Jewish Journal

David N. Myers

  • Brexit and the global democracy deficit

    June 29, 2016 | 8:39 am

    I arrived in London early on the afternoon of June 24, already knowing the results of the Brexit vote. I had checked obsessively on the flight from Los Angeles through the wonders (or burdens) of airborne Wi-Fi. Like most locals in England, I was stunned. Even those opposed to...

  • Sanders reignites potent strain of progressivism

    June 15, 2016 | 10:56 am

    In the 2016 presidential election campaign, there have been many astonishing developments to date. At this key moment of transition before the general election season, it makes sense to reflect on them, especially on two of special import to Jews.

    First is the candidacy of Donald...

  • On Michael Feige – a colleague and a victim of the Tel Aviv terror attack

    June 10, 2016 | 2:47 pm

    We live in a very violent world, marred by state-sponsored murder, horrifying acts of terrorism, and a gun epidemic in our own cities.   For most of us, this violence is an abstraction about which we read—until it hits close to home.  

    My sense of vulnerability and loss was...

  • Who is Simone Zimmerman?

    April 19, 2016 | 2:34 pm

    In recent days, the name of a young Jewish woman has furiously buzzed around national media outlets. Simone Zimmerman was briefly appointed national Jewish outreach coordinator for the Bernie Sanders campaign before being suspended on April 14, just two days later. This rapid...

  • The Pew Israel survey: A view from the margins

    April 12, 2016 | 1:40 pm

    Just a month ago, two new reports cast light on the complex and contradictory nature of Israeli society.  The first was the Pew Research Center’s survey of Israel, which exposed “deep gulfs among Jews, as well as between Jews and Arabs, over political values and religion’s role in...

  • UC Regents need a history lesson

    March 20, 2016 | 4:28 pm

    Since its appearance last week, there has much discussion of the opening paragraphs of the “Principles against Intolerance” formulated by a working group of the University of California Regents.  Attention has focused on the working group’s statement that “Anti-Semitism,...

  • What if Tom Friedman is right?

    February 24, 2016 | 2:07 pm

    Without warning, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman dropped a bombshell smack into the middle of his opinion piece on Feb. 10. Titled “The Many Mideast Solutions,” Friedman surrendered his decades-long belief in a two-state solution in negotiations between Israelis and...

  • President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union Address or: ‘The Plot Against America II’

    December 9, 2015 | 4:49 pm

    January 16, 2018

    “My Fellow Americans, Vice President Palin, distinguished members of Congress, and esteemed guests, I am deeply honored to offer this State of the Union address, my first since being elected your president in November 2016. 

    I must commence with a warning. ...

  • Another way to think about BDS

    October 14, 2015 | 2:55 pm

    Every week, a new message rolls in from a Jewish organization decrying Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as a grave danger to the survival of Israel and the Jews. I don’t know how to react. On one hand, I oppose the global BDS movement, which seeks to boycott and divest from...

  • The long history of Jewish violence in Israel

    August 5, 2015 | 1:55 pm

    Last week’s terrible killing of 18-month old Ali Saad Dawabsha in Duma, together with the horrific violence at the Jerusalem gay pride parade, left many Jews stunned, repulsed and demoralized. We have inculcated in ourselves — and projected to our children — the belief that whereas...

  • Whether you fire him or not, condemn Salaita’s words

    September 2, 2014 | 2:20 pm

    For the past month or so, the academic world in this country has been abuzz with impassioned debate about Professor Steven Salaita, whose proposed appointment as a tenured professor in American Indian studies at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana was rejected by...

  • After Gaza: The trail of destruction and its costs

    August 11, 2014 | 10:49 am

    With news of the latest cease-fire between Israel and Gaza just announced (on Sunday), residents on both sides will now seek to return to their routines.  Most Israelis thankfully no longer have to dash to the bomb shelter.  Meanwhile, the families of the 64 fallen soldiers and...

  • How many more cycles of war for Israel and Gaza?

    July 30, 2014 | 12:27 pm

    There is a constituency of Jews out there who find themselves reduced to silence when contemplating the current conflict in Israel and Gaza. It is not just the fear of stepping out of line from the organized community’s lock-step support for the government of Israel. It is that the...

  • Legacies of the Great War

    July 2, 2014 | 4:59 pm

    The 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip — the act that started World War I — has occasioned ample debate about the impact and legacy of the conflict. It is worth focusing on two key factors that have had a...

  • The failed promise of Ari Shavit’s ‘My Promised Land’

    February 18, 2014 | 2:56 pm

    The Israeli journalist Ari Shavit is the talk of the town.  Widely known in Israel as an influential and well-connected columnist for Haaretz, Shavit has not been a household name in this country.  Until recently, that is.  He has newly conquered America, earning glowing praise for...

  • U.S. academics should not boycott Israeli universities

    December 18, 2013 | 3:47 pm

    According to an announcement released Dec. 16, the American Studies Association (ASA), a group of some 5,000 university professors, has endorsed its national council’s call for a boycott of Israeli universities.

    Two-thirds of the 1,252 members who voted approved the boycott,...

  • History matters: 
Garcetti and the history of Jewish politics

    May 29, 2013 | 3:38 pm

    With Eric Garcetti’s election on May 21, the mayors of the three largest cities in the United States — Michael Bloomberg in New York, Rahm Emanuel in Chicago and Garcetti in Los Angeles — are all Jews. This is a remarkable phenomenon, perhaps most of all because of how unremarked...

  • Jewish studies flourish in China

    August 15, 2012 | 10:49 am

    The last quarter century has witnessed a veritable explosion in the academic field of Jewish studies. During that time, Israel solidified its place as the global center in the field, while in the United States virtually every university and college of note has established its own...

