Podcast / On The Nose
On the Nose is our biweekly podcast. The editorial staff discusses the politics, culture, and questions that animate today’s Jewish left.
The Loneliness of the Israeli Left
Duration
0:00 / 37:16
Published
October 26, 2023

Since Hamas’s October 7th attack, Israeli leftists have felt squeezed between a global left response that has sometimes justified or downplayed the deaths of Israeli civilians, and Israeli society itself, which is largely supportive of the state’s campaign of vengeance in Gaza and its crackdown on any expression of dissent. On this episode of On the Nose, editor-in-chief Arielle Angel speaks with Michael Sfard, an attorney specializing in international human rights law and the laws of war; Sally Abed, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of national leadership in the Arab-Jewish grassroots movement Standing Together; and Yair Wallach, a social and cultural historian of modern Palestine/Israel at SOAS University of London. They discuss the particular loneliness of the Israeli left in this moment and the precious and endangered horizon for shared struggle beyond it.

Thanks to Jesse Brenneman for producing and to Nathan Salsburg for the use of his song “VIII (All That Were Calculated Have Passed).”

Articles Mentioned and Further Reading:

In Gaza, Israel Is Racing to the Moral Abyss,” Michael Sfard, Haaretz

Israelis Must Maintain Their Humanity Even When Their Blood Boils,” Michael Sfard, Haaretz

Statement on Behalf of Israel-based Progressives and Peace Activists Regarding Debates over Recent Events in Our Region,” an open letter

Organizations mentioned by our guests: Standing Together, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Combatants for Peace, Adalah, The Human Rights Defenders Fund


Transcript

Arielle Angel: Hello, and welcome back to On the Nose, the Jewish Currents Podcast. I’m Arielle Angel. I’m the editor in chief of Jewish Currents, and I’ll be your host for this episode. Today, we have three guests to talk about what has been happening on the Israeli left since October 7. I think for many people on the Israeli left, there has been a sense of alienation and distance from the global left and their reaction to the events on October 7, and also, there has been a wave of repression on the ground in Israel/Palestine, and so we’re going to talk about both of those things and how the Israeli left moves forward from here.

Today on the show, I have Sally Abed; Sally is a Palestinian citizen of Israel living in Haifa and a member of national leadership at Omdim B’Yachad, or Standing Together, a grassroots Arab-Jewish movement in Israel. Michael Sfard, an attorney who specializes in the laws of war and international human rights law. He’s the author of The Wall and the Gate: Israel, Palestine and the Legal Battle for Human Rights. And Yair Wallach—Yair is a social and cultural historian of modern Palestine/Israel studying the entangled and relational histories of Jews and Palestinians. Originally from Israel, he is a professor at SOAS University of London. Thank you all for being here with me.

So first of all, I just wanted to ask you guys how you’re doing. I don’t know if anyone just wants to talk about where they’re at now. I feel like for me, every day is a different set of feelings, in some ways.

Michael Sfard: Before we started recording, I said that these days bring with them, for me, new sensations that I have not been exposed to, I think, throughout the several decades that I’m in activism and legal activism, and working with activists and organizations in the Israeli human rights camp and the Israeli left in general. One is just fear, genuine fear. Fear of what we are doing and what we are going to do in Gaza, and what kind of a society will be after that. Fear of the crisis in our own camp, and fear of the unbelievable political violence that is striking the country. I know, there are many activists who, for them, that’s the ordinary. But for me, as an Israeli Jewish male, Ashkenazi, it’s new. And the second new feeling is thinking of every word that I say and I write 1,000 times before I put them on the air. I want to be very precise and very accurate. And it was always quite easy for me, but these days, seeing everything that unfolds, it became extremely difficult.

Sally Abed: Every time I answer that question, I end up in tears. And I promised myself that I won’t do that today. Honestly, I feel a little bit numb. I feel like it was a survival mechanism for me, like I’m disconnected, and I’m working on the ground, just talking to activists, talking to people, doing the job, doing the tasks, and just working like 18 hours a day. That’s what I’ve been doing for two weeks. I feel like the minute I allow myself to wallow in the actual reality of what’s happening, and what we’ve been going through, and what we’ve been enduring, it shuts me down, completely. So I’ve been trying not to do that. I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy, but we have to go through this right now, and brace ourselves, and really maintain as much as we can. That’s my task right now. That’s my mission. Of course, I’m scared. Of course, I feel deep sadness. I always talk about the Palestinian society here in Israel. We are the third generation of the Nakba, and we are very political, and we’re not accepting the conditions, and we are demanding our narrative and the recognition of our history, and now, honestly, I feel exactly like my grandma felt 75 years ago. It feels like we are being completely silenced, and it scares me deeply, that we won’t be able to get out of it and continue or fight here as Palestinians within a joint struggle.

