Palestine Militants Committed War Crimes During Gaza Conflict: Amnesty

Amnesty International on Thursday condemned militant groups in Palestine for killing Israeli and Palestinian civilians and committing war crimes during the Gaza conflict last year. According to Amnesty’s latest report, the armed groups killed several civilians when they launched indiscriminate rockets and mortars even as the use of such missiles is prohibited under international law.

The report also details several instances where the Palestine groups committed atrocities during the 50-day conflict. In one of the attacks, six Israeli civilians, including a 4-year-old boy, were killed. In another attack, a projectile was fired from the Gaza Strip on toal-Shati refugee camp, which killed 13 Palestine civilians, of whom 11 were children, the report said. While Palestine militants claimed the Israeli military was responsible for the attack, Amnesty, which cited an independent ammunitions expert, said that a Palestinian rocket had hit the refugees.

Last year, Amnesty had issued two reports and had accused Israel of war crimes for targeting buildings and residential homes owned by Palestinians.

Palestinian groups must end all direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks, Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Amnesty International, said in astatement, adding: They must also take all feasible precautions to protect civilians in the Gaza Strip from the effects of such attacks. This includes taking all possible measures to avoid locating fighters and arms within or near densely populated areas.

The report also claimed that some rockets were even fired from civilian localities, which include schools, at least one hospital and a Greek Orthodox church inGaza City.

The devastating impact of Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians during the conflict is undeniable, but violations by one side in a conflict can never justify violations by their opponents,Luther said in the statement.

A Hamas spokesman dismissed the report from Amnesty,calling it full of lies and based on the Israeli narrative,the New York Timesreported.

According to estimates by the United Nations, over 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, died during the conflict, while 66 soldiers and six civilians died in Israel, the Associated Pressreported.

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Palestine Militants Committed War Crimes During Gaza Conflict: Amnesty

Taboo memory: The solidarity that selective history tries to erase

Last week, the Missouri History Museum justified censoring public discourse and silencing Palestinian voices by claiming that comparing Palestine and Ferguson is like comparing apples and oranges. That the museums director had no qualms with discussing Ferguson and Ayotzinapa side-by-side indicates that her main concern is not the difficulty of comparing different cases of oppression but the inclusion of Palestine in particular. Selectively censoring Palestinian voices and culturefrom their childrens artwork, to their cuisine and especially their solidarity with Fergusonis nothing new.

With growing ties between #BlackLivesMatter and Palestine, the Anti-Defamation League and other groups are reviving a deliberate campaign of selective history: relegating the solidarity between black and Palestinian liberation movementspast and presentto taboo memory.

The tactics of this campaign have not changed. When groups like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Committee of Black Americans for the Truth about the Middle East and most prominently the Black Panther Party linked Zionism to the racial capitalism of U.S. imperialism, pro-Israel organizations smeared these black activists as anti-Semitic. Huey Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, had this to say:

We want the Palestinian people and Jewish people to live in harmony. We support the Palestinians just struggle for liberation one hundred percent. We will go on doing this, and we would like for all the progressive people of the world to join our ranks in order to make a world in which all people can live.

Transnational American studies scholar Alex Lubin has documented how the Black Panther Party approached Palestine as a touchstone around which to theorize a global revolutionary politics. The Panthers Minister of Information, Eldridge Cleaver, published several solidarity statements from the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Black Panther Intercommunal News Agency. As early as the second volume, Cleaver began extending the PLOs (initial) anti-imperialist politics to label black Americans as colonized; therefore, knitting black liberation into a global map of communities struggling against colonialism and racial capitalismfrom South Africa to Algeria, Chile, Puerto Rico, Cuba and, yes, Palestine.

Meanwhile, a group of Arab and other Mizrahi Jews in Israel began referring to themselves as Israeli Black Panthers. The Israeli Panthers organized against the racialization of non-Ashkenazi Jews (of non-European descent) as black, meaning second-class citizens. Group members mainly protested the legacy of discriminatory housing, wage and land-ownership policies, which dispossessed Mizrahi Israelis ever since they were recruited to the settler state for demographic strength and cheap labor.

