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Students for Justice in Palestine Crosses over to Pure Anti-Semitism

While those who loathe the Jewish state are often quick to insist that they are “anti-Zionists” rather than anti-Semites, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a prominent campus anti-Israel group, seems to have dropped all pretenses by condemning a radical ultra-Orthodox group for settling in Central America. Lev Tahor, a fiercely anti-Zionist group—whose practices are considered extreme even by ḥaredi standards—relocated to Guatemala after running afoul of the law in the U.S., Israel, and Canada. Jonathan Marks writes:

National SJP urges its followers to “sign [a petition] to support the community of Xe’ Kuku’ Aab’aj as they resist colonial/Zionist land occupation and exploitation!” What does the community of Xe’ Kuku’ Aab’aj (San Juan La Laguna) in Guatemala have to do with Zionists? Nothing. But it is engaged in a dispute with Jews, and that is all that seems to matter to SJP. . . .

These “settler-colonialists” first attempted to “colonize” Israel, Canada, and the United States, leaving each of these places amid allegations of child abuse. They have not been in San Juan la Laguna since 2014, when they were forced out by local authorities. SJP is evidently bringing this up now because the former mayor of the town has been jailed for his part in the expulsion. That expulsion may, in fact, have been motivated as much by what the mayor himself called a “clash of cultures” and what others would call religious discrimination as by whatever allegations the elders of Xe’ Kuku’ Aab’aj may have caught wind of. . . .

[T]he petition actually ties itself in knots trying to explain why Lev Tahor, though anti-Zionist, is actually Zionist. “Any and all anti-Zionist work,” it states, must also be anti-colonial, and the community of Lev Tahor cannot be anti-Zionist, due to their “threatening of and lack of respect for indigenous peoples.” Not ignorance, then, but malice, is behind the petition. . . .

Students for Justice in Palestine has thrown its weight behind a petition that blames Jewish nationalism for the ills of all indigenous peoples and includes even anti-Zionist Jews among the Zionists. There is no definition of anti-Semitism so narrow as not to include this repulsive petition.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Israel & Zionism, Students for Justice in Palestine, Ultra-Orthodox

Israel’s Success Has Surprised Everyone

April 20 2018

On the eve of Israel’s decision to declare statehood, 70 years ago, the CIA estimated that a Jewish state couldn’t hold off its Arab enemies for more than two years, while the famed Haganah commander Yigael Yadin told David Ben-Gurion that their chances of victory were fifty-fifty. Daniel Gordis describes just how wildly the country has managed to outpace expectations:

In 1948, there were some 650,000 Jews in Israel, who represented about 5 percent of the world’s Jews. Today, Israel’s Jewish population has grown ten-fold and stands at about 6.8 million people. Some 43 percent of the world’s Jews live in Israel; this population overtook American Jews several years ago and is now the world’s largest Jewish community. . . .

Beyond mere survival, the other challenge that the young Jewish state faced was feeding and housing the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were flocking to its borders. At times, financial collapse seemed imminent. Food was rationed and black markets developed. Israel had virtually no heavy machinery for building the infrastructure that it desperately needed. Until Germany paid Holocaust reparations, the young state’s financial condition was perilous.

Today, that worry also feels like a relic from another time. Israel is not only a significant military power, but also a formidable economic machine. A worldwide center for technology that has more companies listed on the Nasdaq than any country other than the U.S., Israel’s economy barely hiccupped in 2008. The shekel, its currency, is strong. Like other countries, Israel has a worrisome income gap between rich and poor, but fears of an economic collapse have vanished.

Israel has become an important cultural center, vastly disproportionately for a country whose population approximates that of New York City. When the five finalists for the Man Booker literary prize were announced last year, two were Israelis who write in Hebrew: David Grossman and Amos Oz. Grossman won. . . . Today, Americans and Europeans alike wait hungrily for new episodes of Israeli shows like Fauda, while others (like Homeland and The A-Word) have been remade into American and British series.

On the occasion of Independence Day, Israelis are fully conscious—and deeply proud—of the fact that their country has exceeded the ambitions of the men and women who founded it seven decades ago.

Read more at Bloomberg

More about: David Ben-Gurion, Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy, Israeli Independence Day, Israeli literature, Israeli society