Yair Wallach: There’s so many people I know that broke down as a result of what’s happening. It’s really devastating. And I’ve succeeded almost not seeing any images or films from the 7th of October, but also from Gaza. Just can’t take these images. The words and descriptions are hard enough. And of course, I’m speaking from London, so it’s very different. It’s usually when I hear or engage with Palestinian friends that I break down. Many of us have been warning about something like this for a long time, but still watching it unfold, and the feeling of helplessness, is really difficult.

AA: We’re gonna pick up on a lot of these threads in this episode. I feel like I need to, especially because there are a lot of new listeners to this podcast in recent weeks, we may need to go back and define our terms here. What do we mean when we say the Israeli left? Because I think for a lot of people watching in the United States, there’s a question always about where’s the left in Israel? What can they do? How can we help them? But I think also, it’s important to understand who we’re talking about, and also to recognize that the protest movement that a lot of people were seeing on their screens is not representative of a broad Israeli left. So I was wondering if one of you wanted to speak a little bit to that, about who the Israeli left is.

SA: I mean, it’s tragic to see. Two weeks ago, I was talking about all these deep processes that are happening within the mass protests that are normalizing (in a good sense) the occupation and the fact that it’s on the table, and it’s discussed something that is like being part of the conversation, which it hasn’t been for two decades. And now unfortunately, we see that what might be called a liberal center is completely aligned (politically, at least) with the current policies, completely overlooking the fact that they have been hundreds of thousands of people mobilized against this government. It’s not surprising; we see these automatic alignments, always, during escalations, and I think it’s an understatement to say that what happened on October 7 was unprecedented levels of atrocities. So it wasn’t surprising that they were all aligned, and we see that with the public as well, unfortunately. My immediate contact is obviously with the openly anti-occupation, equality camp, which has been fighting for years but has been also, in many ways, shrinking, especially because peace has been almost removed from the public discourse. That being said, we do see a shared civil society, which not necessarily is political, doesn’t talk about peace or occupation, but is very heavily involved in maintaining solidarity and shared society within Israel, within Jewish/Arab mixed cities and mixed areas. So if you want me to define it, I would say it’s both of these: shared civil society, and then the peace/anti-occupation camp.

MS: For me, I would define left in the Israeli terms as a camp of individuals and groups who put at the top of their agenda pursuing a reality in which all the residents of the land, between the Jordan River and the sea, will have their fundamental rights secured (whatever the model that brings it is). And I have to say that we are now at the eye of the storm. And it is very difficult to say, just by watching the Israeli endless TV programs, in which everyone calls for the annihilation of Gaza, and whoever is more cruel or apathetic towards the fate of millions of Palestinians is given more screen time, it is difficult to assess what would be the backlash, the political backlash, in Israel after this. People have compared what has happened now—the collapse, the failure—to the Yom Kippur War, and I want to remind us the Yom Kippur War transformed Israel from basically a one-party state to a multi-party system. I expect a transformation not smaller than that, and what direction it will take, I really don’t have any idea. There is one thing clear: The Israeli society would not be the same after this.

AA: Thank you both. I wanted to ask what it was like watching the response to these attacks from the left, because I think it’s fair to say that, at least the public response initially, was very different on the Israeli left and on the left generally.

YW: I mean, going back chronologically. On the 7th itself in the morning, we started seeing people celebrating the attack as an emancipatory moment, and while some of the initial images of breaking down the fence, et cetera, you can understand where it was coming from. Even at that stage, anyone with some sense should have been at least cautious about celebrating this, and certainly, it didn’t take long to understand that we are dealing with a level of violence and horror that we haven’t seen towards Jewish Israelis in a long time, and Jewish Israeli civilians. So again, it was coming from people that it didn’t really surprise me. I thought it was revelatory, in some ways, that shows us what they believe in, what kind of model of decolonization they think is acceptable. I thought it was reckless, given what the Israeli government is, given the overwhelming superiority in military terms. Even if you don’t care one bit for Israeli Jews, or anyone else on that side of the fence, you should be aware that this is paving the road for terrible, terrible things. Just some kind of very realistic way.

