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Articles written by jonathan s. tobin


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  • Will canceling Kanye West turn the tide on antisemitism?

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Nov 4, 2022

    (JNS) — The saga of Kanye West’s antisemitism is not without irony. Even after he had engendered controversy by engaging in anti-Jewish rants, West, who now calls himself “Ye,” boasted that his status as a rap music star and fashion mogul rendered him exempt from facing any real financial consequences for spreading hatred. The Adidas brand, in particular, would, he said, stick with him. “I can literally say antisemitic s*** and they cannot drop me,” he said. A few days later, he found out this wasn’t true when Adidas dropped him, on the ground...

  • How Joe Rogan, Tucker Carlson, Berkeley and Wellesley mainstream antisemitism

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Oct 21, 2022

    (JNS) — At what point does a rise in antisemitism stop being viewed merely as a series of isolated, troubling occurrences and start being treated like an emergency? When mass- media programs mainstream hatemongers who target and seek to delegitimize Jews? When elite academic institutions behave as though it’s acceptable conduct? When Jews are attacked in the streets? The ongoing epidemic of violence against Jews in New York City is mostly ignored, both by the media and much of the organized Jewish world. This is not only because the vic...

  • 5783 Jewish pundit quiz

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Oct 7, 2022

    (JNS) — Every year at this time, we assess the events of the previous 12 months and wonder whether things could possibly get worse. Though our lives are as full of blessings as they are of challenges, the answer—when it comes to the state of the world—is generally, “Yes, you bet they can.” This certainly applied to 5782. On the positive side, a year ago, the world was just barely coming out of the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. As we head into 5783, the ongoing obsessions of COVID fear addicts notwithstanding, that sad chapter of history s...

  • Why mainstream Jewish groups didn't defend Yeshiva University

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Oct 7, 2022

    (JNS) — The latest exchange in the ongoing battle between Yeshiva University and the YU Pride Alliance, a student LGBTQ club, allowed for at least a temporary ceasefire between the two sides. But the case continues to generate controversy, as the status quo of other recognized groups continuing to operate on the campus, while the gay club still seeks equal treatment, remains. YU stands a good chance of eventually prevailing if, as expected, a decision on the merits of the case is decided by the U.S. Supreme Court at some point. But even if i...

  • Celebrate Gorbachev's failure to save the Soviet Union, not his heroism

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Sep 9, 2022

    (JNS) — Mikhail Gorbachev is being hailed as the man who ended the Cold War, broke up the Soviet empire and freed Soviet Jewry. The former leader of the Soviet Union, who died this week at the age of 91, deserves a great deal of credit for those outcomes and as such is likely to be remembered kindly by history—or at least those histories written outside of Russia—for the foreseeable future. Yet as much as we should be grateful that it was he who succeeded a series of geriatric tyrants at the head of the nation that President Ronald Reaga...

  • 'CNN' gets it partially right about antisemitism

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Sep 2, 2022

    (JNS) — Can a documentary on a low-rated network broadcast at a time when few were watching make much of a difference? Maybe not. That’s especially true when you consider that the program aired directly opposite one of the most ballyhooed shows of the year—the premiere of the new “Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon”—on an evening of the week when all cable-news programs get terrible ratings. CNN correspondent Dana Bash deserves credit for pushing her network to allow her to do an edition of its “Special Report” series “Rising Hate...

  • J Street's new low: Calling supporters of Israel racists

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Aug 5, 2022

    (JNS) — From the moment it began operations, the left-wing lobby J Street’s assertion that it’s mantra of “pro-Israel and pro-peace” better represented the true sentiments of American Jews than the position of mainstream groups was disingenuous. While its leader, Jeremy Ben-Ami, claimed that the new organization’s efforts provided a way for Americans to support peace in the Middle East, its goals were really always more about the politics of the United States than that of the Jewish state. That has been never more apparent than lately as J...

  • Give all parents the chance to choose the best school for their child

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Jul 15, 2022

    (JNS) — The organized Jewish community—whether local Jewish community relations councils or national groups like the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, the American Jewish Committee or the Anti-Defamation League—and the religious denominations say they’re committed to two positions. On the one hand, all of them purport to be strong supporters of social justice, which is to say that they are, at least in principle, in favor of helping poor children and families, regardless of their background, race or religion, break the cycle of poverty and succ...

