Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Making Contact: Not My Zion - American Jews Divided on Israel and Palestine

Not My Zion: American Jews Divided on Israel and Palestine
Making Contact

The American consensus on Israel and Palestine is breaking down. And Jewish Americans are playing a major role. But it’s not easy. On this edition: a Jewish American community divided. More and more ‘members of the tribe’ are breaking a long-standing taboo, and voicing criticism of the Israeli government.


Kayla Starr, Alexi Folger, & Joel Franquist; Jewish Voice for Peace members; Rob Kampeas, Jewish Telegraphic Agency Washington Bureau chief; Hadar Suskind, J Street vice president for strategy and policy; Alan Elsner, Israel Project communications director; Lynn Woolsey, California congresswoman; Elizabeth Weinstein, Mark Treas & Roe, Jewish Anti-Zionism conference participants; Greg Hom, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network organizer; Deborah Kaufman & Alan Snitow, Between Two Worlds directors; Julie Feldman, Josh Schlessinger, Birthright participants; Joe Perlov, Israel Experts CEO.


J-Street Challenges AIPAC

When it comes to US policy toward Israel, there has been one major voice shaping the debate. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee-generally referred to as AIPAC. The powerful lobbying group has been the guiding voice on the issue nearly as long as Israel has been a state…then 3 years ago, a new voice emerged — “J Street.” The group started with 3 employees, and from laptops at their kitchen tables J Street has grown to 50 staffers, and 175-thousand members across the country. They are, by their own definition, ‘Pro-Israel’ – But just what ‘pro-Israel means varies widely both in and outside the beltway…and since their founding, J-street has been subject to intense scrutiny of their funding, their relationships, and their allegiances. From Washington DC, Emily Friedman brings us the story of one of the most divisive Jewish groups in America

How Birthright Israel Works its Magic-produced by Kiera Feldman

Well aware of the need to shape the perspectives of future generations, the Israeli government, along with Jewish foundations and philanthropists, teamed up in 1999 to create what’s called the ‘birthright’ program. Any Jew under 27 years of age can sign up for an all-expense paid, 10 day trip to Israel. More than 250 thousand people have taken part in birthright, which includes tours of holy and historical sights, discussions on the history of Israel and the Jews, and lots of partying.

Birthright has been criticized for its one-sided history lessons, which some call propaganda. In 2010, journalist Kiera Feldman brought her audio recorder along on her birthright experience. She produced this piece for the Nation magazine, portions of which appeared on WBAI radio’s Beyond the Pale.

To Listen to the Episodes

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