During their short-lived history, Israeli Panthers organized against white supremacy within Israel itself but never did completely extend their anti-oppression work to include Palestinian decolonization. Nonetheless, Reuven Abergel, a founding member of the Israeli Panthers, has described how in his memory (which is more radical than the groups actual history) the Israeli Panthers connected their struggle to that of black anti-colonialists in the U.S. and, at one point, to the liberation of occupied Palestinians as well.

So when activists in Ferguson and around the world express solidarity with Palestine, they are not recklessly juggling apples and oranges. Ferguson to Palestine builds on a deep history of solidarity. Regardless of your opinion on that stance, it has complex roots that need to be examined and understood. Expunging that history altogether is racist. Silencing its contemporary iterations is selective. Until the (Selective) Missouri History Museum publicly acknowledges that fact, they should change their mission statement to what they really stand for: erasing the narratives of people of color from public discourse.

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Taboo memory: The solidarity that selective history tries to erase

For Hamza: Arms Sanctions against Israels Everyday Terrorism

Mar 25 2015 / 8:54 am

A flattened neighborhood in Gaza as a result of the Israeli war. (Mohammed Abed, supplied)

By This is for the child that is searching for an answer,

I wish I could take your tears and replace them with laughter,

Long live Palestine, Long live Gaza! Lowkey

By Vacy Vlazna

Meet little Hamza Musab Almadani of Khan Younis, Gaza.

Look carefully, look tenderly, dont turn away. Please dont turn away as all the nations of the world have, for decades, turned away from Palestine.

Hamza is Palestine.

Look carefully at Israels savage violation to his once perfect little body when on the 25th July 2014, Israels soldiers loaded and fired pale blue artillery shells that discharged white incendiary rain on Gaza in hundreds of phosphorous-impregnated felt wedges as Hamza and his family slept.

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For Hamza: Arms Sanctions against Israels Everyday Terrorism

Palestine unity gov't agrees on emergency budget

Ramallah, March 25 (IANS) The Palestinian unity government has said it agreed on an emergency budget and sent it to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for approval. The government on Tuesday said in a statement issued in the aftermath of its weekly meeting that agreeing on the emergency budget was decided after the Israeli decision of withholding the Palestinian tax revenue dues since early …

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Palestine unity gov't agrees on emergency budget

Netanyahu apologizes for remarks about Arabs during Israel election

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to supporters at Likud Party headquarters in Tel Aviv on March 18, 2015 REUTERS

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Israel’s Arab citizens on Monday for remarks he made during last week’s parliament election that offended members of the community.

The move appeared to be an attempt to heal rifts and mute criticism at home and in the United States. Netanyahu drew accusations of racism in Israel, especially from its Arab minority, and a White House rebuke when, just a few hours before polling stations were to close across the country, he warned that Arab citizens were voting “in droves.”

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection will likely bring new tension between Israel and the U.S. Netanyahu opposes President Obama’s nucl…

Netanyahu, who’s Likud Party won re-election in the vote, met with members of the Arab community at the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem on Monday and apologized.

He said he knows his “comments last week offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli-Arab community.”

“This was never my intent. I apologize for this,” Netanyahu said. “I view myself as the prime minister of each and every citizen of Israel, without any prejudice based on religion, ethnicity or gender.”

“I view all Israeli citizens as partners in the building of a prosperous and safe state of Israel, for all Israelis,” he also said.

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Netanyahu apologizes for remarks about Arabs during Israel election

Israel's Netanyahu Apologizes For Remarks On Arab Voters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized to his country’s Arab citizens for his comments ahead of last week’s elections, saying he did not intend to offend them when he said Israel’s Arabs were voting “in droves” to unseat his government.

“I know the things I said a few days ago hurt some of Israel’s citizens and hurt Israel’s Arabs. I had no intention to do that. I apologize for it,” he said at a meeting with representatives of Israel’s minority communities.

Last week, when polls suggested his party might lose the national election, Netanyahu wrote a Facebook post urging his supporters to come out and vote. It read, in part: “The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are busing them out.”

Netanyahu’s Likud party comfortably won the elections, but his remarks were criticized both inside and outside Israel.

President Obama, in an interview with the Huffington Post, said:

“We indicated that that kind of rhetoric was contrary to what is the best of Israel’s traditions. That although Israel was founded based on the historic Jewish homeland and the need to have a Jewish homeland, Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly. And I think that that is what’s best about Israeli democracy. If that is lost, then I think that not only does it give ammunition to folks who don’t believe in a Jewish state, but it also I think starts to erode the meaning of democracy in the country.”