But beyond that, I think there’s a question of: What does it mean going forward? For me that kind of exposed how weak and fragile the whole concept of anti-apartheid struggle was among many constituencies that use the apartheid term. It is clear that it wasn’t just a regime that they were supporting dismantling; they were happy or resigned to the fact that if this involves mass murder of Israelis, so be it, and that means an anti-apartheid struggle could not take place. If that is the case, you will not be able to convince Israeli public to cede any level of hegemony, which is the condition. Unless you defeat Israel completely, you have to convince Israelis to take a risk and to give up their power. And if the message is, “It’s either you or us,” then of course they will not do that. So that was one kind of reaction. Another reaction was to ignore what happened, which we see more—statements that rightly condemn what’s going on in Gaza and call for a ceasefire—but there’s not a single word on the 7th of October. 7th of October did not end on the 7th of October, there’s still about 220 hostages in Gaza, there are internal refugees in Israel as a result of that, and of course, these traumas do not end, as we know, well. Israelis still talk about the 1929 massacre. So this kind of lack of basic integrity and intellectual honesty—you know, you think this was right, say it, you think this was wrong, say it, but to behave as if it didn’t happen? I mean, for me, I don’t see the point of engaging with people that behave like this, because they’re not serious. Serious people intellectually, politically engage with the things that are uncomfortable for them. And that’s what we see here.

AA: Yair, I want to challenge you on a few points here, because I think that there’s an assumption that the people, for example, who were sharing these memes, the images of the breaking down of the fence, that A. everybody really had a grasp on what was going on right away, and B. that they understand this as a different model of resistance would lead to, for example, an Algeria solution, where the colonizers returned to the Metropole on some level. In my conversations, so far, what I’ve uncovered is both a lack of awareness—partially because of the way that they were consuming news and the way that people in their ecosystem were putting it across—and because they don’t have the benefit of Israeli friends and family texting them: This is what’s happening, This is what I’m hearing. And I feel like I’ve done a lot of explaining in the last couple of days about the ways that this kind of attack is consistent with a different kind of model than the one many of us are reaching for, a kind of anti-apartheid model, or even a decolonial model, that shares the land between two people. And I have not encountered a lot of awareness about that.

SA: That also points out a little bit some of the limitations (and may I say problems) of the Israeli left, as well as the pro-Palestinian movement globally, which I think is extremely academic and theorized and is a little bit detached from our actual lives here. When people ask us, for example, when we are in the US: Pro-Palestinian movements, why don’t you consistently use the word apartheid and not occupation? Why don’t you identify as an anti-Zionist or post-Zionist movement? Stuff like that. I think people need to understand that our mission on the ground in Israel is building a popular discourse, that actually convinces the people that currently are not seeing any problem with flattening Gaza, and with killing thousands, and with displacing hundreds of thousands, and not living the very zero-sum experience of: It’s either us or them. That’s what we’re trying to change, which is just so detached and so far away from the theorized experience of decolonization. And I think this is exactly as well, my experience as a Palestinian here. I’ve been in funerals in the past two weeks, my very dear friends have lost really dear family members, and this is our lives. And I think the left here, for years now, there hasn’t been a real attempt to build popular political will within the Israeli society to end the occupation. The reaction that the Israeli left has had has been kind of like an outsider, almost. It’s very confusing to be part, again, of this collective that is hurting right now, while also not letting go of the Palestinian partner within Israel. It’s an impossible position to be in, in many ways. I’m just extremely concerned of what Michael as well said: What direction will this take us as the left? Because it could be the complete demise of the left, right? Like if we are unable to be relevant, and be a part, while not letting go of us, of Palestinians in Israel. If we’re unable to do that, unable to maintain that space at this point, through this eye of the storm, we probably will be left with not much, which is very concerning.

AA: Where do you think the Israeli left stands to lose the Palestinian left within Israel? And where do you think they stand to lose the broader conversation? Where are the fault lines in that conversation?

