Sunday, November 20, 2011

Panel Announcement: Has the Obama Administration been good for Israel?


Program at Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, California, Sunday Dec 4 at 7:30 PM. Admission is free.

More than at anytime in recent years, some in the Jewish community are asking the question about how much support Israel has in the White House, and whether President Obama has helped or harmed Israel's security. Whether you love, loathe or are ambivalent about the President's approach, please join us for a vibrant and open panel discussion (including written and open mic audience Q&A) with 3 Bay Area activists who write and/or speak extensively about the Middle East. Participants are Mike Harris (grassroots activist with StandWithUs/SF Voice for Israel), Jon Segall (liberal pro-Israel blogger, founder of Team Shalom at DailyKos) and Michael Lumish (PhD in history, longtime pro-Israel blogger, and liberal critic of the left). The program will be moderated by Rachel Eryn Kalish.

This panel should prove very interesting. Jon Segall is a very knowledgeable man on the topic of I-P and is considerably to my left on the issue. I would put him somewhere in the realm of J Street and Meretz.

Mike Harris is a well established pro-Israel activist with Stand With Us. I would probably characterize his politics on the I-P front as center / center-right.

I am somewhere near where Mike is on the topic, although I do tend to be a bit more strident on the issue... I suppose.

Rachel Eryn Kalish, our moderator, is an expert on community relations and dialogue. She's just the person to maintain a degree of focus and harmony on a highly contentious question.

I think that this will be fun and, for me, the point is to promote pro-Israel dialogue across the political spectrum. In fact, part of the reason that I started this panel was because I wanted a smart left-leaning pro-Israel person to talk, in public, with a smart right-leaning pro-Israel person, in a genuine setting, not on-line.

That was the point of the first one, but let's see where this goes.


  1. Will there be video? I want to see what you all have to say. Beware of mic check.

  2. Video?

    I doubt it.

    This will be the second one of these that we've done. Mike organized this one and I organized the last one (for the Commonwealth Club in SF) and was the moderator, rather than a panelist.

    We got written up here:

  3. No. This has been another in the series Short Answers to Really Easy Questions.

  4. lol Randall.

    You may want to check out Rubin's latest before the debate, Karma.

    "So here’s the bottom line.
    There’s a new power in the Middle East. It is an alliance of the Muslim Brotherhood groups already ruling the Gaza Strip (Hamas), Egypt and Tunisia (likely to be ruling parties), Libya, Syria, and Jordan. That’s pretty impressive.

    They are all dedicated to revolution (even if it has to be achieved through the ballet box) and genocide against the Jews in Israel.

    And the U.S. government supports them.

    How can anyone believe this will turn out well? Those most powerful in the West do.

    How can anyone not be thoroughly ashamed for their persistent misreading of the situation since January? Those most powerful in the West aren’t."

    Obama is serving Israel up on a platter and Hilary is providing the condiments.

  5. I just want the discussion to be civil.

    I find that I sometimes get frustrated when people do not see, or will not acknowledge, what I consider the obvious.

    That's my own arrogance, I guess.

    Anyway, thanks for the link, pardnah.

    I read pretty much everything Rubin writes.