  • Condemning the 'mapping project' isn't enough

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Jun 24, 2022

    (JNS) — On the face of it, the “Mapping Project” undertaken by Boston BDS was a disaster for the antisemitic movement. In recent years, many on the political left had begun drifting from the sort of harsh critiques of Israel championed by groups like J Street towards the openly anti-Zionist stance of Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow. But the colorful map published by the group that targeted the entire Jewish community was enough to shock even many of those on the left-wing of the Democratic Party into condemning the project. Indeed, the M...

  • Can you imagine a world without Israel?

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Jun 17, 2022

    (JNS) — It was in 1896 that Theodor Herzl published his groundbreaking book, “The Jewish State,” which launched the modern Zionist movement. Though his project was, as he noted in his book, “very old” and indeed rooted in the prayers of Jews for nearly 2,000 years, it would only be 52 years later that his vision was brought to life with the birth of modern-day Israel in May 1948. That state turned 74 years old this week, and as Israelis observe Yom Ha’atzmaut — Israel Independence Day — they have much to celebrate. The country that came to li...

  • Let's talk about the 'nakba' and who's really responsible for Palestinian suffering

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Jun 3, 2022

    (JNS) — Resolutions proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives mean nothing. They give members an opportunity to pay lip service to various causes favored by their constituents but don’t commit the government to action. They are almost always not worth noticing. But every once in a while, a resolution is put forward that demands attention. This week that is exactly what happened when Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) proposed House Resolution 1123, “Recognizing the Nakba and Palestinian Refugee Rights.” The word nakba means “catast...

  • Even if they're wrong, we shouldn't be trying to silence them

    Jonathan S. Tobin|May 20, 2022

    (JNS) — The job of defenders of democracy would be easier if opponents of free speech never sought to disguise their efforts by portraying their goal as the preservation of the very ideals that they are suborning. It’s a lot harder to recognize the nature of the threat when those who seek to silence dissent say they are doing it for our own good because those guilty of wrongthink are bad people. It’s even worse when a group whose mission is to fight anti-Semitism, like the Anti-Defamation League, joins in this effort. And it creates a genui...

  • Biden's 'equity' agenda hurts Israel and American Jews

    Jonathan S. Tobin|May 13, 2022

    (JNS) — It was one of the first things President Joe Biden did once he assumed office in January 2021. Though it has gotten almost no notice, it is almost certainly one of the most consequential acts of his presidency, and its impact will likely be felt long after he leaves office. But while the administration is boasting of it as proof of their devotion to civil rights and bettering the lot of the disadvantaged, it may do far more damage to American society than anything else that happens during Biden’s time in office. Considering that his...

  • Don't believe the spin: Biden will make a deal with Iran

    Jonathan S. Tobin|May 6, 2022

    (JNS) — Discerning the truth about diplomatic activity is often a matter of sifting out what’s real from amid the surrounding noise of governmental spin. That means that at the moment, an accurate assessment of the possibility of a new American nuclear deal with Iran, as well as the state of U.S.-Israel relations may require one to ignore most of the headlines. If so, the optimism currently prevailing in Jerusalem about the prospects of the Biden administration betraying the security interests of Israel, the Arab states as well as the West cou...

  • Should everyone be afraid of Elon Musk buying Twitter?

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Apr 29, 2022

    (JNS) — In February, the Anti-Defamation League announced that it had developed what it called an “online hate index” to monitor antisemitism on social-media platforms. The effort was conceived as a way to adequately measure the amount of hate speech being posted on sites like Twitter and Reddit, which the group thinks are not vigilant enough about detecting and removing such offensive material. ADL CEO and national director Jonathan Greenblatt conceded that Twitter had “made substantial strides” towards shutting down those posting vile cont...

  • A plague of media disinformation

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Apr 22, 2022

    (JNS) — It turns out that The Atlantic magazine did a better job explaining the problem of disinformation than even those planning its recent conference on the subject held at the University of Chicago could have hoped. The magazine modestly described the event, titled “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy,” as “groundbreaking,” and in one sense, it was. It was hosted by an institution that is one of the pillars of the liberal Washington establishment and had a list of speakers that was filled with well-known talking heads regularly...

