By Michelle Albert
- A new children’s book tells the story of how Max Yasgur, a Jewish dairy farmer in Bethel, NY, allowed half a million people to camp out in his backyard for Woodstock, which would become a defining moment in rock and roll history. [Haaretz]
- Jewish summer camps upload thousands of pictures to their websites each day for anxious parents to appreciate. Is this digital link smothering the camp experience? [Forward]
- Comedian Richard Herring defends his show “Hitler Mustache” in the Guardian. [Guardian]
- Tablet takes an in-depth look at the lives of Israel’s mafia. [Tablet]
- Though Iran has been working on creating enriched uranium since 2007, the US State Department registered their doubt that scientists in Tehran could create “weapon-grade material” before 2013. [WashingtonPost]
- Kristen Davis, of “Sex and the City” fame, was dropped from her position as spokesperson for Oxfam International for her work with Ahava cosmetics, a company based in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. [Jewcy]
- Charlene Yi (girlfriend of Michael Cera) talks to Heeb about her new movie Paper Heart and her undeniable attraction to Jewish guys. [Heeb]
Posted in Arts & Culture, Politics
Tagged Charlene Yi, Haaretz, Iran, Israel, Jewish Summer Camp, Michael Cera, Nuclear Weapons, Oxfam International, Washington Post, West Bank, Woodstock
By Michelle Albert
- Woody Allen speaks to NPR about his newest movie, the difference between life and fiction, and what he’s like off camera. [NPR]
- While religious hatred dominates the headlines, a rabbi reminds us that peaceful interfaith exchanges are, in reality, more widespread. [StarTrib]
- Moment columnist Gershom Gorenberg traces racism across Jewish lines, in both America and Israel. [SouthJerusalem]
- An American Al-Qaeda member reveals his Jewish background. [ynet]
- Hamas reportedly prevented an assassination attempt on former president Jimmy Carter during his trip to the West Bank. [Haaretz]
- Tel Aviv hosts a wedding for five gay couples. [JTA]
- How Jewish is your summer camp? This graph tells all. [MyJewishLearning]
- The best way to make zombies even scarier? Make them Nazis. [Forward]
- The Bible is on Twitter. [Heeb]
Gershom Gorenberg and David Frum recently spoke on bloggingheads about Israel’s future and the importance, or lack thereof, of its settlements in the West Bank.
In recent days, 60 Minutes has come under attack from pro-Israel groups for its expose on Israel’s West Bank settlements (Clip 1, Clip 2). Today, Ha’aretz reported that the Israeli government has released a new, comprehensive database about its settlements in the West Bank.
“Here, for the first time, information the state has been hiding for years is revealed. An analysis of the data reveals that, in the vast majority of the settlements – about 75 percent – construction, sometimes on a large scale, has been carried out without the appropriate permits or contrary to the permits that were issued. The database also shows that, in more than 30 settlements, extensive construction of buildings and infrastructure (roads, schools, synagogues, yeshivas and even police
stations) has been carried out on private lands belonging to Palestinian West Bank residents.”
The database, which can be accessed online in Hebrew, is the product of two years of work led by Baruch Spiegel. While the initial purpose of the mission was to compile accurate information about the settlements–information which the Israeli government did not have, in part because, presumably for legal reasons, it did not want to know about land appropriation, but some of which the United States and the nonprofit organization Peace Now did. Continue reading
by Jeremy Gillick
Settlers in Hebron
Much of the West Bank is in turmoil following this morning’s highly anticipated evacuation of the Orwellian “House of Peace” in Hebron. Though the evacuation itself was a success, as Israel’s security forces took several hundred settlers holed up in the controversial house by surprise, removing them all within half an hour, it didn’t take long for things to get ugly.
According to Ynet, “Sources in the settler public announced the launching of a ‘price tag’ policy that will be implemented through stone throwing and attacks on Palestinian houses.” Associated with a growing fringe of Jewish settlers known as the “hilltop youth,” the “price tag” policy mandates acts of low-level violence against Palestinians and Israeli security forces in response to the dismantling of settlements and outposts in the West Bank. According to a recent report on rising settler violence by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, retaliation often includes “blocking traffic, setting fields on fire, [and] throwing rocks.”
