack are prominent lawyers in Philadelphia in addition to being Temple trustees.
Another Temple University alumnus with connections to the Israel lobby pushing for Hill to be fired is the President of the Zionist Organization of American (ZOA), Morton Klein. Klein went even further than Barrack in expressing his outrage over Hill’s speech, calling for the university to fire Hill, whom he called a “Bigot Jew-hater.” Klein also condemns Hill for his past statements on Palestine, including voicing his support for Ahed Tamimi — whom Klein calls a “convicted Palestinian-Arab terrorist” — and for denouncing “settler encroachment” and the “systematic abuse of Palestinian children,” which Klein equated to “blood libel.”
Klein concludes his long statement on Hill, which was quoted by numerous news outlets, by stating:
As a Temple University alumnus from where I received two degrees, I am especially shocked, embarrassed and ashamed that Mr. Hill teaches at my alma mater and has a named Chair no less. His working at Temple can only hurt fundraising and support for the University.”
Like Barrack, Klein has considerable political pull in this situation, not because of his ties to Temple University necessarily, but because of his ties to the Trump administration and Trump’s largest political donor, Sheldon Adelson. Klein, who is also close to former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, was instrumental in installing John Bolton as National Security Adviser by leading the campaign to have Bolton’s predecessor, H.R. McMaster, fired over alleged “anti-Israel” beliefs. Bolton is a close confidant of Sheldon Adelson, the largest donor to Trump and the Republican Party. Adelson also funds the organization Klein leads, ZOA.
Hill’s head sought by pro-Israel right and left
In addition to ZOA, other notable Israel lobby groups, such as the American Jewish Committee (AJC), have been vocally calling for Hill to be fired. For instance, AJC’s “chief storyteller,” Avi Mayer claimed that Hill’s speech called for the “violent annihilation” of Israel and mischaracterized Hill as a Hamas supporter for opposing U.S. funding of Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. The U.S. gives Israel over $3 billion annually in military aid, which is set to top $3.8 billion this year.Avi Mayer✔@AviMayer
On Tuesday @CNN aired a devastating report on antisemitism in Europe. Today CNN’s @marclamonthill echoed Jihadist calls for Israel’s violent annihilation, calling for “resist[ance]” to achieve “a free Palestine from the river to the sea.” Not a great look.
Notably, prior to working for AJC, Mayer worked as a “foreign media liaison” for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He has also worked in the Israeli embassy in Washington and for AIPAC.
AJC claims to be very different from ZOA in the sense that AJC seeks to cater to “liberals” while ZOA is focused more on Republicans and conservatives. However, both are equally committed to promoting Zionism. Indeed, AJC was instrumental in promoting the Israel-centric definition of anti-Semitism that seeks to define certain criticisms of the Israeli state as anti-Semitism. The group is exceptionally well-funded, with an annual income of over $49 million, most of which comes from private donors.
Notably, a subsidiary of AJC, UN Watch, has also been very vocal in its condemnation of Hill. UN Watch is frequently quoted by media outlets on a variety of issues related to the United Nations and its alleged bias towards Israel. However, the fact that it is a “wholly owned subsidiary” of AJC is rarely noted, with the outlets only sometimes noting that UN Watch is a “pro-Israel monitor.”
In crosshairs of “fiercely Zionistic” National Council of Young Israel
Another important and controversial Zionist organization pushing for Hill to be fired from Temple University is the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI). NCYI’s call to have Hill fired was widely quoted by both Israeli and U.S. media outlets.NCYI Young Israel@NCYIYoungIsrael
The #NCYI is calling on @cnn @templeuniv to fire Marc Lamont Hill following his highly offensive & virulent anti-Semitism remarks. They’re abhorrent, & his senseless promotion of violence against Israel is repugnant.
He can’t be given a platform to serve as a pundit or professor!487Twitter Ads info and privacy370 people are talking about this
NCYI, essentially an umbrella group for over 100 smaller organizations spread throughout different areas of the United States, has a storied history, having been founded over 100 years ago.
As an example, NCYI boasts on its web page that, prior to Israel’s founding in 1948, it funneled weapons to Zionist terror groups like Irgun. Irgun, which NCYI calls a “defense force” on its website, began bombing and attacking Palestinian civilian targets in 1938, 10 years before Israel’s founding. It is best known for the bombing of the King David hotel in Jerusalem, which killed 91 people, as well as the Deir Yassin massacre, which killed over 100 Palestinian civilians as part of a self-described “cleansing” campaign.
Irgun’s leader, Menachem Begin, was called a terrorist and fascist by Albert Einstein and many other prominent Jewish American intellectuals in an open letter published in the New York Times in 1948. He went on to found the precursor to today’s Likud political party. Notably, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, which has strongly condemned Hill’s speech and smeared him as “anti-Semitic,” recently hosted an event celebrating Begin’s legacy, bizarrely likening Begin to Martin Luther King Jr.
In addition to considering its past support of terror groups as a point of pride, NCYI also led the effort to commute the sentence of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who had given top-secret classified U.S. government information to Israel and other countries. Pollard was imprisoned in the late 1980s and released in 2015.
NCYI, which describes itself as “fiercely Zionistic,” now promotes anti-BDS initiatives on U.S. college campuses, including Temple University. Owing to its decentralized nature, there is little information on the group’s finances and donors.
A skirmish in a larger war to silence pro-Palestinian advocacy
The firestorm of criticism around Marc Lamont Hill’s speech was undeniably engineered, particularly given the fact that the outrage centered on a single phrase at the end of the lengthy speech and the fact that the subsequent campaign against Hill employed prominent figures and organizations in the Israel lobby, many of whom hold extremist positions and are openly racist.
Ultimately, the controversy that has resulted from Hill’s speech is just the latest iteration of a larger effort to silence advocacy for Palestinian rights in the United States, particularly at a time when Israel’s right-wing government is seeking to annex Palestine’s West Bank and when the Gaza Strip is approaching its breaking point as a result of the inhuman decade-long blockade of the enclave by Israel. It also comes at a time when the Trump administration is set to reveal its Israel-centric “peace plan” that is set to be a disaster for Palestinians and major give-away to Zionist interests.
The Israel lobby that represents extreme political Zionism in the United States is seeking to make an example of Hill in order to avoid having to discuss the important issues he brought up in his speech. These critics of Hill have claimed that he implicitly called for the destruction of Israel as a state. Though Hill did not make that claim, the alarm raised by these critics is ironic given that Israel is currently — and has been for decades — seeking to ethnically cleanse the historic land of Palestine of all of its indigenous inhabitants.
This article originally appeared on MintPress News.
Cynthia McKinney US Lawmakers Forced to Sign Pledge to Support Israels
Former US lawmaker Cynthia McKinney says every candidate for Congress has to sign a pledge to vote for supporting the military superiority of Israel. “Every candidate for Congress at that time had a pledge. They were given a pledge to sign … that had Jerusalem as the capital city,” McKinney said in an interview with Press TV on Sunday. “You make a commitment that you would vote to support the military superiority of Israel that the economic assistant that Israel wants that you would vote to provide that,” she added. McKinney said that if a candidate does not sign the pledge or perform accordingly, “then you do not get money to run your campaign.”
The former Congresswoman said that after she made the pledge issue public “the tactic changed.” “But this is what is done for 535 members of the United States Congress, 100 senators and 435 members of the House of Representatives have to now write a paragraph which basically says the same thing.” He comments came as US President Barack Obama vowed to sustain Israel’s military superiority over its neighbors at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual gathering on Sunday. “We (the US) will maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge”… “We have increased military financing to record levels,” Obama said.