But in an interview last week with NPR, Netanyahu said he “wasn’t trying to block anyone from voting. I was trying to mobilize my own forces.”

The prime minister added: “I had a meeting 10 days ago with Arab Likud supporters, and we got quite a few votes, by the way, from them. I have invested billions, billions, in my last two governments in trying to close the gaps social gaps, infrastructure, education in the Arab communities in Israel. I’m proud that I did that, I’m going to do that again, I’m committed to that. I’m the prime minister of all of Israel’s citizens, Jews and Arabs, alike.”

During the campaign, he also said he opposes the creation of a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu has since walked back those comments, but Obama said: “We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership, and so that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region.”

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Israel's Netanyahu Apologizes For Remarks On Arab Voters

Jewish American Heritage Month

Posted By admin on March 28, 2015

Video will begin in 5 seconds. Germanwings co-pilot trained in US Germanwings plane crashed deliberately NY building engulfed in flames Ferrell offers to join One Direction Germanwings pilot locked out of cockpit Fairfax correspondent Ruth Pollard visits a family in Gaza which has been living on top of an unexploded Israeli bomb for months.

Excerpt from: Living with a bomb: life after the Gaza war

Category: Leo Frank | Comments Off Tags: a-which-has, crashed-through, earth-, family-home, germanwings, Israel, placed-pieces, three-storeys

Posted By admin on March 28, 2015

Video will begin in 5 seconds. Germanwings co-pilot trained in US Germanwings plane crashed deliberately NY building engulfed in flames Ferrell offers to join One Direction Germanwings pilot locked out of cockpit Fairfax correspondent Ruth Pollard visits a family in Gaza which has been living on top of an unexploded Israeli bomb for months. Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip: Half a dozen carefully placed pieces of wood cover the hole in the floor shattered by the one-tonne bomb that for seven months lay beneath Fadel Nassers family home in the devastated Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.

More: Living with a bomb: life after the Gaza war

Category: Likud Party | Comments Off Tags: a-which-has, cover-the-hole, devastated, earth-, fadel-nasser, living-on-top, nasser, the-devastated, the-one-tonne, three-storeys, unexploded-and, video-

Posted By admin on March 28, 2015

Video will begin in 5 seconds. Germanwings co-pilot trained in US Germanwings plane crashed deliberately NY building engulfed in flames Ferrell offers to join One Direction Germanwings pilot locked out of cockpit Fairfax correspondent Ruth Pollard visits a family in Gaza which has been living on top of an unexploded Israeli bomb for months. Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip: Half a dozen carefully placed pieces of wood cover the hole in the floor shattered by the one-tonne bomb that for seven months lay beneath Fadel Nassers family home in the devastated Gaza town of Beit Hanoun

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Jewish American Heritage Month

Unfair Distribution of Water in Palestine Due to Israeli Control

RAMALLAH, March 22, 2015 (WAFA) – Palestine continues to suffer from the unfair distribution of water sources in light of the almost full Israeli control, said Palestinian central bureau of statistics (PCBS) and the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) said Sunday.

In evidence of water inequality, the Israeli daily share per capita of water consumption reached seven times higher than the Palestinians, said the survey.

PCBC and PWA, in a press release issued on the occasion of the world water day March 22, 2015 presenting the key indicators related to water in Palestine, said the amount of water extracted from the coastal aquifer was 100.8 MCM in the Gaza Strip in 2013, but this quantity is obtained via unsafe pumping that jeopardizes sustainability of the source knowing that the basin sustainable yield should not exceed 50-60 MCM a year.

More than 90% of the water pumped from the coastal aquifer in Gaza Strip does not satisfy the water quality standards of the World Health Organization.

In terms of sanitation, the Israeli occupation obstructs any Palestinian construction of wastewater treatment plant, denying them thus the right to benefiting from the treated water.

Results from the survey showed that, in 2011, about 6.2% of households had no access to improved drinking water, but this percent dropped to 2.5% in 2013. It said that the percentage of households with access to improved sanitation was 63.6% in 2013 compared with 51.4% in 2008.