SA: I think they tend to lose the Palestinians if they are not talking to Palestinians, not trying to provide us—not only with the legal aid and the legal support that we need for political persecution, or for insecurities that we’re going through and everything, but actually provide us with the space right now to be a political partner in what is happening right now as part of Israeli society as Palestinians, which is an extremely tough mission to do. Yes, they are also Palestinian, yes, they are also hurting, but yes, they’re also part of Israeli society, and they’re grieving our grief. And that duality of experience and holding it. And with the general Israeli public, I think they’re standing to lose because we have to understand how we can talk about ceasefire, how we can talk about peace, how we can talk about the occupation in the general context of the situation with the public that is criminalizing having any kind of human expression of grief for Gazans. So we’re in a very, very tough spot. And we came to it in a very weak spot, because we know the Israel left is already an outsider. So how do you maintain relevancy to the Israeli public while holding Palestinians as part of you is an extremely tough mission.

MS: Yair discussed the problematic reactions in some elements in the international left, and Sally spoke about the crisis within some elements of the Jewish left that are finding it difficult to express solidarity with Palestinians at this time. And I think these two have something in common, because the bottom line is: Are we in the same struggle? I saw some of the reactions—not just memes, quick posts that were uploaded when things were still unclear, but statements made after everything was clear that either disregard completely what happened to the Israeli communities bordering Gaza, the murderous spree, the kidnapping of children and women and the elderly, the crime against humanity that unfolded there was completely disregarded, or if mentioned, mentioned in such a way that belittled it completely. Suddenly, I understood that there are probably some elements in our camp that fight for Palestinian independence—a camp I consider myself part of—that, for them, the noble idea of human rights, of sanctity of life, of freedom and equality are all tools in the pursuit of Palestinian independence. For me, it’s exactly the opposite: Palestinian independence and freedom is a tool to bring about a reality in which all the people between the Jordan River and the sea have the rights respected and can navigate life freely. If we’re not in the same fight on this, we’re not in the same camp. And the same thing applies to those who consider themselves in the Jewish Israeli peace camp and suddenly can’t find it within them to say, “No, you cannot wage your war by killing thousands of innocent people or by targeting civilians and civilian objects.” If you can’t say that, then what is the struggle you’re part of? You know, it’s war now, but when this ends, we will have a lot of sorting out to do in our camp, both moral and ideological and political.

YW: Part of this is a symptom, and the bigger problem is the collapse of the Palestinian national liberation movement that has left an enormous vacuum, so there is no one to show the way. And to have a solidarity movement for people that do not have a viable liberation movement leads to the kind of deeply-flawed and sometimes juvenile reactions that we’ve seen. And the fact that in that vacuum, Hamas seems to be the main actor that has taken agency into its own hands, and therefore it’s not surprising that even people on the left somehow go along with it. The bigger problem is the absence of a vehicle for transformation, which is a huge problem that, of course, has a lot to do with Israeli policies of the last 30 years or so. And that’s a real problem, because without it, it’s very difficult to think of positive change.

AA: I wanted to ask about that specifically, because I think that a lot of the conversation has centered on the left. When the left feels that it is acting in solidarity with the Palestinian national movement, there’s so little surfaced publicly in terms of Palestinian political conversation, and what the global left sees of a kind of vocal Palestinian national movement is actually such a small fraction of Palestinian thought on what people think should happen on how they think it should happen. There are quite a number of Palestinians who do see this event as resistance or a step on the path to decolonization. And it’s not as though we would say that their rights to freedom should be contingent on what they think should happen next; their rights to freedom are their rights to freedom, full stop. And so what do you do with the fact that these ideas seem to be popular in parts of the Palestinian national movement? And what do you do with the fact that there are people on the left who are going to express their solidarity in ways that affirm those viewpoints?

SA: I have never felt that I have such little space to express myself, ever. I have never felt this suffocated with my opinions. On one hand, I’m really being careful with what I’m saying, because we’re seeing mass arrests, and I’m seriously scared they’re gonna come and arrest me. At the same time, everything that I say within my activism, is like: Why am I saying it? Is it the absolute righteous thing to say, which I absolutely want to say? Or is it something that will make the most impact and will convince as many people as possible that are outside of my convinced circle? Right now, I’m feeling like there’s nothing that I can say to Palestinians abroad. I’m really finding it’s hard because I’m spending all my time trying to convince people that I live with here that don’t even recognize me as Palestinian, and they don’t want to see me as Palestinian, and at the same time, on the other end of the spectrum, there are some other Palestinians abroad who are condoning what happened on October 7, who are justifying what happened as a legitimate way to decolonize and to resist. I feel like they’re even further away from me, and it’s the most heartbreaking thing. It’s the most heartbreaking thing.

