This collection of pieces was born out of a gathering of ideas and debate modeled by the Open Hillel conference — a needed intervention in the contemporary echo chamber of Jewish American discourse about Israel.
This collection of pieces was born out of the debates modeled by the Open Hillel conference. Some essays represent voices or ideas that are currently excluded by the Standards of Partnership, some discuss the challenges presented by the Open Hillel movement, some tell personal stories of political transformation, and some discuss the historical diversity of Jewish opinions about Zionism. The collection represents a taste of the vibrancy of Jewish opinion, ideas, and debate that the Open Hillel movement is working to revive. These essays represent the beginning, not the end, of a new kind of conversation.
Hillel will never be the truly pluralistic community it claims to be until it makes a commitment to including all Jews, regardless of their political views on Israel/Palestine. Until then, it will continue to leave disproportionate numbers of queer students without a Jewish home on campus.
So what does the conversation between Jewish students, activists and scholars look like without Hillel International’s guidelines? What is so scary about an open and honest Jewish debate?
The Open Hillel Conference in October was the first place where I could engage in large-scale discussions of issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and their interaction with Jewish identity openly, honestly, and with debate among people from a range of perspectives.
Returning to face the violence at the root of a nation state connects the struggle for Palestinian liberation and the struggle for Black liberation in the United States. By squarely turning to face how the past lives in the present of both countries, we can move toward reckoning with the root cause of racialized violence in both the Israel and the United States.
My approach and Somerson’s should be two examples of dueling alternatives on the American Jewish Left, hopefully beyond the Left, in search of both a correction (tikkun) and a conclusion (siyum) to the injustices of one people dominating another.
“We have to change the way we talk about and relate to the State of Israel. And we have to do it now.”
So declared one of the almost dozen Jewish participants in the most recent Freedom Bus ride through Palestine. I recently traveled the length and breadth of the West Bank on the annual Freedom Bus trip sponsored by the Jenin Freedom Theatre, a cultural center and theater based in the Jenin refugee camp. Despite having spent more than two decades living in, working on, and writing about Palestine/Israel, I was struck by the intensity of traveling through frontline communities in the unending struggle over land in the West Bank. Reading a Haaretz headline declaring that “Israel authorizes record amount of West Bank land for settlement construction” is one thing; experiencing the realities of constant settlement expansion from the perspective of the residents whose lives are most directly and deleteriously impacted by it, is quite another.
Even as the Israeli government exerts a more visible rule over the movement of goods and people in the West Bank and Gaza, Israel also exercises tight control over the movement of information between Palestinian landlines, computers, and mobile devices.
Misinterpretation due to language barriers allows Israelis and Palestinians to dehumanize each other. In order to realistically begin a movement toward the creation of more holistic language learning programs, we must draw a tight connection between high-level negotiations and grassroots language programs.
The Zionist movement was not an innocent victim of Arab fanaticism and antipathy to Jews. It was an active participant and initiator of an intercommunal conflict which resulted in the expulsion of a million Palestinians in 1948 and then 1967, which has produced a brutal and illegal occupation that continues and even intensifies to this day. Do you think this is fair, Mr. Voight?
If we act from a loving and generous place, seeking to overcome behaviors that were previously perceived as disrespectful and humiliating, then the icebergs of anger and hate (some of which our behavior helped to create) can melt away and people’s hearts can once again turn toward love and justice for all.
What happens when you put a daughter of the Holocaust among Arab trauma workers just back from the Syrian crisis? A powerful personal story.
We at Tikkun mourn the many tragic deaths of Palestinians and Israelis that have characterized the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians in the past many years, and the escalation of those killings in recent weeks both before Israel’s invasion of Gaza and now while that invasion continues. We will be adding articles below as the struggle continues, so if you’ve already read the fundamental analysis we give to these struggles, please scroll down to the most recent articles you’ll find here, some written by Tikkun authors, others published by reliable sources such as Ha’aretz newspaper in Tel Aviv. Interview with Rabbi Michael Lerner on CNN
by Tikkun Magazine
Reflections on the War in Gaza
by Shmuel Chesed
Meeting in a Tunnel: The Gaza War, August 1st
by Uri Avnery
From The New York Times: An Israel Without Illusions
by David Grossman
From The Guardian: US condemns shelling of UN school in Gaza but restocks Israeli ammunition
by Paul Lewis and Harriet Sherwood
Conf Call with Sami Awad, plus Rabbi Seidernbeg on Jewish Ethics in GAZA, Noa Israeli singer, and Peter Beinart on the Myths about Gaza
by Tikkun Administration
by Naomi Shihab Nye
“Israel Provoked This War: It’s Up to Obama to Stop It” and Recommended Articles
by Tikkun Administration
Live Interview with Uri Avnery and More
by Tikkun Administration
Israel: Stop the Invasion of Gaza, Stop the Bombing of Gaza, Free the Palestinian Prisoners
by Michael Lerner
Not in My Name, Netanyahu
by David Harris-Gershon
Tragedy in Gaza: Reckoning with Root Causes
by Brant Rosen
Empathizing with Gaza does NOT make me anti-Semitic, nor pro-Hamas or anti-Israel. It makes me human. by David Harris-Gershon
We at Tikkun are in mourning for the three teens murdered in the West Bank. We find this act painful and outrageous. And we also know that the revenge/retaliation acts of Israel will only bring about more acts of violence. To end this cycle, Israel must end the Occupation.