  • Recognize Palestinian statehood—Today

    May 16, 2011 | 12:07 pm

    At 4:00 in the afternoon, sixty-three years ago today, Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion took to the podium in the auditorium of the Tel Aviv Museum to make a bold and historic announcement.  The preceding days had been filled with often difficult deliberations among Zionist leaders...

  • R. B. Kitaj, 1932-2007—An Appreciation

    October 25, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    The world of art, of ideas and of Jewish culture lost a towering figure this past week. R. B. Kitaj died Sunday in Los Angeles at the age of 74. Heralded as one of the great figurative painters of his generation, he was also one of the most erudite and provocative Jewish...
  • ADL’s decision doesn’t go far enough

    August 30, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Last week's news that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had reversed course and decided to recognize the Turkish massacres of Armenians between 1915 and 1923 as a genocide is a necessary step forward for that organization.

    Unfortunately, it does not go far enough in rectifying the...
  • Illuminating the Jewish chapters of the Los Angeles story

    November 9, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Los Angeles, to the first-time visitor, can seem something of an enigma. Its vast physical spread often spawns negative stereotypes of a city beset by traffic, smog and the absence of a core. And yet, set against this rather dark image, is Los Angeles' status as a city of global...
  • Satmar Fight Underlines Its Assimilation

    May 11, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    The death of Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum, spiritual leader of the Satmar Chasidic sect, marks more than the passing of a revered Torah sage. It also signals the conclusive passage of his community from Europe to America, a process that first began nearly 60 years ago.

    The movement's...

  • L.A. Jewry Needs More Exploring

    November 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Like any self-respecting East Coast native, I arrived in Los Angeles more than a decade and a half ago armed with the usual stereotypes of this city -- namely, it lacked intellectual and cultural "gravitas," was distinguished by its traffic and smog and defied all known logic of...

  • Show Gaza Sympathies to the Other

    August 25, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    The disengagement from Gaza has exposed raw emotions and wrenching scenes of families being uprooted from their homes of decades.

    Many in the Jewish community, while believing that the disengagement was necessary and even overdue, have felt the pain of the settlers. Some have even...

  • One Historian’s Look at How Jews Shaped the Modern Age

    December 30, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    "The Jewish Century," by Yuri Slezkine. (Princeton University Press, $29.95).

    Yuri Slezkine opens this major new book by declaring: "The modern age is the Jewish age, and the 20th century, in particular, is the Jewish century." This assertion may ring bells.

    Anti-Semites have...

  • Apparent Allies Might Not Be Our Friends

    October 14, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    This week's Israel Christian Nexus gathering at Stephen S. Wise Temple was intended to rally support for Israel. Its advertised list of speakers included John Fishel, president of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, and a fair number of prominent local rabbis.

    While we...

  • Open Debate Preferable to Blind Support

    July 17, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    A recent report in The New York Times captured almost perfectly the thorny questions that stand at the center of relations between the American Jewish community and Israel. Should one be permitted to criticize the government of a foreign country with which one feels a deep affinity,...

  • The Return of Big Brother?

    October 17, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Like America at large, the American university is a teeming marketplace of ideas.

    Its greatness lies in its unrestrained commitment to open debate. Conversely, its darkest moments have come when the gateways of debate were closed.

    We should know this as Jews and as Americans. In...

  • A Code of Civility in Jewish Public Discourse

    June 6, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    One of the most distressing aspects of the recent Middle East conflagration has been the retreat of both sides -- Israelis and Palestinians, as well as their supporters -- behind towering rhetorical walls.

    This retreat evokes the verbal wars of the 1970s, when Israel meant racist...

  • A Marshall Plan for Palestine

    April 4, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    The rapid downward spiral of events in Israel and the Occupied Territories produces yet more death, destruction and despair. Both sides seethe with rage at the other, oblivious to the parallel courses that their respective national movements have taken -- and hence incapable of the...

  • Rally Later

    July 26, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    In the midst of the speeches at Sunday's solidarity rally for Israel, I felt a growing swell of ambivalence and even discomfort over the event. It wasn't just the "Kahane Was Right" signs or the booing of Shimon Peres. It was a broader feeling of malaise. For many, this will seem...

  • Can We Find the Golden Mean?

    May 17, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    In the opening book of his monumental code of Jewish law, Maimonides declared, "We are bidden to walk in the middle paths which are the right and proper ways...." The great medieval sage was articulating the golden mean, the principle that we should avoid extreme behavior, ethical or...

  • On Jewish Liberalism—and Power

    March 8, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Several weeks ago, the eminent Harvard sociologist Nathan Glazer, one of the renowned New York intellectuals chronicled in the film "Arguing the World," came to town for a lecture and seminar at UCLA. The question that Glazer raised in his appearance in Los Angeles reflected the...

  • Ceding Control

    January 18, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    As time runs out on both Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak, it appears highly unlikely that an enduring and comprehensive agreement in the Middle East will be achieved. The prospects for peace that seemed so bright just months ago now seem tragically dim. Indeed, they have gone up in...

  • Facing Truths

    October 26, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Having just learned that a cousin serving in the Israel Defense Forces was wounded in action, I find it painful, but necessary to speak out. The latest convulsions of violence have pushed Israelis and Palestinians closer to the brink of mutual destruction. Meanwhile, in the United...

  • My German Question

    August 24, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Until last year, I held firm to that tribalist impulse familiar to many American Jews and refused to visit Germany (or fly Lufthansa or buy German products, etc.). Although no members of my immediate family had fallen victim to the Nazi terror, the resistance to things German was...