AA: I want to bring up this question of the letter from the Israeli left. There was a letter calling on a global progressive movement to recognize that “There is no contradiction between staunchly opposing the Israeli subjugation and occupation of Palestinians, and unequivocally condemning brutal acts of violence against innocent civilians. In fact, every consistent leftist must hold both positions simultaneously.” And later in the letter, it says, “We call on our peers on the left to return to a politics based on humanistic and universal principles to take a clear stance against human rights abuses of any form, and to assist us in the struggle to break the cycle of violence and destruction.” And I know that you signed this letter, as many people in Omdim B’Yachad did. And, for example, Michael, I know that you didn’t sign this letter. And I see in this some of these questions about what you feel you have to say, what you feel you can’t say, what kind of statement you’re making in the moment. So I just wanted to ask about that.

SA: It’s wasn’t an easy decision for me to sign that. I took a decision to take a responsibility on the society that I live in right now, which happens to be the society that is completely spitting me out, which will probably cost me things. I do think that the relationship between the Israeli left and the progressive, global left or Palestinian solidarity is crucial. And I decided that I want to endorse that, with all its flaws. But yeah, Michael, you should talk about why you didn’t sign it.

MS: I mean, from the things I’ve said here, you understand that I do not disagree with the content of the letter. I considered signing it for a long time. But eventually, what I think was decisive for me was the timing. I mean, if this letter would have been issued on October 8, it would have been easier, but then the attack on Gaza began. For me, seeing some people in Israel that were considered staunch left wingers sitting on television or writing in the papers, saying, “Even America had to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And yeah, even among the Germans, there were good Germans. But when you fight the Nazis, you have to kill some good Germans too.”

AA: Which is, incidentally, the logic of the other side.

MS: That’s what I said before. I mean, if that is something that you condone, you are not part of the same struggle that I consider myself in. And so by the time that I had to decide, and by the time this letter went out for publication, I decided to do what I always do: I wrote an op-ed. And I made my position clear. But I do not disagree with the content of the letter.

AA: Yair, I hear in your voice this sense of, now we know who people are, and we can’t work with them. But also, there’s this question of coalition, like the fact that there’s something that many people are calling a genocide unfolding in Gaza, and we need the broadest coalition. We need all 300,000 people in the streets in London who are there, and we can’t litmus test them on whether they are saying the right things in the moment. So I wonder where you think we go from here in terms of how we fight this as a global left, or just as a human community, while these divisions are going on, and while most people don’t have the capacity to hold both, or don’t seem to have the capacity to hold both.

YW: I didn’t go to the big demo; I went to the women in black vigil, which was very deliberately not part of that and had a much more basic humanist left message, that war crimes do not justify other war crimes. In general, I can’t be in a space where the right of my family and friends to live is not obvious. And no one should be in that position. I cannot see a real form of organizing and alliances, joint action, without very basic commitment to mutual recognition of the sanctity of human life. And without that I can’t work with people. And I don’t expect them to work with me if I was fine with the bombings. I don’t think anyone would have worked with me.

MS: Can I add to that? We don’t have the luxury of pausing and figuring out, internally, everything. We have to remember that the non-left’s conceptions were completely shattered on 7 October, and while this is a complete calamity what has happened—and no one would have invited it, of course—these things of historic magnitude create cracks. And we as a camp that constantly is looking for ways to bring about a change, that would make our vision of how this region should look like closer, must very quickly reorganize, and start working, and double down on the exact values that we believe in. And a true left, a true humanistic camp, is advocating many restrictions to how a just struggle must be fought.

YW: If I can just add a sentence, there are many people with whom to work. People from Gaza, or abroad and their families are being killed who have been absolutely morally consistent when talking about civilians, or we’re talking against antisemitism. And that’s what gives me hope.