It should be noted that the Palestinians have been denied access to extraction from the Jordan River since 1967, which deprives them of their rights to this water whose quantity was estimated at 250 MCM, said the report.

According to United Nations data, 90% of the extracted water is used for irrigation; however agriculture consumes 70% of the available water around the world.

The quantity of water available for agriculture in Palestine is insufficient to serve the planted areas (1,034,901 dunum) in 2010/2011, of which 167,671 dunuma of is irrigated areas, it said.

Regarding water quality, 48.8 % of Palestinian households considered water quality to be good in 2013.

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Unfair Distribution of Water in Palestine Due to Israeli Control

John Boehner announces post-election visit to Israel (+video)

John Boehner will be traveling to Israel at the end of this month, his spokesman announced Friday.

The House speaker’s visit, which is scheduled to take place during the two-week congressional recess, will coincide withthe end of controversial multi-lateral talks with Iran that aim to curb that country’s ability to make a nuclear weapon. Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Republicans have been highly critical of the talks with Speaker Boehner inviting Mr. Netanyahu to address Congress directly about the issue last month, without first consulting the White House.

Mr. Boehner looks forward to visiting the country, discussing our shared priorities for peace and security in the region, and further strengthening the bond between the United States and Israel, his spokesman, Kevin Smith said in a statement.

At first glance, Boehner’s announcement of his travel plans “looks like a jab at the White House,” the Associated Press writes, but the trip was planned before the Israeli elections, according to Mr. Smith.

The visit’s announcement comes just days after Netanyahu, who was elected to a fourth term as prime minister this week, angered the Obama administration with pre-election rhetoric pundits say could derail a White House-supported Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Republicans have been critical of President Obama for the countrys deteriorating relationship with Israel.

The partisan nature of the trip is hard to ignore as it further cements Republicans and Netanyahu as allies determined to sink an agreement between world powers and Tehran, David Francis wrote for Foreign Policy.

This week, Netanyahu surprised the world when his Likud Party won a six-seat advantage in the Israeli Knesset, after pre-election polls had showed the party lagging behind. But many say the sudden swing in his favor was spurred by his last minute appeals to right-wing voters, including a statement that a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine was off the table.

While Netanyahu quickly backtracked on his statement the next day in an interview with NBC, Obama administration officials were visibly unhappy.

President Obama waited nearly two full days before making a congratulatory phone call to Mr. Netanyahu on Thursday evening, as his administration was still seething over the Israeli leaders pre-election comments, The New York Times reported.

Meanwhile, the White House said that Netanyahus post-election about face on the two-state solution had not changed the minds of administration officials that the US needs to rethink its approach toward the Israeli government, the Washington Times reported.

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John Boehner announces post-election visit to Israel (+video)

Jewish Groups Seek To Paper Over Differences on Benjamin Netanyahu Reelection

Push for Calm After Bibi Dumps 2 States and Slams Arabs

getty images

Published March 20, 2015.

(JTA) American Jewish groups moved to calm continuing tensions between Jerusalem and Washington in the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus decisive reelection this week. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Anti-Defamation League all released statements Thursday welcoming Netanyahus affirmation of support for a two-state solution.

Just days earlier, on the eve of the Israeli election, Netanyahu had appeared to renounce that support, saying that no Palestinian state would be established while he was prime minister. In interviews on Thursday, Netanyahu said that comment had been misunderstood.

He also sought to walk back his much-criticized 11th-hour appeal to supporters to counter the droves of Arab voters headed to the polls, saying he was trying to mobilize his own supporters not suppress the Arab vote and that he is the prime minister of all Israels citizens.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, noting that Netanyahu had clearly reaffirmed his support for a two-state solution, criticized the Obama administration for having rebuffed the prime ministers efforts to put relations with the United States back on track.

Unfortunately, administration spokespersons rebuffed the prime ministers efforts to improve the understandings between Israel and the U.S., AIPAC said. In contrast to their comments, we urge the administration to further strengthen ties with Americas most reliable and only truly democratic ally in the Middle East.

The AIPAC statement was one of several from American Jewish groups quick to welcome Netanyahus clarifications on two states.

We believe that the prime ministers reaffirmations of his positions should be accepted, and, as the new government is formed the parties should work to enhance cooperation between the democratic allies and advance the special U.S.-Israel ties, said a statement on Thursday from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the foreign policy umbrella for U.S. Jewish groups.