The price tag for evicting settlers from Hebron, though, is a bit higher than usual. According to an article titled “Settlers Rampage in Palestinian areas after Hebron Eviction” in Ha’aretz, “The Israeli rights group B’Tselem released video that appeared to show a settler shooting a Palestinian in the stomach from point-blank range, and Palestinians pelting the settler with rocks.” Continue reading
Posted in Politics, religion
Tagged Beit HaShalom, Ehud Olmert, Hebron, hilltop youth, House of Contention, House of Peace, Israel, jewish, Palestine, Settlers, violence, West Bank
By Jeremy Gillick
There is an interesting drama developing around one of the West Bank’s most radical and controversial Jewish settlements. Home to the Ma’arat HaMachpelah—the Tomb of the Patriarchs—Hebron is a sacred cow for Israel’s religious right (read Glenn Frankel’s January story about Hebron in Moment here). Unlike most settlements, which stand on hills above Palestinian cities, the Jewish settlement in Hebron exists in the city’s very heart, protected vigilantly by the Israeli army. Although there’s no talk of dismembering the settlement altogether, much less of dismantling all the settlements, which, as both Shimon Peres and Shin Bet security chief Yuval Diskin have recently warned, could precipitate a civil war, Israeli security forces are threatening to evacuate a group of settlers from a building they occupied illegally in Hebron over a year ago. The settlers are fighting back.
On March 19, 2007, hundreds of settlers from both Hebron and Kiryat Arba, the larger but equally radical settlement above Hebron, moved into a 4-story, 3,500 square foot building on the road linking Hebron to Kiryat Arba. According to the settlement’s official Hebron website, “The building was purchased from its previous owner via an office in Jordan for an approximate price of $700,000. The previous owner transferred all his legal rights to the building to the Hebron Jewish community.” As it turned out, the documents “proving” Jewish ownership were forged, and this past Sunday, Israel’s High Court gave the building’s occupants until Wednesday to leave.
By last night, they had not budged. And although the Defense Ministry chose not to use force, yet, presumably not wishing on themselves a repeat of Amona’s 2006 evacuation, it seems unlikely that the settlers will move without some prodding. Continue reading
Posted in Politics, religion
Tagged Amona, Beit HaShalom, Hebron, House of Peace, Israel, Israel High Court, jewish, Kiryat Arba, Rabbi Dov Lior, Settlements, Shimon Peres, West Bank, Yuval Diskin
By Benjamin Schuman-Stoler
The New York Times runs a piece today on settlers who don’t believe in the settlements. Yes, that’s right:
While the vast majority of settlers vow never to abandon the heart of the historic Jewish homeland — these ancient and starkly beautiful hills whose biblical names are Judea and Samaria — thousands of other settlers say they want to move back to within the pre-1967 borders of Israel.
There are 280,000 settlers in the West Bank (200,000 more Israeli Jews live in East Jerusalem, also captured in 1967), and the vast majority are firmly committed to staying and oppose a Palestinian state here. But 80,000 of them live beyond the barrier, and surveys indicate that many would leave. If they did, others might follow voluntarily.
“We did a survey three years ago and again last year, and the results were the same,” said Avshalom Vilan, a Parliament member from the left-wing Meretz Party. “Half the settlers beyond the barrier are ideologically motivated and do not want to move. But about 40 percent of them are ready to go for a reasonable price.”
Well, in any case, they should take their place among the non-Jewish Jew, the self-loathing egoist, and other characteristic personality conflicts that make the tribe oh so intriguing.
Don’t you just love it when a sporting event is used to boil down the immense complexities of geopolitical circumstance to a few simplistic characteristics? It can be a dangerous game, it’s true, especially when sportswriters suddenly think they’re foreign policy experts. But more often than not, the use of sports to explain the world is an illustrative exercise. A few months back, we just couldn’t help reporting on the optimistic joint Israel-Palestine bid for World Cup 2018.
And considering all the hoopla surrounding Israeli politics these days, we were once again pleased to see traditionally volatile Middle East subjects in the innocuous sports sections of major news agencies this past weekend.
As you can gather from the Sky Sports video above, the Palestinian national soccer team inaugurated their national stadium competing against Jordan on Sunday.
Although the action on the field wasn’t particularly remarkable (they drew 1-1), Continue reading