J Street founder to speak in Minneapolis

Israelis have recently gone to the polls in a contested Knesset election which will impact the country’s policy agenda and the discourse around Israeli-Palestinian relations for years to come.Please join us for a discussion between J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami and Humphrey School Professor Brian Atwood, chair of Global Policy and former dean. They will examine issues surrounding the outcome of the election and what this means for Israel’s future, as well as the future for negotiations on Arab-Israeli peace.J Street, founded in 2008 with a stated aim of serving as the “Political Home for Pro-Peace, Pro-Israel Americans”, has played an active role in the debate surrounding Arab-Israeli peace. J Street President and Founder Jeremy Ben-Ami previously served in the administration of Bill Clinton, was Howard Dean’s national policy director in 2004, and assisted in managing a mayoral campaign in New York City in 2001. He lived and worked in Israel during the 1990s and was recently included in the Jerusalem Post’s list of the 50 most influential Jews in the World. The publication deemed him “a game-changer on the American Jewish landscape”.Please note this event is open to the general public so feel free to forward the invitation to any of our community partners or other interested parties.Jeremy Ben-Ami, president and founder of J Street, will speak on “Prospects for Arab-Israeli Peace in the Wake of the Israeli Elections” 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 14
 in the Humphrey Forum
 at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 
301 19th Ave. Continue Reading

Jewish Voice for Peace Minnesota on Israel

 Five local members of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national campaign for Palestinian justice in Israel, are featured on the new edition of Democratic Visions, the political issues program I produce out of the southwest suburbs. The JVP members were panelists at a December 13th forum at the Southdale Library in Edina.  Video clips of the forum combined with additional perspective shared later by lead panelist Andy Berman arc into highly personal stories about being Jewish and coming to reject Israel’s political, economic and military actions towards Gaza, the West Bank and Palestinians. Berman began the forum with this statement:  “I suspect that a common theme we’ll be hearing today is that our solidarity with the Palestinian people and all our work for peace and justice, is deeply rooted in our Jewish identity.” Panelist Marc Trius was born in Russia but grew up and was educated in Haifa, Israel.  He speaks poignantly of situations that turned him into a critic of the Israel government and its defense force with personal anecdotes; one of them is about a picnic held in a park where once stood Palestinian homes.  Marisa Katz grew up in Georgia “with a proud Zionist family history and background.”  Katz attended Jewish summer camps and as a high school student took a study trip to Israel.  She says that she found Israel fascinating but came to feel that the visit was less about education and more about recruiting future citizens.  And then, during college in Ohio, Katz recounts that she began to read and discuss other perspectives. Ilana Rossoff grew up in New Jersey.  Her father is a Reformed Rabbi.  She says that she began asking why reported wartime body counts for Israel were significantly lower than those for its enemies in each conflict.  Andy Berman and Allan Malkis have long lived in Minnesota but grew up in New York City.  Each tells how he has measured the devotion of their respective families to the Jewish traditions of working for social justice and peace against the record of Israel in the mid east. House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress was made after the Jewish Voice for Peace MN forum in Edina.   As Washington’s pro/con posturing sparked by the March 3 Netanyahu-Boehner tag team show becomes amplified by mainstream media, Democratic Visions is providing these 5 small but resonant voices a broader reach.  Click here to link to the 23-minute long Democratic Visions presentation which is an edited representation of the 90 minute forum.  The complete, on-line video presentation is available here on Vimeo at Bill Sorem Videos.  VIEWING DEMOCRATIC VISIONSDemocratic Visions can be seen on several Twin Cities cable systems and on the Democratic Visions  YouTube channel.Eden Prairie, Richfield, Minnetonka, Edina and Hopkins Comcast Channel 15 – Sundays 9 p.m., Mondays 10 p.m., Wednesdays 5:30 p.m., Saturdays 2 p.m.Bloomington – BCAT Channel 16 — Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.; Fridays at 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m.Minneapolis – MTN Channel 16 — Sundays at 8:30 p.m., Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m.  Program is streamed at the MTN website during cablecasts.Champlin, Anoka,Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Channel 15 — Fridays 8 a.m.,Saturdays 6:00 a.m., 10,30 a.m.,10:30 p.m. Segments and full half hours of Democratic Visions are archived on YouTube –   www.youtube.com/user/DemocraticVisions/Democratic Visions is independently produced by Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Edina volunteers at the Bloomington Community Access TV.  The community cable access program is not funded, endorsed or supported by any political party or political action committee. Continue Reading

Not in my name: A call to American Jewish organizations during Operation Protective Edge

I am one of those millennial Jews who actually loved institutional Judaism growing up. I loved my synagogue, I loved my Hebrew school, and in fact, I am a 23-year old single woman from the Twin Cities currently exploring synagogue options in Washington, DC. Most people reading this probably understand that most Jews in their 20s and 30s without families don’t often place synagogue life at the top of their Jewish or social life, but I love the feeling of belonging, membership and lifecycle events that institutional Judaism provides. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Faran Rabbani: My letter to President Obama

As part of this great nation’s foreign policy, when injustice takes place in any part of the world, America usually takes a stand. We saw this in the case of Russian atrocities in Ukraine, in America’s unity with the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN). However when it comes to Palestine, America turns a blind eye with the EU and the UN. Our government must condemn Israel’s human rights violations. The concept of justice necessitates equal treatment in condemning injustices carried by whoever and wherever, even if the transgressor happens to be an ally. Continue Reading