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Jewish Groups Seek To Paper Over Differences on Benjamin Netanyahu Reelection

U.S. could abandon Israel at UN

Administration officials greeted his win with harsh words Wednesday and suggestions that the U.S. might scale back its support for Israel at the United Nations, a significant reversal in policy after years of vetoing resolutions damaging to Jerusalem.

A senior administration official said that Netanyahu’s sharp tacks to the right before Tuesday’s vote — in which he ruled out the creation of a Palestinian state, a pillar of U.S. policy in the Middle East — “raise very significant substantive concerns” for the White House, and that “we have to reassess our options going forward.”

Another senior U.S. official told CNN that Netanyahu’s nixing of Palestinian statehood “could change things” for the U.S.-Israel relationship.

That official said the administration is waiting to see if Netanyahu walks back his comments. He warned, “We are in a very, very different situation than we have been in years if that is not the case.”

But in some ways, they already are. President Barack Obama made it clear to Netanyahu on Wednesday that the Israeli prime minister, with whom he has repeatedly clashed, is still in the doghouse — likely more so than ever before.

Yet now that Netanyahu has been reelected, the two leaders will have to work with each other for the next two years. How their troubled relationship will affect cooperation on the high-stakes issues facing both countries — Iran’s nuclear program, regional violence and the future of the Palestinians — remains to be seen. But America’s historic support for Israel at the U.N., as well as any White House ambitions of brokering further Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, seem likely to be affected sooner rather than later.

READ: Obama, Netanyahu spat seeps into Israeli election

Instead of Obama, it was Secretary of State John Kerry who called Netanyahu Wednesday to congratulate him on his victory. The President is expected to call only “in the coming days,” according to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

In the meantime, Earnest had some hard language of his own for Netanyahu, particularly concerning campaign rhetoric in which the prime minister described Arabs as “voting in droves.” The administration, Earnest said, is “deeply concerned” over the prime minister’s “divisive” rhetoric about the Arab population.

A senior official who did not wish to be named went further, calling Netanyahu’s words “offensive” and contrary to a democracy, where “we expect that you will treat your citizens equally.”

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U.S. could abandon Israel at UN

Netanyahu victory likely to deepen split among American Jews over Israel

FILE – In this Wednesday, March 18, 2015 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets supporters at the party’s election headquarters In Tel Aviv. Before the elections, Israel had already become a source of division, rather than unity, for American Jews, who bitterly debated the ever-expanding Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories and the acceptable boundaries of dissent from Israeli policies. The outcome of the Israeli election will only deepen that polarization, experts say. Netanyahu’s anti-Arab campaign rhetoric and his rejection of a Palestinian state, they say, will further splinter American Jews into hard left and right camps, and intensify conflicts over what it means to be loyal to the Jewish state. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)(The Associated Press)

NEW YORK Well before this week’s elections, Israel had already become a source of division for American Jews, who bitterly debated the ever-expanding Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories and the acceptable boundaries of dissent from Israeli policies.

The outcome of the Israeli election will only deepen that polarization, experts say. Benjamin Netanyahu’s anti-Arab campaign rhetoric and his rejection of a Palestinian state, they say, will further splinter American Jews into hard left and right camps, and intensify conflicts over what it means to be loyal to the Jewish state.

“The trend toward fragmentation and weakening the center those trends are already in place and they’re just going to gallop forward now,” said Theodore Sasson, a Jewish-studies professor at Middlebury College and author of “The New American Zionism.” “It’s going to make Israel an even more divisive issue in the American Jewish community.”

American Jews generally still retain a strong personal link to Israel. In a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, about 70 percent of American Jews said they felt very or somewhat attached to Israel, regardless of any misgivings about the country’s policies. Most scholars don’t expect that emotional connection to weaken for now because of Netanyahu’s victory.

However, his last-minute attempt to turn out voters by warning Arab citizens were voting “in droves” rankled many American Jews, who are overwhelming liberal and deeply involved in advocating for civil rights. The World Union for Progressive Judaism, which represents the liberal Reform Movement, the largest branch of Judaism in the U.S., said in a statement, “No public figure should lament fellow citizens exercising their right to vote freely, expressing themselves openly, and peacefully in accordance with the values of a democracy.”