AA: We don’t have anywhere near enough time to get into all these conversations. But I want to talk about what’s happening now on the ground. I mean, Sally, I know that two activists with Omdim B’Yachad were detained for putting up signs that said, “Jews and Arabs will get through this together.” I know that there are random detentions seemingly happening and quite a bit of intimidation. Also, Michael, I’m sure that a lot of things are crossing your desk as a lawyer right now. So I just would like to hear a little bit about what’s happening now,

SA: A lot is happening in the West Bank. We have entire villages being completely displaced right now. And the settlers are celebrating. We’re seeing what’s happening in Gaza, and honestly, just thinking about the captives, the Israeli captives there that the government has no intention of saving. And the tens of thousands of soldiers, just Israeli young soldiers are waiting to go in, and their moms and we are in touch, we have a hotline at Standing Together right now for support, legal and emotional support. You know, any human expressions, especially from Palestinians are being criminalized. We’re seeing hundreds of students being expelled from universities; literally, like heads of hospital departments are being fired. This one particular instance, he had from 2021, the Islamic flag, literally the flag of that religion, and under it, it has a peace dove. Two years ago, he posted that, and he has been fired. Like a major doctor in a major hospital, heading a department, has been fired just because of that. And I refer to this before, you know, this deep submission that we’re having. My mom said, a very, very sad expression for me that really made me cry. And she works at Bituah Leumi, the National Welfare Institute. She’s a social worker, and she’s dealing with a lot of the families impacted on October 7. She told me: Sally, the master is hurting. Like, shut the fuck up. And my mom is a fierce, powerful woman. She’s like, opinionated, and she’s political. And she’s like, driven. And I’ve never seen that level of submission from her. Like, I see that everywhere around me now. And it’s very dangerous.

MS: We have arrived at degrees of political violence that, we have to say it, we’ve never seen before. I mean, Israel Frey, the journalist, was about to be lynched, not for supporting terrorism, not for supporting Hamas, but for expressing compassion and reading the Kaddish for the children and innocent people who are killed in Israel, but also for the children of Gaza. So when we are in that situation, when people, as Sally, you said, are being fired from their workplace, when students are being suspended from their university—and again, we have to grasp how deep it goes. It’s not just cases of incitement to terrorism or to violence. In cases, expressing compassion to human beings—I grew to know during my years that the pit has no bottom, but this is very deep down that black hole that we’re sliding into. And so it has to be said: For the last decade, the Israeli government has been inciting and delegitimizing peace activists and human rights activists. And so we started this war in a very bad place, and now we’re really going towards the worst kind of dispossession and silencing and chilling effect and this is where International Community and Jewish communities around the world come in, because diplomats and journalists and Jewish communities can mitigate that process by speaking out, by providing us a kind of network that protects us from being targeted.

AA: I have a friend recently who basically said: This is the end of the relationship between the Israeli left and the global left. But in terms of thinking about bridging those divides, as opposed to pronouncing them dead: Are there ways for the global community to support the Israeli left in this moment, as they’re facing this kind of repression internally?

YW: I’ll just say support Omdim B’Yachad’s standing, which is one of the rays of sunshine in all this darkness. B’Tselem, you know, Breaking the Silence, Combatants for Peace.

SA: The legal support organizations right now like Aguda, you know, like Adalah, which is more specified for Palestinian civil rights here in Israel.

MS: And the Human Rights Defenders Fund, which I’m the Legal Adviser of.

SA: They’re working around the clock right now helping us as well with our hotline. We’re sending people there. Support them.

YW: But I’ll just say, expressing empathy and showing commitment and consistency is really important because I mean, leftists in Israel now have to say that there is some kind of hope. And that sense of total abandonment makes it much harder to do that. So that’s why I think this has political significance beyond emotional, psychological.

AA: Thank you, Michael, Sally, and Yair, for joining me in this very difficult time and for sharing your wisdom with us. This has been another episode of On the Nose. Hang in there, everyone.