  • Kicking Russia off the UN Human Rights Council is an empty gesture

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Apr 15, 2022

    (JNS) — After the recent revelations of war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine, the world is looking for ways to make life harder for President Vladimir Putin’s regime and to express its outrage. So when America’s ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced that the United States was going to ask the U.N. General Assembly to boot Russia off of the world body’s Human Rights Council, the initiative was widely applauded. Given the atrocities committed by the Russians in their illegal war of aggression, removing Moscow...

  • The West is selling out to Iran to lower gas prices

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Mar 25, 2022

    (JNS) — Like politics, wars can make for strange bedfellows. In the Second World War, even a staunch anti-Communist like Winston Churchill saw no problem with an alliance with the Soviet Union. Making common cause with a totalitarian state led by a mass murderer like Josef Stalin was difficult to swallow, and would lead to future tragedies. But with the future of civilization at stake in 1941, Churchill had to embrace the Soviets so as to defeat a more immediate threat: Nazi Germany. As he put it at the time, “If Hitler invaded hell, I would ma...

  • Why we should care about the fate of Ukraine

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Feb 25, 2022

    (JNS) — It’s difficult to know where exactly the crisis over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine will end. Yet no matter whether Russian President Vladimir Putin seizes more of the former Soviet satellite nation, conquers it entirely or winds up leaving it alone, the shock to the international system that his threats have caused isn’t limited to the future of Eastern Europe. That’s not easy for many Americans to comprehend. The reaction to the possibility of a country whose independence was guaranteed less than 30 years ago by both the Uni...

  • Don't confuse book-banning with opposition to woke indoctrination

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Feb 18, 2022

    (JNS) — It hasn’t been a good year for school boards. In the last 12 months, many of the local bodies that govern public schools have been taking a beating over policies dealing with the COVID pandemic that many parents believe are hurting their children. Many boards have also faced furious pushback from the public about their willingness to go along with teachings on critical race theory that seek to divide Americans against each other. In those instances, much of the mainstream media rallied to the defense of the education bureaucrats aga...

  • A timely reminder of what groups enable antisemitism

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Feb 11, 2022

    (JNS) — It made headlines in many Jewish outlets, even if it was ignored by the secular press. Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA, gave a sermon on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in which he said: “The continued occupation in Palestine/Israel is 21st-century slavery and should be abolished immediately.” What really drew attention to his statement was his claim that Israel was employing “enslavement.” This is a piece of libelous fiction. The term “slavery” is not a metaphor. Tha...

  • What those who accept the 'stolen land' myth don't understand

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Feb 4, 2022

    (JNS) — One of the tragicomic if all too prevalent customs of contemporary woke corporate culture is the way many groups and corporations now open meetings with ritual acknowledgments that they are on “stolen land.” It involves the convener of the gathering to begin any proceedings by first stating that those speaking are “on the lands” of whatever Native American tribe once lived there as the indigenous inhabitants of the North American continent. That is part of the context of the claim that the State of Israel was built on “stolen l...

  • Politics and combating antisemitism don't mix

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Jan 21, 2022

    (JNS) — At a time when antisemitism is on the rise around the globe, the office of the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy for Combating and Monitoring Antisemitism ought to be filled. Indeed, the Biden administration seemed to signal its interest in the subject when it decided to upgrade the post by expanding the office’s staff and conferring the title of ambassador on the envoy. President Joe Biden also named someone that was considered eminently qualified for the job in Emory University professor and historian Deborah Lipstadt, a widel...

  • The billionaire who cared about Israel and the Jews

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Jan 21, 2022

    (JNS) - Every age has its own narrative myth about those who acquire great wealth. In the 21st century, the prevailing story is that of the nerd who parlays technological genius into billions. The Big Tech oligarchs who make their way onto the Forbes' billionaire list are envied and feared. But with only a few conspicuous exceptions, their posh lifestyles, liberal politics and donations to fashionable and politically correct charities generally protect them from the worst abuse that pop culture...

  • Why the double standard on West Bank violence?

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Dec 31, 2021

    (JNS) — To the casual observer of news from the Middle East, it would appear that the biggest story coming out of Israel lately is what some outlets are describing as a surge in settler violence against Palestinians. According to B’Tselem, an anti-settler group that is nonetheless treated as if it is an impartial and objective source by Western publications, the number of attacks by Jews living in West Bank settlements on neighboring Arabs is allegedly up by nearly 50 percent in the previous year. In this telling, radical Jews — motiv...

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