Netanyahu’s disavowal of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been met with alarm in the United States. Support for a two-state solution has been a central goal for most Jewish pro-Israel groups.

Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the public policy arm for Jewish community agencies around the country, released a statement congratulating Netanyahu, then added, “we believe that progress can be made in creating two states for two peoples, and that the next government can make sure that all Israelis, Arab and Jew alike, feel a sense of security and belonging in the nation we care so deeply about.”

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Union for Reform Judaism, an association of 862 American synagogues, said in a phone interview that rejecting a Palestinian state “flies in the face of every demographic study of American Jewry and what aligns with their values.” But the hawkish Zionist Organization of America called the election outcome “a victory for realism and security, and a defeat for policies based on fantasy and appeasement.”

On Thursday, Netanyahu said in a TV interview he is still committed to Palestinian statehood if circumstances improve.

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Netanyahu victory likely to deepen split among American Jews over Israel

Election expected to deepen split over Israel for American Jews

NEW YORK Well before this week’s elections, Israel already had become a source of division for American Jews, who bitterly debated the expanding Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories and the acceptable boundaries of dissent from Israeli policies.

The outcome of the Israeli election will only deepen that polarization, experts say. Benjamin Netanyahu’s anti-Arab campaign rhetoric and his rejection of a Palestinian state, they say, will further splinter American Jews into hard left and right camps and will intensify conflicts over what it means to be loyal to the Jewish state.

“The trend toward fragmentation and weakening the center those trends are already in place, and they’re just going to gallop forward now,” said Theodore Sasson, a Jewish-studies professor at Middlebury College and author of “The New American Zionism.” “It’s going to make Israel an even more divisive issue in the American Jewish community.”

American Jews generally still retain a strong personal link to Israel. In a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, about 70 percent of American Jews said they felt very or somewhat attached to Israel, regardless of misgivings about the country’s policies.

Most scholars don’t expect that emotional connection to weaken for now.

However, his last-minute attempt to turn out voters by warning that Arab citizens were voting “in droves” rankled many American Jews, who are overwhelming liberal and deeply involved in advocating for civil rights. The World Union for Progressive Judaism, which represents the liberal Reform Movement, the largest branch of Judaism in the U.S., said in a statement, “No public figure should lament fellow citizens exercising their right to vote freely, expressing themselves openly, and peacefully in accordance with the values of a democracy.”

Netanyahu’s disavowal of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was met with alarm in the United States. Support for a two-state solution has been a central goal for most Jewish pro-Israel groups.

Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the public policy arm for Jewish community agencies around the country, released a statement congratulating Netanyahu and added, “We believe that progress can be made in creating two states for two peoples, and that the next government can make sure that all Israelis, Arab and Jew alike, feel a sense of security and belonging in the nation we care so deeply about.”

On Thursday, Netanyahu said in a TV interview he is committed to Palestinian statehood if circumstances improve.

For decades, American Jews were willing to set aside partisan differences on Israeli policies to present a unified front to the U.S. government. But in recent years, pro-Israel groups on the right and the left have emerged that reject that consensus approach.

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Election expected to deepen split over Israel for American Jews

American Jews and the Israeli election

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu campaigns in the southern city of Ashkelon on March 17. Photo by Baz Ratner/Reuters

If there is one lesson American Jews will learn from Israels election, its this: theyre not us.

Israel is not New York. Or LA. Or Chicago or Boston or Miami or Philadelphia. It is a Jewish community unlike any in America.

Israelis went to the polls this Tuesday and returned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to office. Had Bibi run versus Isaac Herzog among American Jewish voters, he would have lost. He would have lost almost as badly as Barack Obama would lose against Bibi in Israel. The fact that Netanyahu garnered 29 mandates against his opponents 24 was as shocking to the majority of American Jews as the fact that Jewish Americans voted overwhelmingly twice for Barack Obama is to most Israelis.

Jewish life is composed of tribes Orthodox, secular, my shul, your country club, Ashkenzai, Ethiopian, etc. But the two biggest tribes are American and Israeli. Different cultures, different languages, different reality. Israel and America are the twin study of Jewish life: same birth, same heritage, but vastly different nurturing and so very different natures.