Apr 11 2024
Unpacking the Campus Antisemitism Narrative (42:55)
Jewish Currents staff discuss recent campus antisemitism reporting and consider its consequences.
Mar 28 2024
Campus Politics Takes the Stage in "The Ally" (38:06)
Arielle Angel, Alisa Solomon, and Fargo Nissim Tbakhi discuss The Ally, a new play about campus politics and liberal Jewish discomfort with the left.
Mar 14 2024
Language, the Media, and Palestine (34:46)
Arielle Angel talks to Ali Gharib, Dalia Hatuqa, and Jazmine Hughes about the language the media uses to discuss Israel/Palestine, and what it says about the state of journalism today.
Feb 22 2024
Hindu Nationalism’s New Temple (33:03)
Aparna Gopalan talks to Siddhartha Deb, Angana Chatterji, and Safa Ahmed about what India’s Ram Mandir means for the country’s minorities.
Feb 8 2024
Israel’s Emerging Religious Left (30:58)
Maya Rosen speaks with Mikhael Manekin, Nechumi Yaffe, and Dvir Warshavsky about the movement of observant Jews offering a left-wing alternative to Religious Zionism.
Feb 1 2024
Charging Israel with Genocide (38:59)
Mari Cohen speaks with Noura Erakat, Darryl Li, and Tony Karon about the International Court of Justice’s order that Israel must prevent genocidal acts.
Jan 3 2024
Labor’s Palestine Paradox (39:44)
Jeff Schuhrke, Zaina Alsous, and Alex Press in conversation with Aparna Gopalan about US unions’ response to the war on Gaza.
Dec 28 2023
Bonus Episode: Mailbag (42:35)
Arielle Angel, Nora Caplan-Bricker, Nathan Goldman, and Mari Cohen answer reader questions.
Dec 21 2023
Hamas: Past, Present, and Future (33:50)
Peter Beinart speaks to two political analysts from Gaza, Khalil Sayegh and Muhammad Shehada, about Hamas’s reign.
Dec 8 2023
Talking to Our Families (50:05)
Jewish Currents and Unsettled discuss callers' messages about how they are talking to loved ones who are supportive of Israel’s war on Gaza.
Nov 16 2023
Naomi Klein on Israel’s “Doppelganger Politics” (52:09)
Arielle Angel talks to Klein about her new book, Doppelganger, and how the concept of “doubling” can elucidate the present violence in Israel/Palestine.
Nov 9 2023
Cori Bush’s Ceasefire Plea (25:46)
Senior reporter Alex Kane interviews Rep. Bush about her call for an end to Israel’s bombing campaign and the political consequences of anti-war dissent.
Oct 31 2023
A Surge in American Jewish Left Organizing (41:34)
Mari Cohen speaks with Elena Stein, Eva Borgwardt, and Emmaia Gelman about how Jewish left groups are bringing thousands of protestors into the streets.
Oct 26 2023
The Loneliness of the Israeli Left (this page)
Arielle Angel speaks with Michael Sfard, Sally Abed, and Yair Wallach about the Israeli left’s experience of October 7th and its aftermath.
Oct 19 2023
Unsettled After October 7th (51:52)
The Unsettled podcast speaks with scholar Tareq Baconi and Gazan activist Isam Hamad.
Sep 28 2023
Elon Musk, the Jews, and the ADL, with Know Your Enemy (01:05:14)
Alex Kane, Mari Cohen, and Peter Beinart discuss the contradictions of the Anti-Defamation League with Know Your Enemy’s Sam Adler Bell.
Sep 14 2023
Trans Halakha (44:24)
Nathan Goldman talks to three members of SVARA’s Teshuva-Writing Collective—Laynie Soloman, Alyx Bernstein, and Rabbi Xava de Cordova—about reimagining halakha for trans life.
Aug 31 2023
Nosegate (28:36)
Arielle Angel talks to Rebecca Pierce, Jody Rosen, and Alisa Solomon about Bradley Cooper’s turn as Leonard Bernstein—wearing a prosthetic nose.
Aug 17 2023
The Jewishness of Oppenheimer (47:05)
In an episode presented in partnership with The Nation’s podcast The Time of Monsters, Mari Cohen, Jeet Heer, David Klion, and Raphael Magarik discuss Christopher Nolan’s new biopic about the infamous physicist.
Aug 3 2023
Camp Kinderland at 100 (57:18)
Judee Rosenbaum and Mitchell Silver talk to Arielle Angel about the storied summer camp, founded by Jewish unionists in 1923.
Jul 20 2023
Chevruta: Be Fruitful and Multiply? (30:26)
Torah scholar Laynie Soloman and feminist theorist Sophie Lewis study a Talmudic text that complicates the biblical injunction to procreate.
Jul 6 2023
What Indian Ethnonationalists Learned From Israel Advocates (35:10)
Aparna Gopalan, Azad Essa, and Nora Caplan-Bricker discuss how the hasbara playbook offers a template for defenders of supremacist politics everywhere.
Jun 22 2023
The Struggle to Stop Cop City (38:01)
Micah Herskind, Keyanna Jones, and Josie Duffy Rice join Claire Schwartz from Atlanta to talk about the fight to prevent the destruction of the Weelaunee Forest and the construction of the US’s largest police training center.
Jun 8 2023
The Plight of Masafer Yatta (26:57)
Alex Kane talks to Palestinian journalist Basel Adra about the West Bank hamlets where over 1,000 Palestinians live in fear of being expelled by Israel.