An Open Dialogue on Israel?

October 21, 2007 at 4:14 pm | Posted in Israel | Leave a comment

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency published a really interesting opinion piece by Naomi Chazan, former deputy speaker of the Knesset, arguing that the dialogue that American Jews regularly have about Israel should be brought out into the public sphere.

It does often seem that frequently diverging views about what policies are good for Israel get transformed into a monolithic opinion when organizational leaders speak to the press or to non-Jews.  I have heard the argument that the nuance and discussion within the Jewish community would simply make Jews look weak on Israel.  Do you think this is true?

How should we address what we do see as Israel’s flaws in the public sphere and is Naomi right that we need that discussion to be public?  Or should we stick to the region of near-universal support, namely that Israel has a right to exist?

If not now . . . (Jewish Caucus Election Message)

November 6, 2006 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Church and State, Civil Rights, Events, Israel, political parties | Leave a comment

Hey everybody,

It’s that time of year again. Tomorrow, we get another chance to shape the future of our great nation. In the past 6 years, we have experienced some of the worst times in our nation’s history. Not only have we seen record deficits and been exposed to a culture of fear, but we have watched the erosion of our most fundamental rights. As Jews, we know first hand the importance of respecting the legal and political safeguards on executive power and we understand why the separation of church and state is at the core of what it means to be American. It is our responsibility to exercise another of our critical rights, in order to protect the rest of them.

By voting tomorrow, you have a chance to stand up and say that civil liberties are important, that America is not a fundamentally “Christian Nation,” but a pluralistic one, and that our country needs a new direction. Though the last six years have been ample evidence for why we need a change, Republican’s continue to pile on the reasons. For the latest winner, I would like to refer you to Republican Representative and US Senate Candidate Katherine Harris who prayed to “bring the hearts and minds of our Jewish brothers and sisters into alignment.”

Listen to the full prayer at, and if anyone asks you why Jews vote Democratic, just point them this way.

But whatever you do, don’t forget that everything comes down to turnout. Even if 90% of Americans know in their hearts and in their heads that we are staying the wrong course in Iraq and at home, we can only change things if we get people to the polls. Elections are sometimes decided by 1 vote, and making sure that you vote and that all of your friends vote is the most important thing you can do.

Here’s to real change in 2006,

Josh Pasek
Chair, YDAJC

Democrats Say Iraq War Hurt Israel, Hampered Effort to Confront Iran

October 29, 2006 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Israel, political parties | Leave a comment

(Forward) Democrats in Congress are arguing that the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq harmed Israel and is tying America’s hands in dealing with Iran’s nuclear threat.

They put forth the argument in an October 27 online town hall meeting dealing with issues relating to Israel.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stressed in the online discussion that “the war in Iraq has made both America and Israel less safe.” Rep. Alcee Hastings, the Florida Democrat who is a candidate to chair the House Intelligence Committee if the Democrats win Congress, argued that “Republican foreign policy strategy in Iraq has encouraged terrorist acts against Israel, and has made other nations less likely to cooperate with U.S. policies in the region.”


House Dems Holding Online Town Hall On Israel At Noon

October 27, 2006 at 12:05 pm | Posted in Israel, political parties | Leave a comment

(Forward) Here’s the Info:

WHO: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA)

WHAT: Democratic Online Town Hall on Israel

WHEN: Friday, October 27 at Noon EST

WHERE: The Democratic Caucus Online Town Hall Web site

U.S. lawmaker chides Carter on ‘apartheid’

October 25, 2006 at 9:03 pm | Posted in Israel, political parties | Leave a comment

(JTA) A leading U.S. black congressman called former President Carter to chide him for titling his new book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) said the use of apartheid in the title “does not serve the cause of peace and the use of it against the Jewish people in particular, who have been victims of the worst kind of discrimination, discrimination resulting in death, is offensive and wrong.”

In his statement Tuesday, Conyers said he called Carter “to express my concerns about the title of the book, and to request that the title be changed. President Carter does not build upon his career as a proponent of peace in the Middle East with this comparison and I hope he and his publisher will reconsider this decision.”

Conyers, a 20-term representative, is a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Carter’s book is due to be published next month by Simon and Schuster.

