This is the story of how a powerful lobbying organization enlists black Americans – victims of oppression and state violence for centuries – to mask the suffering of another oppressed people. It is the story of how the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) strategically recruits and educates black leaders to defend Israel from critique. And it is the story of how Palestinians living under Israel’s occupation suffer in ways that reverberate upon America’s streets – where black bodies are bruised, bloodied and destroyed under the weight of police violence, mass incarceration, and disenfranchisement.
A divinity student from a Presbyterian seminary approached me one day and made a surprising comment. “I’m so impressed,” he said, “with the emphasis that Judaism places on treating animals with compassion.”
While perusing the items at a quaint antique store, I happened upon a catalog from the 1920s advertising farm-fresh food. It featured cabbage for two cents per pound, a dozen eggs for forty-four cents, and a half-gallon of milk for thirty-three cents. The shop owner told me that he was perplexed by the prices because, adjusting for inflation, it should cost roughly four dollars for a dozen eggs and eight dollars for a gallon of milk in today’s dollars. Consumers today pay less than half of what we would expect to pay based on historic prices.
The term “food desert” captured the public imagination from the moment it entered the conversation. From Main Street to the White House, it provided an evocative shorthand for the messy realities of poverty and dwindling economic opportunity affecting rural and urban communities across America. While criteria for what qualifies as a food desert vary, it is primarily defined by long distances from or low concentration of healthy food retailers in urban and rural areas, each of these imagined to diverge from some ideal number.
While reading Ethan Bronner’s review of a new biography of Abba Eban, I was reminded of a time when in a rare moment I had the better of a verbal encounter with Eban. It happened about 30 years ago at a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which brought together leaders of American Jewish organizations, sometimes to hear from a visiting dignitary, in this case Eban, Israel’s eloquent voice for many years.
Despite their emphasis on reason, evidence and a desire to see through false truth claims, many atheists hold surprisingly ill-informed beliefs about religion. Many of these myths go unquestioned simply because they serve the purpose of discrediting religion at large. They allow for the construction of a straw man i.e. a distorted and simplistic representation of religion which can be easily attacked, summarily dismissed and ridiculed. Others who genuinely believe these false claims merely have a limited understanding of the ideas involved and have never thoroughly examined them. But, myths are myths and they should be acknowledged for what they are.
Picture this: You’re at the airport, about to board your flight. As you wait by the gate a pair of airline pilots chat nearby. They are your crew.
This story was republished from Tikkun.
Why does the Right keep winning in American politics, sometimes through electoral victories, sometimes by having the Democrats and others on the Left adopt what were traditionally right-wing policies and perspectives? Sure, I know that progressives won some important local battles in 2014: A few towns in California, Texas, and Ohio banned fracking. A few towns in Ohio, Massachusetts, Florida, and Illinois supported ballot measures to overturn Citizens United. Richmond, California, stood up to Chevron, and Berkeley stood up to “Big Soda.”