Anti-war protesters rally against Gaza invasion and rising Palestinian death toll


As the West Bank erupted today in a “day of rage” against Israel’s ongoing invasion of Gaza and its lopsided death toll during 18 days of combat with Palestinians, anti-war activists in the Bay Area have been holding daily protests outside the Israeli consulate in downtown San Francisco and preparing for what they hope will be a big demonstration tomorr Read more »

Cal president resists pressure to veto West Bank divestment bill


Late Tuesday night, UC Berkeley Student President Connor Landgraf decided not to a veto SB 160, which called on the university to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. The bill labels the university “a complicit third party in illegal occupation and ensuing human rights abuses” by Israel.Read more »

Cal on Palestine

UC Berkeley Student Senate passes divestment measure, but pro-Israel opponents pushing hard for veto


The UC Berkeley Student Senate has passed a bill that calls upon the university to withdraw nearly $12 million in investments from corporations that do business in the Palestinian West Bank, including Caterpillar, Cement Roadstone Holdings, and Hewlett Packard Company. The bill, SB 160, passed at 5am April 18 by a slim 11-9 margin after 10 hours of emotional debate.Read more »

GUEST OPINION: Roots of the Gaza violence


 In 2009, I was working in Congress when the eminent South African judge Richard Goldstone came to the House of Representatives to defend the UN report he authored on war crimes committed by both Israelis and Palestinians during that year’s war.

Goldstone stood before a handful of members of Congress and told them that before you condemn the report, you should at least read it. A few staffers and I sent emails across Capitol Hill offering to hand-deliver a paper copy of the entire 575-page report to any member of Congress. Only two took up our offer. That afternoon 344 out of the 435 members of US Congress voted in favor of condemning the report.

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The real issue for the Dems in November


Lots of fun with convention democracy on Day Two, when the chair of the event, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, got caught up in the scam that happens almost every year, when the party rank-and-file doesn't want to do what leadership says, and the unruly hordes have to be tamed. I've seen this happen at the state level (where Art Torres pulled a classic years ago to cut off party reformers at the knees) and it happens at the national level, too -- typically not in prime time.Read more »

Hate (and free) speech


How far can you push free speech? Is it okay for Muni to run ads that are utterly, inexcusably offensive to Arabs and Muslims in the name of political expression? Read more »

'Reclaiming Jewish Activism': easier said than done


This article has been updated

A panel in which three local activists will talk about how their Jewish ancestors inform their present-day work seemed harmless enough. But in the Bay Area’s friction-prone Jewish community, its cancellation has led the organizers to write a letter in protest and accusations that one of the area’s biggest funders of Jewish events, the Jewish Community Federation (JCF), is participating in McCarthy-style censorship. Read more »

Talking with Etgar Keret (supposedly)


You can't imagine the writerly crisis I experienced typing up the questions for my Etgar Keret interview. What responses could I possibly elicit from Israel's most prominent fabulist that would rival the odd, sparkling stories of his latest, Suddenly, a Knock on the Door (FSG Originals, 208pp, $14)? Better just to publish one of his pieces, perhaps the titular account of a man forced at gunpoint to overcome writer's block or the story of the guy who falls (via a buried gumball machine) into a world populated by characters from the fibs he's told over the year. Read more »