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Archive for the ‘Politics & Society’ Category



5 Things the Sanders Revolution is Not

Sep6

by: Anthony D'Agostino on September 6th, 2016 | No Comments »

The next President of the United States will not be a self-described democratic socialist at the head of a political revolution.  Bernie Sanders and his supporters will close ranks and work for a Clinton victory, at any rate, an estimated 80% of them who will follow his lead.  This does not in any way reduce the significance of the Sanders vote in the 2016 Democratic primaries.  It represents something close to half of the Democratic vote and something like ¾ of the Democratic voters under 30 years of age.  Over a million of Sanders supporters cheered him on in rallies in nearly every state.  When this is taken together with the evidence of similar expressions throughout Western Europe and other parts of the world, it becomes clear that the dialogue on the left and center left in American politics has been fundamentally changed, perhaps permanently.  We now have a social democratic movement capable of quickly becoming a majority and leading a government.  It will seem to be submerged for a time; it will only express itself in a small grouping of personalities in Congress; it may only cause a ripple or two in the Congressional election of 2018; it may only indirectly affect the actions of the next administration.  Yet candidates will know from now on that they can appeal to a set of ideas similar to the ones that were aired in the primaries this year and that there will be a constituency ready to listen to them.  The emergence of social democracy is now a fact of life.


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What would an Economy for the Common Good look like?

Sep4

by: Christian Felber and Gus Hagelberg on September 4th, 2016 | 3 Comments »

The Economy for the Common Good (ECG) is an international movement which started in October 2010 on the initiative of a dozen companies in Austria. Presently over 2000 companies support the ECG and over 100 local chapters are working with businesses, governments and civil society. It is a holistic, alternative economic model which envisions a free market economy, in which the common good is the ultimate goal of economic activity.


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An Exchange Between Wendy Somerson and Yotam Marom on Anti-Semitism in the Left and the Jewish Left

Sep2

by: Wendy Elisheva Somerson and Yotam Marom on September 2nd, 2016 | 6 Comments »

[Editor's note: The article below by Wendy Elisheva Somerson was written in response to an article Tikkun published on our website a week ago written by Yotam Marom titled Toward the Next Jewish Rebellion: Facing Anti-Semitism and Assimilation in the Movement. We published that long article because it is relevant (though not written as a direct response to) a vigorous debate now taking place in progressive Jewish circles about how to think about an alliance with The Movement for Black Lives in light of its recent platform that included as one of its elements the claim that Israel is engaging in "genocide" against the Palestinian people, but also because it addresses the larger question of how to deal with anti-Semitism in the Left and in the consciousness of some leftist Jews who may have unconsciously internalized the anti-Semitism in the movement in order to protect their status as "loyal allies" to the Left as a whole, and in this case, to the section of the struggle against racism that has the label "Black Lives Matters" (though that is only a small section of the larger anti-racist movements in the US.). To understand Somerson more fully, it makes sense to first read Yotam Marom's original piece, which you'll find athttp://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/toward-the-next-jewish-rebellion-facing-anti-semitism-and-assimilation-in-the-movement. After reading that piece and then Somerson's response, please also read the response from Marom included below! It's an important discussion, and as Somerson points out, one done for "the sake of heaven."]

Arguing for the Sake of Heaven: Toward an Accountable Jewish Liberation

by Wendy Elisheva Somerson

We should always be wary about people who claim to summarize “the Jewish people” whether they are anti-Semitic or trying to elevate Jews in certain ways. Let’s assume we are a complex people,and that makes us very much like other people. – Judith Butler

I was excited to dig into Yotam Marom’s lengthy piece, “Toward the Next Jewish Rebellion: Facing Anti-Semitism and Assimilation in the Movement” after so many of my Lefty Jewish friends posted it on social media. As a fellow Jewish activist, I also long for Jewish culture to be visible in our social justice movements. But when I actually read his piece, I was disappointed because Marom conflates Jews with the State of Israel at a time when we should be doing everything we can to separate the two.