For years the greatest myth American Jews have been telling themselves is that Israeli Jews are just like us. That works because we tend to prove this to ourselves by cherry-picking the Israel we most identify with. We fell in love with Abba Eban like the French love Jerry Lewis. Israelis, meanwhile, mocked him. A friend of mine didnt understand why former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, who ran on the Kulanu ticket, wasnt first on the ticket. He is American-born, Princeton-educated, brilliant, articulate and centrist. I told him the leader of Kulanu is Moshe Kahlon, a tough (also smart) Israeli of Libyan background .

But Oren speaks such goodEnglish, he said, absolutely perplexed.

The Israelis we focus on, and whom we support, or invite to speak, are not representative of all those Israelis we never come in contact with, or prefer to ignore. We love the Israeli artists and entrepreneurs and models and writers and actors many if not most of whom are in the minority who voted for the losing teams.

Language, income, ethnicity, ideology, religious practice separate us from the great mass of Israeli voters: the ones who dont come to speak in our synagogues, or lead our childrens Birthright seminars, or appear in the papers with the latest hi-tech invention. There are thousands of Amoses in Israel we just know Amos Oz.

We are drifting apart. If the English and Americans are two people separated by a common language, Israeli and American Jews are one people separated by a common country.

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American Jews and the Israeli election

Israel choosing leadership

Story highlights Millions of Israelis are casting their ballots in their country’s parliamentary elections The poll will determine Israel’s next Prime Minister and the make-up of the Knesset Ballots are for political parties rather than individual prime ministerial candidates

Polls opened Tuesday at 7 a.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) and will close at 10 p.m.

Ballots are for political parties rather than individual candidates. Israel has a proportional representation system, meaning a coalition government is likely to be formed within its 120-seat Knesset, or parliament.

Read: How does Israel’s parliament work?

The next Prime Minister will have to tackle international and domestic crises, including security, foreign relations, the Palestinian question and rising concerns about the high cost of living in Israel.

Here’s a look at three candidates:

Benjamin Netanyahu

Incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paved the way for new elections when he dismissed two members of his coalition Cabinet in December.

Netanyahu spent part of his teen years in the United States, where his father taught at Cornell University.

He served for six years in the Israeli Army in an elite commando unit until he was wounded in a rescue operation during an airplane hijacking in 1972. He returned to the United States, earning degrees in architecture and business.

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Israel choosing leadership

Jon Voight: 'Obama does not love Israel.' What prompted his comment?

Jon Voight has made no secret of his conservative beliefs, and on Saturday he expressed his concerns for the American public, while slamming President Barack Obama in a lengthy televised statement.

It’s been a dicey month for President Obama on American-Israeli political relations.

First, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly chastised Mr. Obama’s negotiations with Iran over a nuclear deal.

Then, Netanyahu addressed the US Congress, again criticizing the President’s Iran deal, causing a political uproar that saw some congressional Democrats boycott the speech and Obama decline to meet the Israeli leader.

And now, this: Actor and Republican Jon Voight has released a video in which he states that “President Obama does not love Israel.”

I love Israel. I want to see Israel survive and not be overtaken by the madmen of this world, Mr. Voight said in a video released exclusively to the Just Jared celebrity news website. President Obama does not love Israel. His whole agenda is to control Israel. And this way he can be friends with all of Israels enemies. He doesnt want [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to win this upcoming election.

In fact, Voight’s “anti-Obama message” (which is an echo of Rudolph Giuliani’s criticism of Obamalast month)is probably more about Netanyahu than Obama.

Israelis head to the polls Tuesday to choose a prime minister in a historically tight and high-profile election.

A member of the conservative Likud party, Netanyahu is facing stiff opposition from the duo running against him, Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni. The pair formed an unusual center-left political alliance called the Zionist Union expressly to unseat Netanyahu, and they’ve surprised political observers by mounting a compelling campaign.

Voight said Obama does not want to see Netanyahu win re-election on Tuesday, and that he prefers Mr. Herzog and Ms. Livni. America has not been the same since [Mr. Obamas] presidency. I beg all of you to understand the truth,” said Voight. “Those like Yitzhak Herzog who believe that dealmaking is the solution to what Israel faces are as wrong as Neville Chamberlain believing he made a peace deal with Hitler.”

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Jon Voight: 'Obama does not love Israel.' What prompted his comment?