N.J. Democrats: Iraq war endangers Israel

September 7, 2006 at 1:21 am | Posted in Israel, political parties | Leave a comment

(JTA) Two New Jersey Democrats running to unseat Republicans said the Iraq war endangers Israel.
The argument advanced Wednesday by Linda Stender and Paul Aronsohn in a conference call with reporters for Jewish media launched what will be the national party’s strategy to counter Republican claims that President Bush has been the best friend the Jewish community ever had.

“Iran has emerged as a greater threat which is part of the reason I always opposed the war in Iraq,” said Stender, an assemblywoman running to unseat U.S. Rep. Michael Ferguson. “Everything we have devoted to the war in Iraq are resources not available to the real war on international terrorism,” said Aronsohn, a health-care specialist targeting U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett.

Read article at

Official Statement of the YDA Jewish Caucus on the Lebanon War

August 13, 2006 at 1:30 pm | Posted in Announcements + Events, Israel | Leave a comment

Approved August 6, 2006
Posted August 13, 2006

The Young Democrats of America Jewish Caucus joins with the organized Jewish and Democratic communities to offer support for the State of Israel. We encourage Americans, especially young Americans, to stand by Israel, our democratic ally in the Middle East. The Democratic Party has a long history of supporting Israel, we count on our Democratic members of Congress to continue this important long-standing relationship. At times of crisis, support for Israel should not be a partisan issue.

The news and images from Lebanon have been trying to us all. No one can condone the humanitarian crisis that has emerged as a result of the current conflict. Nonetheless, we believe that it is important both to look to the root of the problems between Lebanon and Israel and to work toward a stable relationship where non-state actors do not have the capability to carry out attacks directed at civilians or to instigate an international crisis. Every day that Iran and Syria were allowed to support Hezbollah and Hezbollah was permitted to continue recruiting militiamen in southern Lebanon presented a challenge to the legitimate Lebanese government and raised the specter of a regional crisis.

We have been avidly watching the news over the past few weeks and have been disturbed by the images coming from Lebanon. We realize that the horrific images being shown of Lebanese people make it difficult for some to acknowledge Israel’s right as a sovereign nation to defend itself.

While Israel takes precautions to protect civilians and only targets military outposts, Hezbollah launches its rocket-fire indiscriminately, with civilian casualties as the primary objective.

Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups intentionally operate in civilian population centers, and use innocent civilians as human shields. After the destruction over the weekend in Kana, Israel has been accused of targeting civilians and not caring about the safety of the Lebanese people. As the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel values the lives of all its citizens-Jews, Muslims, Druze, and Christians-and the lives of its Arab neighbors.

Israel realizes that civilians are suffering in Lebanon and Gaza, just as Israelis are suffering in Northern Israel. Israelis have been spared excessive casualties because they are required to have bomb shelters in their homes, an awful reality of living with the daily threat of terror. Despite Israeli literature drops before raids on Lebanon, Lebanese citizens were not adequately prepared and did not find safer refuge.

Though any civilian casualties are unacceptable, it is the unfortunate truth of war that they are often unavoidable. As with all Americans and Israelis, the Young Democrats of America Jewish Caucus hopes that a cease-fire will emerge shortly with a minimal loss of life. If that eventual cease-fire does not ensure the dismantling of Hezbollah, however, this crisis may be the first of many. A long-term peace in the Middle East is one which non-state actors do not have the ability to undermine.

Finally, we encourage both Israel and the United States to expedite the humanitarian aid they have committed for the end of the conflict. This will help the Lebanese government to rein in extremist groups like Hezbollah and ensure that this year’s violence will not be repeated.

Presbyterians Revise Israel Investing Policy

June 22, 2006 at 7:45 pm | Posted in Divestment, Israel | Leave a comment

(NY Times) The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted yesterday to back off from a decision it made two years ago to pursue divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s involvement in the Palestinian territories.


Birthright welcomes 100,000th participant

June 5, 2006 at 6:47 pm | Posted in Israel | Leave a comment

(Jerusalem Post) This week, Israel welcomed Taglit-birthright israel’s 100,000th participant. This individual, like the 99,999 before him, is struggling to make sense of his life’s major passages – the transition period from youth to adulthood, when decisions are made about values and lifestyle that will influence decades of decision-making.


Palestinian Leader Plans a Vote on Accepting Israel

May 25, 2006 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Israel | Leave a comment

(NY Times) In a bold political gamble, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority declared today that he wants a national referendum on a Palestinian state that would exist alongside Israel if Hamas and other factions do not accept such a coexistence plan within 10 days.


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