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Good News for the Monkey in the Middle

Sep2

by: Michael Zimmerman on September 2nd, 2016 | No Comments »

On a summer night in 2001, I stopped along Hebron Street to take in the view. To the east was the densely populated hillside of Silwan, where Jewish settlers were pressuring Palestinian residents to vacate, as part of an ongoing campaign of harassment. To my west rose another cluster of hillside residences in West Jerusalem, where Holocaust survivors built a new life in a Jewish homeland, protected from the terrors they had escaped in Europe.

To the east, a people trying to carve a life for themselves amidst the ongoing persecution and injustice of the Occupation. To the west, a people trying to carve a life for themselves after surviving the Third Reich now live in fear of the next suicide bomb.

Between them, I stood alone on Hebron Street: a visitor, an outsider, a monkey in the middle.

As the decades of Occupation dragged along, bringing misery to Palestinians and terror to Israelis, I was home on the other side of the globe, powerless to change the status quo and shouted down by both sides. I was the monkey in the middle. There are two narratives of suffering at the hands of the other. Neither contains the whole truth, but each holds countless stories of murdered loved ones, being the target of violent hatred, misunderstood and abandoned by the rest of the world. Both carry a long list of injustices by the other, thwarted attempts to seek peace, and irrefutable justifications for retribution or self-defense.


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LA Jews for Peace Endorses the Platform of The Movement for Black Lives and Demands Gov. Brown Veto AB-2844

Sep2

by: Dick Platkin and Jeff Warner on September 2nd, 2016 | 1 Comment »

[Managing Editor's note: In two separate statements issued in the last month, the group LA Jews for Peace endorsed the platform of the Movement for Black Lives and demanded California Gov. Jerry Brown veto AB-2844. Like almost everything we post on Tikkun Daily, these statements do not necessarily reflect Tikkun's official stances. For those positions, please refer to the editorials in the print magazine.]

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LA Jews for Peace Endorses the

Platform of The Movement for Black Lives

LA Jews for Peace endorses “A Vision for Black Lives, Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom, and Justice,” the platform of The Movement for Black Lives. The Platform is a strong and comprehensive statement for social, racial, political, and economic justice. We would very much like to live in the society it describes. We also note that some Jewish groups have criticized the Platform as anti-Israel. Their critique centers on three issues:

  • The Platform endorses Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The Jewish American establishment objects to the platform because they assert BDS’s goal is to destroy Israel. We disagree. Thousands of Jewish and other Americans support BDS as non-violent economic pressure on Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. They are not out to destroy Israel, and their BDS activities would stop when Israel ends its occupation and allows Palestinians to regain their political, human, and economic rights. This is why LA Jews for Peace urges the U.S. government to place comprehensive sanctions on Israel until it makes peace with Palestine, similar to the sanctions it placed on South Africa to end apartheid.
  • The Platform characterizes Israel as an apartheid state.This is obviously true. In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Jews and Palestinians live totally apart and are subject to separate laws – Jews under Israeli civic law and Palestinians under military law. Jewish communities receive massive state infrastructure support while Palestinian community state support is extremely limited. Within Israel there are over 50 discriminatory laws that restrict Palestinian, but not Jewish, life. This is the definition of apartheid, an Afrikaans word meaning separation.
  • The Platform states that “genocide [is] taking place against the Palestinian people.”That is a false assertion. Israel is not committing mass extermination; rather it extrajudicially executes Palestinians; uses disproportionate force to attack Palestinian homes, civil, commercial, and municipal buildings like schools and hospitals; and expropriates private land and resources. There are more Palestinians alive today, and they comprise nearly half of the population under direct and indirect Israeli control, but their living standards and prospects have been destroyed.

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Make War on War

Sep2

by: Maurice Sher on September 2nd, 2016 | No Comments »

Our father, Maurice Sher, wrote only one opinion column during his lifetime (1917-2004). It was originally published in 2001 on the Common Dreams website and is reprinted below. We think his analysis was prescient and is even more relevant today. The upcoming election offers opportunities to lessen the number and power of ‘hawks’, who keep supporting military actions having little chance of producing the lasting peace our father advocated. Our votes and our voices can, and should, be used to counter the increasing willingness to express and act out of fear and hatred of the ‘other’. There is merit in the alternative envisioned by this ‘ordinary’ WWII soldier. He experienced the hell of war and returned home damaged, but always hoping the world’s people would see and treat one another more justly and compassionately.

