Antisemitism Israel Politics World Events Zionism

Mass resignation from Carter Center (JTA)


Fourteen Jewish members of the Carter Center in Atlanta resigned to protest the former president’s book blaming Israel for the failure of Middle East peace efforts.

In a letter to Carter obtained by JTA, the group wrote Thursday that he had abandoned his role as peace broker in favor of malicious partisan advocacy, portraying the conflict as a “purely one-sided affair” which Israel bears full responsibility for resolving.

“This is not the Carter Center or the Jimmy Carter we came to respect and support,” the letter said.

“Therefore it is with sadness and regret that we hereby tender our resignation from the Board of Councilors of the Carter Center effective immediately.”

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |
Antisemitism Israel Politics World Events Zionism

Jimmy Carter’s Maps Questioned by Dennis Ross

Jimmy-Carter-Israel-MapIn a NY Times article, former Ambassador Dennis Ross raises some serious criticism of Jimmy Carter’s use of maps in his new book “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.” Of course, Ross is not the first to criticize Carter for the way he uses the maps (or where he got them) to make his argument. Prof. Alan Dershowitz (see his article in the Boston Globe) has offered to debate Carter about his arguments in the book, but Carter has refused the challenge.

Here is the Ross op-ed from the New York Times:

Don’t Play with Maps
By Dennis Ross

I became embroiled in a controversy with former President Jimmy Carter over the use of two maps in his recent book, “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.” While some criticized what appeared to be the misappropriation of maps I had commissioned for my book, “The Missing Peace,” my concern was always different.

I was concerned less with where the maps had originally come from — Mr. Carter has said that he used an atlas that was published after my book appeared — and more with how they were labeled. To my mind, Mr. Carter’s presentation badly misrepresents the Middle East proposals advanced by President Bill Clinton in 2000, and in so doing undermines, in a small but important way, efforts to bring peace to the region.

In his book, Mr. Carter juxtaposes two maps labeled the “Palestinian Interpretation of Clinton’s Proposal 2000” and “Israeli Interpretation of Clinton’s Proposal 2000.”

The problem is that the “Palestinian interpretation” is actually taken from an Israeli map presented during the Camp David summit meeting in July 2000, while the “Israeli interpretation” is an approximation of what President Clinton subsequently proposed in December of that year. Without knowing this, the reader is left to conclude that the Clinton proposals must have been so ambiguous and unfair that Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, was justified in rejecting them. But that is simply untrue. [more]

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |
Antisemitism College Jewish

Such a JAP

From the Michigan Daily
By Whitney Dibo

The speaker’s voice resonates with a natural blend of familiarity and animosity typical of this casual observation. Her friends peer down State Street at the girl’s sorority sweat pants, UGG boots and straight brown hair. They all nod in agreement. “There are so many JAPs on this campus,” one chimes in. She emphasizes the consonants, making the word sound slightly harsher.

I tend to shrug off the JAP reference, but this day the label reverberates off the pavement and sticks to me with an uncomfortable sting. But I don’t have time to dwell on it. I am rushing back to my apartment, trying to catch a plane home for Yom Kippur. It is the Jewish Day of Atonement, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

Trying to beat the sundown — the traditional end to any Jewish holiday, I squeeze into my middle seat on Northwest Airlines. I see a few other girls I know to be Jewish board the plane and maneuver their bags into the crowded overhead bins and start to wonder — are we the JAPs? I am a Jewish girl from the north suburbs of Chicago — does the term apply to me? And what does it mean that this stereotype has persisted so strongly on campus, even in this era of hyper political correctness?

As we take off, I have an unsettling feeling that this label is chipping away at the perception of Judaism on campus more than we readily admit. We need to separate this social stereotype from the religion itself — if Xerox can mean copy, then it’s not hard to see how JAP can mean Jewish. I hear the phrase more and more lately; it is picking up steam — and I can feel it bulldozing over the true meaning of Judaism.

For people fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with the term, JAP it is an acronym for Jewish American Princess — a term associated with affluence, homogeneity and exclusivity. The word predates black yoga pants and straightening irons. It has its roots in early immigration, as Jews found new purchasing power in their adopted country. Who better to show their parents how to spend money in this strange new land than their rapidly assimilating daughters? This trend gave rise to a distinctly negative nickname — one synonymous with materialism, entitlement and superficiality.

The stereotype originated during an era when no matter how smart or ambitious women were, they were sill considered dependent. JAP does not describe the headstrong Jewish women I know exist on campus. The term centers on deprecating sexism — but despite its detrimental overtones, very few people in the Jewish community object to its use. It’s a conventional part of campus vernacular — Jewish girls call each other JAPS, bars and restaurants are tagged as “JAPpy” — we continue to institutionalize its use and diminish our own identities. The term is used so liberally it has lost the harshness of an ethnic slur.

The Jewish calendar now reads 5766. It is one of the oldest, most influential religions in the world. To me, Judaism is about the value of family, the importance of charity and the beauty of ancient tradition. Unfortunately, many people on campus are better versed on Judaism’s social labels than its actual history. Why read the Torah when you can get the cliff notes? The actual religion is being lost behind this cloud of physical and social stereotypes.

The loss here is two-fold. For students who have not had much interaction with Jews before coming to the University, they lose incentive to learn more. Why dig deeper when the religion is neatly boxed in a tangible stereotype? And on a larger scale, we are doing a disservice to our religion by passively allowing JAP to epitomize Judaism on campus. I remember back in high school when it gradually became offensive to use the phrase “That’s so gay.” The gay/straight alliance took the initiative to actively reject the phrase — and while it took time, the student body eventually caught on. Peeling away labels and offensive language ingrained in American culture is not easy, but we are all better for trying.

What if we as Jewish women decided that Judaism is too rich in tradition and culture to be ensconced in a superficial cultural label? What if we educated people on what it means to be Jewish instead of perpetuating a stereotype? This does not mean dressing differently or hanging out at a different bar. It means stopping our own perpetuation of the JAP jargon, and in turn the non-Jewish community will likely follow suit. We can set a standard that JAP is not an acceptable description of Jewish woman and just in being open about it we can start to debunk the stereotype.

JAP is really no different than all other ethnic labels. They all serve the same purpose: to mask the individual. And this, I assure you, is everyone’s loss.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |
Antisemitism Celebrities

THE PASSION OF MEL GIBSON: Does his new movie about Jesus, crucify the Jews?

The Passion of the Christ hits theatres tomorrow (Ash Wednesday). Jonathan Schwartz of the American Jewish Committee saw a preview of the movie and articulates the very real concerns of the Jewish community in this article.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |