On Losing a Battle

Many of our readers know that I was born into a Jewish immigrant home, my parents and grandparents having migrated to this country to escape the anti-Semitic persecution and poverty of Czarist Russia. This experience, as well as the commitment to justice that lies at the heart of Jewish tradition, contributed to my family’s engagement with social justice activism across four generations.

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We Stand with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

If all goes according to plan — and that’s a big “if” given the unprecedented absurdism of the current presidential administration and its chief executive — this Thursday, a lonely woman will walk into Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in our nation’s capital to be questioned by, among others, a clique of white men determined to prove her a liar and destroy her reputation before the eyes of the world. I do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that the fate of American democracy may hinge upon how Dr. Christine Blasey Ford responds to her tormentors.

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Response to SCOTUS Ruling on “Muslim Travel Ban”

The Supreme Court of the United States finally announced its ruling in the long-awaited decision in the case of “Trump v Hawaii,” better known as the “Muslim Travel Ban” case. By a narrow vote of 5-4, the Court in essence supported the bigoted efforts of the Trump administration to view Muslims as a separate class of persons before the law, thus turning back the clock of history to other such nefarious Supreme Court decisions as the Fugitive Slave Law (1850), the Dred Scott case (1857), the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. CAIR and its many supporters believe the Supreme Court decision in “Trump v Hawaii” is both legally and ethically wrong.

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After Gaza

I spent Monday glued to the BBC, Reuters, Aljazeera, and Haaretz broadcasts from Gaza. By Tuesday morning we knew that 58 Palestinian demonstrators had been killed by Israeli troops, while a staggering 2,700 had been wounded, including one infant who died from tear gas inhalation.

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Director’s Desk: Mr. Trump: Do Not Move the Embassy!

For American Jews of my generation, the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War was a seminal event. In the official narrative propagandized by the mainstream Jewish community, the beleaguered Jewish State, surrounded by millions of fanatical Arabs bent on “pushing the Jews into the sea,” beat back a surprise attack by the combined armies of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria only to emerge victorious. The Sinai, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights were conquered the Israeli Army. That such a seemingly miraculous victory was even possible confirmed, in Jewish eyes, the righteousness of the entire Zionist endeavor.

It would take many years to learn that this official Jewish narrative was built upon a foundation of lies and injustice.

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On Treason and Thankfulness

For American Jews who, like myself, have long been public critics of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands and its draconian human rights abuses, the insults are nothing new. And one unfortunately gets used to these sorts of slurs on social media. Still, I was unprepared for this short email that arrived in our office on Monday morning this week…

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Prejudice in Pennsylvania: Welcome to the Twilight Zone

One narrative technique of imaginative fiction is for the hero to wake up from a deep sleep in a strange time and place. From Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” to Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” from Dorothy’s sojourn in the Land of Oz” to Woody Allen’s “Sleeper” and episodes of “The Twilight Zone,” writers have utilized this literary device to hold up a mirror to their own times.

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Director’s Desk: Sacred Synchronicity

This past Wednesday marked the beginning of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth and final month of the Islamic calendar. The first ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah are a time imbued with great holiness. The rituals of the hajj are performed during the eighth, ninth, and tenth day of the month, culminating in Eid al-Adha, the “Festival of the Sacrifice,” which begins on the tenth day.

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Director’s Desk: Yesterday in Center City

It was a pleasure to represent CAIR-Philadelphia as I marched down Broad Street with thousands of people responding to the events of last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. United in our disgust with the president’s response to the murder of Heather Heyer by a neo-Nazi using his car as a weapon, the march was also a condemnation of white supremacist racism, the implicitly violent ideology embedded into the DNA of American history and culture.

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After Charlottesville

There are moments in history when time itself seems to just stop, and then abruptly change direction. Sometimes the momentous quality of these events is self-evident to those caught up in their wake: the fall of Baghdad in 1258; Lenin arriving at the train station in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1917; Rosa Parks boarding her bus in 1954; the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963; the Iranian Revolution of 1979; the attacks of Sept 11, 2001. What unities these events are their transformative impact, dividing time into a before and an after (as in before 9/11 and post-9/11).

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