- Chuck and Jonathan Sher

As a World War II veteran who served in the South Pacific, I know the horror of war first-hand. Our great victory in that “good” war should not be twisted into the inspiration for massive military action now. President Bush, Congress and world leaders must root out terrorists everywhere, but not wipe out ordinary people anywhere.While I am outraged by the terrorist attacks, I ask the US government not to compound the tragedy. As a proud US citizen and as a US Army war veteran, I must speak up and tell our nation’s leaders: “Don’t perpetuate the cycle of violence.” Bringing terrorists to justice must not become to excuse to wage a wholesale war against Islamic nations and Muslim people around the world (including here at home) — the vast majority of whom are as innocent as everyone murdered at the World Trade Center. As a Jew, I am all too familiar with the world’s willingness to demonize and try to destroy whole groups of people on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity or nationality. There already has been a grotesque slaughter of the innocents around the world and across the centuries. It is time for it to stop.

That’s where America’s role and response become most important. September 11th marks the end of one era in American history. As the world’s only superpower, the ball is largely in our court. Will we respond to the causes of terrorism, as well as to its awful effects? How can President Bush even hope to win a war against an elusive enemy that, like a cancer, has spread its tentacles everywhere around the world and across America? Where will Congress send our soldiers, our battleships and our war planes — in other words, where can we unleash our unquestioned military might without doing far more harm than good? How should America deal with these dilemmas?


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On Community and Conscience: Jewish Allyship and the Movement for Black Lives

Sep1

by: Lena Shapiro on September 1st, 2016 | 1 Comment »

Managing Editor’s note: As we have noted many times, the articles posted on Tikkun Daily do not necessarily reflect the official positions or attitudes of Tikkun. You can read our official positions in the editorials of the print versionof Tikkun magazine (available by subscription atwww.tikkun.org/subscribe). We also encourage readers to visit the special section of www.tikkun.org called “Political Vision & Spiritual Wisdom” where Rabbi Michael Lerner includes many ofhis editorials, short articles, op-eds to which he wants to call readers’ attention (even if he disagrees with them), and action alerts.

Many people have approached me recently to ask how I feel about the use of the word “genocide” in reference to Israel in The Movement for Black Lives’ official platform, which feels weird, because I don’t think the platform is about me. I have genuinely appreciated the interesting, varied, and important conversations I have had about the platform, and its investment-divestment section in particular, but I know I am not the only one who feels frustrated watching the controversy over the word genocide become the dominant story about a transformative political document that lays out a policy approach for a vision of justice and equality.

A sentence from the "Invest/Divest" section of "A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom & Justice."

In response to the platform, some Jewish organizations have decided to distance themselves and withhold support from The Movement for Black Lives. This is not the first time that the Jewish community has conditioned its support for certain social justice causes on the exclusion of Palestinian rights. In a recentopinion piece, Northwestern University student Lauren Sonnenberg wrote that campus activism that links struggles for justice, security, and self-determination in America to similar struggles in Palestine does not make room for students like her. I have heard related sentiments from Jewish students on my own campus: that they are unwilling to participate in activism that recognizes the injustice of Israeli occupation, because they view it as an attack on their Jewish identity. It is not. The idea that social justice movements that support Palestinian human rights and dignity run contrary to Jewish values and interests is not just false: it is dangerous. Our participation in struggles for justice and security for all people cannot be suspended because it is part of our own community that is perpetrating and sustaining injustice.


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Policing Pride

Sep1

by: Sofie Werthan on September 1st, 2016 | No Comments »

The theme of San Francisco Pride 2016 was “For Racial and Economic Justice.” One of the parade’s grand marshals was scheduled to represent Black Lives Matter. However, divergent reactions to the Orlando nightclub massacre and other issues of violence exposed tensions among Pride’s organizers and some LGBTQ communities of color.

The relationship between police officers and the Black community is currently at the center of an ongoing national discussion about racism, violence, safety, and law enforcement in the U.S. following a string of high-profile police shootings of Black citizens and retaliatory shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

As the nation reflects on the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement, activists across the country are mobilizing to dismantle structural and interpersonal white privilege and supremacy and rethinking the future of policing. Recognizing the primacy of this movement, it is necessary that members of the LGBTQ communities join this struggle by discussing and fighting against the alliance between white LGBTQ people and the police.

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A Response to Cherie Brown’s Article on The Movement for Black Lives Platform and Israel

Sep1

by: Donna Nevel on September 1st, 2016 | 4 Comments »

Screenshot from https://policy.m4bl.org

[Managing Editor's note: Cherie Brown, the founder and executive director of the National Coalition Building Institute, recently published an online piece in Tikkun that addressed controversy over a portion of The Movement for Black Lives platform the dealt with Israel/Palestine. You can read that piece here. The article below, from Donna Nevel, is a response to that article. Neither represents the official position of Tikkun. For Tikkun's official stances, please refer to the editorials published in the print magazine, which you can subscribe to at www.tikkun.org/subscribe.]

The Movement for Black Lives recently put forth a profound platform that, as Robin D. G. Kelley wrote, “is actually more than a platform. It is a remarkable blueprint for social transformation that ought to be read and discussed by everyone.”

Cherie Brown’s piece on what progressive Jews should be thinking about in relation to this platform – specifically what it says about Israel and Palestine – does not remotely reflect the deeply thoughtful, kind, loving, liberatory nature of that platform or of the Palestinian-led work for justice in Palestine and the world-wide solidarity among so many different communities. Rather, her article caricatured and misrepresented that work for justice.

1. Brown writes: Many Jews on campus report an atmosphere of intimidation when Jews question the validity ofBDS, even if they otherwise support Palestinian rights.”

In addition to this acontextual statement and lack of any documentation for the assertion she makes, Brown’s description of what students are experiencing on campuses leaves out a crucial picture of the (well-documented) harassment and intimidation of Palestinian students, Muslim student groups, and those promoting justice for Palestine. For detailed information that Brown did not include about what’s happening on campuses, please see two reports – one from Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), (“The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the U.S.”) that documents the suppression on U.S. campuses of advocacy for Palestinian human rights, and another from Jewish Voice for Peace (“Stifling Dissent: How Israel’s Defenders Use False Charges of Anti-Semitism to Limit the Debate on Campus”)that documents how Muslim and Arab students are being targeted, the bullying tactics of a range of American Jewish organizations, and the ways Israel advocacy groups intimidate student government to silence debate.


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An Open Letter to Cornel West

Sep1

by: Timothy Villareal on September 1st, 2016 | 1 Comment »

Dear Dr. West,

As a longtime admirer of your life and work, I am writing this letter today to plead with you to reverse your support for Green Party candidate for president, Dr. Jill Stein, and to publicly and loudly support the Clinton/Kaine ticket. Dr. Stein is fantastic individual who would indeed make a great president. Perhaps in a future election I would support her. But the risk of a Trump presidency is too great than to take any other action than to coalesce around the Clinton/Kaine ticket.

I fully comprehend the arguments and grievances of third party candidates pointing to our rigged electoral system. They are right. The system is rigged. Moreover, I understand that one could just as easily argue that a vote for Clinton/Kaine is the real spoiler vote: taking away votes from Dr. Stein. I get all that, but none of it matters now. A Trump presidency would imperil our nation, inaugurating a new era of sin and darkness, reversing whatever moral gains we’ve made since the founding. This is a man who openly mocked a disabled journalist, like a prep school teen who never developed basic empathic capacities. Worse are the crowds of people who have descended into a cesspool of hate, cheering him on, being fed this man’s arch-condescension and humiliation of others as if it were their daily bread. What will our nation look like after four or eight years of such hate?


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